What We’re Reading!

Here's a round up of what the wenches have been reading this month. In the comments, let us know what you've enjoyed. It's a great library builder!


The girl and the sword The Girl and the Sword by Gerald Weaver (UK link) is a historical epic in the true sense of the word. It covers decades and looks a great span of ideas and history. It’s set in the 13th century and tells the story of Pauline de Pamiers who is a young girl from the oppressed Christian sect, the Cathars, and how she refuses to accept subjugation but forms an alliance with one of the most famous crusaders of all, Simon de Montfort. There are big themes in this book – the role of women in medieval society, the establishment of parliamentary democracy, the dominance of religion.

Whilst the character of Pauline is fictitious, Simon de Montfort was, of course, very real and in his author’s note, Gerald Weaver talks about taking an “American” view of a man who has primarily been written about by English historians. It’s fascinating to see the different perspective that he brings to the character and actions of de Montfort, seeing someone who has often been dismissed as an ambitious opportunist as, in fact, a fundamentally good man who was responsible for sowing the seeds of democracy.  Whilst I might not have agreed with his interpretation of some of de Montfort’s actions, I did love the sheer swashbuckling scope of the story. This Simon is a real hero of integrity, courage and action. Pauline is an admirable woman and their relationship is a tender and true love story. My favourite aspect of the book was their dialogue which was funny and clever and very entertaining. So if you are a fan of epic historical novels with feminist heroines and knightly heroes, this could be the book for you.

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The Aura Answer: Psychic Solutions Mystery #5

Rice_TheAuraAnswer_600Because I goofed off and took a long vacation, I’ve come home to play catch up, which means I have two blogs this week (should Typepad continue working) and you get to listen to twice as much rattling on because I haven’t had time to plan anything better. I’m buried deep in attempting to wrangle this new historical mystery into order and the characters are being such pains, I haven’t even had time to research much more than gas lighting—which I have yet to use, mind you.

So let’s address a happier topic—my magical mystery series. Book #5 of the Psychic Solutions Mysteries, THE AURA ANSWER, will be out Tuesday, November 8th (it’s on pre-order now). This is a Christmas book with ghosts—and no, they’re not Christmas Past or Future. Call them the Ghosts of Confused and Cynical.

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History of Detective Fiction

Rice_TheGoldenPlan_600x900Pat here:

As we all know, my Malcolm/Ives families started out in historical romance, took a wicked right turn at the Victorian Age, and crossed over into the contemporary market. With my new Psychic Solutions  series, they took another zig-zag and ended up in mystery. I’ve done romantic suspense, so it isn’t a total departure. But romance is where my heart and soul have been for so long, that I can’t quite let it go. So, of course, romance wraps its way around the mystery because it makes me feel good.

And I miss my historical research. I probably should have missed it enough to dig into the roots of detective fiction so I had a clue of what genre I was actually writing, but my characters are gonna do what they’re gonna do. So I probably saved myself a step.

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