Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Sons and Princes: A Novel of Suspense by James LePore

Sons and Princes: A Novel of Suspense. James LePore. The Story Plant. April 2011. 352 pp. ISBN #: 9780984190522.

Chris Massi is the son of a father who was absent and far from a true role model to Chris, at least that's what Chris thinks. But involvement in the Mafia and the acts that flow from there have ramifications that spread wide and far, beyond in fact one's very limited imagination. After making a life for himself in the so-called normal world as a lawyer on the side of justice, Chris finds that his father was responsible for the death of a friend's father, that man, now a dire enemy, who has spent his whole life trying to destroy Joe Black Massi's family.

Now, Chris is disbarred from practicing law, divorced, and watching one son acting like a wanna-be Mafia man and the other one drugging and womanizing himself to death. Not a happy family scenario for sure! Readers now enter the completely sordid world wherein secrets are revealed of who killed whom, of who was responsible for destroying Chris's career, and of the origins of a loss that completely spins Chris Massi's life in a different direction that will leave the reader flipping pages to find out what happens next.

The plot thickens with the introduction of a drug addict, Michele Mathias, who has lost her daughter to her addiction but who has a glimmer of hope that rises strongly when she meets Chris Massi. Ironically, it turns out that the bosses behind the drugs, porn, etc. have more to do with the Mafia Chris knows so well.

Who can be trusted? Is Chris being tested for a new crime career as he is offered the opportunity for revenge? What is it about Joe Black Massi, the father, and Joseph, Chris's brother, that Chris discovers and wishes he knew long before this cycle of confusion turns into a vortex of death and disaster leading only to prison or the grave?

To say more would spoil the suspense flying through so many pages of this crime drama that, given more public exposure, is sure to become a best seller.

James LePore, as in previous books, knows his subject well, including the gray rather than black and white world of the Mafia. Trust is the issue of honor that is the essence of Sons and Princes, a trust the redeems when one realizes that things are not what they truly appear to be! Thrilling read for all crime and mystery lovers!

Monday, March 28, 2011

To Be Queen: A Novel of the Early Life of Eleanor of Aquitaine by Christy English

To Be Queen: A Novel of the Early Life of Eleanor of Aquitaine. Christy English. New American Library. April 2011. 400 pp. ISBN #: 9780451232304.

"As I sat alone in my tent, with only Amaria to attend me, I wondered. Perhaps it was time to build a new dream for myself." What is it like to be raised by a loving father who instilled a sense of equality and dignity in a daughter that would enable her to rule the Province of Aquitaine one day? How does one maintain that dream in a world of marriage to King Louis VII, the boy King who loves the Catholic Church more than his kingdom or wife, for the most part, who considers sexual relations to be a grievous sin for which he must constantly repent?

This is the story of Eleanor's early years when she is clinging to her independence in a world that sees woman as worthy of dalliance, piety, and childbirth. Correction - most woman are allowed dalliance, but the Queen of France is expected to be the model Christian Queen. At first she believes she can bring Louis around to be a close husband in all ways but gradually she knows it's a losing battle against Louis' confessors, one of whom will later reveal grievous crimes beyond one's comprehension.

Travel with Eleanor and Louis on their way to the Crusades in Jerusalem, experiencing the architecture, interior design, food, and styles of the citizens of Constantinople, Antioch, and more European cities that greet this royal couple with joy while their leaders reveal scintillating and devious motivations and acts that continue to shock and alarm the reader.

Know the brief joy that Eleanor finds with two men throughout these years and finally one,Henry of Normandy, to whom she will give her heart, mind and soul forever. Christy English has written a well-researched but quite realistic picture of Eleanor of Aquitaine, who "became" the renowned fiery, powerful leader during these younger years when life seemed fragile and yet glorious enough to grasp, live in fully, and celebrate with those who shared her dreams.

Ever provocative, unpredictable, humorous, and free in spirit, Eleanor will delight you through every page of this very, very enjoyable novel. Delightful, Christy English!