weekend in a nutshell (#6)

i drove through the rain to visit some people i hadn’t seen in a long time…

driving in the rain photo raindrops

that was nice.

i put a sunshiny new project on the needles to help chase the clouds away…

knitting wool sunshine

(scheepjeswol – 100% virgin wool, from holland)

i don’t normally knit in the summer, but i couldn’t resist this one. sometimes the yarn just yearns for a certain pattern, and when they find each other, you just gotta let them be.

and as the tour de france (and tour de fleece) ended this weekend, i finished reading this…

josephine b book by sandra gulland

the first in a trilogy about the life of josephine bonaparte (napoleon’s wife), chronicling the events leading up to the french revolution.  i read a lot, but mostly books borrowed through the library simply because of my limited shelf space. i’ll be heading out to chapter’s soon to pick up this series…yeah, i’m completely hooked. and i need more shelves.

i signed the book out on a recommendation from my hairstylist. she suggested it when i told her i’d devoured every single book written by philippa gregory (tudor history, anyone?).

not only was the many lives and secret sorrows of josephine b. “utterly absorbing” because of its tumultuous plot (really, how many hardships must one endure in a lifetime?), but i got the feeling that the author (who i just learned has her own blog, and is on twitter) must have been completely captivated, even haunted, by this character josephine b.

my hunch was confirmed when i read an interview at the back of the book. the author, sandra gulland, says she read a short biography about josephine bonaparte years ago and was

“captured (or, should I say, kidnapped) by josephine’s profound humanity, her grace, her courage….”

that was in 1972 and gulland began writing the story of josephine in 1990. she spent those 18 years raising her family, but also reading, researching and traveling…she visited the prison where josephine was kept, walked down the streets where she had walked. this book was difficult to put down, though i admit there were a couple of brief moments of romanticizing. i forgive the author for that (how generous, i know…i’d never be caught up in sentimentality myself, would i?). she more than made up for it with historical acuity and attention to detail while telling the tale. that’s the stuff i crave.

any other fans of fact-based and historical fiction? other recommendations in the same genres? i have a feeling i’ll zip through the next two novels in the series, and will be left wanting more of the same.

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31 Responses to weekend in a nutshell (#6)

  1. thursday says:

    I’ve heard these books are amazing. I’ve been thinking about them for over a year now. I really should get to the library and give them a go.

  2. Angela says:

    I’ll have to look into those! The most recent historical-based book I finished was Wench by Dolen Perkins-Valdez. It was really good too!

  3. Tara Benwell says:

    I recently discovered that one of my best friends (Janette from high school) enjoys historical fiction. I was really surprised as I’ve never given this type of reading a chance. Thought it would be fun to read a series together after reading this post. I’ve proposed a virtual book club on this series with Janette and Andrea. We’ll see if they are into it! Thanks for sharing.

  4. ~*~Patty says:

    Yes a big fan of Tudor history here!
    I must admit, reading is something I never get to do enough of … I seem to be all over the place with mixed media stuff and I miss it. Your review of the book is VERY tempting, sounds just right.
    Your wool is lovely, bet it’s really soft … it will be fun to see what you create with it, I admire knitting too!
    Happy day after the full moon :)

  5. Sounds like an intriguing book. I have it on hold at the library, due in Aug 12th.
    Thanks for the recommendation. I would be interested in the virutual book club too! Thanks and it was a beautiful full moon.

  6. Jess says:

    I never thought I was an historical fiction lover until my Book Club started picking them as our monthly selections and I’ve loved every one!

  7. I love what you said about Josephine B.–yes, she quite captured me! I’ve mentioned your post on my Facebook Page. Thanks!

    • iMadeItSo says:

      oh my, i just got goosebumps! sandra gulland, author of this series. thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment on my blog. i hope i’ve introduced many to you and josephine b…

      ~ ana

  8. Wow! Sandra Gulland herself commented here? *thud*!
    This is one of my most beloved book series. The Josephine B Trilogy is one of those rare books that make you want to reread & recommend.
    I found out about it from a fellow book lover; she lent me her series & I fell so in love with how the author actually made you feel like you were a part of Josephine’s world, that I quickly went out & bought the series for myself. I then lent that copy to others. It’s magic!
    Sandra Gulland’s passion for the subject matter definitely has a trickle-down effect. :)

    • iMadeItSo says:

      i know what you mean caren, about her enthusiasm for josephine… almost contagious. i wont have a chance to go to the bookstore til next week but i picked up #2 in the series while at the library today. then came home and saw this. i’m smiling…

  9. Halima says:

    I look forward to the completion of your new knitting project. Is is something for yourself? My reading tastes vary greatly, I like a little of everything. This has me intrigued – heading over to reserve it at the library now. Thanks for the recomendation.

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  11. Tara Benwell says:

    Wow! An author visit to your blog! That’s so fun. I was tweeting with Gretchen Rubin while reading The Happiness Project a few weeks ago. It made reading the book that much more fun. Anyhow, I’d love to do the Virtual Book Club with you all, but I’m behind in reading, since some of you have read the first book already! I’ll see if I can pick up the first book somewhere this week. Let’s set a date to start chatting about it!

    • iMadeItSo says:

      well tara, i like that an author shows up here almost *every* day … i tell my kids that becoming a writer is an amazing thing, because to become one, you just have to write. so few things bring instant gratification like that! :)

  12. Shannon says:

    Well, you know me! I am a huge sucker for these kinds of stories!! It will be added to my list! I’m going to the library today in fact. :)

  13. Shannon says:

    Also, I love that yarn. That is the brand that Lily learned on. ?

  14. Tara Benwell says:

    Ahhhh thanks Ana! You’re so sweet. Andrea and Janette have both agreed to read the books. Now to find them in this itty bitty town. Not sure if I have enough time to order them before our move. Will let you know when we’re all reading them. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • iMadeItSo says:

      you’re welcome! good luck with the move. i think there’d be a few of us interested in a virtual bookclub if you’re ever up for organizing one. let me know when you’re all settled!

  15. Sarah says:

    I *just* saw this book at the bookstore with a friend tonight, and we both agreed that it needed to go on our “future reading” list… maybe we’ll make it a bookclub selection!

  16. googiemomma says:

    oh wow! sounds AMAZING!! i’m totally a historical fiction buff…def gonna check these out!!

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