Wednesday, February 24, 2016

A letter to Hallam Tennyson by Julia Margaret Cameron

As usual, in reading about Alfred Tennyson, I came across a letter written by Julia Margaret Cameron to the eldest son of Alfred Tennyson, Hallam Tennyson. He was only three years old at the time and I thought Mrs. Cameron's tone was very endearing. I wonder though, her letter discusses Hallam's birthday (which was August 11, 1852 and her letter is dated March 15 1856. Either she missed his birthday on August 11 1855 or she's preparing for his upcoming birthday August 11 1856?  I just thought the date of her letter and his birthday being mentioned was quite interesting. 

In her letter, she references three of her children:  her daughter Juley (Julia), her sons Charlie and Henry as well.  Read the letter for yourself, 

Photograph of Hallam Tennyson, son of Alfred, Lord Tennyson, by Lewis Carroll (Charles Dodgson) 
28 September 1857, Albumen print, (formerly owned by the Weld family)

 

15 March 1856

My darling little Hallam

       I have not forgotten that your birthday is come again. May God bless it to you my sweet little one and make it come often and often finding you "growing in stature and favour with God and Man" which means getting tall & great like Papa & Mama-praying to be good-and trying to be beloved _________(illegible)

       I have been thinking a great deal about what is the nicest thing I could send you as a "Birthday present" from "Mrs. Tameron" who loves you dearly and I decided that next to the Bible there was no book likely to be dear to you and few more good for you than your own beloved Papa's beautiful Poetry - therefore I thought you would like to have it all, as all your own and I have put the Books into green dresses-like the green dress you liked so much when you wished to be a Leaf & to go & live up in the Tree with me? Do you remember darling-?

        I remember well all the happy days spent in your dear house - and I wish with all my heart I was going to spend your Birthday with you. Will you give your Mama one of your largest longest kisses for me, and Juley: do you remember that happy romping girl Juley? And do you remember what good romps you used to have with "Mrs. Tameron. I hope your Books will arrive without having the edges scratched & rubbed - I was obliged to leave the edges open as it is a post office rule - and I was obliged to send them by post as it is the only way by which I can be sure to get them to your dear Mama's hand without trouble -

        How I wish when my little Charlie and Henry are playing that they were playing with you and darling little Lionel you would be four such happy little people and such great little friends. But I hope these happy days will come.

         My love and kisses to you & your little Brother & love to Papa and Mama from "Mrs. Cameron". 


Thursday, February 18, 2016

The Research Process with Author, Kevin Marsh!

I am always interested to find out about what an author's research process is when writing a novel. I have read author, Kevin Marsh's novels and loved all of them so far. I cannot wait for the next one to be published. Hurry Up Kevin!  Anyway, when I read his latest post sharing his reserch process into his first novel, The Belgae Torc I thought it was so in-depth and interesting I had to share it here,
Research Notes Kevin Marsh

First, some descriptions of his novels along with links to buy his books, 

England 50 BC - A Celtic symbol of power and wealth, a Torc wrought from white gold, a trophy for a king. Luain Mac Lanis, warrior turned metal smith, is commissioned to make a magnificent Torc, but he knows nothing of the curse surrounding the strange metal. The only way to lift the curse is to offer the Torc to the Gods in a sacrificial ceremony. Two thousand years later the Torc is listed on the inventory of a sunken ship. Dr Orlagh Gairne, a leading archaeologist, is sent to work with Jack Harrington and his crew of salvage experts. It's Orlagh's job to identify the Torc and ensure its safe delivery to the National Museum, but the operation is not as straightforward as expected. Aided by his team of mercenaries and an historical expert, Jack unearths a wave of hatred spreading across Europe. With the past weaving tightly with the present, they must infiltrate the terrorists' lair in order to prevent a worldwide catastrophe.


Paperback, 280 pages
Published June 1st 2012 by Paragon Publishing
ISBN
1908341823 (ISBN13: 9781908341822)
 Landscape artist Josie MacDonald is coming to the end of her stay in Scotland. Whilst out on a painting trip early one morning she witnesses a horrific murder. Mr Mac, the deranged killer, is aware that she has seen him at work and sets out to kill her but Josie manages to escape by plunging desperately into the North Sea. Mr Mac, convinced that she has perished, discovers a few days later that she has survived and sets out to track her down. He follows her to London where he subjects her to terrible psychological torment as one by one her friends are drawn into the nightmare. Josie returns to Scotland in order to discover the truth where her worst fears are realised. With time running out and a killer on the loose she must survive long enough to bring their horrifying ordeal to an end.

