Friday, April 19, 2013

In A Witch's Wardrobe: A Witchcraft Mystery, by Juliet Blackwell

Synopsis: Lily Ivory is living her dream of owning a vintage clothing store—and practicing magic on the side. But when she encounters a sinister sleeping spell, Lily comes face-to-face with a nightmarish evil… 

Taking a night off from running her successful San Francisco clothing store, Lily attends a local art deco ball where vintage fashions steal the show. But when a young woman at the event falls under a mysterious sleeping sickness, Lily senses that a curse was placed on the woman’s corsage. 

Before Lily can solve the woman’s magical ailment, she’s asked to assist in investigating a string of poisonings in the Bay Area witchcraft community. She’s gained the trust of the local covens by supporting women’s charities through her clothing store. But soon, Lily suspects that one of her new acquaintances might not be so well intentioned and could be dabbling in dark magic and deadly botany…  

Thoughts:  A quick, fun read that I spotted on display in the library while picking up some other things. Now that I've read this one, though, I'm going to have to read the rest of the series. From Lily and her vintage clothing store, to her "familiar" Oscar--a gobgoyle (half goblin, half gargoyle) who changes into a potbellied pig around non-supernaturals, to her friends and neighbors, both human and's a fun group of characters!

The Queen's Fool, by Phillippa Gregory

Synopsis:  A young woman caught in the rivalry between Queen Mary and her half sister, Elizabeth, must find her true destiny amid treason, poisonous rivalries, loss of faith, and unrequited love.
It is winter, 1553. Pursued by the Inquisition, Hannah Green, a fourteen-year-old Jewish girl, is forced to flee Spain with her father. But Hannah is no ordinary refugee. Her gift of "Sight," the ability to foresee the future, is priceless in the troubled times of the Tudor court. Hannah is adopted by the glamorous Robert Dudley, the charismatic son of King Edward's protector, who brings her to court as a "holy fool" for Queen Mary and, ultimately, Queen Elizabeth. Hired as a fool but working as a spy; promised in wedlock but in love with her master; endangered by the laws against heresy, treason, and witchcraft, Hannah must choose between the safe life of a commoner and the dangerous intrigues of the royal family that are inextricably bound up in her own yearnings and desires.
Teeming with vibrant period detail and peopled by characters seamlessly woven into the sweeping tapestry of history, The Queen's Fool is another rich and emotionally resonant gem from this wonderful storyteller.

Thoughts:  Another historical novel about one of my favorite time periods, by one of my favorite authors. This one provides a different view of Queen Mary than you see in most...a much more sympathetic picture than the typical "Bloody Mary" most people think of when they hear her name. This view actually seems more realistic to me...a tormented, tortured woman, born to be the Queen of England, and yet never in her life sure of her status in the court, or in the heart of her father.