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Flower Reading~The Herbal Essence of the Court of Mary Queen of Scots,
This review is from: The Flower Reader (Paperback)
I enjoyed this book immensely. From start to finish I found Rinnette one of the most engaging and feisty of heroines historical fiction has offered in a good while. There are many strong historical women characters in recent historical fiction I've had the pleasure of reading, and I'm not meaning to take my praise from them. However, the character of Rinnette bursts forth from the start, showing her strong resolve to keep herself, her loved ones, her property and her resolve under murderous pressures! I loved her brave spirit and her willingness to stare down death and queens despite her youth, power and lack of weapons. Because of this beautiful, mystically talented and unabashedly strong woman this novel is one of my favorite historical novels this season.
Rinnette is a brilliant character who will endear herself to readers and keep you hungry to finish her story.
Played out on the world stage of the courts where such historic figures reigned such as Queen Mary of Guise, Mary Queen of Scots and the Scottish clans...not to mention such notables as Nostradamus, Elizabeth Queen of England, and Catherine de Medicis, this is a tapestry of time and intrigue that is absorbing in and of itself.
Elizabeth Loupas has then laid a set of secrets and mysteries that rival the CIA! It's a plot that kept me reading, and that moved at a steady, rapid pace.
I appreciated her writing style and her development of a world within the real world with adjunct characters that didn't really exist but seemed plausible!
The relationships between her characters; Rinnette with her husband and her children, for instance, was palpable, striking at my heart strings. I felt a deep sense of loss with her at times, and a joy at other times. Ms Loupas has a strong gift of portraying emotion and personal relationships that gives her book depth and character.
I really loved the element of the flowers and Rinnettes "reading" of them at every bend as she encountered friend and foe. This added a dimension to the book unlike any other historical fiction I'd read, obviously! In her section at the back of the book, Ms Loupas is interviewed about this element and she gives the history behind flower "discernment." I found it fascinating. The connection with herbal healing as we know it today and our use of "diffusion" for different states of relaxation and such, show us some small connection to the practice Rinnette must have been using.
On a deeper level, and with a immediate mystical response, Rinnette was a master "flower reader" foretelling the future constantly...it was so exciting to read this part of Elizabeth Loupas's story.
In summary, a great book of historical fiction which I absolutely adored reading. I highly recommend it to all lovers of the genre, and to others of you who are thinking of taking a step into historical fiction. It is a mystical, feminist, mystery and family dynamic of a book. Great reading!