Sunday, October 23, 2011

"Night Strangers" by Chris Bohjalian ~ Wickedly Wonderfully Scary!

Wooot!  Wickedly Witchie Update!

I finished reading "Night Stranger" by Chris Bohjalian last night/early this morning, and now I'm dizzy and, I mean, I'm ready to start my new book, "Fallen" by Traci L. Slatton.  I'm just going to finish here and get some breakfast (though God only knows what that will be since I'm not able to digest my food lately and the doc's can't find out what's wrong with me--too much reading!??).


My Thoughts on Night Strangers:

Can I say, "Unexpected!" This is not your Chris Bojalian of "Midwives." Oh, no! This is a Stephen King-ish Chris comin' out of the New Hampshire woods on a dark, isolated winter to claim his place as a demented dreamer living in a wreck of an old house too far away from citified people.

Taking your psyche in your own hands, read this book over Halloween because it is so freaky and spooky. I loved the involvement of the main character, Chip, a pilot who's his own fearful failure for crashing his plane and killing many passengers; and his young, strange twin girls. First of all it's scary right off the bat when Bojalian describes a cellar door secured with 32ish bolts that's the size of my osteopathic granny! I knew right then and there we were in for some trouble and it wasn't going to be sweet and enchanting, either.

This is a book for vegans and those who enjoy herbal tea, maybe. :] This is also a book for those who like things that go "bump in the night."

I was held captive by this book...loved it all the way through to the shocker of an ending. The characters are fabulous and freaky. The narrating voice is nearly invisible making for a feeling of voyeurism that made the book even more haunting. And, the plot, while some of it may have not been entirely unfamiliar in parts, was very well put together--suspenseful, scary, leading and misleading, horrifying. All the good ingredients for a perfect "tincture." Pull up a big, over-stuffed chair and a cup of herbal tea for this one.

5 stars a spectre-ing

Deb/TheFanciful and Freaky Speed-Reading Wickathoner

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Wonderfully Wicked Read-A-Thon ~ I'm Off Reading Today!

Oh, yes, call me loopy but here I am embroiled in a wonderfully witchie and and wicked read-a-thon this weekend! I've been needing to read a few books in my stack (I'm always needing to do that) so this has given me just the perfect way to do that.

I'm so happy to share the whole thing with you. You can still take part today and tomorrow if you want to. You'll not only have the fun of reading spooky books to share, but you'll be able to visit others through linky. Find out more by clicking on My Shelf Confessions .

So, here are the books I plan on reading so far:

          Who are the "night strangers?"

Let the reading begin! Do you want to join us? I'll be updating and letting you know how I'm doing throughout the weekend.  Oh, and look who's below!   The darling little living dead doll "Claret" who will keep me company on this afternoon's stretch of speed reading....  We have to be careful, though, she likes to rip out throats, the sweet little dear.

Friday, October 21, 2011

"Classic Elite Quick Knits" ~Royal Empress Shawl knit w/ 30% silk & 70% merino yarn is Lucious!!

Published by:  Taunton Press
Pages: 213 with Pictures
Genre:  Home and Garden, Crafts

Sharing a historical perspective:

I have to share with you one of the side-bar interesting things about Classic Elite Yarns.  It's now owned, managed and staffed for the most part by women!  How refreshing, and how appropriate for a company whose focus is to put beautiful yarns into the hands of women who then create gorgeous fabrics, gifts and home goods from them.  

In addition to being focused on the distribution of yarn purchased from international and domestic mills, Elite writes and manages pattern designs; and, most interestingly, it's still housed in the historic, original mill site in Lowell, MA, beside the Merrimack River.  I've been there, and contrary to what the mind may imagine, this is a relatively small mill building considering, with a mixed history of manufacturing, toil and hardship.  I'm glad the Lowell mill has evolved to some good in the hands of women.

As an aside, a really memorable and gothic book about New England mills and a young woman working in them is: "The Madness of A Seduced Woman" by Susan Fromberg Schaefer. 

My Review of "Classic Elite Quick Knits":

More than all the excellent directions, pictures of models and patterns that grace the pages of this book, I want to talk about some of the yarns and items knitted.  If you're a knitter, the quality and timelessness of Classic Elite Yarns is already familiar to you.

