Tuesday, April 9, 2013
REVIEW and GIVEAWAY: Bristol House: A Novel by Beverly Swerling
Annie Kendall arrives at London's Bristol House to research ancient artifacts from the Holy Land. Her flat has two remarkable features: a stunning black-and-white mural of London scenes, and - apparently - the ghost of a Carthusian monk who leaves mysterious traces and refuses to be banished. Hollowed out by loss and regret, and desperate to change her life and put her career back on track, Annie is determined to ignore the mysteries that slowly gather her into their net.
Oblivious to any personal peril, Annie pursues her research and meets Geoff Harris, a well-known TV personality who bears an eerie resemblance to the monk haunting her flat. Why have both these figures come into her life, and what do they want?
This riveting dual-period narrative seamlessly blends a haunting supernatural thriller with the vivid history of Tudor London, a place where monks are being executed, Jews have been banished, and the power of Henry VIII and Thomas Cromwell reaches into every corner of the kingdom. Annie's search leads her to unravel the twists of time and emerge as a woman strengthened by the mysteries of what we can and cannot know, able to forgive herself for the past, and trust love in the future. Widely acclaimed for her City of Dreams series, Beverly Swerling here delivers an enchanting and epic tale of a historian and a monk half a millennium apart.
WOW! Does this novel sound fantastic or what? I love the idea of mixing historical fiction with a bit of the supernatural - makes for quite an interesting and rather spooky read. Plus, Annie sounds like a woman on a mission. She wants her career and personal life (custody of her kid and alcoholism under control) on track and is working toward those goals, all the while having to deal with a ghost who will not leave her alone. Sounds creepy and a bit stalker-y. I've never read any Swerling before, but when I heard about this book, I just knew that I had to get my hands on a copy. I love anything and everything to do with London, especially since I lived in England for quite some time and always enjoyed visiting London-town on the weekends. Its a bustling and exciting city that is rich in history and tradition. So, to read about London in the sixteenth century, alongside twenty-first century London - well, that was quite a juxtaposition, but one that I truly enjoyed!
As for the writing - it was terrific! I couldn't put this book down! Each night I loved settling down for bed with this tome in hand, because I knew that each page would bring more mysteries to unravel and more dramas to endure. I found myself excited to find out what would happen next to Annie and Dom Justin. The romance, thrills, and history all blended in nicely to create this complex and layered story that was rich and vivid in tone, character, and entertainment. I would most definitely characterize Bristol House as an unforgettable read!
And, I would definitely recommend Bristol House to fans of historical fiction, fiction, stories set in London, and also fans of the supernatural. You will love this book! Here's a link to the author's site - check it out and find out more about Bristol House and Beverly Swerling!
Oh, and did I forget to mention that I have a copy to giveaway - thanks to the publisher! All you have to do to enter this giveaway is leave me a comment (don't forget to include your email address). Last day to enter is April 12th. US residents only!
Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!