The Last King - The Power and the Passion of Charles II - Historical Romance Series
Historical Romance Review:
This biography of the reign of Charles II shines light on a man who believed deeply in the 'divine right of Kings' and although his conviction was more subtle than some of his predecessors it was powerful enough to dissolve Parliament and squash the machinations that would force Charles to rename his own heir.
Charles II often labeled 'The Merry Monarch' does not live up to his name in this series. We are presented with a man lamenting the past, haunted by the ghost of his father. A man who takes life seriously and is committed to do what is required to ensure he is the ruler and not a puppet of Parliament.
Charles' insatiable carnal desires are tastefully played out. His constant philandering and religious tolerance cause Parliament much chagrin, not too mention the debauched behaviour of his renowned mistress Barbara Villiers. Helen McCrory cast as Barbara Villiers gives a creditable performance however doesn't quite fit the mold of a woman remembered for her breathtaking beauty. Rufus Sewell as Charles II oozes just the right amount of sensuality for one of the most promiscuous of Kings.
Sets and costumes achieve their goal, just the right amount of grunge and glamour to take the viewer into the depths of Restoration life. An absorbing series that gives us insight into the religious and political conflict of the time, when England was to have its last true King.
The Fortunes and Misfortunes of Moll Flanders - Historical Romance Series
Historical Romance Review:
A rollicking, raunchy and funny tale of the life of the 'o' so resourceful, Moll Flanders. Five times a wife, a whore, a thief, lover of men and women. A woman who had the best intentions but her lusty lust for life just got in the way. Born in Newgate prison, Moll escapes and is brought up as a foster child in a Puritan home. Emanating with raw sensuality Moll is the bulls eye target for many a man's desires and finds herself, giving away her virginity, marrying and widowed at a tender age. Poor and uneducated Moll asks herself and us, "What would you do?" As she not only performs in the story but narrates, peering into your eyes through the camera and inviting you into her life. Moll's solution is to take on the guise of a rich widow and snare her a man. This she repeats time and time again until Moll's beauty begins to fade and her only other option is to turn to crime.
Alex Kingston is Moll personified, with her seductive smile and flaming, red, hair. After surviving some dark, family truths in the new land of Virginia, Moll returns to her homeland of England where she falls for the dashing outlaw Jemmy, played by Daniel Craig, whose dastardly deeds are an equal match for her own. Unable to remain together Moll finds herself in the bowels of London and then goes full circle, being caught for thievery and thrown into the mire and grime of a Newgate cell.
From the Puritan costumes to the rotting, decayed teeth of a Newgate prisoner this adaptation combines sets, costumes and performance to achieve it's authenticity. Carnal acts abound with passion and playfulness. This is a cheeky and highly entertaining series, a story of Moll, a spirited survivor in a world often cruel and unforgiving.
THE VANISHING POINT - Historical Fiction Romance
Historical Romance Review:
The pages flew past as I read on feverishly trying to find the answers to this lusty, sad and absorbing novel. Set in the American wilderness of the late seventeenth century, Hannah Powers, follows her sister, May, from England to colonial Maryland where she envisions her fully entrenched in her new life as wife to their distant relative Gabriel. Mystery snowballs with each chapter, as the reader picks up the scent of foul play, becoming Hannah's accomplice in her hunt to dig out the truth on the mishaps of Washbrook Plantation. The women in this novel; Hannah and May Powers are unconventional. The authors reminds us of the inequality that existed between men and women. That Hannah could not be taken seriously as a physician, as women were deemed to be less intellectual than men. May on the otherhand, endowed with the sexual appetites of a philandering male, was at risk of being cast out of society and publicly humiliated while a man's infidelities could be overlooked.
Mary Sharratt meticulously details the everyday life and challenges of American settlers trying to earn a living off tobacco plantations. I really enjoyed reading about how food was attained and the complex routines that people had to complete to ensure they had enough rations to last them through a winter. It highlights how removed we are from our food resources; fast food and supermarkets giving us an every-ready supply of all things imaginable. It made me feel an overwhelming sense of admiration for people able to survive in such a raw and unforgiving environment. Once again we see the shortfallings of human nature as slaves and indentured servants are treated with cruelty and disrespect.
Love comes in many forms in this novel; fleeting, enduring, maternal, true, new and lost. Some spicy moments as passion takes over and inflames the pages.