The Fall Of Camelot

Having lost a son and a lover, Morgan continues on her quest to destroy King Arthur. With Guinevere on the scene, she is patient and cunning and plants the seeds of jealousy.
But Mordred, Arthur’s illegitimate child, who has the dark powers of the Otherworld, is also restless for his father’s crown.
The mighty Camelot is under threat, war lingers on the horizon, and lives will be lost...
If you enjoy Arthurian fantasy and medieval romance you will love this final book in the Morgan trilogy.

The Fall Of Camelot is the last volume in The Morgan Trilogy, and the most thrilling. The story is finally coming to its conclusion. Eager for revenge, Morgan plots with Mordred, King Arthur's son, to bring about her half-brother downfall. But not everything goes as planned, and soon Morgan realises that Mordred is not as easy to control as she had thought. War is looming on the horizon, and many will die in it. The world she knows is about to change forever.

It's quickly changing throughout the book. Everything that was good in it quickly disappears, leaving only chaos and death in its place. Plots, lies, betrayals, all the ugliness comes to the surface, forcing the protagonists to come to terms with their actions. To face their inner truths. To admit what they'd rather keep hidden. To grow up. To make amends. To grieve and forgive.

Even though you know what is going to happen next (at least you will if you're familiar with the Arthurian legends), you still won't be able to put this book down till you reach the last page. It's so gripping and enthralling. A real page turner. And a must read for all fans of Morgan Le Fay, King Arthur, Sir Kay, and the lost world of Camelot.

The last book in the Morgan trilogy, The Fall Of Camelot is a dark, gripping tale of love and betrayal, intrigues and death, loss and forgiveness. Beautifully written, you won't be able to put it down.

Available at: Amazon

Rating: 4/5

Disclaimer: this book was sent by PR for consideration. In addition, this post contains affiliate links.

Book Reviews: The Exchange Of Princesses, The Richest Man Who Ever Lived, & Aftermath

Hello everyone,

here's what I've been reading lately:

The Exchange of Princesses by Chantal Thomas
So, you have a story to tell. But you're undecided. Should you write a novel or a non-fiction work about it? Chantal Thomas solved the problem by writing both. In the same book. Half-novel, half-essay, The Exchange Of Princesses is as interesting as it is challenging to read.
It tells the story of a real exchange of princesses. Mariana Victoria, infanta of Spain, left her country to marry Louis XV. At the same time, Louise Élisabeth d’Orléans, daughter of Philippe d'Orleans, regent of France, left her home for Spain, to marry the heir to the Spanish throne. But both marriages, which promised to exalt Philippe's prestige and power, ended in tragedy.
The four spouses were all pretty young, and unable to decide of their own destinies. It must have been terrifying for such young girls (Mariana Victoria was just a child and Louise Elisabeth barely a teenager), to leave their countries behind and start again in a foreign place, among total strangers. Their pain, confusion, and isolation oozes from the pages and makes you feel for them. Unfortunately, it is hidden under a plethora of historical facts that would make for a very interesting read in a biography. In a novel, they just the story down and make it harder to follow it. The convoluted writing style doesn't help either.
I wish Thomas had written either a novel or a double biography. She definitely has the skill to do either. Instead, she penned this distant and disjointed hybrid that makes it impossible to read more than one chapter at a time. I only recommend it to readers who are really eager to know more about these women and their sad marriages.
Available at: Amazon
Rating: 3/5

The Richest Man Who Ever Lived: The Life and Times of Jacob Fugger by Greg Steinmetz
If you've ever been to Germany, you've probably heard the name of Jacob Fugger so many times you've lost count of them. But outside the country, he is unknown. And yet, he was one of the most influential and richest man who ever lived. A Renaissance banker, he pursued wealth for its own sake (a radical idea at the time), revolutionised the art of making money (our modern financial system owns him a lot), created the first news service, and was at the centre of a powerful network that numbered emperors and Popes among its members. Fugger lent to them generously, but always when he was in his interest. He wasn't afraid to refuse them something or ask them to repay their debts. This nerve was only one of his secrets. The other was his ability to spot opportunities and pioneer new technologies where others only saw risks. But all this came at a cost. He was despised by many, possibly even his own wife.
Steinmetz does a great job at telling Fugger's own story and put it back in the context of his time. It is a story full of plots and intrigues, wars and battles, losses and triumphs, extreme wealth and extreme poverty. It is also partly our own story. You could say that he helped trigger the Reformation, get the Catholic Church to revise its position on money lending and usury, and create our modern financial system. His story provides an important piece of the puzzle on how we got here. I highly recommend you give it a read.
Available at: Amazon
Rating: 4/5

