The Week: 15th – 21st October

The gorgeous Friday we had in Canberra!

1 Currawong Garden Canberra Australia Sonya Heaney 15th october 2018 Australian Birds Nature

2 Currawong Garden Canberra Australia Sonya Heaney 15th october 2018 Australian Birds Nature

We had some beautiful spring weather in Canberra this week, but every time I tried to work outside, this currawong would steal my chair the second I stepped away from it!

What a stunning by-election result in Sydney last night. Maybe a message to the Federal Government to remind them Australia didn’t vote for the far-right government we were handed behind closed doors a few weeks ago…? May we please have an election NOW?!

Also, what stunning news out of Queensland. I didn’t expect it.

So many terrible things in the world this week. A question: when a Russian guy goes on a shooting rampage in Ukraine’s Crimea, killing more people than in high-profile Parkland, Florida, why does nobody seem to care? Why do we treat lives in one country as so much more important than lives in any other?

In fact, I was taught in *first semester* journalism at university that the media DOES consider people of different countries to matter more. We were taught (in one of the top two journalism courses in Australia) to start thinking of different countries as holding different levels of importance. It disgusted me back then, and it disgusts me more with each year.

Judy Blume on the Big Screen

My review of The Makings of a Lady by Catherine Tinley

Want to Read: Dominion by Peter Ackroyd

Royal Wedding

12 October 2018 Newlyweds Princess Eugenie of York and Mr. Jack Brooksbank leave following their wedding at St George_s Chapel in Windsor, England. © Getty Images +

Coming Up for Madeline Hunter

A Devil of a Duke (2018) (The second book in the Decadent Dukes Society series) A novel by Madeline Hunter

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Judy Blume on the Big Screen

Are You There God It's Me Mrgaret by Judy Blume

It was announced a couple of days ago that Judy Blume’s 1970 book Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret is finally being turned into a movie.

You can read more about it HERE.

Here’s what the book is about:

“Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret” No one ever told Margaret Simon that eleven-going-on- twelve would be such a hard age. When her family moves to New Jersey, she has to adjust to life in the suburbs, a different school, and a whole new group of friends. Margaret knows she needs someone to talk to about growing up-and it’s not long before she’s found a solution.

“Are you there God? It’s me, Margaret. I can’t wait until two o’clock God. That’s when our dance starts. Do you think I’ll get Philip Leroy for a partner? It’s not so much that I like him as a person God, but as a boy he’s very handsome. And I’d love to dance with him… just once or twice. Thank you God.

 

 

Want to Read: Dominion by Peter Ackroyd

Released last week, I saw Dominion reviewed in Canberra Weekly, and now I *have* to have it! This is the fifth of six planned instalments about the history of England, and the time period it covers (1815-1901) is probably the one that fascinates me the most.

Dominion: The History of England from the Battle of Waterloo to Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee (The History of England #5) by Peter Ackroyd

Dominion The History of England from the Battle of Waterloo to Victoria's Diamond Jubilee (The History of England #5) by Peter Ackroyd

The fifth volume of Peter Ackroyd’s enthralling History of England

Dominion, the fifth volume of Peter Ackroyd’s masterful History of England, begins in 1815 as national glory following the Battle of Waterloo gives way to a post-war depression and ends with the death of Queen Victoria in January 1901.

Spanning the end of the Regency, Ackroyd takes readers from the accession of the profligate George IV whose government was steered by Lord Liverpool, whose face was set against reform, to the ‘Sailor King’ William IV whose reign saw the modernisation of the political system and the abolition of slavery.

But it was the accession of Queen Victoria, at only eighteen years old, that sparked an era of enormous innovation. Technological progress―from steam railways to the first telegram―swept the nation and the finest inventions were showcased at the first Great Exhibition in 1851. The emergence of the middle-classes changed the shape of society and scientific advances changed the old pieties of the Church of England, and spread secular ideas among the population. Though intense industrialization brought booming times for the factory owners, the working classes were still subjected to poor housing, long work hours, and dire poverty. Yet by the end of Victoria’s reign, the British Empire dominated much of the globe, and Britannia really did seem to rule the waves.

The Makings of a Lady by Catherine Tinley

The Makings of a Lady by Catherine Tinley

Be calm, she thought. Be gracious. Be twenty-two.

Lady Olivia Fanton is eager to prove she’s no longer a child. However, just as she thinks she has found a suitable match in suave Mr Manning, charismatic Captain Jem Ford walks back into her life, bringing with him all the embarrassment of her infatuation four years before! She’s determined to appear mature, distant, friendly. But dare she hope he will notice her as the lady she’s become?

