Annette Laing's The Snipesville Chronicles
Where the Broken Heart Still Beats
Fiction , Historical , Middle Grade / March 19, 2018

Nine-year-old Cynthia Ann Parker’s family had been settled in Texas for two years when their home was raided by Comanche Indians. She and her siblings were carried away, separated and sent to live among the tribe. Adopted by a stern and mostly unkindly couple, she worked hard and eventually became a credit to her new family. She forgot not only the English language, but also her previous life and the violent murder of her loved ones and abuse of her early days in the camp. She married well and produced three children. Twenty-five years after her abduction, the Indian camp was in turn raided, and the Parker family was ready to welcome her home with open arms, along with her one-year-old daughter. But Naduah, as she was now known, did not want live with the strange white people. She had forgotten everything about her early life and felt she had been ripped from her true family. Her strange behavior and stubbornness to let go of her Indian ways caused most of her family to scorn her. Shuffled through three different households, escape was never far from her mind. Told in the viewpoint of Cynthia Ann and her young cousin Lucy…

Loving Will Shakespeare
Fiction , Historical , Teen / March 19, 2018

A young adult novel based around the courtship and marriage of William Shakespeare and Anne Hathaway, this book is also an excellent read on the ways of life in the country at the end of the sixteenth century in England. Agnes (called Anne by Shakespeare) lives a simple life on her family’s farm. She tends the garden, helps birth the animals, collects honey to sell and makes candles with the wax – among many other chores and duties. Though her life seems mundane, especially for the woman who was the wife of England’s greatest playwright, there was much drama in the family and community. Agnes is not one to be pushed around, but she is repeatedly tormented by her stepmother and half-sister, and so her decisions are sometimes based on the need to either appease them or escape. William is not her first suitor, as she was 26 when they married. This story covers her entire childhood from age 7 to her death many years later, but mostly centers on the years just before her marriage. I found this to be a quick and enjoyable read, and an especially enlightening look at life in small-town Elizabethan England. There is one…

Duchessina
Fiction , Historical , Teen / March 19, 2018

Duchessina is a young adult novel based on the early life of Catherine de’ Medici, niece of two Popes and later Queen of France. Catherine, orphaned at just a month of age, was raised in the Palazzo Medici with two distant cousins: the kind Ippolito and his polar opposite, Alessandro. Catherine soon learns that she must find means of charming people, as she does not possess the physical attributes that define a beautiful woman. During the sack of Rome and subsequent uprisings against the family of Medici, Catherine is ensconced in a series of convents for her safety. While one is miserable, she finds solace and friendship in another, only to be shuffled back to the first one when her name causes consternation among the populace. The friendships and betrayals she encounters in her early life serve to make the woman the world has known as ‘Madame Serpent’. I had expected this story to end at her marriage to Henri, Duc d’ Orleans, because I have read a very long, detailed novel of Diane de Poitiers (Courtesan by Diane Haeger) and didn’t think there was any way to include all of the history into the last 60 pages of Duchessina….