Aftermath - The Makers of the Post-War World by Richard M Crowder
A lot has been written about World War II. But very little is known of what happened just afterwards. A bunch of men got together to rebuild the world and launch a new era of globalisation. Some of them are well-known figures, like Churchill and Truman. Others are diplomats and agents whose name most of us have long forgotten, if ever we have known them. This book tells their story. The story of their diplomatic conflicts and clashes. The story of how they created the NATO, United Nations, the IMF, and Marshall Plan. Little stories and anecdotes about how these men worked, lived, and played.
Although a little dry in places, the book is both fascinating and informative, and provides a good introduction to an era that, although largely neglected today, has helped shaped our world. If you'd like to know more about it, pick up a copy.
Available at: Amazon
Rating: 3.5/5

What do you think of these books?

Disclaimer: these books were sent by PR for consideration. In addition, this post contains affiliate links.

Fashions For 1816

I'm really digging the fashions for 1816. Those horrible, super wide and huge sleeves that dominated the first half of the 19th century hadn't made their appearance yet. And the dresses are pink! I'm a sucker for pink clothes. My wardrobe contains so many of them, so I think I would have fit right in. What about you?


The robe of pink, worn over a white satin slip flounced with crape, finished by blond. Bridal veil, fastened with a brooch of pearl and pink topazes, with the hair simply dressed in light curls and parted on the forehead. A muff formed of white satin and gossamer silk trimming. Necklace and armlets of pearls and pink topazes. White satin slippers and white kid gloves.


Slip of pink satin, ornamented down the front and border wilh black velvet in bias, under a robe of black satin richly flowered with black velvet down the sides; full sleeves of black satin ornamented with pink, over a chemisette sleeve of white sarsnet. Hat of fancy spotted straw, lined with pink satin, with a superb wreath of full blown roses. Shoes of white satin; and white kid gloves.

Which one would you have worn?

Further reading:
Belle Assemblée, April 1816

Alexandre Colonna Walewski, Napoleon's Illegitimate Son

On 4 May 1810, the beautiful Countess Marie Walewska gave birth to a bouncing baby boy, Alexandre Florian Joseph Colonna Walewski. Although her husband acknowledged him as his, the baby bore a startling resemblance to Napoleon Bonaparte. And, upon hearing the news of his birth, the Emperor of the French was ecstatic. As soon as it was possible, he rushed to him and embraced him, promising the little fella, "I will make thee a count."

Napoleon desperately needed an heir. Alexandre couldn't obviously be him, but he made the Emperor realise he was more than capable of begetting sons. Eventually, with a heavy heart, he divorced Josephine to marry the young Austrian archduchess Marie Louise.

It was around this time, that Alexander and her mother Marie moved to Paris, in a house Napoleon had provided for them. But, now he was about to remarry again, Napoleon had no intention of resuming his affair with the beautiful Marie. He just wanted his son close to him.

Napoleon wouldn't see Alexandre grow up. Napoleon's luck finally run out and he was exiled on the isle of Elba. Marie, now divorced, brought the child there to see him. Father and son played hide-and-seek. They would see each other for the last time in June 1815 before Napoleon left for St.Helena, never to return to Europe again. Two years later, Alexandre lost his mother too. Shortly after marrying her lover, the Count d'Ornano, Marie died. Luckily, Alexandre's uncle ensured he received a good education.

When Alexandre was 14, he rebelled and refused to join the Imperial Russian army (Poland was then under Russian control). Instead, he fled first to London and then to Paris. In 1830, when Louis-Philippe ascended to the French throne, he sent Alexandre to Poland. Here, he got involved with the leaders of 1830-31 Polish uprisings, who sent him to London as their envoy.

His good-looks and agreeable personality made him a huge success there. He even found a wife. On 1 December 1831, Alexandre married Lady Catherine Montagu, the daughter of the 6th Earl of Sandwich. The couple had two children together, Louise-Marie and Georges-Edouard. Tragically, they both died young. By then Alexandre was a widower too, Catherine having died shortly after giving birth to her son.

Alexandre returned to France, where he became a naturalised French citizen and joined the army. His father would have been proud. He had always wished for his son to become a French soldier. As a captain in the French Foreign legion, he fought in Algeria. In 1837 he dropped out of the military to pursue a career in journalism and playwrighting. One of his comedies, l'Ecole du monde, was produced at the Theâtre Français in 1840. He was also said to have collaborated with the elder Dumas on Mademoiselle de Belle-Isle.

Alexandre had no intention of remaining single for long. He had an affair with the French actress Elisabeth Rachel Félix, who gave him a son, Alexandre-Antoine. But this relationship had no future. Unlike that with Maria Anna di Ricci, daughter of an Italian count. Alexander married her on 4 June 1846. They had four children, Isabel (who died young), Charles, Elise and Eugénie.