Paperback, 288 pages
Published April 22nd 2013 by Paragon Publishing
ISBN
1782220682 (ISBN13: 9781782220688)
Twelve months has passed since the traumatic events that almost claimed her life and Dr Orlagh Gairne is looking forward to a well-earned holiday. With her partner, Jerry, they jet off for the Aegean coast where they plan to make the most of the Mediterranean sun and visit the ancient sites of Anatolia. The Phoenix Legion, still reeling from a humiliating defeat, have re-grouped and are now planning the next phase of their quest. They are in possession of the Belgae Torc, but this is not enough to ensure total power so they must rely on the druids and their connection with the spirit world. Whilst searching for treasure in the Sea of Azov, Jack Harrington and his team make an unexpected discovery and with the past merging with the present are unable to avoid being drawn in to another deadly battle. The Belgae Torc, Jack Harrington and The Phoenix Legion are far from her thoughts, but as Orlagh enjoys her holiday with the man she loves, these forces come together. Will she manage to avoid another conflict or will she become a victim of circumstances that are beyond her control? "People had died because of the Belgae Torc and somehow she felt responsible." From the author of The Belgae Torc.
Paperback, 318 pages
Published July 12th 2014 (first published July 2014)
  
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1782222650
  • ISBN-13: 978-1782222651
To purchase Kevin Marsh's novels in the United Kingdom, Author page Amazon UK
 

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day (just a wee bit early)


Marriage Morning 
By Alfred, Lord Tennyson
 
Light, so low upon earth,
   You send a flash to the sun.
Here is the golden close of love,
   All my wooing is done.
Oh, all the woods and the meadows,
   Woods, where we hid from the wet,
Stiles where we stayed to be kind,
   Meadows in which we met!
Light, so low in the vale
   You flash and lighten afar,
For this is the golden morning of love,
   And you are his morning star.
Flash, I am coming, I come,
   By meadow and stile and wood,
Oh, lighten into my eyes and my heart,
   Into my heart and my blood!
Heart, are you great enough
   For a love that never tires?
O heart, are you great enough for love?
   I have heard of thorns and briers.
Over the thorns and briers,
   Over the meadows and stiles,
Over the world to the end of it
   Flash of a million miles.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Remembering Mrs. Elizabeth Rossetti (nee Siddal) (25 July 1829 – 11 February 1862)

Elizabeth Siddal by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

A young married woman in her thirties dies in her sleep while her husband is out with friends.Upon her husband's insistence, she stays home that evening after feeling tired but not complaining of illness.  The woman was Mrs. Dante Rossetti, Elizabeth Eleanor Rossetti nee Siddal.  This skimmed over version presents the basis of the only surviving story told by Dante Gabriel Rossetti.  Speculation over Mrs. Rossetti's health has ranged over the decades as being an intestinal disorder, tuberculosis, anorexia as well. Her husband was known to have had numerous affairs with his sitter/models causing Eliabeth Siddal much stress on her nerves. It is believed that she took laudanum partly to cope with this stress and it increased in dosage over the years after suffering a stillbirth of a baby girl in 1861 leaving her with post-partum depression.  

An excerpt from the Daily News from February 1862, and found in inquest records, recalls the moments of the day Mrs. Rossetti died, 

"Mr. Rossetti stated that on Monday afternoon, between six and seven o’clock, he and his wife went out in the carriage for the purpose of dining with a friend at the Sabloniere Hotel, Leicester Square. When they had got about halfway there his wife appeared to be very drowsy, and he wished her to return. She objected to their doing so, and they proceeded to the Hotel, and dined there. They returned home at eight o’clock, when she appeared somewhat excited. He left home again at nine o’clock, his wife being then about to go to bed. On his return at half-past eleven o’clock he found his wife in bed, snoring loudly and utterly unconscious. She was in the habit of taking laudanum, and he had known her take as much as 100 drops at a time, and he thought she had been taking it before they went out. He found a phial on a table at the bedside, which had contained laudanum, but it was then empty. A doctor was sent for, and promptly attended. She had expressed no wish to die, but quite the reverse. Indeed, she contemplated going out of town in a day or two, and had ordered a new mantle which she intended wearing on the occasion. He believed she took the laudanum to soothe her nerves. She could not sleep or take food unless she used it. Mr. Hutchinson, of Bridge Street, Blackfriars, said he had attended the deceased in her confinement in April with a stillborn child. He saw her on Monday night at half-past eleven o’clock, and found her in a comatose state. He tried to rouse her, but could not, and then tried the stomach, and washed it out, when the smell of laudanum was very distinct. He and three other medical gentlemen stayed with her all night, and she died at twenty minutes past seven o’clock on Tuesday morning. “ The inquest jury gave a verdict of ‘Accidental Death.’

