The Dogs of Windcutter Down by David Kennard
I am so enjoying these books! They tell the story of the life of a shepherd and his family in Devon, England. Since I love reading about farms, and England, and country life, these books hit big points for me.
A Shepherd's Watch goes through the year, season by season, telling of the tasks and activities of the shepherd and his sheepdogs. I haven't gotten through it yet (I read the other first) but am really enjoying it, as well as the beautiful pictures.
The Dogs of Windcutter Down tell the story of how the shepherd tries to recover from the outbreak of foot and mouth, take care of his sheep, and look for ways to make extra income. It is very endearing and beautifully written.
I just finished reading this for the first time! (Is that hard to believe!) It was such a relaxing book to read -- to let my mind wander back in time and enjoy the romance of the age without the harsh realities of what life was really like back then (especially for the not so wealthy). And, as always, the right men match up with the right women (at least the good men and women). Sometimes it seems a little too good to be true, but enjoyable nonetheless.
Alison Weir is a very well-researched author. This is her first historical novel, she normally writes historical biographies. This book tells the story of Lady Jane Grey who was Queen of England for eight days following the death of Henry VIII's son. It is so well-written, and so close to history, and very gripping.
I believe the picture above (if I remember right) is looking out the window from where Jane was held prisoner, overlooking the sight where she was to be executed.
Next on my list by Alison Weir is The War of the Roses. Children of England was the first book I read by Weir and it was very good.
I don't trust Antonia as much as I do Alison Weir, but I do feel as though I got a much better understanding of Marie Antoinette from this book. It's hard to know - the English hate the French and the French hate the English and the French hated Marie Antoinette -- so how can we get to the bottom of the truth? (Fraser is English)
Reading the book I felt such pity and admiration for Marie Antoinette. This is the book off of which the movie is based. The movie, surprisingly, follows the book quite closely. Although, it can be debated whether Marie actually had an affair with Fersen. Antonia Fraser admits evidence can go either way -- Fraser wants to think Marie was unfaithful and had a wonderful fling with Fersen. I prefer to think Marie was faithful to her husband. Okay, her husband was not the greatest by any means, but he was determined to be faithful to Marie after seeing the havic wreaked in his family by all the mistresses.
Anyway, the book is a bit thick, and hard to get through at times. But, with time on my hands, I was glad for the education it gave me and I was glad to get a bit more of a sympathetic view of Marie Antoinette than the one they gave us at Versailles!