SYNOPSISFrom the author of the beloved Josephine B. Trilogy, comes a spellbinding novel inspired by the true story of a young woman who rises from poverty to become confidante to the most powerful, provocative and dangerous woman in the 17th century French court: the mistress of the charismatic Sun King.1660, ParisClaudette’s life is like an ever-revolving stage set. From an impoverished childhood wandering the French countryside with her family’s acting troupe, Claudette finally witnesses her mother’s astonishing rise to stardom in Parisian theaters. Working with playwrights Corneille, Molière and Racine, Claudette’s life is culturally rich, but like all in the theatrical world at the time, she’s socially scorned.A series of chance encounters pull Claudette into the alluring orbit of Athénaïs de Montespan, mistress to Louis XIV and reigning “Shadow Queen.” Needing someone to safeguard her secrets, Athénaïs offers to hire Claudette as her personal attendant.Enticed by the promise of riches and respectability, Claudette leaves the world of the theater only to find that court is very much like a stage, with outward shows of loyalty masking more devious intentions. This parallel is not lost on Athénaïs, who fears political enemies are plotting her ruin as young courtesans angle to take the coveted spot in the king’s bed.Indeed, Claudette’s “reputable” new position is marked by spying, illicit trysts and titanic power struggles. As Athénaïs, becomes ever more desperate to hold onto the King’s favor, innocent love charms move into the realm of deadly Black Magic, and Claudette is forced to consider a move that will put her own life—and the family she loves so dearly—at risk.Set against the gilded opulence of a newly-constructed Versailles and the blood-stained fields of the Franco-Dutch war, THE SHADOW QUEEN is a seductive, gripping novel about the lure of wealth, the illusion of power, and the increasingly uneasy relationship between two strong-willed women whose actions could shape the future of France. [provided by the author]Release date: April 8, 2014 at Doubleday (US) and HarperCollins (Canada)Hardcover 336 pagesISBN-13: 978-0385537520Author’s website | GoodreadsPRAISE FOR THE SHADOW QUEEN“The Shadow Queen is an epic feast for the senses with a cast of characters that includes Moliere, Racine, and the Sun King himself, Louis XIV. With this exhilarating exploration of the years of Louis’s reign, full of exquisite details and memorable characters, Sandra Gulland proves herself a master of not only storytelling but stagecraft and illusion, as well.” —Melanie Benjamin, New York Times Bestselling author of THE AVIATOR’S WIFE ”Fascinating and rich in historical detail, The Shadow Queenbrings Claudette des Oeillets to full and vivid life as she makes the journey from hungry, roaming player to indispensable attendant of Louis XIV’s mistress. A captivating glimpse into the theatre, court life and black arts of 17th Century Paris.” —Cathy Marie Buchanan, New York Times Bestselling author of THE PAINTED GIRLS“Sandra Gulland is at the top of her game in The Shadow Queen and that’s saying a lot! From the first page you know you are in the hands of a master story teller. I just don’t think anyone does it better than Gulland—this book is lyrical, fascinating and seeped in history, drama and emotion. Truly magnificent and an absolute joy to read.” —M.J. Rose, International Bestselling author of THE BOOK OF LOST FRAGRANCES“Propelled by Sandra Gulland’s brilliant storytelling and her unerring gift for reviving an historical era through dramatic scenes, The Shadow Queen is told through a fascinating perspective—that of the personal attendant and closest confidante of Louis XIV’s all-powerful mistress. the story straddles two worlds—the competitive arena of 17th century French theater and the opulent yet treacherous court of the Sun King. The characters are magnetic and the pace will dazzle you.” —Adrienne McDonnell, author of THE DOCTOR AND THE DIVA“Sandra Gulland is one of our most gifted historical novelists and once again, she does not disappoint. This vividly drawn tale of a young woman caught up in the dark intrigues of the beautiful, lethal mistress of the Sun King has all the ingredients readers love, blending passion, adventure, pageantry and danger into a heady brew as intoxicating as it is unforgettable.” —C.W. Gortner, author of THE QUEEN’S VOW“A must-read for anyone passionate about the theater and hungry for more of Sandra Gulland’s masterful depictions of life at the court of the Sun King.” —Anne Easter Smith, author of ROYAL MISTRESS and A ROSE FOR THE CROWN “The Shadow Queen will remind readers why they fall in love with the past. Gulland uses her meticulous research with consummate skill, rendering vivid the luxury and squalor of Louis XIV’s France and breathing life into fully formed characters that tug at the heart. Masterful.” —Tasha Alexander, New York Times Bestselling Author of DEATH IN THE FLOATING CITY“The Shadow Queen is a quick-paced, captivating tale of 17th Century France—from the dramas and destitutions of life in the theatre, to the intrigues and ruthlessness of the royal court—and of the wrenching conflict between familial bonds and the sacrifices a woman must make to survive and thrive. Through the trials and hard-earned triumphs of quick-witted Claudette des Oeillets, maid and confidante of aristocratic, alluring Athénaïs, Sandra Gulland shapes a world rich in historical detail and timeless in its exploration of divided loyalties, power struggles, and the consequences of remaining true to heartfelt ideals.”