Elizabeth Eleanor Siddal was not only her husband's model, muse, but the focal point of such adoration and love that it bordered on obsession. She wanted to be an artist in her own right. She wrote poetry, painted and drew during her marriage and relationship with Rossetti.  Her work is preserved and archived in museums throughout the United Kingdom. I especially was surprised to find this one she wrote, 



Early Death by Elizabeth Siddal
Oh grieve not with thy bitter tears
The life that passes fast;
The gates of heaven will open wide
And take me in at last.
Then sit down meekly at my side
And watch my young life flee;
Then solemn peace of holy death
Come quickly unto thee.
But true love, seek me in the throng
Of spirits floating past,
And I will take thee by the hands
And know thee mine at last.

In reading about the death of Mrs. Rossetti, Dante Gabriel Rossetti's brother, William Michael Rossetti describes his brother's mindset and household during the six days between his wife's death on 11 February, 1862 through the day of the funteral on 17 February, 1862. Dante Gabriel kept his wife's body in her coffin open inside their house. Now maybe this was a custom of the day, during the nineteenth-century but it still surprised me. Just imagining the grief during those days. Today, the deceased family member and loved one's body stays at the funeral home until burial. However, back in 1862 for The Rossetti's this was the scene, 
 
"Our mother and sisters and myself were constantly with Dante during those harrowing days which intervene between a death and a funeral. His anguish was keen, but his mind clear. Brown was often there, and the sister of Lizzie playfully nicknamed “the Roman.” I recollect a moment of great agitation, when my brother, standing by the corpse, was crying out, “Oh Lizzie, Lizzie, come back to me!” On the second or third day after death Lizzie looked still lovelier than before, and Dante almost refused to believe that she was really dead-it might be a mere trance consequent upon the laudanum. He insisted that Mr. Marshall should be called in to decide with what result I need not say." 

“They stood beside the coffin's foot and head.
Both gazed in silence, with bowed faces—Grey
With bony chin pressed into bony throat.”
A woodcut by Arthur Boyd Houghton 
from The Broadway Annual, Volume 1, 1867-8

 In this issue of The Broadway Annual appeared a long poem by William Michael Rossetti called, 'Mrs. Holmes Grey' along with the above woodcut. Focus on the two men standing beside a coffin with a dead young woman inside it; her face only visible. Well, here is one stanza from Mrs. Holmes Grey



Grey's face turned whiter, and his fingers twitched.
It is my turn to speak, then":-and he rose,
Taking a candle: “come this way with me.”

They stepped aside into a neighbouring room.
Grey walked with quiet footsteps, and he turned
So noiselessly the handle of the door
That Harling fancied some one lay asleep
Inside. The hand recovered steadiness.

The room was quite unfurnished, striking chill.
A rent in the drawn window-blind betrayed
A sky unvaried, moonless, cloudless, black.
Only two chairs were set against the wall,
And, not yet closed, a coffin placed on them.

Harling's raised eyes inquired why he was brought
Hither, and should he still advance and look.
“It is my wife,” said Grey; “look in her face.”
This in a whisper, holding Harling's arm,
 And tightened fingers clenched the whispering.

Harling could feel his forehead growing moist,
And sought in vain his friend's averted eyes.
Their steps, suppressed, creaked on the uncovered boards:
They stood beside the coffin's foot and head.
Both gazed in silence, with bowed faces—Grey
With bony chin pressed into bony throat.


The woman's limbs were straight inside her shroud.
The death which brooded glazed upon her eyes
Was hidden underneath the shapely lids;
But the mouth kept its anguish. Combed and rich
The hair, which caught the light within its strings,
Golden about the temples, and as fine
And soft as any silk-web; and the brows
A perfect arch, the forehead undisturbed;
But the mouth kept its anguish, and the lips,
Closed after death, seemed half in act to speak.
Covered the hands and feet; the head was laid
 Upon a prayer-book, open at the rite
Of solemnizing holy matrimony.
Her marriage-ring was stitched into the page.

