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Monday, July 31, 2017

#FirstPageMondays First Page Mondays: Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz


Before I share the first page, I will just say that instead of the one first page (obviously!!) that I share each time, this time I will share 2 first pages from the same book. How and why?

Because...

The book is about an editor who starts reading through a new manuscript, and shockingly, whatever she reads in the manuscript, strangely happens with her in real life too.... Interesting? Let me tell you this is one of the most amazing books I have read recently and I will definitely recommend it to anyone who loves a classic murder mystery, something on the lines of Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple and the like...that classic whodunnit, the old style London setting and so on.

Very crisp and intelligent writing....but no, this is not a review, this will be the first page(s) and the review shall follow soon :)

Here goes....the first page from the 'real' book and the first page from the 'manuscript.'

Crouch End, London

A bottle of wine. A family-sized packet of Nacho Cheese Flavoured Tortilla Chips and a jar of hot salsa dip. A packet of cigarettes on the side (I know, I know). The rain hammering against the windows. And a book.

 What could have been lovelier?

 Magpie Murders was a number nine in the much-loved and world-bestselling Atticus Pund series. When I first opened it on that wet August evening, it existed only as a typescript and it would be my job to edit it before it was published. First, I intended to enjoy it. I remember going straight into the kitchen when I came in, plucking a few things out of the fridge and putting everything on a tray. I undressed, leaving my clothes where they fell. The whole flat was a tip anyway. I showered, dried and pulled on a giant Maisie Mouse T-shirt that someone had given me at the Bologna Book Fair. It was too early to get into bed but I was going to read the book lying on top of it, the sheets still crumpled and unmade from the night before. I don't always live like this, but my boyfriend had been away for six weeks and while I was on my own I'd deliberately allowed standards to slip. There's something quite comforting about mess, especially when there's no one else there to complain.

 Actually, I hate the word. Boyfriend. Especially when it's used to describe a fifty-two-year-old, twice divorced man. The trouble is, the English language doesn't provide much in the way of an alternative. Andreas was not my partner. We didn't see each other.....

 One
SORROW

23 July 1955

There was going to be a funeral.

 The two gravediggers, old Jeff Weaver and his son, Adam, had been out at first light and everything was ready, a grave dug to the exact proportions, the earth neatly piled to one side. The church of St Botolph's in Saxby-on-Avon had never looked lovelier, the morning sun glinting off the stained glass windows. The church dated back to the twelfth century although of course it had been rebuilt many times. The new grave was to the east, close to the ruins of the old chancel where the grass was allowed to grow wild and daisies and dandelions sprouted around the broken arches.

 The village itself was quiet, the streets empty. The milkman had already made his deliveries and disappeared, the bottles rattling on the back of his van. The newspaper boys had done their round. This was a Saturday, so nobody would be going to work and it was still too early for the homeowners to begin their weekend chores. At nine o' clock, the village shop would open. The smell of bread, fresh out of the oven, was already seeping out of the baker's shop next door. Their first customers would be arriving soon. Once breakfast was over, a chorus of lawnmowers would start up. It was July, the busiest time of the year for Saxby-on-Avon's keen army of gardeners and with the Harvest Fair just a month away roses were already being pruned, marrows carefully measured. At half past one there was to be a cricket match on the village green. There would be an ice-cream van, children playing, visitors having picnics in front of their cars. The tea shop would be open for business. A perfect English summer's afternoon. 

- Debolina Raja

Thursday, July 13, 2017

The Breaking Point Short Stories by Daphne Du Maurier: Cover Jacket


The only book I have read by Daphne du Maurier is Rebecca and it is one of my favourite books, so obviously I picked up The Breaking Point by the same author when I saw it. The book is a collection of short stories and I have just about started reading today. Already super interesting, even though I am just through the first few pages.

Have a look at what the blurb says.....

The apathy of Sunday lay upon the streets. Houses were closed, withdrawn. They don't know, he thought, those people inside, how one gesture of mine, now, at this minute, might alter their world. A knock on the door, and someone answers - a woman yawning, an old man in carpet slippers, a child sent by its parents in irritation; and according to what I will, what I decide, their whole future will be decided... Sudden murder. Theft. Fire. It was as simple as that.

 In this collection of suspenseful tales in which fantasies, murderous dreams and half-forgotten worlds are exposed, Daphne du Maurier explores the boundaries of reality and imagination. Her characters are caught at those moments when the delicate link between reason and emotion has been stretched to the breaking point. Often chilling, sometimes poignant, these stories display the full range of Daphne du Maurier's considerable talent.