Despite his other pursuits, Alexander had never fully abandoned his job as a diplomat. When his cousin Louis Napoleon took the throne, Alexander served as a diplomat in Italy and London, where he announced the coup d'état to the prime minister, Lord Palmerston. He also organised Napoleon III's visit to London and Queen Victoria's return visit to France.

In 1855, Alexandre was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs. He favoured an entente with Russia and opposed the Emperor's policy in Italy, which led to war with Austria. In 1860, he left the Foreign Ministry and became Minister of State. He later served as a senator and president of the Corps Législatif. In 1866, he was created a Duke of the Empire. He was also made a knight of Malta and elected a member of the Académie des beaux-arts.

Alexandre died of a stroke or heart attack at Strasbourg on September 27, 1868. He was 58 years old. He is buried at Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris.

Marie Antoinette & The Comte d'Haga

The Queen, who was much prejudiced against the King of Sweden*, received him very coldly. All that was said of the private character of that sovereign, his connection with the Comte de Vergennes, from the time of the Revolution of Sweden, in 1772, the character of his favourite Armfeldt, and the prejudices of the monarch himself against the Swedes who were well received at the Court of Versailles, formed the grounds of this dislike.

He came one day uninvited and unexpected, and requested to dine with the Queen. The Queen received him in the little closet, and desired me to send for her clerk of the kitchen, that she might be informed whether there was a proper dinner to set before Comte d'Haga, and add to it if necessary. The King of Sweden assured her that there would be enough for him; and I could not help smiling when I thought of the length of the menu of the dinner of the King and Queen, not half of which would have made its appearance had they dined in private.

The Queen looked significantly at me, and I withdrew. In the evening she asked me why I had seemed so astonished when she ordered me to add to her dinner, saying that I ought instantly to have seen that she was giving the King of Sweden a lesson for his presumption. I owned to her that the scene had appeared to me so much in the bourgeois style, that I involuntarily thought of the cutlets on the gridiron, and the omelette, which in families in humble circumstances serve to piece out short commons. She was highly diverted with my answer, and repeated it to the King, who also laughed heartily at it.

*King Gustavus III of Sweden visited Versailles in incognito under the name Comte d'Haga.

Further reading:
Memoirs Of The Court Of Marie Antoinette, Queen Of France by Madame Campan

The Curse Of Excalibur

Completely abandoned by everyone she trusted and sold into marriage with the vile Uriens to please her brother, King Arthur, Morgan sits alone in Rheged Castle.
A burning desire for revenge on everyone grows inside her.
Most of all, however, she hates Arthur. So when he unwittingly asks her to look after his sword Excalibur, she senses an opportunity.
But Morgan will have to overcome the trickery of Merlin, and summon all of her otherworldly powers to return to Camelot and vanquish her enemies.

If you're as intrigued by Morgan Le Fay as much as I am, then you too must read The Morgan Trilogy by Lavinia Collins. In the first book, The Witches Of Avalon, Morgan took her first tentative steps towards black magic to protect her loved ones, only to be abandoned by everyone.

Pain and loss made her bitter, and eager for revenge, especially against Arthur, the man who sold her to her cruel husband Uriens. In The Curse Of Excalibur, the second book of the trilogy, Morgan has the opportunity to make those who hurt her pay. But it means embarking on a road from which she'll never be able to turn back.

Revenge isn't her only obsession. Her relationship with Kay, Arthur's foster brother, now completely over, Morgan becomes infatuated with Lancelot. But he's in love with Queen Guinevere, and pays her no attention. That's not enough to deter Morgan. Her past experiences have changed her, and she's now willing to reach her goals with any means necessary...

The Curse Of Excalibur is a much darker novel than The Witches of Avalon. Black magic, intrigues, plots, mysteries, and dangerous affairs make for a very gripping read. The story absorbs you from the first page, bringing you into its world. You forget Camelot is just a legend. It seems so real.

The characters are well-developed and rounded. Although Morgan is becoming increasingly harder to like, I enjoy learning her story from her own words. Who else could better make us understand how an innocent young girl can become so vindictive and dangerous?

Although I know (and you probably do too if you are familiar with the Arthurian legends), how the story ends, I can't wait for the last instalment of The Morgan Trilogy. I know it won't disappoint.

In The Curse Of Excalibur, Morgan Le Fay tells her own, dark story. A story full of plots, intrigues, and dangerous affairs. Vividly written, it'll grip you from page one.

Available at: Amazon

Rating: 4/5

Disclaimer: this book was sent by PR for consideration. In addition, this post contains affiliate links.

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