This book is divided into sections having to do with small projects, but they are so beautifully detailed that nobody would imagine they have only taken a few hours to produce.  Using the most exotic of yarns, coupled with easy patterns that only look difficult, the results are amazingly quick knits worthy of bragging rights! 

Here are some of my favorites, though you'll have to get the book to see them and choose your own.

The "Royal Empress Shawl" knitted from Magnolia a yarn comprised of 70% merino and 30% silk in the color "Persian Orange." (A soft persimmon color, actually) is for me. This is a rather small shawl with  primary structure and design. It's classic and sophisticated. This was a difficult choice to make!

Capelets: Gorgeous patterns in such unbelievable yarns.  I'm a sucker for capelets as it is, so this book of so many easy to intermediate designs and supple yarn choices is killer. Couldn't we just make capelets all day for everyone we know? Seeing is believing where these are concerned.  Check out the blues!

The hats and mittens are made in designs I haven't seen so beautifully
worked in 40 years of experience. The colors of these hats and mittens are keenly selected for contemporary use. The most attractive of all to me is a pair of fingerless mittens that harken back to the historic ones in the Old Sturbridge Village Shop in MA. Obviously, this design was one worn in historic New England for many reasons.

From blankets and bags the stand-outs to me were the "Irresistible Blanket" for babies cabled in pink Posh a cashmere and silk blend yarn.  I want one for every single one of my grandchildren!  And, the absolutely fabuloso "Sunshine Bag" in 5 colors featured on the cover of this book. Wonder if it would be gorgeous felted!?

In conclusion, I found this book exceptionally good.  It's one I would love to have for my knitting library. Wish I could give you some visuals have to go to your nearest book shop and see them yourself!  

5 stars


The Beautiful Iron Fey Series by Julie Kagawa~"The Iron King, Daughter, Queen & Knight"

"The Iron Fey Series" ~by Julie Kagawa ~ If You Aren't A Fan, You Should Be!

Published by:  Harlequin
Genre:  YA fiction, fantasy
1st in the "Iron Fey" series

I met Julie Kagawa early in her career looking for reviewers for what's become her wildly successful and awesome Iron Fey Series. She has a wonderful group of books and a good, on-going story to tell. I'm a huge fan of Julie and these books. The book covers are to die for, and the characters are "swweeet"...can't help loving them! I'm just going to spend time showing you the books and running some trailers for fun. Hope you enjoy the visuals!

Everyone's said this second book was even better than the first...or just as good! In this book, Megan has made a love relationship, and a true friendship. Moreover, could the covers get more stunning!? You and I need to get these for our book shelves asap!

Megan's picture on the cover is beautiful...but some Asians are having trouble with the fact that Caucasions are being used instead of Asians for the character models. Julie Kagawa originally said she chose to write the books after manga characters. Oops! I wonder if this really matters in the development of her series as it's progressed. Personally, I don't think an author should be confined by an original inspiration. Our appreciation of fine art can't be "canned" in this way. I say you've done a wonderful job, Julie, so don't fret!

Watch this trailer, please, you won't believe how amazing this series is :

I really liked that trailer, but then I found this one below which gives 
more insight into the look of the characters in addition to Megan.

OMGosh, could they be more intriguing! What do you think about Ash and Puck? What about the others? I can't believe how amazing the fey all look...wonderful casting of these characters for us.

By now, you've got to be dying to read this Iron Fey series. You are, aren't you? Go quickly and get all the books. Here's the newest one:

"My name—my True Name—is Ashallayn'darkmyr Tallyn.

I am the last remaining son of Mab, Queen of the Unseelie Court.