—Ania Szado, bestselling author of STUDIO SAINT-EX*** Sandra Gulland is the author of the Josephine B. Trilogy, internationally best-selling novels about Josephine Bonaparte which have been published in over seventeen countries. Her forth novel, Mistress of the Sun, set in the 17th-century court of the Sun King, was also a bestseller and published internationally. Her most recent novel is The Shadow Queen, also set in the era of the Sun King, published in April of 2014 by HarperCollins in Canada and Doubleday in the U.S. See more on her website: www.sandragulland.comSign-up for her author newsletter: http://www.sandragulland.com/contacts/Follow her on Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | GoodReads Emmahttp://francebooktours.com/http://wordsandpeace.com
Legends of the LakeAuthor: Philip NorkReviewed By Fran Lewis Everything has a beginning. Traditions, places, businesses and even your life have a beginning. Philip Nork’s family had many different beginnings and traditions that he wants to share with readers. Why not share his family’s experiences, happy times and sad ones with readers in a unique book titled Legends of the Lake? Legends of the Lake begin with how and why his great grandfather bought the land he built his cottage and businesses on in Wisconsin. As you take the ride back in time to the beginning of the 20th century when his family created their own form of history, picture a remote area with a small lake. Picture yourself driving through green pastures, cows mooing, farms, the area smells from freshly cut grass, the sky is blue and the roads might not be perfectly paved but filled with gravel and welcome to Wisconsin. Meet Salvatore his great grandfather’s friend who own the butcher shop 20 miles west of Chicago. Meet Gramps who was truly amazing. Of Bohemian descent, uniform maker and great husband to Connie. Join Sal and Eddie has they travel the many roads and highways to Wisconsin, describing the scenery along the way and how Eddie began construction on his “summer palace.” As you read Chapter One the author describes the land, the landscape and you begin to visualize this special place. Close your eyes: Can you see the cottage? Do you smell the fresh air? In 1910 when this story takes place their life began with Eddie owning a Model T which he bought five years later and set up the five year rule. What is that? The five year rule was to purchase a new car for the family every five years and the car of choice my dad’s favorite the Cadillac. From the start this was a family venture. His three daughters and wife handled the cooking and the food. He handled the tailor shop and his bait and boat rentals and the rest. Going along with friend to the other side of the island they would meet some really mean turtles. Just what happened and how the lake came to be called: Snapping Turtle Lake you need to read for yourself to appreciate what happened. If I tell you it would ruin the fun and the smile on your face after reading what they did. The community flourished and more people built cottages, opened businesses and then Johnnie with Eddie’s guidance and suggestions created more business for his restaurant by turning it into a bar. When Eddie saw someone with huge rocks or boulders he relieved him of some of them and even created a sign letting the world know the Kron’s were there. In order to make sure his three daughters did not wander off too far he bought a huge bell and what he did with that well you need it hear the ring for yourself or you might be late for dinner and Connie does have strict rules about being on time. What would make it better? How about an old-fashioned food fest! Life does not always stay the same and things did change as Prohibition took its toll on the bar, another merchant came to live there and things changed as they built a playhouse, speakeasy and just who funded the money: I am not going to tell you but let’s just say the guy who lived there was named Al and he left his trademark in a cottage that Eddie’s daughter and friend Willy found. The rest is history. The girls married and believe it or not Connie now had a son and things changed for all of them for the better. Imagine another first as one of the storeowners created a plastic container and the rest is Tupperware history. His family really had fun and the stories are refreshing and entertaining. I think the part that really hits home is having to wait your turn to use the bathroom and one girl named Jean who just wanted to find her way and be alone. This book brings back so many memories for anyone growing up with a huge and loving family. Then things changed and believe it or not what changed it was the Hamburger and the bun. Deciding to create their own buns, hamburgers and with the help of one man named Ray, Sal and Willy became quite wealthy in the hamburger business or was it a famous chain they invented. According to our author you just never know. There were tons of firsts in this family. Things changed and one friend passed away and his son took over the business and the renting of cottages. Eddie and Connie were getting older and Joan and Felix got married and along came our special author named Phil. Growing up and being the center of his grandfather’s attention was great as he learned to love wrestling