Thursday, February 16, 2017

First Line Friday: Eleanor Edition II


Hello lovelies! I am still elbow-deep in research and I wouldn't have it any other way. One of the books I was most looking forward to finally arrived within the last week and it is one I am hoping will be most beneficial in really weeding out fact vs fiction in regards to Eleanor.

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"Eleanor of Aquitaine is one of the most famous women in medieval history, yet also one of the most inaccessible."

Now, I am still inclined to lean toward the 'exceptional', though I know that train of thought is going to be challenged a lot by this book. I'm cool with that, so long as my girl still gets her due respect. I mean, seriously, she was hauling ass all over England in her twilight years to collect Richard's ransom, which she HAND-DELIVERED HERSELF. And when her beloved Richard was dying, who stopped at nothing to be there with him when he died? Oh, right, HIS MOMMA!

After you've left your First Line below, stop by the blogs of my fellow First-Liners to see what they have waiting for you this week!


Rachel - Bookworm Mama




Lauraine - Lauraine's Notes



Robin - Robin's Nest


Kathleen - Kathleen Denly

Happy Reading!
Sarah

Thursday, February 9, 2017

First Line Friday: Eleanor Edition I



As you might have surmised by now given my posts here, on Twitter, and Facebook, I am in the process of writing a book about Eleanor of Aquitaine. I am supremely excited about this, because Eleanor is quite possibly my numero uno when it comes to favorite historical figures. I mean, come on, I named my daughter after her (Boudicca would've been a second choice, perhaps). I had a decent collection of non-fiction books regarding the original Eleanor started for my own little queen, but have now added multiple volumes as I read and research. So, as I will be immersed in the 12th century for the foreseeable future, I present my first of many First Lines about one of the most bad-ass women in history: Eleanor, Queen of England, Duchess of Aquitaine.

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"When Eleanor of Aquitaine died in 1204 her long career had been the most colorful and the stormiest of any English queen consort before or since."

Ain't that the truth!

After dropping me a line, check out what my fellow First Liners have for you this week.


Rachel - Bookworm Mama






Robin - Robin's Nest


Kathleen - Kathleen Denly

Happy Reading!
Sarah

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Update!

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"From the heated loins of Henry Plantagenet and Eleanor of Aquitaine had sprung a genetic order of fighting royal monsters" (pg 38).

I'm not sure this could've been said any better.

#AmWriting

Happy Sunday!

Friday, February 3, 2017

Update!

While perusing It Ended Badly: Thirteen of the Worst Break-Ups in History, by Jennifer Wright...

This one is too pop culture-y for me to take seriously, but I enjoyed this line:

"Eleanor never responded because she had blocked Henry's number. Besides, she'd already overruled the pope in her last marriage. No one could expect her to take an archbishop
seriously" (page 41).


Sunday, January 29, 2017

Update!

Okay, so there has been a little less activity here lately, especially noticeable last Friday, for First Line Friday. The reason for that is I suddenly have a new book project to work on that kind of came out of no where. I am still reading and reviewing, but now I am also working on something really special that I am super excited for. I may not have as many reviews up in the next couple weeks, because even though I know my subject very well, there is always more to learn. Wish me luck!

#AmWriting


Happy Reading!
Sarah

Friday, January 20, 2017

First Line Friday!


It's First Line Friday!

This week my first line is from Hunting the President: Threats, Plots, and Assassination Attempts - from FDR to Obama. (Don't ask me why that weird hyphen is there; I have no idea.)

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"President Roosevelt, the only president elected four times, who led America during the Great Depression and through World War II, was the target of would-be assassins who threatened to bomb his train, blow up the White House, and simply shoot him."

Leave your First Line below and then head over to my fellow First-Liners blogs to see what they have waiting for you this week!

Rachel - Bookworm Mama





Robin - Robin's Nest



Happy Reading!
Sarah

Monday, January 16, 2017

Shopping, Seduction and Mr Selfridge

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Rating: 4 Stars

I first learned of Selfridge from a PBS documentary in the last couple years and was forever intrigued by his story - particularly the part where he was eventually banned from his own store, the one he had worked so hard for decades to make into the ultimate shopping destination. He lived an incredible and interesting life, but came to a sad end in being forced out of his store. Selfridge's would not exist or have been as successful as it was without him, that much is obvious from the text. To have someone so forward-thinking, building his empire from the ground up, what a journey.

I not only learned about Selfridge and his own business, but a bit about the time period before he ventured out on his own when he worked at Marshal Field's in Chicago. Seeing Field's store in Chicago during and after the World's Fair in 1893 must have been amazing; Selfridge was very much the showman and the displays he put on must have been just amazing. I think about these times when the World's Fair was still a thing people went to see and department stores were still an all-day destination, and wonder if it would mean as much today? Now with news literally at our fingertips and social media galore, I don't know if these things would hold the same kind of wonder. I think technology has deprived us of a lot of really cool experiences, we are so desensitized to everything - not to mention the Mall of America and other mega malls kind of negate the whole 'department store experience'.

As an aside, which I seem to do a lot in my reviews recently, this book sparked my interest in the fair of 1893. My only knowledge of it thus far comes from this book and Erik Larson's fantastic Devil in the White City. Here I gained a bit more information though, and I will have to look into info about George Ferris, who debuted his Ferris Wheel at the fair, yet had to fund plans and construction costs himself. Due to that heavy burden, Ferris died just three years later alone in a hospital.

My only real gripe about this book has to do with photographs. I loved the ones that were included at the end of the text and being able to see the store and Selfridge in their primes was really cool. I only wish there had been MORE photos, and that they had been included within the text itself wherever the subject of the photo was being discussed, instead of all lumped together at the end. Looking back at my notes, I was already complaining about this in my notes, and that for all the fuss about how grand Selfridge's window displays were, there were zero photos. Given his positive relationship with the press, you know the photos have to exist in an archive somewhere. The author stated at one point that many of the displays "wouldn't look out of date today" (29%). Okay, so...where are they? I was also bothered by the fact that there were numerous mentions of these 12,000 architectural plans for the London store, yet no prints of the plans. Those would have been so cool to see and given the fact that there were so many of them, surely it would have been interesting to explore the differences in some of the plans.

I really kind of feel bad for Selfridge in regards to his personal life, especially in regards to his relationship with Jenny Dolly; what a horrible human being. Reading about some of his female companions and that aspect of his life was difficult, especially because he was so much older than him. On one hand, he made these decisions himself to spend thousands and thousands of dollars on them, but on the other hand given his advanced age, one has to wonder if he really was of sound mind. If not, these women were taking advantage of him. If he was, then I suppose he had the right to spend his money as he wished.

As the book neared its end, I felt bad for him, because I knew what was coming. For so many decades he was on the cutting edge of retail, built this magnificent empire, and made shopping an experience. The firing by his board still makes me angry, he built the place from nothing. Imagine how different things might have turned out for Marshall Field's, and Selfridge himself, had Field approved the name change to include Selfridge.

Overall, I found this an informative and interesting read. I have a bit of a soft spot for Selfridge because of how things ended, and I definitely recommend this read.