Grey stood a long while gazing. Then he set
The candle on the ground, and on his knees
Close to her unringed shrouded hand, he prayed,
Silent. With eyes still dry, he rose unchanged.

They left the room again with heeded steps.
On friendly Harling lay the awe of death
And pity: he took his seat without a sound.
Some of the hackneyed phrases almost passed
His lips, but shamed him, and he held his peace.
Study for Ophelia by John Everett Millais, 1852





Monday, February 8, 2016

A film adaptation of Alfred Lord Tennyson's, 'The Lady of Shalott' by WagScreen


The Lady of Shalott a film by Wag Screen

According to WagScreen this film was made back in 2009 in honor of the bicentenary of Alfred Lord Tennyson. I just watched it and during this film you will see an actor playing Alfred Tennyson as a young man at a party reading his poem, The Lady of Shalott to a room full of people. He would have been a young man of twenty four years old when it was published in 1833. It was later published in 1842 and Tennyson would have been thirty three years old. So, I am happy that the film makers kept Tennyson a youngish man in this representation. However, I did not like his quirky outfit or his recitation of The Lady of Shalott. Alfred Tennyson had a deep voice with a thick Lincolnshire accent not a posh sounding British accent but I'm fussy when it comes to my Tennyson.  What I do love is the beautiful depiction of the John William Waterhouse painting of The Lady of Shalott brought beautifully to life right down to her dress, the boat absolutely everything. 

So, enjoy The Lady of Shalott by WagScreen. 

The Lady of Shalott by John William Waterhouse, 1888, oil on canvas, Tate Britain, London, UK 

This painting is based on The Lady of Shalott by Alfred Lord Tennyson.
It illustrates the lines: 

And down the river's dim expanse
Like some bold seer in a trance,
Seeing all his own mischance -
With a glassy countenance
Did she look to Camelot.
And at the closing of the day
She loosed the chain, and down she lay;
The broad stream bore her far away,
The Lady of Shalott. 

Now for both versions of the poem itself:  

 1833 edition

Part the First.

On either side the river lie
Long fields of barley and of rye,
That clothe the wold and meet the sky.
And thro' the field the road runs by
                To manytowered Camelot.
The yellowleavèd waterlily,
The greensheathèd daffodilly,
Tremble in the water chilly,
               Round about Shalott.

Willows whiten, aspens shiver,
The sunbeam-showers break and quiver
In the stream that runneth ever
By the island in the river,
 Flowing down to Camelot.
Four gray walls and four gray towers
Overlook a space of flowers,
And the silent isle imbowers
               The Lady of Shalott.

Underneath the bearded barley,
The reaper, reaping late and early,
Hears her ever chanting cheerly,
Like an angel, singing clearly,
               O'er the stream of Camelot.
Piling the sheaves in furrows airy,
Beneath the moon, the reaper weary
Listening whispers, "'tis the fairy
               Lady of Shalott."

The little isle is all inrailed
With a rose-fence, and overtrailed
With roses: by the marge unhailed
The shallop flitteth silkensailed,
               Skimming down to Camelot.
A pearlgarland winds her head:
She leaneth on a velvet bed,
Full royally apparellèd
                The Lady of Shalott.

Part the Second.

No time hath she to sport and play:
A charmèd web she weaves alway.
A curse is on her, if she stay
Her weaving, either night or day,
              To look down to Camelot.
She knows not what the curse may be;
Therefore she weaveth steadily,
Therefore no other care hath she,
              The Lady of Shalott.

She lives with little joy or fear.
Over the water, running near,
The sheepbell tinkles in her ear.
Before her hangs a mirror clear,
              Reflecting towered Camelot.
And, as the mazy web she whirls,
She sees the surly village-churls,
And the red cloaks of market-girls,
              Pass onward from Shalott.

Sometimes a troop of damsels glad,
An abbot on an ambling pad,
Sometimes a curly shepherd lad,
Or longhaired page, in crimson clad,
              Goes by to towered Camelot.
And sometimes thro' the mirror blue,
The knights come riding, two and two.
She hath no loyal knight and true
              The Lady of Shalott.

