The Story Collector by Evie Gaughan #BookReview #TuesdayBookBlog

story collector

The Story Collector is set in an Irish village in two time zones, a hundred years apart.  On a last-minute whim, Sarah Harper has boarded a plane from America to Ireland rather than face her family after the break up of her marriage.  Arriving with no place to stay she soon finds the kindness of strangers providing her with accommodation and companionship. And then she finds a diary written by Anna in 1910.  Between sketching and drowning her sorrows in drink, Sarah follows the young woman’s life story page by page.

 

Anna works hard helping her parents on their small farm while admiring from afar the wealthy Anglo-Irish twins in Thornwood House.  Her everyday life becomes more interesting when Harold Griffin-Krauss, an American academic, arrives in the district. Investigating Irish folklore for his book.  Anna is employed to translate the tales told to him, from Irish into English.  They soon become good companions, but she is unsure whether to admit her deepest secret to him.

 

Sarah is also intrigued by the stories of fairies and the beautiful setting. As an artist she appreciates the countryside, so well described by Evie Gaughan.  There is a touch of magic but also a feeling of sadness and menace.  Both Sarah and Anna have suffered loss, but both will finally have to make new beginnings.  This lovely novel is a great pleasure to read and definitely a page-turner.

The Story Collector is available on Amazon UK

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The Masked City by Genevieve Cogman #FridayReads #BookReview

Masked City

After reading The Invisible Library I was looking forward to this second volume of the series in which Library Agent, Irene Winters, faces another challenging mission in alternative worlds.  Her handsome apprentice, Kai has been kidnapped and taken to an alternative Venice ruled by the Fae, therefore rampant with chaos.

Unaided, she must rescue Kai, before the Dragons, lords of “order,” declare war with the Fae.  Setting out to find him before it is too late, Irene makes unlikely alliances with a group of followers of important Fae patrons, as they travel on an incredible train which can move between worlds.  Adopting a carnival mask and an all covering cloak she attempts to move around the dark alleys and gloomy canals of Venice, incognito, but she constantly finds herself in increasing danger from the evil Lord and Lady Guantes.

The city is described in rich detail, maintaining its reputation for murder and fear.  Irene is a bold, creative agent who uses her story telling powers to create narratives which bend reality to her purpose.  Her powers of using the Library Language to open locks and change the state of matter, help her in her task, but cause her pain and exhaustion.  This colourful story is full of vivid images of the iconic buildings in Venice and the sumptuous mythical train, which are a delight to read.   Although all the essential background story is given, you will gain most by reading Book One The Invisible Library first.

The Masked City is available at Amazon UK

More about Genevieve Cogman and The invisible Library

#FridayBookShare The Mystic Rose by Stephen Lawhead @ShelleyWilson72

#FridayBookShare is a game created by Shelley Wilson to help search for an ideal read.

Anyone can have a go – all you need to do is answer the following questions based on the book you are currently reading/finished reading this week and use the hashtag #FridayBookShare

First line of the book.

Recruit fans by adding the book blurb

Introduce the main character using only three words.

Delightful design (add the cover image of the book).

Audience appeal (who would enjoy reading this book?)

Your favourite line/scene.

The Mystic Rose is Book III in Stephen Lawhead‘s Celtic Crusades but it works well as a stand alone read and as an introduction to this prolific author.

First Line    A young woman of my acquaintance saw a ghost.  Ordinarily I would not have given such a melodramatic triviality even passing notice, save for two pertinent facts.

Recruit fans by adding the book blurb

A story rich in history and imagination, here is the final volume in Stephen R. Lawhead’s magnificent saga of a Scottish noble family and its divine quest during the age of the Great Crusades.

A thousand years after its disappearance, the Mystic Rose—the fabled Chalice of the Last Supper—has been found, and the warrior monks of the Knights Templar, led by the ruthless and corrupt Renaud de Bracineaux, will stop at nothing to possess it. One brave, dauntless, noblewoman stands in their way . . .

Born among the hills of Scotland, and raised on the Crusader tales of her grandfather, Murdo, and her father, Duncan, young Cait is determined to claim the Holy Cup for her own. Guided by a handful of clues gleaned from a stolen letter, Cait and a small band of knights follow a treacherous trail that leads from the shadowed halls of Saint Sophia into the heart of Moorish Spain and a world long unseen by Christian eyes. A journey whose end means victory . . . or death.

Introduce the main character –Caitlin is determined, resourceful and vengeful.

Delightful Design

Mystic Rose Mystic US

Audience appeal  To readers who like myths, legends and stories of the Knight Templars

Your favourite line/scene

The slender blade went spinning to the ground, and the bandit, seeing that she was unarmed, reached for the bridle of her horse.  Cait slashed the rains across his face, catching him on the side of his head as he leaned forward.  He drew back with a curse between his teeth, and jabbed at her with the sword.  She dodged aside easily and the bandit lunged forward, snagging the bridle strap of her mount.  She pulled back hard on the reins, attempting to make her horse rear, but the bandit clung on, keeping the animals head down.

The wild-eyed brute swung around beside her, thrusting the sword at her as he made to lead her horse away, taking her with him.  Throwing aside the reins, she slid lightly off the back of the horse, landed on her feet and started for the tent once more.

Find the book on Amazon UK or US

If you want to join in, then answer the F.R.I.D.A.Y questions and use the Friday Book Share meme. Tag Shelley (@ShelleyWilson72) in, so she can read what you have added, too.