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Kate Heartfield

Autor/a de The Embroidered Book

22+ obres 555 Membres 26 Ressenyes


Obres de Kate Heartfield

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Coneixement comú

Llocs de residència
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Carleton University



Alice Payne Arrives, a busy little novella, garnered a Nebula nomination for adroitly bouncing us around time. In 1768, Alice robs stagecoaches with the help of a mechanical friend from further up the timeline. She is part of a group of time travelers whose mission is to unravel a few knots in history. Of course, you can disappear yourself and your colleagues if you do it wrong. The whole enterprise feels steampunky without the steam.
Tom-e | Hi ha 4 ressenyes més | Jan 13, 2024 |
Steeped in Charm

A genuinely charming flash fiction tale of a magical tea shop operating outside the purview of unnecessary authority and remaining that way.

Such a short and sweet little story that really whet my whistle, but left me absolutely wanting to explore this world so briefly presented.

RatGrrrl | Dec 20, 2023 |
Actual rating: 4.5/5

The Embroidered Book is a magical, captivating book re-imagining a key period in European history and focussing on two pretty remarkable sisters.

Charlotte and Antoine are daughters of the Habsburg Empress and they have always known that their lives would be spent in service of their mother’s wishes to strengthen their empire. Still, when they find an embroidered book containing mysterious spells, they spend their childhood growing closer and closer together as they try to unveil its secrets.

Time passes quickly and very soon they will be sent away from home to marry complete strangers: Charlotte will go to Naples to marry a hard and cruel man; while Antoine is destined to France, where she will have to shed all traces of her Austrian origins, including her name. In the lavish mirrored corridors of Versailles, she is renamed Marie Antoinette.

Very soon, the two sisters find that the book and its spells are the only way for them to take control of their lives. But all magic comes at a price and, as sisterly love slowly turns to rivalry, all of Europe may have to pay it in blood.

I really enjoyed this book from start to finish! The late 1700s are a fascinating historical period in their own right and become absolutely irresistible when paired with magic and a focus on women’s lives and experiences.

Charlotte and Antoinette were wonderful characters to read about. They’re complex, flawed women who are trying hard to carve out some space and power for themselves in a world where they are seen as little more than ornaments and whose primary purpose is producing an heir for their powerful husbands. The magic system was fascinating and very clearly explained and coherently maintained throughout. Nothing is free, as every spell requires a sacrifice: the bigger the spell, the higher the sacrifice.

Seeing the two sisters adopt competing approaches to the use of magic was incredibly interesting. While Charlotte joins a secret brotherhood that advocates keeping the use of magic restricted to a select few, Antoinette forms her own inner circle with the goal of ultimately making magic accessible to all. Both approaches have their flaws, and treachery abounds on both sides as certain individuals pursue their own individual power over everything else. Watching it all slowly unfold into the big historical events we all know (and knowing where the road would end for some of the characters) was extremely satisfying, even if painful as I grew attached to these characters more and more.

My only problem with this was that, even though I was mostly glued to the pages, certain sections (especially towards the middle) felt slightly too slow-paced and dragged a bit for me. This isn’t necessarily unexpected in a book as long as this, but it was just a bit too much for my taste. Still, it more than made up for it in the rest! Definitely a must-read for historical fantasy lovers.

I received an e-arc of this book from the publisher via NetGalley as part of a blog tour organised by Random Things Tours. This did not affect my opinion of the book in any way.
… (més)
bookforthought | Hi ha 4 ressenyes més | Nov 7, 2023 |
I was thrilled that this novel won the 2023 Aurora (Canadian sci-fi and fantasy) Best Novel award. It's a historical fantasy novel that explores the lives of Marie Antoinette and her sister Charlotte, Queen of Naples and Sicily. This novel mostly follows the real events surrounding these two regents, but imagines that they have the ability to cast magical spells. In Heartfield's story, this ability explains the motivations behind their actions. I've read several of Kate Heartfield's novels earlier and I loved them all.… (més)
mathgirl40 | Hi ha 4 ressenyes més | Sep 29, 2023 |



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