Deborah Cadbury’s Queen Victoria’s Matchmaking: The Royal Marriages That Shaped Europe (2017)

victoria matchmaking

If you enjoy PBS as much as I do, chances are you’re also spending your Sunday nights watching Victoria. Even if you’re not following the show, if you like historical nonfiction with a hefty dose of fascinating interpersonal relationships, have I got a book for you! Not your typical Valentine’s Day read but full of romance nonetheless.

Deborah Cadbury transitioned to writing historical nonfiction after a long career as a BBC producer. Quite a few of her books have focused on royalty, though this one has a much broader focus and grander ambition.

At its heart is Queen Victoria in her later years and the various schemes she and her extended family concocted to marry off her grandchildren. Her overarching goal was one of balancing power and ensuring peace in Europe, and she firmly believed that marital alliances between her grandchildren scattered across the continent and their respective royal houses was the key to achieving this ambition. However, her interests were not entirely mercenary, as she also plotted to pair up those whom she felt were the most well-suited for each other. But as the old saying about the “best-laid plans of mice and men” acknowledges, nothing actually went according to plan. . . .

Continue reading “Deborah Cadbury’s Queen Victoria’s Matchmaking: The Royal Marriages That Shaped Europe (2017)”

Advertisements

Book Buzz: Searing Literary Debuts, Murderous Siblings, and Cow-Induced Friendships

Every month, we’re profiling new-ish releases that are getting critical and commercial buzz. For February, we’re looking at an acclaimed new literary novel about contemporary urban Native American life, a zany Nigerian horror-comedy about siblings and serial murder, and a heartwarming memoir of friendship and the culture of cows in India.

Continue reading “Book Buzz: Searing Literary Debuts, Murderous Siblings, and Cow-Induced Friendships”

The Death of Stalin (2018)

death of stalin

Okay, so I’ve never really watched the show Survivor, but the catchphrase is embedded in my brain from years of commercials: “Outwit, outlast, outplay.” If one were to devise a similar catchphrase for the historical comedy film The Death of Stalin, it would probably be “Out-scheme, out-mourn, outlive”. . . .

Continue reading “The Death of Stalin (2018)”

Old Favorites: Arthur Miller

We’re focusing on newer books, movies, and television shows for 2019, but that doesn’t mean we’re entirely ignoring old favorites! After all, what’s that saying–what’s old may just become new again (or something like that)?

I’ve always loved reading plays–and especially mid-20th century American plays. My favorite playwright would probably be Tennessee Williams, but I also always enjoyed Arthur Miller’s work. Today marks 66 years since his play The Crucible premiered, and what better time to explore the life and career of this master of the American stage?

Continue reading “Old Favorites: Arthur Miller”

Guest Blogger Courtney: Independently Published Books, A Reader’s Perspective

[Usually blog posts are written by Shirley, Berryville’s library services associate, but today we have a special treat–a guest review written by Courtney, one of our local business owners and fellow book bloggers. She wrote an excellent piece on historical Christian fiction for us last year. This time, she’s talking about indie authors.]

Continue reading “Guest Blogger Courtney: Independently Published Books, A Reader’s Perspective”

Book Buzz: Short Story Anthologies, Standalone Debuts, and Libraries

Every month, we’re profiling new-ish releases that are getting critical and commercial buzz. For January, we’re looking at a prestigious annual literary collection, a standalone mystery from one of the most popular crime writers working today, and a profile of the Los Angeles library system.

Continue reading “Book Buzz: Short Story Anthologies, Standalone Debuts, and Libraries”

Ideas for 2019?

design-2019-2018-to-reach-new

Happy New Year, everybody!

This year, we’ll be continuing our sneak peeks at newer book releases, celebrations of notable events in literary history, and book, television show, and movie reviews.

And to that end, I was wondering what you wanted me to review.

Continue reading “Ideas for 2019?”