Best selling author, Helen Fields delivers a gripping, disturbing and compelling story in her first foray into historical fiction.
A dual timeline explores the main character, Sofia Logans life first as a young girl then in her present of 1905 as a mother… With enough tragedy in both to make Tess of the D’urbervilles envious, you’d be mistaken to even think of Sofia as a victim.
Suddenly widowed, Sofia, as typical of women of the time has little options in order to keep herself and her children out of the workhouse.
Appearing as her Knight in shining armour comes her husbands former employer, Mr Visant, who soon emerges as a manipulative, cruel, controlling man determined to bring out the darkness of Sofia s past and use it to his advantage. As Sofia begins to become consumed by the traits she possesses that she has long since kept in check.
As a protagonist, Sofia is not your average herione , she is unsettlingly likeable despite the darkness of her addiction s and obsessions and you can’t help but root for her. It makes you question how far you would go for the ones you loved and also debate the nature vs nurture element of life.
With a supporting cast of just as interesting characters, this book is a compelling read, even if certain scenes were so disturbing it was difficult to read on…
As the book spirals to its conclusion, I was glad I’d persevered and I found the ending not only satisfactory but also one that left me wanting more
On paper this sounds like an interesting take on a fascinating period of British history, The Tudors has to be my favourite dynasty and this episode a particularly important one within the Catholic and Christian Church.
I was pretty excited to receive an advanced readers copy from Net Gallery and really looking forward to reading this as historical fiction is one of my favourite genres – however, upon finishing the book I felt it had been lacking in certain aspects.
Whilst the book itself contains a lot of historical information and left me with food for thought, in particular Why Henry, who had grown up with his extremely religious grandmother, Margaret Beaufort, had seemingly renounced his core religious beliefs and upbringing in such a short period of time, I couldn’t feel a connection to any of the characters.
The definition of a monologue is a long speech by one actor in a play or film, or as part of a theatrical or broadcast programme. This is where although I see what the author was trying to achieve, I felt each monologue delivered very little emotional input.
This could be because the characters in themselves were very two dimensional and I felt the storyline was marred with the authors own bias towards Anne Boleyn and favourism of Katherine.
I’ll start with Anne, who comes across as demanding, manipulative, arrogant and rude completely without any redeeming qualities. This automatically makes it difficult to understand why Henry, not only persued her but his subsequent actions. There is no insight into what made her so compelling for him, even in the long years before he finally married her.
Henry himself does not come across as a strong willed King. He is portrayed as a mere puppet being manipulated by the strings that Anne Boleyn controls. Everything that happens is never his fault, merely him acting on Anne’s latest paranoid whim. In stark contrast to his actions he speaks more fondly and with respect of Katherine than he ever does with Anne which although suits this narrative makes it even more difficult to try and understand his actions.
Katherine herself comes across more how she is portrayed in history, a strong willed queen who will never give up her title. She is loyal to God and her faith and truly believes that. No matter the price. As sad as her fate is, I found it pretty difficult to care by the end of the book, an opinion I don’t usually possess when talking about this subject.
I’m dissapointed in that the reasons behind Henry’s are only merely covered – his longing for an heir, his insatiable lust, his ego, his advisors even. Mentioned but never at the forefront of reasoning. The main idea is this was all Anne Boleyn s doing. Even down to the reformation. Again, Anne’s fault – a woman apparently so powerful in a time when women were the property of their fathers and husbands, a time in which even a queen can be dethroned by the will of her husband.
Don’t believe reviews that claim this is like reading a Phillipa Gregory book because unfortunately it isn’t, the lack of character in the main narrative attests to that.
In summary, this book could be explained simply as a blame game. Henry blames Katherine, Katherine blames Anne whilst Anne blames everybody but herself.
A bizarre yet gripping story, focusing on how one man’s grief, over the death of his mother, his regrets lead to depression and suicidal tendancies.
With a surreal, otherworldly element to the story in the mysterious treatment centre he, in final desperation, admits himself to a therapy centre offering new treatment s.
But when the therapy leaves him in a waking dream, powerless to discern what is reality and unable to contact the outside world, he’s left with two choices; escape, or remain a prisoner of his own grief forever.
The author has really captured the inner torment of both grief and depression in this story which stays with the reader for long after the book has ended.
It’s extremely thought provoking and there are times when as a reader you feel as confused as the main character… Its enjoyable, quite short and not very clear, so don’t expect any loose ends to be tied up by the end but this is just an example of how the human mind and its emotions works.
A much more thorough book than it’s mere 9 chapters implies. Persephone, practicing the art of personal power combines examining the myth of Persephone, ancient Greek history and rituals and encourages the reader to reflect on their own personal journey by resonating with Persephone s tale.
