Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom

By now I've learned that whenever I read a novel by Mr. Albom to keep the Kleenex close by. I cried a river over this little book.

It’s the story of Father Time, his punishment and redemption. The first man to attempt to measure God’s greatest gift—Time—is punished for it. He’s banished to live alone in a cave, to listen to every desperate human plea for more time. After 6,000 years have passed, he’s given a chance to redeem himself. Equipped with a magical hourglass, he is sent down to earth to teach two people the true meaning of time and that it’s a precious gift that should never be taken for granted.

Sarah Lemon is a humiliated love-struck teenager poised to commit suicide on the loneliest night of the year—New Year’s.

Victor Delamonte is 89, one of the richest men in the world, dying of terminal cancer and unable to do anything about it. Since he can’t be cured, he turns to cryonics in the hope of cheating death.

Can Father Time save them both from making fatal mistakes? Will he be forgiven at last? I’m not going to spoil it for you.

Mr. Albom has a real gift for writing short novels that go straight for the heartstrings, they grab on and wring tears out of you. At least that’s how they always affect me. Though my own circumstances are rather different, and I’m a long way from seventeen, I could really relate to Sarah’s feelings of hopelessness. I’ve had too many dark nights of the soul not to be affected, especially since New Year’s, the night she chose for her suicide attempt,  is one of the hardest, and loneliest, nights, and days, of the year for me.  I’ll keep this on my bookshelf, alongside Mr. Albom’s The Five People You Meet In Heaven and For One More Day, but I don’t honestly know if I will ever read this one again. It’s beautiful, and many may be moved and find hope within its pages, and I wish I could have, but, for me at least, it bites too deep.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas! Tabby's Christmas Pictures

Here's Tabby, snug in her bed the night before Christmas. Do visions of sugarplums dance in her head?

If so, she'll have to settle for Russell Stover instead.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Salome by Beatrice Gormley

History condemns this Biblical era princess for demanding the head of John the Baptist after her seductive Dance of the Seven Veils. But what would Salome herself say if she were given the chance to tell her side of the story?

In this novel, written for a young adult audience, we see, in Salome’s own words, how an innocent teen, who danced in the Temple of Diana, was caught up in a web of intrigue, desire, and greed. Her mother, Herodias, was more like a big sister than a mother to her, and her marital scandals provoked the prophet, John the Baptist, to speak out against her. This angered Herodias so much she was willing to use her pretty, nubile daughter as the instrument to achieve her desires if she had to, even if it ruined her daughter’s reputation forevermore and caused her great emotional pain.

After her infamous dance, and the beheading of John the Baptist, Salome, tormented by bad dreams and visions of his head on a platter, seeks to atone by doing good deeds. And when she hears about a young preacher, Yeshua (Jesus) of Nazareth, who some even claim is John the Baptist resurrected, Salome decides to seek him out and ask for forgiveness.

Salome emerges from the pages of this novel as a well-intentioned, good-hearted teenage girl, who is more victim than sinner. I’ve noticed in the novels I’ve read about Salome there’s always an excuse not to blame her, something that allows the reader to feel sorry for her and go on liking her, she was drugged or only wanted to please her mother etc. and this novel conforms to that pattern.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

New Review & Interview About The Boleyn Bride

The Historical Fiction Obsession blog has published an early review of The Boleyn Bride as well as a new interview with me. 
You can read the interview at and the review at

Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Memoirs of Mary Queen of Scots by Carolly Erickson

This is yet another entertaining volume in Ms. Erickson’s outlandish series of historical entertainments. This one is about a woman who throughout history down to the present day has been seen as a martyr, murderess, whore, or a fool, or some combination of all. She’s Elizabeth I’s cousin and rival, and to this day historians and readers of historical fiction side with one against the other; few seem capable of impartiality when faced with these two larger than life characters.

The Mary of this novel is married at fifteen to the Dauphin of France, but he dies soon afterwards of “a worm in the ear” as diagnosed by her mother-in-law, Catherine de Medici’s astrologer, Nostradamus. He reads Mary’s palm and proffers some rather grim news—she was meant to die as a baby, and her survival has upset the natural order of things. The eighteen year old Catholic widow returns to Scotland, but receives a rather dismal welcome from her Protestant subjects, including the Reverend Knox, who protests petticoat. Mary has to fight her own people just to hold her throne. She soon finds herself smitten with her kinsman from England, Lord Darnley, a man so handsome Mary is blind to all his faults. She ignores all warnings that Lord Darnley is just a beautiful piece of sexual bait sent to her by her cousin Elizabeth, and that he fancies boys in the boudoir. They marry, but the union is obviously doomed, and when Darnley dies under mysterious circumstances, Mary’s life becomes a lot more complicated, she is denounced form the pulpits, and becomes a prisoner of her own people, and is forced to flee Scotland with her lover, the Earl of Bothwell, and throw herself on the mercy of her cousin, Queen Elizabeth. Then Ms. Erickson, who has been playing fast and loose with the facts throughout, throws them all out the window and sends Mary to Rome, to enjoy the Pope’s hospitality and plot a religious revolution, but when she returns to England to find letters hidden with the corpse of the Queen’s lover’s murdered wife, Amy Robsart Dudley, she is captured and lays her head on the block soon after.

Ms. Erickson’s novels definitely break the tradition of firmly fact based historical fiction, and those who relish picking through the novels they read in the quest for inaccuracies are going to be very busy indeed if they pick up this novel, but those capable of just reading it in the spirit of fun in which it is intended might have some fun with this one, as well as the rest of the series, many of which you can find reviewed on this blog.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Exciting Announcement--Stay Tuned!

First of all I want to thank all of you, my readers, who have come along on the journey through Tudor England with me. Your support has meant so much to me.

