Oh how I loved this book. The Secret Bride by Diane Haeger flew with me over seas to Mexico when I went there for March break two years ago with my mom. I am usually the type to bring fluffy beach read of romances when I go on vacation, but I had just started this book and couldn't put it down. I am an avid historian when it comes to the Tudor dynasty or the Victorian era. I have my favoruites when it comes to King Henry VIII's court and Mary and Brandon's forbidden love story is one of them. This very well researched, well paced and beautifully written rendition of MaryTudor and Charles Brandon had me hooked the whole way through. Mary, Henry's beloved younger sister and Charles Brandon, the King's best friend fall for one another at an early age...well Mary falls hard - she's ten or so when Charles is already in his twenties. It's the years that follow and the hardships these two face, including Mary's forced marriage and their banishment from Henry's court that makes this love story and book so compelling. This book remains one of my favourites to date.
Emily's Ghost by Denise Giardina is another wonderfully researched and beautifully written historical fiction. This time, focused on the relationship between famous sisters, Charlotte, Emily and Anne Bronte. We all have our favourites, mine is Emily, the writer of only one book I have always adored the haunting romance of Cathy and Heathcliffe. So, I got this book on sale, a bargain at Chapters and immediately dove in. It was beautiful, heartwrenching, frustrating, and haunting. The book focuses on not only the relationship between sisters and the ways in which they found the inspiration for their masterpiece's but also the doomed romance between Emily and clergyman William Weightman, the supposed muse for her wonderfully dark classic. The setting comes to life in this book and one can immediately understand how the sisters came to incorporate the heaths into each of their books. I came out of this story really not liking Charlotte, even though she has never been my favourite. She is just so - ugh - if you read it you'll understand. I wanted to smack her more than once and from all that I have read, Charlotte Bronte really was how she came across in this novel. A beautiful story for Bronte fans.