AT THE COURT OF BROKEN DREAMS

LOVE AND WAR IN THE MIDDLE AGES

An intriguing, richly detailed, fictionalized “eyewitness account” of the War of the Roses era.

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Bisexual Eddie De-la-Pole details his involvement with the courts of Edward IV and Richard III and his embrace of Judaism in Brown’s historical novel.

The preface notes that the “following book” is a “curious apologia,” written in Middle English and found in a synagogue in Barcelona. The narrative takes the form of the memoir of Eddie De-la-Pole, who mentions that he and his “closest companion,” Rabbi Abraham di Mayora, are now “living, out our days and dreams” in Bruges and Toledo. Eddie shares highlights of his life story: In England in the year 1461, at age 16, he meets King Edward IV at the Battle of Towton. Eddie, a bisexual, is drawn to the charismatic king and soon, even more powerfully, to Edward’s new brother-in-law, Anthony Wydeville. When Eddie travels with Anthony to marry off Edward’s sister, Margaret (“the only woman I have ever actually wanted to marry,” Eddie confesses), to the Duke of Burgundy, the men are initiated into a secret society that leaves them “satiated and happily united as brothers, and loving friends.” Alas, the War of the Roses intrudes, with Anthony soon lost forever and Eddie, after backing King Richard III, fleeing to a new life with Abraham, the rabbi/court diplomat whom he initially disliked but comes to rely on. By novel’s end, Eddie, now past 70, is circumcised as part of his “adoption by the family of the children of Israel.” The author packs a lot of fun and flavor into this historical fiction, including Eddie’s take on Richard’s role in the “Princes in the Tower” mystery. Brown helpfully provides several family charts as references to the intertwining relationships. Some of the story’s threads remain tantalizingly elusive, such as the full import of Eddie’s ruby ring, and questions about just how sexual some friendships became. Overall, this book offers a wonderfully complex narrator’s perspective on a head-spinning time in history.

An intriguing, richly detailed, fictionalized “eyewitness account” of the War of the Roses era.

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2022

ISBN: 9781802277029

Page Count: 388

Publisher: Self

Review Posted Online: July 21, 2023

THE WOMEN

A dramatic, vividly detailed reconstruction of a little-known aspect of the Vietnam War.

A young woman’s experience as a nurse in Vietnam casts a deep shadow over her life.

When we learn that the farewell party in the opening scene is for Frances “Frankie” McGrath’s older brother—“a golden boy, a wild child who could make the hardest heart soften”—who is leaving to serve in Vietnam in 1966, we feel pretty certain that poor Finley McGrath is marked for death. Still, it’s a surprise when the fateful doorbell rings less than 20 pages later. His death inspires his sister to enlist as an Army nurse, and this turn of events is just the beginning of a roller coaster of a plot that’s impressive and engrossing if at times a bit formulaic. Hannah renders the experiences of the young women who served in Vietnam in all-encompassing detail. The first half of the book, set in gore-drenched hospital wards, mildewed dorm rooms, and boozy officers’ clubs, is an exciting read, tracking the transformation of virginal, uptight Frankie into a crack surgical nurse and woman of the world. Her tensely platonic romance with a married surgeon ends when his broken, unbreathing body is airlifted out by helicopter; she throws her pent-up passion into a wild affair with a soldier who happens to be her dead brother’s best friend. In the second part of the book, after the war, Frankie seems to experience every possible bad break. A drawback of the story is that none of the secondary characters in her life are fully three-dimensional: Her dismissive, chauvinistic father and tight-lipped, pill-popping mother, her fellow nurses, and her various love interests are more plot devices than people. You’ll wish you could have gone to Vegas and placed a bet on the ending—while it’s against all the odds, you’ll see it coming from a mile away.

A dramatic, vividly detailed reconstruction of a little-known aspect of the Vietnam War.

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2024

ISBN: 9781250178633

Page Count: 480

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2023

BRIDE

Sink your teeth into this delightful paranormal romance with a modern twist.

A vampire and an Alpha werewolf enter into a marriage of convenience in order to ease tensions between their species.

As the only daughter of a prominent Vampyre councilman, Misery Lark has grown accustomed to having to playing the role that’s demanded of her—and now, her father is ordering her to be a part of yet another truce agreement. In an effort to maintain goodwill between the Vampyres and their longtime nemeses the Weres, Misery must wed their Alpha, Lowe Moreland. But it turns out that Misery has her own motivations for agreeing to this political marriage, including finding answers about what happened to her best friend, who went missing after setting up a meeting in Were territory. Isolated from her kind and surrounded on all sides by the enemy after the wedding, Misery refuses to let herself forget about her real mission. It doesn’t matter that Lowe is one of the most confounding and intense people she’s ever met, or that the connection building between them doesn’t feel like one born entirely of convenience. There’s also the possibility that Lowe may already have a Were mate of his own, but in spite of their biological differences, they may turn out to be the missing piece in each other’s lives. While this is Hazelwood’s first paranormal romance, and the book does lean on some hallmark tropes of the genre, the contemporary setting lends itself to the author’s trademark humor and makes the political plot more easily digestible. Misery and Lowe’s slow-burn romance is appealing enough that readers will readily devour every moment between them and hunger to return to them whenever the story diverts from their scenes together.

Sink your teeth into this delightful paranormal romance with a modern twist.

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2024

ISBN: 9780593550403

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Berkley

Review Posted Online: Oct. 21, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2023

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