But, I have a surprise.

I've decided to leave my Tudor world and sail out into uncharted waters. The Boleyn Bride, out February 25th 2014, will be the last book in my Tudor saga.

By this time next year, I’ll be sharing something entirely new with you, a breath of fresh air, and I couldn't be more thrilled. My publisher, Kensington, has a tentative timeline of November 2014 for release for this new novel and I hope you’ll enjoy reading it as much as I've enjoyed writing it.

Now that I've piqued your interest…What is this book about you ask? I’m afraid I can’t say now but I can assure you it has everything you've loved about my previous books…plus more.

Stay Tuned for developments!

Best Wishes,

Brandy Purdy

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Christmas Q&A + Giveaway: The Queen's Pleasure and The Queen's Rivals at The Tudor Enthusiast

The Tudor Enthusiast blog is hosting a special Q&A and giveaway for The Queen's Pleasure and The Queen's Rivals, to read the interview and enter please visit

The Apple Crimson Petal Stories by Michel Faber

Mr. Faber’s novel The Crimson Petal and the White is one of my favorites, I hope someday to be able to read it again and review it here on this blog; in my opinion it’s one of the best novels I have ever read, peopled with characters who stay in your mind long after you've read the last page, the kind that keep you wondering what happened after the author chose to end his story.

For those who have not had the pleasure of reading it, The Crimson Petal and the White takes place in the 1870s and tells the story of a remarkable young woman, a prostitute named Sugar, who ends up working in her wealthy lover’s household as governess to his daughter, Sophie. Despite some very vocal reader dissatisfaction with a tantalizingly open ending, Mr. Faber has so far resisted writing a sequel, but he has given readers this slim volume of seven stories that revisit several characters from the original novel. One even proffers some clues about what happened afterwards.

Though I highly recommend reading the novel first, it is not, in my opinion, necessary to do so in order to enjoy these stories. For someone who has read the novel, reading this collection of stories is like being reunited with old friends, and learning a little more about them, and for a newcomer, it’s like meeting someone for the first time and being told a story from their life that makes you want to know even more.

In “Christmas in Silver Street” seventeen-year-old Sugar goes out and buys some Christmas treats for Christopher, the little boy who is employed in her mother’s brothel to collect and deliver the girls’ laundry.

“Clara and the Rat Man” tells about a former lady’s maid, fallen to prostitution, who receives a rather unusual request from one of her clients.

In “Chocolate Hearts From The New World” Dr. Curlew despairs that his plain daughter Emmeline will ever catch a husband. When he learns that she is corresponding with gentlemen in America he finds new reason to hope.

When a fly lands on a whore’s buttocks, it provokes a libertine to contemplate his own mortality and the futility of human existence in “The Fly, and Its Effects Upon Mr. Bodley.”

A female evangelist singing hymns outside the brothel awakens Sugar early one morning in “The Apple.”

“Medicine” finds an apathetic William Rackham sitting at his desk, taking patent medicines, pondering his business problems, and feeling sorry for the turn his life has taken since the coming and going of Sugar.

And in the final, and longest, story, “A Mighty Horde of Women In Very Big Hats Advancing,” Sophie’s son, now an elderly man, looks back upon his life and reminisces about the clash of middle class English respectability, Bohemian artists, and suffragettes that made his childhood so exciting.

Mr. Faber is a very talented author who has written in various genres. Besides this short story collection, and his historical masterpiece, The Crimson Petal and the White, I have also read one of his forays into science fiction, the fascinating and disturbing Under The Skin, and I recommend them all and look forward to reading more of his work in the future.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Another Early Review of The Boleyn Bride by Brandy Purdy

Heather Domin has just posted a review of The Boleyn Bride on her blog at
she has reviewed all my novels, from the first, The Confession of Piers Gaveston, to the latest, you can find them all on her blog.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

The Comfort of Lies by Randy Susan Meyers

This novel certainly was a tangled web, so many lives, so many complications, all tangled up together, but the author did a marvelous job, creating difficult but realistic, thought-provoking situations and characters I could understand and feel for.

Tia made the mistake of falling in love with Nathan, a married man with two sons. To him, she was just an affair. He had no intention of changing his life for her. After she got pregnant, he disappeared after first advising her to have an abortion. Instead of following his advise, Tia gave her daughter up for adoption, and a part of her has regretted it ever since. She’s been drinking and her life has been slowly falling apart ever since and the ghost of Nathan and their relationship has never stopped haunting her; she just hasn't been able to recover and move on.

Five years later, she impulsively sends Nathan copies of the pictures she receives each year from the couple who adopted her daughter. Nathan’s wife, Juliette, has the outwardly perfect life. She’s the part owner of a successful line of organic cosmetics and a happy wife and mother. After Nathan confessed his affair with Tia he promised he would never cheat on her again. Juliette believed him. So when she opens Tia’s letter she is devastated. She never knew there was a child inside, a little girl who looks so much like her own children. How could Nathan reject and deny his daughter? And what others secrets is he hiding? What other lies has he told?

Juliette goes in search of Nathan’s daughter. Savannah, she discovers was adopted by Caroline, a work-driven pathologist dedicated to curing pediatric cancer, and her wealthy businessman husband Peter. But Caroline, has secrets of her own. In her heart, she knows motherhood is the wrong role for her. She just does not enjoy doing mommy things like playing with her daughter, she’d rather be in her lab working.

As the novel progresses, everyone comes together with Savannah at the heart of it all, as the knot tying them all together. Will it all unravel or become an even more tangled mess? It’s definitely worth reading to find out. I enjoyed this one so much that I immediately ordered the author’s previous novel, The Murderer’s Daughters, which I hope to read and review here eventually.