on television and listen to music. His mother started her own traditions as things at the cottage changed but traditions carried on. As Phil gets to know his family as a young child, join in their fishing expeditions, learn more about their traditions he comes face to face with a word that kids should never hear: divorce. He learns the meaning of the different colored roses from his Nana and she explains what would make him stand out when he gets older. New friendships formed, family still came to the cottages and Phil learned a lot about life. One little girl named Matty would change his perspective about girls. Baseball was what he was interested in and talking about other things although somewhat interesting not really his speed. Friendships changed on one girl’s life would shatter and Phil would be there to help her. Learning the truth about his father and handling it made him even more mature. Then, Nana dies and he lost her and his close friendship with Matty. Life changed and he moved on to get to know his father. The rest of the stories you need to read for yourself. Learn what happens after his loses another member of his family and where he winds up. An ending that requires a box of tissues and maybe more and stories that will bring back memories of your own childhood. Once again author Phil Nork takes the reader on a journey back in time to where things were simple, kids learned to have some great fun outside, families knew the real meaning of love and friendship and one young man finds his way. This book gets Five Special Roses:One Red: for the love you have for your familyOne Yellow for the friendships you made along the wayOne white: for the remembrances that will remain in your heart and mindTwo Pink: to give thanks for all that you had and still have in your life. One great book. Many wonderful stories.Fran Lewis: reviewer P.S, If it makes you happy it's fine with me: As you Nana would say: This book is more than fine with me. Fran
Title: Last LaughsAuthor: Everett MattlinISBN: 9781936401345Publisher: Two Harbors Press So "Old age - what is that? And who thinks they're old?" Some kids look at 20 year olds and think they are over the hill. Others think when you turn forty it’s time to chuck it all in. Then, there are those who are young at heart, invigorated and refuse to let any age get them down. So, what’s so terrible if you want to sit in your favorite easy chair and watch an old movie reread your favorite book or just stare off into space? How about waiters that annoy you throughout dinner to find out if you are enjoying your meal? What about dealing with voice mails, service people and others that do not understand English and have lived here forever? Author Everett Mattlin brings to light these issues and many other that plague, haunt and annoy the not so elderly but those who have lived their lives, reached 80 and want some recognition and respect. Like Rodney Dangerfield would say: I get no respect. But, by the end of this review I know this author will definitely not only get respect but a great review. Many people believe that the elderly are useless and done with their lives. NOT SO! But, as the author states when do they get to reap the rewards or benefits of living 8 decades, doing what he wants and not worrying about the requests and requirements of others. So, if he does not want to watch his grandkids- he shouldn’t. If he decides to hire a Gardner and not do the weeding himself because his knees hurt: Go right ahead. Some people deal with their limitations and age issues and others refuse to acknowledge them. I really love when he writes in the essay Groucho Lives about sitting through a movie and wanting it to be over. Not wanting to read books than 275 pages. Imagine if all of the books I reviewed had only 275 pages how many more I could read in a day. But, my favorite is the clothing issue or the proper clothing to wear to the opera. My mom always told me to dress for the occasion and never ever go out looking anything but your best. Weddings, the opera, restaurants and even a simple date required being dressed with taste and class. I have to agree that going to the opera definitely requires more formal attire and those that come dressed for the beach or a card game seem to demean the grandeur of the occasion. Coffee is definitely too much more, but how many of us can live without that first cup. Meals are more expensive and portion sizes at some restaurants miniature. My computer is my best friend but I use it for different reasons. But, the author makes some great points about aging, people and the younger generation who should definitely get up and give an older person their seat on the bus. I would and still do. The reality is no one wants to admit that they are old or feel old. Being grumpy, grouchy and definitely allowed to speak their minds older people as we call them or the elderly need to be allowed to exercise their own way of dealing with life and not worry about what the rest of the world deems the norm. So, why is it when you go to the doctor or call a charge card on the phone to just pay your bill they need your date of birth. I never give it. Why is getting older or an elderly relative an embarrassment? I know younger people that take naps in the middle of the day, sit in front of the television set watching old movies or playing computer games. What is wrong with doing nothing because doing nothing to me is doing the something