The Makings of a Lady by Catherine Tinley

With Harlequin Mills and Boon’s historical romance line you never know exactly what you’re going to get. The line publishes books set in many different eras, ranging from sweet to steamy. The Makings of a Lady is a more traditional take on the Regency romance, which I think the cover helps to portray.

The book opens four years before the main story. The heroine thinks the hero has asked to see her so he can propose; he has actually come to tell her he is moving to Australia (without her).

We pick up in in the “future”, with the hero’s return and a lot more obstacles in the couple’s path to happiness.

My favourite thing about this book is the way author Catherine Tinley writes her settings. She knows her landscapes and her nature, and the story isn’t just set in “England”, the historical romance character, but England, as it is.

Readers who come into this one might be surprised by the different pace, and some people might be frustrated by the heroine’s naïveté, but there is plenty to like here.

 

Review copy provided by NetGalley.

Coming Up for Madeline Hunter

There’s no cover yet, but the third book in Madeline Hunter’s Decadent Dukes series has a release date of the 30th April, 2019.

Here’s what it’s about:

He is the last duke standing

. . . the sole remaining bachelor of the three self-proclaimed Decadent Dukes. Yet Davina MacCallum’s reasons for searching out the handsome Duke of Brentworth have nothing to do with marriage. Scottish lands were unfairly confiscated from her family by the Crown and given to his. A reasonable man with vast holdings can surely part with one trivial estate, especially when Davina intends to put it to good use. Brentworth, however, is as difficult to persuade as he is to resist.

The Duke of Brentworth’s discretion and steely control make him an enigma even to his best friends. Women especially find him inscrutable and unapproachable – but also compellingly magnetic. So when Davina MacCallum shows no signs of being even mildly impressed by him, he is intrigued. Until he learns that her mission in London involves claims against his estate. Soon the two of them are engaged in a contest that allows no compromise. When duty and desire collide, the best laid plans are about to take a scandalous turn – into the very heart of passion . . .

My reviews of the first two books:

The Most Dangerous Duke in London

the-most-dangerous-duke-in-london-decadent-dukes-society-1-by-madeline-hunter

A Devil of a Duke

A Devil of a Duke (2018) (The second book in the Decadent Dukes Society series) A novel by Madeline Hunter

Monday Thoughts

social_media.jpg

I got a bit mad in the comments of a few blog posts in the past week, but I can’t take it back now!

Basically, I’m a little bit frustrated with the power bestselling authors have over their readers, and that certain authors post some absolute nonsense online – with no facts to back their stories up – and everyone believes them. One blog I’ve been following for years posts lengthy history posts a few times a week, and not once have they ever provided a link to show their posts are based in fact.

Please, if you’re posting something that will get your readers commenting: ‘Wow! I never knew that! Thanks for sharing!’…?

Then, please, please link to at least one thing to prove what you’re saying is true.

We live in the age of Trump, Putin, and far-right Facebook memes. Everyone (including me) can and should do better.

Royal Wedding

12 October 2018 Newlyweds Princess Eugenie of York and Mr. Jack Brooksbank leave following their wedding at St George_s Chapel in Windsor, England. © Getty Images +

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I’m no royal watcher, and have no interest whatsoever in the Harry-and-Meghan show, but I did watch the wedding of Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank on Friday night (Australian time), and loved every minute of it.

Firstly: how beautiful did everybody look! All those gorgeous jewel colours, all that sapphire blue and emerald green (and those gigantic actual emeralds in the tiara!).

Secondly: this wedding was seriously romantic. Give me the goofy groom who can’t stop crying, looks like he’s going to faint half the time, and then puts the dorkiest glasses in the world on to watch his bride come down the aisle over the other royal grooms any day!

I doubt the dorky-English-groom trope is ever going to take off in romantic fiction, but it ought to.

My other favourite royal wedding was when (Australian) Mary Donaldson married the Crown Prince of Denmark, because he cried through that one, too!

1 Princess Eugenie and her new husband Jack Brooksbank curtesy to The Queen as they leave St George_s Chapel in Windsor Castle following their wedding. 12 October 20182 Princess Eugenie and her new husband Jack Brooksbank curtesy to The Queen as they leave St George_s Chapel in Windsor Castle following their wedding. 12 October 2018

Bowing to the Queen

And, thirdly, this was such a royal wedding, with all the beauty and class and traditions. Windsor looked absolutely gorgeous.

And boo to the downright rude Australian journalists who devoted their entire time covering the wedding to insulting Eugenie, her sister, her parents, and comparing it to the last one! Thank God the Royal Family has an official YouTube channel, and thank God they had a gorgeous livestream, sans terrible commentators!