- Debolina Raja

Monday, July 3, 2017

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena #FirstpageMondays First Page Mondays



I am currently going really high on these psycho thrillers, very edge of the seat stories that make me read them up like mad, waiting to find out what's really going on and whether someone's playing around with my head.

Trust me, I have a list of these I am going to share soon. And on that, sorry for the long absence. I have been traveling a lot, plus health has been awful of late, but no more excuses and planning to be more regular here from now on :)

So yes, for now, here's a quick look at the first page of the book The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena




CHAPTER ONE

Anne can feel the acid churning in her stomach and creeping up her throat; her head is swimming. She's had too much to drink. Cynthia has been topping her up all night. Anne had meant to keep herself to a limit, but she'd let things slide - she didn't know how else she was supposed to get through the evening. Now she has no idea how much wine she's drunk over the course of this interminable dinner party. She'll have to pump and dump her breast milk in the morning.

 Anne wilts in the heat of the summer night and watches her hostess with narrowed eyes. Cynthia is flirting openly with Anne's husband, Marco. Why does Anne put up with it? Why does Cynthia's husband, Graham, allow it? Anne is angry but powerless; she doesn't know how to put a stop to it without looking pathetic and ridiculous. They are all a little tanked. So she ignores it, quietly seething, and sips at the chilled wine. Anne wasn't brought up to create a scene, isn't one to draw attention to herself.

- Debolina Raja

Friday, March 31, 2017

Dangerous Games by Danielle Steel: Review

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So some time back I received the book Dangerous Games by Danielle Steel. As most of us have done through our younger years, I also read a lot of her books and found them very easy and quick reads, entertaining and fun.

Of course over the years her writing style has also changed in some ways, and this I realized especially after reading this latest from her. By the way, she is set to come up with 4 more new titles this year, so that is something that I am definitely looking forward to!

You can read an excerpt from the first page of the book here.

Buy It Here

Cover Jacket

corruption, ambition, power and international intrigue..

Television correspondent Alix Phillips dodges bullets and breaks rules to bring the most important news to the world. With her daughter in college and working alongside cameraman Ben Chapman, an ex-Navy SEAL, Alix exhilarates in the risks and whirlwind pace of her work. But her latest assignment puts her at the centre of an explosive story that will reshape many lives, including her own: investigating damning allegations involving the Vice President of the United States, Tony Clark.

Alix starts with a nationally revered woman who may be the key to exposing frightening secrets. Olympia Foster is the fragile, reclusive widow of America's most admired senator who had been destined for the presidency before an assassin's bullet felled him. Since then, Olympia has found emotional support in Clark, who once wanted her as his wife but now stands as her protector and confidant. When Alix begins to dig deeper, federal agents pick up the trail.

 Then the threats begin.

 As the stakes rise in this dangerous game, Alix needs Ben's help like never before. Soon they realize they are grappling with an adversary far more sinister than they had imagined.

My Take

*I will keep it brief as I don't want to reveal any spoiler.

I liked the character of Alix, as she is one of Danielle Steel's more mature female protagonists. There is nothing flighty about her, and she felt more of a solid woman, with brains to match the overall personality.

As the story is set in a political backdrop, the pace is never dull, and there is a lot of action to keep the reader moving through the pages. It has just about 300 pages, so is quite a fast read as well. The characters are well built and you know a good deal about them without taking up too much time and space. This helps the reader connect more with the story, especially as you know the emotional undertones playing through the book.

There are quite a few interesting twists and turns of course that I will not get into. As the cover jacket already makes it clear, the story revolves around certain political twists that lead to some really dangerous games.

I would say that if you are looking for a light yet fast and interesting read, this book should surely be in your handbag, as it will be perfect to read during a commute. Or even when you are chilling at the beach or relaxing at home on a lazy day. Go for it :)

- Debolina Raja

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Rebecca's Tale by Sally Beauman #CoverJacket #OnTheCover



I have loved reading the classic Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, so when I saw this one at a book sale, I simply couldn't resist.

I am just about to start reading it, so can't comment on the story yet, but here's a look at the cover jacket that reads quite interesting.

I turned the page and discovered the two title words written in black ink, in a child's spiky hand, the tail of the last letter curling down the page in a long punning flourish... Rebecca's Tale...