And I am dead to her. My fall began, as many stories do, with a girl…"

The books in Julie Kagawa's "Iron Fey Series" are published by Harlequin.  They are in large paperback format with beautifully designed covers and edges for those who like to collect like I do.  The genre, of course, is YA fiction~but we know that crosses over into adult fiction.  I fear you will be left behind if you don't get started on your first book...or second book at the very least.  These books are very special.  You can pretend they're for your daughter or son! :]

5 x 4 = 20 starry night stars for this magnificent series

Get your fey on!!    Deborah/LavenderRoseRambler

**PS:  HELP, HELP!!  Please help me drive interest to my newest blog:  where I will be posting comments and reviewing YA fiction exclusively from now on.
Thanks for friending me!!
Hugs,  Deb

Thursday, October 13, 2011

"The Time In Between" by Maria Duena~ Luminous and Exotic

Published by: Atria Books/Simon and Schuster
Pages: 624
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Women's Fiction
Release Date: November 8, 2011

Overview:     Needlewomen  Take   Note !!!

The inspiring international bestseller of a seemingly ordinary woman who uses her talent and courage to transform herself first into a prestigious couturier and then into an undercover agent for the Allies during World War II

Between Youth and Adulthood . . .

At age twelve, Sira Quiroga sweeps the atelier floors where her single mother works as a seamstress. At fourteen, she quietly begins her own apprenticeship. By her early twenties she has learned the ropes of the business and is engaged to a modest government clerk. But everything changes when two charismatic men burst unexpectedly into her neatly mapped-out life: an attractive salesman and the father she never knew.

Between War and Peace . . .

With the Spanish Civil War brewing in Madrid, Sira leaves her mother and her fiancé, impetuously following her handsome lover to Morocco. However, she soon finds herself abandoned, penniless, and heartbroken in an exotic land. Among the odd collection of European expatriates trapped there by the worsening political situation back on the Continent, Sira reinvents herself by turning to the one skill that can save her: her gift for creating beautiful clothes.

Between Love and Duty . . .

As England, Germany, and the other great powers launch into the dire conflict of World War II, Sira is persuaded to return to Madrid, where she takes on a new identity to embark upon the most dangerous undertaking of her career. As the preeminent couturier for an eager clientele of Nazi officers’ wives, Sira becomes embroiled in the half-lit world of espionage and political conspiracy rife with love, intrigue, and betrayal.

About The Author:    Ms Duenas has a PhD in English Philology and has taught at several American universities.

“Maria DueÑas is a true storyteller. She weaves a spell, conjuring the heat and the glamour, the hardship and the thrill of Morocco and Spain in the late 1930s. The world of Casablanca comes to life as war breaks and Sira Quiroga, a beautiful and betrayed seamstress, is forced to discover her own strength. At a time when everyone must do what they can to survive, some will go beyond. Resistance will be formed and history will be written. Read this book and prepare to be transported.” –Kate Morton, New York Times bestselling author of The Distant Hours

The Bookish Dame's Review:

What is it about the Spanish author that takes me up in just a word and captures me like a moth to a flame? I can hear the storyteller's voice. I am in her very presence. I am sitting in a comfortable chair beside her while she tells me the story. I can see every detail she describes and I adore the descriptions. I'm just completely at her mercy! This is the story of "The Time In Between." This novel is so like having Meryl Streep read "Out of Africa" to you. I felt exactly that way...

Maria Duenas's novel is translated for us into English. And, since it is a translation, I can only imagine how glorious it must be in Spanish. She has an amazing gift of words. Her use of description is fascinating and so near perfection that fabrics, for instance, are almost tangible. As a needlewoman, I almost cried for wanting to touch the silks, Chantilly lace, crepe de chine, georgette and embroideries she writes about. It's wonderful to hear about the fashions Sira experiences and designs and sews through the years as she supports herself as a seamstress. To read how she's saved in her intrigues and safe-harbored by her couture-making is so awe-inspiring to someone who loves fabrics.

Ms Duenas described falling into a blind-mad love with the wrong man so perfectly that I know only one who's been there could know that kind of psychosis! It was unbelievably beautiful. A psychiatrist friend of mine once said that love should be called a psychotic episode because it is a chemical insanity/madness. I thought Duenas caught that obsession with the way she walked us through Sira's reactions. To read it is to be made dizzy by her writing and to recall that punch to the gut passion.

The legends and the history of the early 1900's and WWII are not heavy and boring in this novel, but are beautifully rendered. There are interesting details, wonderful people and characters imagined, music, theatre and art. Cultures and peoples are given well-rounded insights. Social uprisings are strangely similar to our own today, which I found interesting. Nazi Germany is given another interesting view from Ms Duenas's characters. All of this contributes to this compelling read.