you want that will make you happy even if it is for a short time. Complaints about dieting, overweight adults, going out to dinner and reading the dessert menu first and the rest last, life can be a real pain when you get older. But, despite his complaints his sense of humor shines through and you have to laugh when he discusses exercising and those that try to lose weight, exercise and eat ice cream after they are done. Smaller portions, leaving food on your plate and many old adages never work. Dieting would mean he would have to be thin and give up the good stuff he loves to eat like French fries, cakes, pies and much more. Being grumpy goes along with getting older and hating diets and diet foods totally allowed. Doctor’s appointments, cell phones you forget to turn on and you get the message too late, all part of what he complains about. Everything the author relates we all think about within ourselves and few say out loud. He is just writing or saying what everyone is really thinking to themselves. Talking about organic foods, losing weight and giving up sugar, cakes and other desserts plus beer and wine would make this poor man shrivel up into nothing. So, what can he do: Give up vegetables. It’s a thought but I’m not sure I could live without my steamed spinach but then again I am weight conscious. My Aunt Tova wore hearing aids on selected days that she wanted to hear. The funny part is that when she played poker, bingo or gambled at Atlantic City she heard everything. Selective hearing and non-hearing is what we used to refer her way of communicating with others. When the author tells about the hearing aids, the huge price tag on them and the discomfort they provided for him it brought back memories of when my Aunt Tova needed hers replaced because they were not properly made or the batteries wore out after a week and the fact that she really didn’t want anyone to know she wore them. You are right Everett: How can you contradict everyone if you don’t know what he or she is saying? Wear the aides! Dementia is what my mom had actually Alzheimer’s and I know that she had memory problems so don’t worry Everett you are fine. As far as separate rooms you might have a point there to keep your room your way and snore away! Mirror mirror in front of my face: WHO IS THAT? NOT ME! Don’t be so sure? Images change. Everyone’s does and consider it your own timeline from start we hope to a very long finish. Age is not something I care to deal with or discuss. Wrinkles, although I do not have any, consider them signs of distinction and a life well lived. The author also includes a discussion about the facts of life, teens and their viewpoints on sex, movies and music, tipping and how to avoid it and the ailments that befall the elderly. Doctor’s visits seem to be the norm for him and discussing back problems and more the topics of interest when getting together with friends. The many remedies that work, don’t work and the search for the best mattress are all included in this book that will definitely make you think, laugh, smile and wonder where all the time has gone. From lack of energy to his wife going out with her friends, his ups, downs and in-betweens this book has it all and more. Living up to the challenges of marriage, life, never faltering and more the author gives the reader reasons to stop and think: Is old age what it is cracked up to be or is there more to my young life that I can still salvage? Going to a bookstore rather than buying online, visiting the library and doing research with a real set of encyclopedia is definitely the way to go. Bookstores are great and reading on the nook, kindles and eBooks not for me. There are rules about how women should act, dress, night flashes, cold flashes and when we were just cooks, laundry ladies, shoppers, sewers and much more. Don’t you know that we have definitely been liberated from the kitchen, behind the stove and are part of the working force? Of course just about everyone can identify with foot pain. Going to the mall is a haven for anyone. When stressed and upset shopping is definitely the best cure rather than a visit to any doctor. Shopping in high -end stores I rarely do but finding something I always will. I do agree with the author that buying it yourself makes you feel like you earned it but I do accept presents. What lessons have we learned? He will never figure us out. HE might have learned from his mistakes. The true meaning of love, dealing with people in general and the rest you will have to read and learn for youself. Finally, if he can teach me and everyone else how to avoid stress that would be great and less money for those that are paid to analyze us. Stress is definitely a part of life at every age. Of course there is so much more and reading page 174 and his analysis of how kids are raised, children live beyond their means definitely hit home. So, getting old. You can’t avoid it. Finally, his sentiments on death and his demise and where he hopes to wind up when the time comes. The final chapters deal with death, heaven, hell and his final thoughts on life. Let’s hope he lives many more years and is able to share more of his thoughts, ideas, humor and sage wisdom with us. For writing such a humorous and honest account of life and because I am sure your wife would agree with me. I hereby give this book: FIVE RED JACQUARS : Fran Lewis : Reviewer --
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