April 1951. It is twenty years since the death of Rebecca, the strikingly beautiful first wife of Maxim de Winter. It is twenty years since the inquest, which famously - and controversially - passed a verdict of suicide. Twenty years since Manderley, the de Winter's ancient family seat, was raze to the groudn.

 But Rebecca's tale is just beginning.

 On the twentieth anniversary of her death, family friend Colonel Julyan receives an anonymous parcel in the post. It contains a black notebook with two handwritten words on the title page - Rebecca's Tale - and two pictures: a photograph of Rebecca as a young child, and a postcard of Manderley. Rebecca once asked Julyan to ensure she was buried in the churchyard facing the sea: if she ended up in the de Winter crypt, she warned, she'd come back to haunt him. Now, it seems, she has finally kept her promise.

Julyan's conscience has never been clear over the official version of Rebecca's death. Was it really suicide, or was it actually murder? Was Rebecca the manipulative, promiscuous femme fatale her husband claimed, or the gothic heroine of tragic proportions that others had suggested? The official story, the 'truth', has only ever had Maxim's version of events to consider. But all that is about to change...

 Sally Beauman has taken Daphne du Maurier's celebrated twentieth century classic, Rebecca, and crafted a compelling companion for the twenty-first. Haunting, evocative, mesmerising, Rebecca's Tale is for anyone who has ever dreamt of going back to Manderley again.

- Debolina Raja

Monday, March 20, 2017

#FirstpageMondays Dangerous Games by Danielle Steel



Buy Here



I recently received this brand new book titled Dangerous Games by Danielle Steel. Here's a quick look at the first page, review will follow soon so stay tuned.

Chapter 1

It was nearly four in the morning when Alix Phillips ran for cover as gunshots rang out. A fruit-canning factory had been shut down in Alabama, putting thousands out of jobs. The union had been trying to stop the shutdown for months, and finally violence had broken out in the town, out of desperation and frustration. Most of the factory workers were African American, some of whose families had worked there for generations. There had been looting and destruction in the town and surrounding area all night, and two young men had been killed. The riot police had been called in from nearby cities, and the acrid smell of tear gas was everywhere. Alix was reporting from a live feed, and had to abandon the spot where she'd been standing, as Ben Chapman, her cameraman, grabbed her roughly by the arm and forced her to leave. He nearly had to drag her to get her away from the scene, as troops narrowed in on the area, and flames exploded the windows as looters set a .....

- Debolina Raja

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

#CoverJacket The Disappeared by Kristina Ohlsson



My current favourite author is no doubt Kristina Ohlsson. What began as a random read by picking up a book called Silenced I now cannot seem to stop reading her books, and am planning to read everything she has written till date.

WHAT AN AMAZING WRITER !!!!!

Here's the cover jacket of the book I am reading now, The Disappeared by Kristina Ohlsson 

SOMETIMES THE TRUTH IS BETTER LEFT BURIED

From a dead case to a living nightmare....

The body of a young woman is found carved up and buried in a forest glade in an innocuous Swedish suburb. Alext Recht and his team in the Stockholm Police soon identify the body as belonging to missing student, Rebecca Trolle, but as his team continues to excavate the site, they discover that someone has been returning to the same spot to bury their victims year after year, decade after decade.

Investigative Analyst Fredrika Bergman is assigned the task of delving into Rebecca's private life. But little does she know that her enquiries are about to uncover evidence that will cause her to doubt the very people she trusts the most and put her every action under the scrutiny of Internal Affairs.

 Kristina Ohlsson has sold one million copies worldwide.

Now discover for yourself what makes her Sweden's favourite crime writer.

 'Kristina Ohlsson has managed to take the Swedish crime novel to a new and unexpected level.' ARNE DAHL

 'Tense, dense and very atmospheric.' - MONS KALLENTOFT

 'Superbly crafted.' - DAILY MAIL

- Debolina Raja 

Monday, February 13, 2017

#FirstPageMondays The First Fifteen Lives Of Harry August by Claire North


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Buy It Here



So the main reason I was drawn to this book was the cover. Isn't it absolutely gorgeous? I loved the way the intensity is portrayed here, and the haunting effect it has.

Without much rambling, let me share the first page of the book The First Fifteen Lives Of Harry August by Claire North

CHAPTER 1

The second cataclysm began in my eleventh life, in 1996. I was dying my usual death, slipping away in a warm morphine haze, which she interrupted like an ice cube down my spine.

