If you enjoyed the historical gossip re-imagined in Phillipa Gregory's popular novel, The Other Boleyn Girl, you'll love The Boleyn Inheritance. The novel focuses on two of Henry VIII's queens about whom history knows the least : Anne of Cleves, and Katherine Howard. Told in three-point perspective (from each of the queens, as well as their infamous lady-in-waiting, Jane Boleyn), the story unfolds as Henry, often portrayed as a gallant king prone to fits of fancy, is shown to be a terrifying, old, and rather repulsive tyrant. He marries Anne, and then, following his own desires without a care for anyone else, puts her aside for the 16-year-old maid-in-waiting. Less than two years later Katherine Howard loses her head in turn. Gregory does a spectacular job with the voices, pulling forth a range of emotions from the reader including annoyance, shock, and heartbreak, often about the same character. She also weaves the intrigues of the court politics in with the different players seamlessly, mirroring contemporary politics that make you question: who is really in charge and who is the real villain? The Boleyn Inheritance brings to life the world of a notorious history with characters who tell their stories so vividly, you'll wonder what is fact, and what is fiction.
In Juliet's Nurse, Lois Leveen re-writes Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet from the perspective of Juliet's nurse. There are similarities between this new interpretation and the story that we are all familiar with, but Leveen's interpretation contains twists, turns, and other views that Shakespeare did not include. I recommend Juliet's Nurse as a fun and poignant late summer read. ~ Lindsay
Tasha & Lola's Book Corner
This month, Lola (17 months) and I recommend the Melissa & Doug Wooden Animal Magnets, a colorful 20-piece set with a variety of household, farm, and wild animals. Magnets are great for Lola, because they allow her independence. She can choose which ones she wants to put on the fridge, and can organize them however she wants. And magnets are great for me, because I can interact with Lola by asking her to point to certain animals or to use her animal signs and sounds, while still keeping my hands free to tend to other tasks in the kitchen. (Note: These magnets are recommended for ages 2+, and while Lola is getting much better at figuring out what should and shouldn't go in her mouth, I always supervise her with the smaller pieces.)