"The Time In Between" is a book I will be keeping in my library. I hope my grandchildren will read it one day. It's a beautifully written novel with a story we should never forget. I'm going to put it next to my "The Winds of War" by Herman Wouk.

5 shining stars


Saturday, October 8, 2011

"Last Minute Knitted Gifts" by Joelle Hoverson ~ Simplicity Made Beautiful

Published by: Open Road Media/Abrams
Pages: 107

Release Date: September 13, 2011
Now in Ebook format


Today's knitters are chic, smart-and busy. Although they love to knit and enjoy making gifts for family and friends, they're constantly faced with the challenge of finding enough time to actually finish what they've started. Last-Minute Knitted Gifts solves this problem. Joelle Hoverson, owner of Purl, the hip knitting supply store in downtown Manhattan, has designed more than 30 fun, fresh, beautiful patterns, most of which can be made in less than ten hours—some in as little as two! Known for her keen sense of color, Hoverson includes instructions for classic gifts like baby booties and bonnets, sweaters, and scarves, plus imaginative options like a cashmere tea cozy, a felted yoga mat bag, floor cushions, and a poncho—surely something for everyone on the gift list. And to make each present extra-special, Hoverson offers easy tips on how to incorporate knitting and other yarn embellishments into the gift wrap.

The Dame's Review :

This is a book radiant with color. How I would love just to spend a few days in Joelle's shop, wandering around, touching the yarns, pulling colors and learning to knit a couple of her patterns. The way she's written this particular book gives it not the urgency one might think is needed if you're making a "last minute" gift, but a kind of serenity and assurance that all is well. So, that makes it just plain entertaining.

Oh, just kill me now, Sleeping Beauty! I'm going for the sharp needles!Because time is spent here helping us understand color, color relationships, substitutions of color and yarns; and about which needles will produce the product we hope to achieve. We get a good idea about felting, fluffing and fancy yarns, along with the basics of knitting from a pattern. While this book is easy on the eyes of any stage knitter, it's also filled with good, solid information that can be a reference any time.

I have to say that I had a hard time resisting the precious bonnets and cotton caps in this book. Oh, my, they made me want to call my children and beg for new grandchildren!! But, the color crunched big kids caps are just as delicious and are perfect for all ages.

The drawstring pouch on the cover of the book is simplicity and beauty in one. It can be used as a bride's purse, a gift bag, a jewelry pouch and a place to store secret, small treasures or memorabilia. Joelle suggests stitching it with alpaca and silk, "a soft, luscious drape and a lustrous sheen." But, I can also see beads, pearls, silk ribbons accessorizing... Leave it to me to take the simplicity away!

Without putting too fine a point on it, this book is a good little addition to your knitting and crafts collection. The directions, glossary and darling designs make it a keeper for reference and to "go to" often.

5 multicolored blended stars


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Bringing Books to Children~Your Kindness Gives Books to Kids Who Wouldn't Otherwise Have Any

Genre:  Children's Book
Early Bullying & Learning Kindness in School

What's So Special About Sarah?

This little book is helping to lay a foundation for kindness and caring about others' feelings in schools.  Bullying is a serious problem in our school systems across the Country starting as early as Elementary School.  This one small book with its one clear meaning can help children see the special gifts kindness can bring in building good friends.

‘Sarah O’Hara ~ Gift of the Fairy Wings’ is an AMAZING book with AMAZING results!!!!! . . . I can see how this book really can begin to change the world, one child/family at a time. The content is interesting to children and easy to understand. It helps them to see that being kind in the real world is very important to making our world a better place to live. Thank you so much for this beautiful book!
~ Susan Basler, Director, Akron Head Start, Akron CO

What the Bookish Dame Asks:

I don't like the word "disadvantaged" when speaking of children.  Somehow it lessens them in the ears, and diminishes them automatically in the eyes of others.  I like to think of some children more as those who haven't had access to some of the things they need to achieve their personal best in life.  Those who haven't experienced the special feelings of owning a book of their own, for instance. All children have the ability and spirit in them for great things.  What all of them don't always have is a means to encourage that journey...a book for a lighthouse. Light in the darkness.