 She was seven, I was seventy-eight. She had straight blonde hair worn in a long pigtail down her back, I had bright white hair, or at least the remnants of the same. I wore a hospital gown designed for sterile humility; she, bright-blue school uniform and a felt cap. She perched on the side of my bed, her feet dangling off it, and peered into my eyes. She examined the heart monitor alarm, felt for my pulse and said, "I nearly missed you Dr August."

 Her German was Berlin high, but she could have addressed me in any language of the world and still passed for respectable. She scratched at the back of her left leg, where her white knee-length socks had begun to itch from the rain outside. While scratching she said "I need to send a message back through time. If time can be said to be important here. As you're conveniently dying, I ask you to relay it to the Clubs of your origin,as it has been passed down to me."

- Debolina Raja

Sunday, February 12, 2017

#SneakyPeekySundays The Chosen by Kristina Ohlsson



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The first book I read by Kristina Ohlsson was Silenced. It was a random buy, as I loved the cover as well as the blurb.

I definitely recommend the book to anyone who loves a well-written thriller.

Buy It Here



So when I saw another book by the same author I couldn't stop myself from picking it up. And yes, I am definitely going to read all her works. For now, here is the page I am on in the book The Chosen by Kristina Ohlsson and I can already tell you that it is an amazing read.

Buy It Here



The Snakes' Nest was a really bad name for a meeting room. It carried overtones of a sex club rather than an appropriate venue for a collection of highly skilled investigators. Apart from that, Alex Recht felt entirely at home in the room, because it looked exactly the same as the Lions' Den.

 He recognized everyone but hadn't worked with all of them in the past. Everyone introduced themselves briefly, and once again Alex thought back to his former team. There had never been any problem when it came to bringing in additional resources for high priority cases, and the same applied this time.

 "Okay" he said. "Two young boys, Simon Eisenberg and Abraham Goldmann, were abducted in Ostermalm yesterday afternoon, when they were on their way to a tennis coaching session. Today....... (spoiler hence not recreating).... We know that Simon was waiting for Abraham at a bus stop on Karlavagen and we know that when Abraham was speaking to another friend on the phone, he said he had to .......... because.....to the tennis centre. The weather was terrible yesterday, so I don't think either of the boys would need to be asked more than once if they would like .....

- Debolina Raja

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

#CoverJacket The Extraordinary Journey Of The Fakir Who Got Trapped In An Ikea Wardrobe by Romain Puertolas


Buy It Here

Armed only with a counterfeit 100-Euro note, Ajatshatru the fakir, renowned conjurer and trickster, lands in Paris. His mission? To acquire a splendid new bed of nails. His destination? IKEA.

And there he decides to stay, finding an obliging wardrobe in which to lay his head. Only when he emerges from his slumber does he discover that is locked in, unable to free himself and heading for England in the back of a truck.

So begins a magnificent and bizarre adventure for the intrepid fakir. Even while he flees the revenge-crazed taxi driver whom he conned on his arrival, and falls further in love with Marie Riviere, the Parisian beauty whom he tricked into lunching with him, he finds time to befriend a group of Sudanese immigrants, travel to Italy in a suitcase, writes a novel on a shirt, and fly to Libya in a hot-air balloon.

Witty, moving, surprising and joyful, this novel reminds us that heroism abounds, and is to be found in the most unlikely of places.

- Debolina Raja

Monday, January 23, 2017

#FirstPageMondays Blood Wedding by Pierre Lemaitre




image source

Buy it here



I have just started reading this one and trust me, if you have not read his works before, he is an amazing crime and thriller writer who will play with your mind big time, and I mean BIG TIME !

So here goes, and yes, it is a highly recommended read...

SOPHIE

sitting on the ground, back against the wall, legs extended, struggling for breath.

leo is lying across her, utterly still, his head resting in her lap. with one hand she strokes his hair, with the other she tries but cannot quite manage to wipe away tears. she is crying. the sobs rise to become a wail, she lets out a howl that comes from deep within her belly. her head sways gently from side to side. at times her misery is so intense she pounds her head against the wall. pain offers a temporary respite, but all too soon she breaks down again. leo is perfectly behaved, he does not stir. she bows her head, looks at him, hugs him to her belly and weeps. no one could imagine the depths of her misery.