But in her web she still delights
To weave the mirror's magic sights:
For often thro' the silent nights
A funeral, with plumes and lights
              And music, came from Camelot.
Or, when the moon was overhead,
Came two young lovers, lately wed:
"I am half-sick of shadows," said
              The Lady of Shalott.

Part the Third.

A bowshot from her bower-eaves.
He rode between the barleysheaves:
The sun came dazzling thro' the leaves,
And flamed upon the brazen greaves
              Of bold Sir Launcelot.
A redcross knight for ever kneeled
To a lady in his shield,
That sparkled on the yellow field,
              Beside remote Shalott.

The gemmy bridle glittered free,
Like to some branch of stars we see
Hung in the golden galaxy.
The bridle-bells rang merrily,
              As he rode down from Camelot.
And, from his blazoned baldric slung,
A mighty silver bugle hung,
And, as he rode, his armour rung,
              Beside remote Shalott.

All in the blue unclouded weather,
Thickjewelled shone the saddle-leather.
The helmet, and the helmet-feather
Burned like one burning flame together,
              As he rode down from Camelot.
As often thro' the purple night,
Below the starry clusters bright,
Some bearded meteor, trailing light,
              Moves over green Shalott.

His broad clear brow in sunlight glowed.
On burnished hooves his warhorse trode.
From underneath his helmet flowed
His coalblack curls, as on he rode,
              As he rode down from Camelot.
From the bank, and from the river,
He flashed into the crystal mirror,
"Tirra lirra, tirra lirra,"
              Sang Sir Launcelot.

She left the web: she left the loom:
She made three paces thro' the room:
She saw the waterflower bloom:
She saw the helmet and the plume:
              She looked down to Camelot.
Out flew the web, and floated wide,
The mirror cracked from side to side,
'The curse is come upon me," cried
              The Lady of Shalott.

Part the Fourth.

In the stormy eastwind straining
The pale-yellow woods were waning,
The broad stream in his banks complaining,
Heavily the low sky raining
              Over towered Camelot:
Outside the isle a shallow boat
Beneath a willow lay afloat,
Below the carven stern she wrote,
              THE LADY OF SHALOTT.

A cloudwhite crown of pearl she dight.
All raimented in snowy white
That loosely flew, (her zone in sight,
Clasped with one blinding diamond bright,)
              Her wide eyes fixed on Camelot,
Though the squally eastwind keenly
Blew, with folded arms serenely
By the water stood the queenly
               Lady of Shalott.

With a steady, stony glance—
Like some bold seer in a trance,
Beholding all his own mischance,
Mute, with a glassy countenance—
              She looked down to Camelot.
It was the closing of the day,
She loosed the chain, and down she lay,
The broad stream bore her far away,
              The Lady of Shalott.

As when to sailors while they roam,
By creeks and outfalls far from home,
Rising and dropping with the foam,
From dying swans wild warblings come,
              Blown shoreward; so to Camelot
Still as the boathead wound along
The willowy hills and fields among,
They heard her chanting her deathsong,
              The Lady of Shalott.

A longdrawn carol, mournful, holy,
She chanted loudly, chanted lowly,
Till her eyes were darkened wholly,
And her smooth face sharpened slowly
              Turned to towered Camelot:
For ere she reached upon the tide
The first house by the waterside,
Singing in her song she died,
              The Lady of Shalott.

Under tower and balcony,
By gardenwall and gallery,
A pale, pale corpse she floated by,
Deadcold, between the houses high,
              Dead into towered Camelot.
Knight and burgher, lord and dame,
To the plankèd wharfage came:
Below the stern they read her name,
              "The Lady of Shalott."

They crossed themselves, their stars they blest,
Knight, minstrel, abbot, squire and guest.
There lay a parchment on her breast,
That puzzled more than all the rest,
              The wellfed wits at Camelot.
"The web was woven curiously
 The charm is broken utterly,
 Draw near and fear not – this is I,
             


 The Lady of Shalott. 1842 edition
Part I.

On either side the river lie
Long fields of barley and of rye,
That clothe the wold and meet the sky;
And thro' the field the road runs by
                To many-tower'd Camelot;
And up and down the people go,
Gazing where the lilies blow
Round an island there below,
                The island of Shalott.

Willows whiten, aspens quiver,
Little breezes dusk and shiver
Thro' the wave that runs for ever
By the island in the river
               Flowing down to Camelot.
Four gray walls, and four gray towers,
Overlook a space of flowers,
And the silent isle imbowers
               The Lady of Shalott.