The very  kind author of "Sarah O'Hara..." and her children's health organization, whose focus is on giving them joy for the journey, asked me and I'm asking you, to lend a hand in making it possible to put books in the hands of promising children...those children who need the gift of a book to give them hope in their journey to greatness; to all they can be.

Most of us can vividly recall the day and moment that a book sparked magic for us; starting us on a voyage leading us through a life of joy, knowledge, clear direction and education.  Starting us on a life with the promise of having something that couldn't be taken from us or our memories.

Please take a couple of minutes and a minimal amount of money to invest in the lives of children who need you.


By purchasing a copy of “Sarah O’Hara Gift of the Fairy Wings” you can put another copy into the hands of a homeless child or a kid who’s never had a brand new book.

From now through the Christmas season, for every hardcover or eBook sold, through*, a brand new Sarah O’Hara book will be donated to a local organization that will make sure a child has their very own signed copy to treasure.

The book is particularly relevant for parents, grandparents, educators, and caregivers who struggle with teaching their kids to be kind in an age where bullying begins in preschool.

“Sarah O’Hara ~ Gift of the Fairy Wings” has won three national awards. It’s brilliant colors and engaging illustrations make it a favorite of children preschool to eight or nine years old. Each book purchased from this site will be autographed, by the author, to your child, children or YOU if you write their first name in the note/comment section of your PayPal transaction.

Here's What Others Are Saying :

“Sarah O’Hara ~ Gift of the Fairy Wings” is adored by educators and children alike!

‘Sarah O’Hara ~ Gift of the Fairy Wings’ is an AMAZING book with AMAZING results!!!!! . . . I can see how this book really can begin to change the world, one child/family at a time. The content is interesting to children and easy to understand. It helps them to see that being kind in the real world is very important to making our world a better place to live. Thank you so much for this beautiful book!
~ Susan Basler, Director, Akron Head Start, Akron CO

“I had to email and tell you what a great response I had to your book. The kids were enthralled by the pictures and the story! Today when they came back to school, they couldn’t wait to look through the pictures. Several children wanted to hear the book again and some said they wanted it for Christmas!”
~ Betsy Mc H., Preschool Teacher and Author

Wow! The story is great, but as a former art teacher I must say I LOVE the illustrations! Ms. Crouthamel has to be one of the freshest new talents in book illustration to come along in years. The attention to detail, the color and the creation of these wonderful characters is extraordinary. This is truly a case of both words and illustrations coming together perfectly to teach a fine lesson. I hope to find more books written and illustrated by this pair of talented women!
~ Donna Wesley, former Art Teacher


Note:  When "this site" is referred to in the text it refers to   or

From now, until year end, put a book into the hands of a homeless or disadvantaged child.

As stated above, for every hardcover or eBook sold, through*, a brand new Sarah O’Hara book will be donated to a local organization that will make sure a child has their very own signed copy to treasure. You will save 30% off the cover price (taken at checkout) get free shipping from a purchases on this site , and a child who may never have had a book of their own, will get a wonderfully illustrated, heartwarming story about how being kind rocks!

Just click on any one of the links to purchase your copy now!

Use coupon code ‘KIND’ Discount will be applied at check out.

Purchase EBOOK on

*purchases on Amazon must be made directly to, not an Amazon vendor.

Save 30% Plus get FREE SHIPPING*

(*30% discount/free shipping offer applies only to purchases checked out through this website: )

Thanking you in advance for your joining us in this Christmastime gift of books for children!  I wish everyone in America a book for Christmas, especially our precious children.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Which Literary Heroine Are You? Mike Wells's Quizz Is Inspiring!

Elizabeth Bennett
"Pride and Prejudice"
Mrs. Darcy

Which Literary Heroine Are You?

My Favorite Movie Couple

Mike Wells of "The Green Water Blog,"  see his website at: is a best-selling novelist of "fast-paced" novels both YA and adult, whom, as an American, teaches Creative Writing at Oxford.

I love his inspiring and telling quizzes.  Once on the site you'll find a link for them all at the top of his "home" page.  He also has one for recognizing your ideal lover!  :]

2nd Favorite Movie Couple~Colin Firth

The Dame's Heroine :

It appears this is whom I most favor and act like in my life.

