Shelf Control – May 5, 2016

Shelf Control

Shelf Control is a weekly feature hosted by Bookshelf Fantasies.  Consider this a variation of a Wishing & Waiting post… but looking at books already available.  Take a look at your shelves and/or Kindle and post about a book you own but haven’t read yet.

319300Title: Georgiana: Duchess of Devonshire (also published as The Duchess)
Author:  Amanda Foreman
Published: Published January 16th 2001 by Modern Library (first published 1998)
Length: 456 Pages

Goodreads Summary: The winner of Britain’s prestigious Whitbread Prize and a bestseller there for months, this wonderfully readable biography offers a rich, rollicking picture of late-eighteenth-century British aristocracy and the intimate story of a woman who for a time was its undisputed leader.

Lady Georgiana Spencer was the great-great-great-great-aunt of Diana, Princess of Wales, and was nearly as famous in her day. In 1774, at the age of seventeen, Georgiana achieved immediate celebrity by marrying one of England’s richest and most influential aristocrats, the Duke of Devonshire. Launched into a world of wealth and power, she quickly became the queen of fashionable society, adored by the Prince of Wales, a dear friend of Marie-Antoinette, and leader of the most important salon of her time. Not content with the role of society hostess, she used her connections to enter politics, eventually becoming more influential than most of the men who held office.

Her good works and social exploits made her loved by the multitudes, but Georgiana’s public success, like Diana’s, concealed a personal life that was fraught with suffering. The Duke of Devonshire was unimpressed by his wife’s legendary charms, preferring instead those of her closest friend, a woman with whom Georgiana herself was rumored to be on intimate terms. For over twenty years, the three lived together in a jealous and uneasy ménage à trois, during which time both women bore the Duke’s children—as well as those of other men.

Foreman’s descriptions of Georgiana’s uncontrollable gambling, all- night drinking, drug taking, and love affairs with the leading politicians of the day give us fascinating insightinto the lives of the British aristocracy in the era of the madness of King George III, the American and French revolutions, and the defeat of Napoleon.

A gifted young historian whom critics are already likening to Antonia Fraser, Amanda Foreman draws on a wealth of fresh research and writes colorfully and penetratingly about the fascinating Georgiana, whose struggle against her own weaknesses, whose great beauty and flamboyance, and whose determination to play a part in the affairs of the world make her a vibrant, astonishingly contemporary figure.

How I Got It: I bought it from Half Price Books

When I Got It: Probably at least 3 years ago

Why I Want To Read It: It was first brought to my attention after seeing the movie (scroll down for trailer) featuring Keira Knightley as Georgiana on my plane ride from Europe back to the States in 2009.  I really enjoyed the movie and wanted to know more about her since movies never have enough time to go into all of the details.  I’ve started it at least once but then things come up and then I’m no longer in the mood for non-fiction.  I still really want to read it though so hopefully I’ll be in the mood for a non-fiction soon!

Have any of you read this book (or seen the movie)?  What did you think of it?

Top Ten Books Every History Lover Should Read

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  Each week there is a new topic and this week’s topic is: Top Ten Books For Every X To Read.  Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres, second only to Fantasy so it only made sense for me to choose historical fiction for this week’s TTT.  In no particular order, here we go…

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  • Outlander by Diana Gabaldon – Really the entire series works well for any history lover because there is so much history involved in the series.  The first book revolves around 1743 in the Scottish Highlands.  Such a great series.
  • Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden – This book is a great read for anyone interested in what life was like for a geisha before, during, and after WWII.
  • A Desperate Fortune by Susanna Kearsley – This book had a really fascinating story with flashbacks to the past through the journal of an exiled Jacobite, Mary Dundas.  I thoroughly enjoyed this story.
  • Girl With A Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier – Almost any book written by Tracy Chevalier would be great for history lovers.  I have only read this one and Lady and the Unicorn but both are really fascinating imaginings of the story behind these works of art and the artists who created them.
  • The Outlander by Gil Adamson – An exciting journey of a young widow escaping from her two brother-in-laws who are pursuing her for the murder of her abusive husband.  It takes place in 1903 in Alberta, Canada.

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  • The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory – Any book by Philippa Gregory is a great choice, especially if you love the history of Tudor England.  I have a big collection of her books because that is one of my favorite history subjects so it is fun to read historical fiction to go along with it.
  • Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell – A no brainer for the Civil War and reconstruction history buff.  This will forever be one of my favorite books.
  • The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver – It’s been years since I have read this book but it is a great one.  A missionary family travels to the Congo in 1959 and go through many struggles and build themselves back up over the course of three decades.
  • The Reader by Bernhard Schlink – This is the story of a teenage German boy who meets a German woman and they have an affair.  Later in the boy’s life he is a law student witnessing the woman being on trial for a horrid crime.  He struggles to watch her refuse to release the one piece of fact that could clear her because it is a secret she regards more shameful than murder.  Such a good book.
  • Atonement by Ian McEwan – This is a bit of a tough one to describe but it starts out in the 1930s in England and moves forward through to WWII, revolving around the lives of sisters Briony and Cecelia, and their friend Robbie Turner.  Beautiful prose as well as an interesting story and setting make this a great book.

Are you a history lover?  What are some of your favorite historical fiction books?

Top Ten Historical Settings I Love

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  Each week there is a new topic and this week’s topic is:  Top Ten Historical Settings You Love/ Ten Historical Settings You’d Love To See or Top Futuristic Books You Love/Ten Futuristic Societies I’d Love To Read in Books — basically this week is all about the past or the future….spin it however you choose!

I love historical fiction.  It is tied for my favorite genre along with fantasy.  I was also a history major in college so I just love reading things related to history in general.  I do have favorite time periods I like to read about and time periods that I really don’t like reading.  Here are my top ten historical settings!

  1. Tudor England – Anything about the Tudors, I LOVE!  Philippa Gregory has some great series that take place during this era.
  2. Regency England – Jane Austen, JA spin-off types and other books set in this time I love reading.
  3. 1700s Ireland & Scotland – I really love all things Ireland and Scotland but the 1700s are the most interesting to me.
  4. Ancient Egpyt – I have always been fascinated by Ancient Egypt so any book that takes place in this era I would love to read, especially if it is about any of the Egyptian queens.
  5. Civil War era (US) – This era in US history is completely fascinating to me.  Gone With The Wind is my favorite from this era.
  6. Colonial (US) – Before and after the Revolutionary War.
  7. Westward Expansion (US) – This would include the Gold Rush and pioneer times.  Some of my favorites from this setting would be the Laura Ingalls Wilder books and The Giants in the Earth trilogy by O.E. Rolvaag.
  8. 1600s US, especially Salem – I am obsessed with the Salem Witch Trials.  Recently I acquired The Witches by Stacy Schiff and can’t wait to read it!
  9. Imperial Russia – This one is a newer fascination of mine thanks to my husband who has a fascination of all things Russian.  If you have any recommendations for this era, let me know!
  10. World War II – Ever since I read Number the Stars by Lois Lowry in elementary school, I have liked reading about WWII.  It was obviously an incredibly tragic time so it can be hard to read.

What are some of your favorite historical settings?  Do we share any?