Saturday, 5 September 2015

The Sister Queens

by Sophie Perinot

Rating: 4/5


Pages: 503
Publisher:  NAL
Publication Date: 2012
ISBN: 9780451235701
Summary (via Goodreads)

Patient, perfect, and used to being first, Marguerite becomes Queen of France. But Louis IX is a religious zealot who denies himself the love and companionship his wife craves. Can she borrow enough of her sister's boldness to grasp her chance for happiness in a forbidden love?Passionate, strong-willed, and stubborn, Eleanor becomes Queen of England. Henry III is a good man, but not a good king. Can Eleanor stop competing with her sister and value what she has, or will she let it slip away?

The Sister Queens is historical fiction at its most compelling, and is an unforgettable first novel.


How do you determine the creator of history? Is it just one person or several? Are they male? Female? Both? Who are they?

These were some of the questions I had in the back of my mind when I was reading The Sister Queens by Sophie Perinot.

The Sister Queens follows the stories of Marguerite, Queen of France, and Eleanor, Queen of England in the 1200s. What is interesting about the two women is that, not only were they both married to powerful kings, but they were also sisters who would continue a constant bond and correspondence with one another for their entire lives, despite the very different direction those lives would go in.

I had never actually heard of Eleanor or Marguerite, or their other two sisters who would also become queens in their own right. However their story intrigued me. Eleanor and Marguerite were queens to warring kings who, at some points in their lives, resented one another. Despite this, the two sisters worked together to bring peace between their two countries as they attempted to hold their own in a world ruled by men.

Overall I found the book to be interesting to read and the voices of the characters to be captivating. I found myself following the story and, due to my limited knowledge of the history behind the book, guessing at what would happen next.

Both sisters are portrayed as being strong, independent and intelligent women who learned how to achieve what they wanted despite being considered inferior by their contemporaries.

Perinot has really brought the dead back to life in her book and given them their own voices once again.
A Thousand Nights

by E. K. Johnson

Rating: 4/5


Pages: 336
Publisher:  Disney Hyperion
Publication Date: October 2015
ISBN: 9781484722275

Summary (via Goodreads)
Lo-Melkhiin killed three hundred girls before he came to her village, looking for a wife. When she sees the dust cloud on the horizon, she knows he has arrived. She knows he will want the loveliest girl: her sister. She vows she will not let her be next.

And so she is taken in her sister's place, and she believes death will soon follow. Lo-Melkhiin's court is a dangerous palace filled with pretty things: intricate statues with wretched eyes, exquisite threads to weave the most beautiful garments. She sees everything as if for the last time. But the first sun rises and sets, and she is not dead. Night after night, Lo-Melkhiin comes to her and listens to the stories she tells, and day after day she is awoken by the sunrise. Exploring the palace, she begins to unlock years of fear that have tormented and silenced a kingdom. Lo-Melkhiin was not always a cruel ruler. Something went wrong.

Far away, in their village, her sister is mourning. Through her pain, she calls upon the desert winds, conjuring a subtle unseen magic, and something besides death stirs the air.

Back at the palace, the words she speaks to Lo-Melkhiin every night are given a strange life of their own. Little things, at first: a dress from home, a vision of her sister. With each tale she spins, her power grows. Soon she dreams of bigger, more terrible magic: power enough to save a king, if she can put an end to the rule of a monster.


My thanks to Macmillan for the review copy of A Thousand Nights.

A Thousand Nights is a beautifully charming version of a classic, a fresh fairy-tale that I couldn't put down!

I have always found stories like Aladdin and Arabian Nights to be of interest, therefore when I read the press release on A Thousand Nights, I jumped at the chance to read a review copy of the book.

A Thousand Nights follows the story of a young woman who sacrifices herself in place of her sister when the king comes to claim his newest bride. determined, strong-willed and brave, the young woman faces Lo-Melkhiin night after night, always wondering if she would see the following dawn.
The woman notices things about her new husband that she was not expecting, moments of kindness that a monster wouldn't reveal. With this in mind she begins to question the reality of her situation and wonder if the man still existed within the demon.

What I found interesting about this book is that the main character, the wife of Lo-Melkhiin, is never given a name. She is referred to as Lady-Bless by the other characters and, for the purpose of this review, I will be doing the same.

Lady-bless is very much a character who goes on a journey of self-discovery throughout the book. In the beginning she believes herself to be plain, ordinary and dull in comparison to her more beautiful sister. However, after leaving her family behind and moving to her new husband's home, Lady-bless finds out that she has her own inner strength that could save not just herself, but everyone in the kingdom.

I found the book to both gripping and well written. The idea behind the book is captivating and tells an interesting take on  the backdrop of The Arabian Nights story where a woman uses her wits and intelligence to survive her marriage to a violent husband. The description of the desert and the it's surroundings allows the reader to become immersed within the story, almost being able to feel the intense heat, taste the sand at the back of their throats.

A Thousand Nights is set for release on 6th October 2015 and I would strongly recommend buying a copy.