- Paperback: 464 pages
- Publisher: Broadway Books; 2nd Printing edition (January 15, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0307395367
- ISBN-13: 978-0307395368
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 44 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,402,641 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Serpent Garden: A Novel Paperback – January 15, 2008
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“Judith Merkle Riley’s novels are small jewels, smooth and polished, glowing with a light all their own.” —Detroit Free Press
About the Author
Judith Merkle Riley is a professor of political science and has a PhD from the University of California, Berkeley. She is also the author of A Vision of Light, the first Margaret of Ashbury novel, and The Water Devil, the concluding book of the trilogy, among others. She lives in Claremont, California.
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He also departed the world leaving Susana broke and with no means of supporting herself. On the advice of the widow (of another dead painter) downstairs, Susana finishes a commission taken by her dead husband, pretending his ghost came home and finished the work so she would have money for his funeral. The widow downstairs tells her that she has supported herself for several years by selling her dead husbands paintings of a naked Adam and Eve. However she is running out of them, so she suggests Susana paint more Adam and Eves adding miniatures by HER husband and they split the money. So Susana becomes two dead painters.
Her work draws the attention of Cardinal Worsley and hr recruits (blackmails) her to travel with King Henry VIII’s sister when she travels to France to marry it’s aging king.
This book is full of ironic humor, fun and adventure without straying from the mores existing at the time. There are plots, subplots, conspiracies; even one involving a conflict between the angel Hadrial (in charge of inspirations, arts and music —don’t ask) and a demon prince who is out to make as much trouble as he can while he fulfills-the last command put on him before he was imprisoned.
Don’t worry—Everything ends well.
This is an almost perfect novel. It has history, about Henry VIII's little sisters marriage to the king of France, mystery, in the shape of a secret priory of noble men keeping a secret about the "true royal blood of France" romance, and a spunky main character with a real personality. You'll even pick up on something (a very common theme in historical fiction actually, especially with the Cathers) that has come into the spotlight lately.
There's not much that needs to be said beyond that. This is a quirky, quick uplifting read that should enchant lovers of both historical fiction and fantasy. The main character, Susanna, a plucky and very talented woman painter who must shift for herself when her no good husband is murdered because of a secret manuscript and a locked up demon, is someone that you'll love instantly.
It is not a book to be taken seriously, but is purely a novel that provides novel entertainment. Perfect for summer reading. I polished it off in about a day and have allready ordered more of the authors books.
The heroine of the story, Susanna Dallet is a quick witted, strong, talented court painter in Henry VIII's court. The facts/details included in the story about the methods of painting-- preparation of paints and tools was fascinating and I thourghly enjoyed this information.
The supernatural, fantasy characters were farfetched--confusing at times, but not totally ridiculous as both the good and evil 'beings' did have their own humourous charm.
If you like fantasy stories and can let your imagination just let go and run w/the fantasy created-- then this book is for you. I had a hard time accomplishing this while reading the book.