It question s and challenges the reader – is Persephone a victim or a Victor in her tale? Exploring how she overcame her restrictions and transformed from maiden-mother to crone and how the reader can explore that in themselves.
With journal prompts and meditation exercises, the reader can journey into deep self exploration with Persephone as their guide gaining valuable insight into their self beliefs and challenges and how they can overcome them.
In my personal opinion, this is a very deep yet fascinating book that requires a lot of time to fully process and enjoy. It is educational yet self exploratory, not recommended for someone who would just be wanting to know more about the myth but a fantastic aid for those wishing to heal with the help of a goddess by their side.
I’ve been consistently inconsistent with this blog as I’m sure I told you all I would be …. But it’s been a funny few years , ones I hope never to have to repeat ..yet it’s now November 2019 and a change has come about me these past few months… And im more enthusiastic about things.
It’s no coincidence I decided to start blogging again today – after all it’s the witches new year and witchcraft is something that I felt a connection with recently . It s always been there if I’m honest , from a young child growing up in a Christian society I always longed for the days when we worshipped the gods and goddesses, I’ve felt a keen interest in the past and even my own mother says I’m not from this time, I’ve never felt like I fitted in this world, I’ve suffered greatly from depression and bpd and still do and I’ve always felt a void within me – one I never knew how to fill until recently .
It started when my beloved father was dying of cancer , a truly heartwrenching time which I know I ll never recover from , but it was in those terrible dark days I became aware of signs of the spirit with us – from watching him interact with deceased loved ones whilst he was “hallucinating” – I knew there was more to it and I gained comfort from seeing him comforted by them and thankful they were there with him on this journey .
After his death I continued to see signs everywhere, messages he was still here and watching over me and I began to feel a pull towards the spiritual path, Wicca , witchcraft and divination .
For the first time in years I was compelled to consult the tarot cards , something I’d been skilled at when younger yet over time put aside. I began learning all I could about the ways of the witch and slowly my void began to fill .
I learnt the power of manifestation and was surprised that I was able to do it , that I was able to heal myself emotionally and psychically through this….
Yet, I continued to have doubts , I have both psychic and witch friends , they’ve all admitted to me they knew I was a powerful witch upon our first meeting yet didn’t want to tell me because it sounded crazy ! And it does , it really does sound crazy but it also makes a lot of sense …
The thing s I am learning are both new yet strangely familiar and comforting . Attending a ghost Hunt for fun, I discovered I had an affinity with the spirits and was adept at using the crystal pendulum s and dowsing rods …that I could connect to the spirits through them .
It was shocking and sobering but felt natural, it felt right so I’m continuing this journey of spiritual awakening , this healing process and I’m discovering an abundance of motivation that I’ve severely lacked for too long – an energy and enthusiasm .
It’s a powerful time. And today being the witches new year I feel I am making a new start, continuing on the progress I’ve slowly been making, stepping out of the darkness and into the light
The grandmother of Mr Gallant, Evie is an exquisite woman used to the finer things in life thanks to her marriage to a Hollywood film producer and her friendship with Natalie Woods.
Evie’s lifestyle of wealth and greed is clear in her appearance: a beautiful octogenarian, Evie has large, professionally styled brown hair and dresses herself in expensive clothes and beautiful jewellery.
When we first meet Evie, she is complaining to her maid, Esmerelda, that she burned the champagne by leaving it in the freezer for too long, ( a nod to Joan Collins role as Alexis Carrington in Dynasty) but Esmerelda tells her that it is the end of the world and leaves. When her grandson, Gallantarrives and tells Evie that they need to go as a missle is about hit Los Angeles. Evie seems unphased, saying that it is probably fake news and going to call Donald Trump, but Gallant tells her the threat is real and and forces her to leave
Evie is adept at seeming blissfully unaware of anything distasteful but is canny enough to know how to play the game in order to survive …her concern at no stewardess on the flight to safety , let alone a fruit cup hides a ruthlessness which will later be revealed in her character.
Naturally, when settled into outpost three she is made a purple , after all shes attended the Oscars darling and have we mentioned her best friend Natalie Wood ?
At dinner, Evie enjoys the stewcontaining the remains ofStu .When others recoil in disgust as they find human bones in the meat, Evie says that she doesn’t care what it is and that it’s divine and full of fiber, vying to finish every last drop. When called a monster for continuing to eat the stew after they all realised what it was, but she affirms that it was chicken, not human, meat showing a side of her that is willing to delude even herself if that s what it takes to survive.
