Tag: novel

Hello Again,

Time for another review. I finished The Snow Kimono by Mark Henshaw a couple of weekends ago. I wanted to write a review right away, but I had to sort through my thoughts and by the time I did that, life caught up. Now a funeral and a company holiday party later, and here I finally am.

The book opens up with Inspector Jovert and his accident after a mysterious letter (be prepared because I found some other literary references in this book). The letter was from a woman claiming to be his daughter and asking to meet. After he recounts his accident, a Japanese man named Professor Omura comes to him and invites himself in. He explains that he, too, had a daughter, but she was not biologically his. Most of the novel is Professor Omura explaining the tale of his friend Katsuo, the real father of Omura’s daughter, flaked with Omura’s story as well as Jovert’s.

At one point, Omura explains that his father liked puzzles. He liked them so much that he ordered a “western puzzle” and was disappointed because once complete, the image was the same as that on the box. This novel is one big puzzle.

All the characters’ stories in this book are based on lies. I don’t recall anyone telling the complete truth except one minor character.

The story is also told in fragments out of place, which you have to piece together to get the complete story, which again, is based on lies. So is it really the whole story?

I felt the ending was very confusing and did not explain anything at all so you are kept guessing. I like cliffhangers, but this wasn’t one. I don’t want to give anything away, but I came out of the novel feeling confused and not complete. I was a bit angry because I could not mentally tell if I did not understand, or if that’s how the book wants you to feel.

Overall, I gave it a 3/5 due to the story fragments being captivating, especially Katsuo’s, and the characters were interesting. The mystery was well kept and hard to guess (and I am normally pretty good at guessing the twists). I just didn’t like the way the stories were scattered, how they didn’t come together at times, and so many loose ends.

Have you read this book? If so, what did you think? Am I missing something? Let me know!

-K.

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Another day, another review of a Philippa Gregory book. I feel I must again begin this with the disclaimer that I love her books. However, it’s not unwarranted.

This book was no exception. I was so excited that even though a friend bought me a signed copy, I bought the Kindle copy so that I wouldn’t ruin the physical book. I had waited to read this novel until after I had finished Three Sisters, Three Queens by Gregory, so that I could have my mind set in the correct time period.

This novel is told in three parts, each following one of the Grey sisters. The first section is told by Jane Grey, also known as the “Nine-Days Queen.” She was forced to marry Guildford Dudley and then told that after her cousin Edward died, she was next in line for the throne rather than Mary, who was Henry VIII’s oldest daughter. By all accounts, Jane was reluctant to take the throne, insistent that Mary was the true heir. Her parents and in-laws ignored her and pushed her upon the throne. She was only queen for 9 days until Mary came in and took the throne back. At first, Mary was lenient, leaving Jane in the Tower of London. However, since her father and father-in-law continued to muster forces to put her back on the throne, Mary I saw her as a threat and had her beheaded.

The second part is told through the point of view of Jane’s younger sister Katherine. The bulk of her section occurs after the death of Mary I and the beginning of the reign of Elizabeth I. She had the gall to marry a man she loved (Edward “Ned” Seymour) without Elizabeth’s permission. As she was a princess of the blood (and Elizabeth’s presumptive heir), Katherine needed Elizabeth’s permission to marry. As punishment, Elizabeth throws Katherine into the Tower. We end her section with Katherine as the mother of two strong boys, away from her husband and court.

The third part is told by Mary, Katherine and Jane’s youngest sister. She is of short stature, supposedly having a twisted spine. She’s often juxtaposed against the court dwarf, Thomasina. Like her sister Katherine, she married for love. And, like her sister, she was punished for it.

I really liked that we saw history progress through our three sisters. Each of them lends their own voice to the story. One thing that I noticed was that my love of Elizabeth was lessened because of her treatment of the sisters. She was not what one would call “kind.” This was interesting, as some of Gregory’s previous novels showed Elizabeth in a positive light. I liked that we are shown a different side of her, even if it’s not her best side.

I highly recommend this novel to any history fans. We get to see history through the Grey sisters in a way that only Gregory can show.

 

 

To get your copy of “The Last Tudor” by Philippa Gregory, go here.

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