1

this morning, like so many others, she woke with tears streaking her face and a hard lump in her throat though she had no particular reason to be upset. tears are an everyday occurrence in her life: she has wept every night since she went mad. were it not for the fact that her cheeks are damp every morning, she might think that her nights were spent in deep and peaceful sleep. but waking to find her face bathed in tears and a tightness in her throat is a simple fact of life. since when? since vincent's accident? since his death? since the first death, so long ago?

 she props herself on one elbow, wipes her eyes with a corner of the sheet, fumbles for her cigarettes but cannot find them, then suddenly she realises where she is. everything comes flooding back, everything that happened yesterday afternoon, last night... immediately she understands that she must go, she must leave this house. get up and get out, but still she lies there, rooted to the bed, incapable of the slightest movement. drained.

- Debolina Raja

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Kindle E-Reading Trends In India For 2016


I love this image above, it is so me....If you know me you know this is just the way I am, if you love me, you will let me be like this ;) Just saying..

So recently, Kindle India revealed some interesting eBook reading trends for the year 2016 based on actual consumption in the country. I was surprised of course yes, but then, with books, it's so much about personal choice, preference, taste and even marketing, that one can't really have a general attitude on it. Check this out...

According to Kindle India, some interesting facts that emerged are:

Chetan Bhagat’s One Indian Girl is the ‘Most Wished For’ and ‘Most Borrowed’ on Kindle Unlimited



The top bestsellers were:
1.       Cometh The Hour by Jeffrey Archer - I've read too much Jeffrey Archer for now, so later maybe
2.       Everyone Has A Story by Savi Sharma - Nope, definitely don't want to read
3.       The Sialkot Saga by Ashwin Sanghi - Nope again, definitely don't want to read
4.       This Was A Man by Jeffrey Archer - Same as above, maybe will read Jeffrey Archer again in some time

The top genres were:
1.       Literature & Fiction - my favourite category yes
2.       Romance - No
3.       Health, Mind & Body - No, don't want to read really
4.       Children & Young Adult - Always an interesting reading category
5.       Business & Economics - Some books are damn good!

Best read cities of India were:
1.       Mumbai - yippee, am here
2.       Delhi - yes, I am from here
3.       Bengaluru
4.       Chennai
5.       Hyderabad

Obviously Kolkata will not feature here, coz people there are more into real books than Kindle ;) sorrrrryyyyy!!!!!

- Debolina Raja

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Cover Jacket: A Week In December by Sebastian Faulks


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Buy It Here



So yesterday I went to this huge book sale at Churchgate, Mumbai, which was more like a books by weight event. And I came back richer by 10 books!!! :)

I had never heard about the author Sebastian Faulks, nor had I heard about the book, but I saw this beautiful cover and realized its a book called A Week In December. The cover jacket looked incredibly beautiful and the description looked super interesting. I've already started reading it and am sure I'll finish it very soon....it's quite interesting to say the least.

So yes, here's a look at the description at the back cover..

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London, the week before Christmas 2007. Seven wintry days to track the lives of seven characters; a hedge fund manager trying to bring off the biggest trade of his career; a professional footballer recently arrived from Poland; a young lawyer with little work and too much time to speculate; a student who has been led astray by Islamic theory; a hack book-reviewer; a schoolboy hooked on skunk and reality TV; and a Tube driver whose Circle Line train joins these and countless other lives together in a daily loop. With daring skill, the novel pieces together the complex patterns and crossings of modern urban life, and the group is forced, one by one, to confront the true nature of the world they inhabit. Sweeping, satirical, Dickensian in scope, A Week In December is a thrilling state of the nation novel from a master of literary fiction.

******************************************

Praise for the book:

'During times of momentous change, men of letter are driven to produce works that fictionalise the state of the nation, linking individuals with historic events. The 19th century gives us Thackeray's Vanity Fair, Dickens's Our Mutual Friend and Trollope's The Way We Live Now; the 21st has given us Sebastian Faulks's A Week In December' - Sunday Times

'A compelling tale of contemporary London' - Guardian

'Hilarious....The satire is so vicious that at times it's like reading a Tom Sharpe novel.' - Daily Telegraph

'Perfectly constructed...a pleasure to read.' - Sunday Telegraph

- Debolina Raja

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Sneaky Peeky Sundays: Silenced by Kristina Ohlsson


image source

you can buy the book here



This is the first book I am reading by the author Kristina Ohlsson and yes, I know for a fact that I will check out all her other works and read them. The reason I picked up Silenced by Kristina Ohlsson is because she is a Swedish author and the book is in the thriller/crime genre. The other Swedish author I have read and absolutely loved is Steig Larrson, and obviously I have loved his Millennium trilogy, which included the books - The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest. So I definitely wanted to read more books by Swedish authors. And am I in love !!!!!