Elizabeth Bennett, later Elizabeth Darcy, is the protagonist of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. Though the circumstances of the family situation and the Victorian society require her to marry for convenience and security, Elizabeth wishes to marry for love. Elizabeth is bright and articulate young woman, a lively and playful character. She often displays charming if slightly impertinent behavior that is entertaining and unusual. She delights in her quick-witted nature and does not bother to conceal it.

Men are attracted to women like Elizabeth because she is honest, healthy and interesting. They think her fun to be with as long as they are not a target of her wit. Her eyes shine with intelligent sincerity and men can’t help but be flattered by her attention. However, Elizabeths must remember that even if men fall in love with a playful spirit, they love a real woman.

The danger of being ‘Elizabeth’ is that her confidence is based on limited and sheltered life experience. With no reason at all she believes that she has superior judgment of human character.

It may or may not be true, but if you are like Elizabeth keep it at bay at least on the first date. Believe me you will have your chance to shine in all your splendid colors after the wedding bells.

Your Dame's Final Word:

So, quick like a bunny...go find who you are in literary fiction and comment here so we'll recognize you!

Lavender Rose & alias Elizabeth

Herself:  Miss Jane Austen
Author and Heroine

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Ed Hardy and Cross Stitch? Who'd A Thunk It? "Love Kills Slowly" Ed's Designs!

Published by:  Andrews McMeel Publishing
Pages:  96
Now On Google for Sale

I have this perfume and it actually smells great...jasmine and rose but not too sweet...woodsy

What This Book Entails :

From Google overview--

This ain't your grandmother's cross-stitch. Ed Hardy's Love Kills Slowly Cross-Stitch is a counted cross-stitch book for a new generation of crafters. From pierced hearts to images of skulls and crossbones, Hardy's colorful, tattoo-inspired designs are perfect for stitchers looking for something bold and graphic. Each pattern comes complete with a full-color illustration of the original art, an illustration of the final product, and a full-color pattern and key. A how-to section teaches the basics of counted cross-stitch.

About the Author :

Ed Hardy is known as the "godfather of modern tattoos" for his artistic sophistication, depth, and experimentation. Hardy melds American, Japanese, cholo, tattoo, surf, and hot rod iconography to create his unique designs. His work adorns a broad range of products, including T-shirts, sleepwear, bed linens, energy drinks, car accessories, swimwear, baseball caps, and much more.
I can't see myself in this! :p

You get the idea here of his mermaid and geisha tatoo art, cartoons.

Hardy's signature roses with glitz!
Butterfly and Geisha

Brave Hearts Tatoo and Pink Carp

My Take On This Book :

I only discovered Ed Hardy a year ago this Summer when I started seeing his art work on surfer shirts for my size 4-5 yr. old grandsons!  Since skulls seemed to be unavoidable this past couple of years for the boys, I noticed Hardy's tatoo prints as standouts among the others. Grim and, yet, beautifully juxtaposed with roses, blue birds and flourishes. Nope, didn't get the grands any of them. 

However, I did find the most darling pair of sneakers in my grandgirl's size (see her picture on the side with my son) in pink with roses and geishas.  She loves pink and the tatoos were pretty and summery for her.  I think her mom was a little taken aback...  :]

Ed Hardy has grown on me.  I still cringe when I see skulls, though, and I'm really opposed to having my little grands wear such huge displays of them with the words "kill" surrounding them. 

I do like his other images:  roses, blue birds, geishas, mermaids, pretty women faces, carp in different colors and the like. This cross stitch book has those images.  So, it is a book that's different, but fun for a change!
I can just see Harmien or An stitching wild little things from it.  LOL  And, I love the idea of some of the images for Halloween.

So, I'm recommending this book of Hardy's tatoo art for cross stitch.  It's a refreshing and sometimes shocking change of pace.  But, really, don't we all need a kick for fun once in a while?  It's especially fun to get a smallie like these tatoo tots for Halloween...