By the margin, willow-veil'd
Slide the heavy barges trail'd
By slow horses; and unhail'd
The shallop flitteth silken-sail'd
               Skimming down to Camelot:
But who hath seen her wave her hand?
Or at the casement seen her stand?
Or is she known in all the land,
                The Lady of Shalott?

Only reapers, reaping early
In among the bearded barley,
Hear a song that echoes cheerly
From the river winding clearly,
              Down to tower'd Camelot.
And by the moon the reaper weary,
Piling sheaves in uplands airy,
Listening, whispers "'Tis the fairy
              Lady of Shalott."

Part II.

There she weaves by night and day
A magic web with colours gay.
She has heard a whisper say,
A curse is on her if she stay
              To look down to Camelot.
She knows not what the curse may be,
And so she weaveth steadily,
And little other care hath she,
              The Lady of Shalott.

And moving thro' a mirror clear
That hangs before her all the year,
Shadows of the world appear.
There she sees the highway near
              Winding down to Camelot:
There the river eddy whirls,
And there the surly village-churls,
And the red cloaks of market girls,
               Pass onward from Shalott.

Sometimes a troop of damsels glad,
An abbot on an ambling pad,
Sometimes a curly shepherd-lad,
Or long-hair'd page in crimson clad,
              Goes by to tower'd Camelot;
And sometimes thro' the mirror blue
The knights come riding two and two:
She hath no loyal knight and true,
              The Lady of Shalott.

But in her web she still delights
To weave the mirror's magic sights,
For often thro' the silent nights
A funeral, with plumes and lights
              And music, went to Camelot:
Or when the moon was overhead,
Came two young lovers lately wed;
"I am half-sick of shadows," said
              The Lady of Shalott.

Part III.

A bow-shot from her bower-eaves,
He rode between the barley-sheaves,
The sun came dazzling thro' the leaves,
And flamed upon the brazen greaves
              Of bold Sir Lancelot.
A redcross knight for ever kneel'd
To a lady in his shield,
That sparkled on the yellow field,
              Beside remote Shalott.

The gemmy bridle glitter'd free,
Like to some branch of stars we see
Hung in the golden Galaxy.
The bridle-bells rang merrily
              As he rode down to Camelot:
And from his blazon'd baldric slung
A mighty silver bugle hung,
And as he rode his armour rung,
              Beside remote Shalott.

All in the blue unclouded weather
Thick-jewell'd shone the saddle-leather,
The helmet and the helmet-feather
Burn'd like one burning flame together,
              As he rode down to Camelot.
As often thro' the purple night,
Below the starry clusters bright,
Some bearded meteor, trailing light,
              Moves over still Shalott.

His broad clear brow in sunlight glow'd;
On burnish'd hooves his war-horse trode;
From underneath his helmet flow'd
His coal-black curls as on he rode,
              As he rode down to Camelot.
From the bank and from the river
He flash'd into the crystal mirror,
"Tirra lirra," by the river
              Sang Sir Lancelot.

She left the web, she left the loom,
She made three paces thro' the room,
She saw the water-lily bloom,
She saw the helmet and the plume:
              She look'd down to Camelot.
Out flew the web and floated wide;
The mirror crack'd from side to side;
"The curse is come upon me," cried
              The Lady of Shalott.

Part IV.

In the stormy east-wind straining,
The pale-yellow woods were waning,
The broad stream in his banks complaining,
Heavily the low sky raining
              Over tower'd Camelot;
Down she came and found a boat
Beneath a willow left afloat,
And round about the prow she wrote
              The Lady of Shalott.

And down the river's dim expanse—
Like some bold seër in a trance,
Seeing all his own mischance—
With a glassy countenance
              Did she look to Camelot.
And at the closing of the day
She loosed the chain, and down she lay;
The broad stream bore her far away,
              The Lady of Shalott.

Lying, robed in snowy white
That loosely flew to left and right—
The leaves upon her falling light—
Thro' the noises of the night
              She floated down to Camelot:
And as the boat-head wound along
The willowy hills and fields among,
They heard her singing her last song,
              The Lady of Shalott.