Her ruthlessness rears its head when she is willing to sacrifice her own grandson for going against the rules of no copulation in order to secure her place in Michaels sanctuary ..however , she wasn’t planning on Gallant s repressed hatred towards her nor Micheals devilry and ends up stabbed to death by Gallant under a glimmer spell.
Gallant is a handsome man in his thirties with bleached white-blonde hair and sharp, brown eyes. As a talented hairdresser and a fashion conscious individual, Gallant dresses affluently, seemingly favouring silk neck-scarves, his style seemingly inspired by Fred Jones of Scooby Door.
He rocks the Victorian look with modern day sunglasses and isn’t afraid to call it like it is ….trying to rebel against the outposts rules …
He’s revealed to have a hatred , and anger , towards his nanna who doesn’t accept him although she does accept he s gay and has supported him through countless rehabs and three ( failing) salons.
His knowledge and identification with persecuted gays is a very important part of his character and he is willing to martyr himself especially when punished , shouting out the name of his heroes.
He seriously has a fetish for leather and rubber sexually and is an easy target for Michael s manipulation and Rubber Mans sexual advances ( whom he believes are one and the same)
Hes exposed to be needy and in desperate need of love and affection
Just another day in Beverly Hills with heiress Coco St. Pierre Vanderbilt getting her hair, oh so perfectly end pointe by her hairdresser to the stars.
Whilst having one of her many hissy fits at her put upon assistant Mallory, She receives a call from her father in Hong Kong, the apocalypse is about to hit , disbelieving at first , she witnesses the demise of her family and learns there is a plane waiting that daddy had purchased four tickets for at $100 million dollar s each in case of such an eventuality ….The time is now and shes the only one left to take those spaces.
Frantically she calls her husband Brock, Himself aloof to the end of the world, just gobsmacked by the fact that there’s going to be a six-partFree Willy series on TV !
* Is anyone else a bit dissapointed this is not going to happen ? Let’s take a moment here ….*
She darts to the airport telling him to meet her there with her assistant Mallory (Billie Lourd), Gallant (Evan Peters) and his Nanna played by Joan Collins. Brock’s stuck in traffic (“Don’t leave me in Santa Monica” he screams to his wife)
Coco informs him promptly that’s she’s executing that part of their marriage contract where they can see other people, having realised he wont make it in time abd having the extra stress of strange men trying to stop them from boarding the plane.
The plane takes off and the gang witnesses a mushroom cloud on the ground, not to mention their plane is on autopilot.
At least at this part Coco shows some remorse, even if Nana is more concerned about the lack of stewardess and a fruit cup.
They have no idea where they’re heading or where they will end up …..
Coco St. Pierre Vanderbiltis the privileged and entitled daughter of a billionairewhom paid $100 million dollar s for a flight ticket ( well four to be exact =$ 400 million) to ensure safety once the Apocalypse struck for him and his family. However, Coco is the only one who made that flight. Bossy and hilariously entitled shes in her mid-40s, and extremely “extra” as only the super rich can be .
With her aspirations of being a social media influencer to ” make something of herself ” she is seemingly clueless about how to do so, enlisting the help of her younger personal assistant, Mallory, and hairdresser, Mr Gallant, to help her in her efforts.
Her hairstyle needs to be “en point”, she wears horrifically fashionable clothes that can only have been inspired by Beetlejuice, and will have Instagram posts of her drinking the latest thing even if it does taste like
” turtle shit”
Due to her affluent upbringing, Coco blatantly has not developed any life skills , instead relying on others to help get her through the day. Especially her assistant Mallory whom she takes with her to Outpost three , leaving her husband Brock behind as he can’t get there on time… Though she is thoughtful enough to release him from their “monogamy contract ” before she flees to safety.
For all her spoilt traits and selfishness she does show a more human, emotional side as she watches the nuclear attack from the sky above and a slow tear trickles from her cheek …as she realises she has lost not only her entire family, but the man she loves.
Business, Coco style, resumes however once shes ensconced in Outpost three , she abuses her “elite” status to get Mr Gallant moved up to an “elite”so he will continue to do her hair, but interestingly choses to allow Mallory to be sectioned as a “grey” in order for her to still be her slave/assistant .
For Coco, as an elite in the pre apocalyptic world, the hierarchy of Outpost three makes total sense , however what doesn’t make sense is the lack of food causing her to have an extreme hissy fit/ rant about the new living conditions and lack of Gordon Ramsey in the kitchen !
Her struggle to adapt to the new living conditions is hilarious , as is the train wreck of her hair as time progresses on ….
It ll be interesting to see how Coco develops this season, if she actually does, if she manages to get past her own self entitlement and even survive what’s coming.