5 stars for a funky little x-stitch book/ebook


Monday, October 3, 2011

Marie Antoinette~"Becoming..." and My Needlework Sampler About Her

 Published by:  Random House
Pages:  480
Released:  August 2011

The Book Summary :

This enthralling confection of a novel, the first in a new trilogy, follows the transformation of a coddled Austrian archduchess into the reckless, powerful, beautiful queen Marie Antoinette.

"Why must it be me? I wondered. When I am so clearly inadequate to my destiny?"

Raised alongside her numerous brothers and sisters by the formidable empress of Austria, ten-year-old Maria Antonia knew that her idyllic existence would one day be sacrificed to her mother’s political ambitions. What she never anticipated was that the day in question would come so soon.

Before she can journey from sunlit picnics with her sisters in Vienna to the glitter, glamour, and gossip of Versailles, Antonia must change everything about herself in order to be accepted as dauphine of France and the wife of the awkward teenage boy who will one day be Louis XVI. Yet nothing can prepare her for the ingenuity and influence it will take to become queen.

Filled with smart history, treacherous rivalries, lavish clothes, and sparkling jewels, Becoming Marie Antoinette will utterly captivate fiction and history lovers alike.

The Dame's Review :

Anyone who's been my friend a long time (more than 8 years in blogging circles, happily) knows my obsession with Marie Antoinette.  I first "met" her when I was a pre-teen, precociously searching for real life princesses and queens after having exhausted, for the time-being, my beloved fairytales.  Antoinette immediately became my favorite.  She was the real Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty, after all.  Her life of tragedy and unrequited love touched an ember in my heart that lingers, still.

Any book that starts with "Marie Antoinette" has my immediate reaction.  My hand springs out to grasp it, and it's mine forever.  It could be the worst written book on earth, but it's destined for my library just the same!

Fortunately, I'm very pleased to report this book, "Becoming Marie Antoinette," is not the worst book written about her; rather, it's one of the best novels I've read!  From the early sentences in which we're introduced to the voice and mind of Antoinette to the final wishes of her heart and mind, Juliet Grey captured her essence and my imagination. This is a gorgeously covered book I'm delighted to have on my library shelf.

Marie's childhood with its transformations and enlightenment are subtlely rendered in this beautifully written novel.  Without any doubt, her all-consuming desire to please her oft-times distant and withholding mother plays a primary role in Marie's life.  She spends her life in isolation from the mother, desiring only to make her proud, longing for her love and communication.  This aspect of Antoinette's life has always been tender and pitiful to me.  What child hasn't wished the same.  But, in a world where these relationships are put aside for the greater duties, it seems cruel and heartbreaking.  Ms Grey deals with the situation marvelously. Antoinette's loneliness and shunning at Court is well integrated, also.

Court descriptions: decor, the required manners and sly "niceities" of the French aristocracy, and insights into the Dauphin are drawn in a new and interesting way by Grey. That's difficult to do, given all that's been written on the subject!  I also, as always, love to read about the fashions and finery that accompanied Marie Antoinette.  These things just never bore me.

I'm not ordinarily a huge fan of contemporary "historical fiction" in the weighty "romance" genre; but, you will find the highest quality of the original intent for this fiction in Juliet Grey's novel.  I found it well-researched, not over-blown with melodrama and too grand dialog or gratuitous sex scenes!  Thankfully.

The inner dialog and narration of Antoinette is pitch perfect. It captivated me. This is a kindly and humane painting of the young girl that is sympathetic and lovely to read.  I like Ms Grey's style. 

I have only one reservation to report:  I learned German growing up in Nurenburg and Munich.  (Marie's original tongue!)  I've had no French lessons except those my French-speaking children taught me! One of the things that broke the rhythm for me in this novel was the use of many french or french-related words.  I would suggest, perhaps, a feature in her next book that provides a dictionary. 

This book is the first in a trilogy. So, you may want to get your copy now.  I think you'll find it's good reading for a cozy Fall season.

4 1/2  twinkling French stars


A picture of my still unfinished design of "Marie Antoinette Sampler" which I'm picking up again!

Not the best light & I don't iron my linen until the piece is finished. The fabric color is true, above, though.

Here's An Updated Pic. of My Stitching Room!

Not much changed, except note small, very small passage way into it! :p