Heard a carol, mournful, holy,
Chanted loudly, chanted lowly,
Till her blood was frozen slowly,
And her eyes were darken'd wholly,
               Turn'd to tower'd Camelot;
For ere she reach'd upon the tide
The first house by the water-side,
Singing in her song she died,
              The Lady of Shalott.

Under tower and balcony,
By garden-wall and gallery,
A gleaming shape she floated by,
A corse between the houses high,
              Silent into Camelot.
Out upon the wharfs they came,
Knight and burgher, lord and dame,
And round the prow they read her name,
              The Lady of Shalott.

Who is this? and what is here?
And in the lighted palace near
Died the sound of royal cheer;
And they cross'd themselves for fear,
              All the knights at Camelot:
But Lancelot mused a little space;
He said, "She has a lovely face;
God in his mercy lend her grace,
              The Lady of Shalott."
 

Friday, February 5, 2016

Kindle Sale The Witness by Kevin Marsh

I have told everyone I know in person and throughout social media about how much I love the novels of Kevin Marsh. His books are so engrossing, intelligently written and excellently plotted that I can't wait for the next one!  Yes, he is a friend of mine but I come to you out of honesty and without much bias. I just believe in his passion for the written word and his dedication to writing.

One of my favorite novels of his is a mystery set in Scotland, 'The Witness.'  When I tell you one of the most terrifying serial killers I have come across is the character Mr. Mac. My goodness his torture and psychological torment he puts his victims through like main character, Josie Macdonald. I found myself squirming in my seat, hands gripped on the arm of the sofa. I was curled up in a fetal position by the end of it! The Witness is a psychological thriller, gripping, page turner with intelligent writing and well thought out plots.

Now that it is on sale on Kindle I hope you will buy it. Even if you don't like it, it's only $1.30 that' s much cheaper than your Starbucks every morning! For those in the United Kingdom, the kindle is only £0.99

To purchase on kindle in the United States,   Amazon

To purchase on kindle in the United Kingdom, Amazon UK

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

A review of I'll See You in Paris by Michelle Gable

Three women, born generations apart.
One mysterious book that threads their lives together.
A journey of love, discovery, and truth…


I’ll See You in Paris is based on the real life of Gladys Spencer-Churchill, the Duchess of Marlborough, a woman whose life was so rich and storied it could fill several books. Nearly a century after Gladys’s heyday, a young woman’s quest to understand the legendary Duchess takes her from a charming hamlet in the English countryside, to a dilapidated manse kept behind barbed wire, and ultimately to Paris, where answers will be found at last. In the end, she not only solves the riddle of the Duchess, but uncovers the missing pieces in her own life.

At once a great love story and literary mystery, I’ll See You in Paris will entertain and delight, with an unexpected ending that will leave readers satisfied and eager for Gable’s next novel.

 
  • St. Martin's Press
  • Thomas Dunne Books
  • February 2016
  • Hardcover
  • ISBN: 9781250070630
  • ISBN10: 1250070635
The blue book featured on the cover is the subject of the first present day storyline . It covers a mother and daughter relationship, Annie and her mom, Laurel.  Laurel carries this blue book around and won't let Annie see it. Annie never knew her father and without giving much away, she gets her hands on this book, reads it and nothing in her life remains the same afterwards. Most of the novel presents two other storylines featuring different women some experiences based upon the happenings of a real life woman named Gladys Deacon (later Spencer-Churchill) Duchess of Marlborough.  I enjoyed this novel much more than I expected to. I don't want to give much away but I can tell you that there is lots of family intrigue, clever situations, humor and it is loads of fun to read. The one thing that was annoying to me was the writer interviews featured by some of the female characters in a tyewriter font. This took away from the action of the novel. It was just too much information. Also, something interesting was how in one storyline each chapter included an introductory paragraph detailing the real life of the Duchess of Marlborough. I enjoyed it except that the font they used was very small and very light on the page making it hard to read.  

If you enjoyed her previuous Paris themed novel, 'A Paris Apartment' I am sure you will want to add this one to your list and give it a read.

Thank you to St. Martin's Press Thomas Dunne Books for my hardcover edition review copy. 

The publishing date is February 9th, 2016. 

To purchase in the U.S.,  Amazon   and to purchase in the U.K,  Amazon UK

The Last Bronte: The Intimate Memoir of Arthur Bell Nicholls by S.R. Whitehead: A Review

He was Mr Brontë's right hand man and Charlotte's husband. He fell in love with two sisters and revered a third while, to the trou...