I am halfway through the book almost and am absolutely loving it, so here's the page I am on now...

*****************************

not like that with Lena. She's 'mine' in an entirely different way. And I'm hers. We shall always be together.
 Psychologist: Always? Is that the way you feel today?
 Alex (forcefully): That's the way I've always felt. For as long as I've known her. We shall always be together.
 Psychologist: Does the thought of that make you feel secure or stressed?
 Alex: Secure. If I woke up tomorrow and she wasn't there I wouldn't be able to go on. She's my best friend and the only woman I've loved unconditionally.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

I'm Not A Show Off, I Just Love To Read


Those who know me personally know that I am never ever without a book. No matter where I am, traveling, at home, at work, or even going out to meet friends, I almost always have one or two books with me, depending on the size of my handbag. Of course I also end up holding books in my arms and hugging them to my chest :)

The other day I was standing at my building's gate, waiting to pick up my younger one and of course reading. What else am I supposed to do just standing and waiting???? I know these looks I get from people walking by - what is she doing standing here and reading!? why is she reading!? who is she trying to show off to!? has she totally lost it???

and come on, I don't really give an explanation any more. everyone has the fingers, and I have too, and even if I don't necessarily have to hold up my hand to their face, I can still do it mentally and by sharing a stare down, isn't it? ;)

That said, I was telling my friend how this woman gave me a weird look when I stood reading, as if I was spooking her out with my red-tinted hair, my big tattoos and my reading on the street. And how I had stared back at her and given her a top to bottom lookie...

My friend said that if he didn't know me personally or didn't know any better, he would have thought I am a show-off....

Hmmmm..... that was pretty unsettling. I would have never thought people think like that... As in, someone on their own, reading away to happiness, how is that being a show off?

But yes, I do get it that not everyone likes to read, and may find it weird when someone seems to be engrossed in books all the time....

Well, just too bad for them then. I'm happy in my own sweet bookish world, the lesser real people the better for me.

And while at it, let me show off a bit by saying how well I am doing on my Goodreads challenge for 2017...am already about 6 books done for my 100 books reading challenge for the year :)

So yayayayayayaaaayyyyyy ;)

- Debolina Raja

Monday, January 2, 2017

The Virgin's Lover by Philippa Gregory: First Page Mondays


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Anyone who has been on this blog earlier knows that I absolutely love Philippa Gregory and her books, especially her historical fictions, the ones that are based on the Tudor dynasty. So here's another from the same series, of course you can easily read them as stand-alone books and don't necessarily have to follow it as a series.

I bought it on Amazon, so you too can check out the link shared above to get the best deals. And yes, as it is difficult to find her books in India, I always end up buying them on Amazon.

As of now, here's the first page of the book The Virgins' Lover by Philippa Gregory. I just started reading it this morning and am only a few pages in, but can already tell you that it's an absolutely interesting one, as with all her other books. Enjoy...

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Autumn 1558

All the bells in Norfolk were ringing for Elizabeth, pounding the peal into Amy's head, first the treble bell screaming out like a mad woman, and then the whole agonising, jangling sob till the great bell boomed a warning that the whole discordant carillon was about to shriek out again. She pulled the pillow over her head to shut out the sound, and yet still it went on, until the rooks abandoned their nests and went streaming into the skies, tossing and turning in the wind like a banner of ill omen, and the bats left the belfry like a plume of black smoke as if to say that the world was upside down now, and day should be forever night.

 Amy did not need to ask what the racket was for; she already knew. At last, poor sick Queen Mary had died, and Princess Elizabeth was the uncontested heir. Praise be. Everyone in England should rejoice. The Protestant princess had come to the throne and would be England's queen. All over the country people would be ringing bells for joy, striking kegs of ale, dancing in the streets, and throwing open prison doors. The English had their Elizabeth at last, and the fear-filled days of Mary Tudor could be forgotten. Everyone in England was celebrating.

 Everyone but Amy.

 The peals, pounding Amy into wakefulness, did not bring her.......

- Debolina Raja