Mailbox Monday is a weekly meme started years ago by Marcia (she of many blogs) who is no longer actively participating but who manages the string of wonderful Hosts for the weekly bloggers who do participate. The calendar has turned to June, so hosting duties belong to Bellezza of Dolce Bellezza. Stop over there and discover a wonderful blog with lots of new ideas. This week, I had two yellow slips in my box that I exchanged for two really special goodies.
Sign of the Cross by Anne Emery is the 1st in what has been billed the "Collins-Burke Mystery series". Set in Nova Scotia, it was originally published in 2008. I won this from Shelf Monkey, a giveaway program of ECW Press, a small Canadian publishing house. The blurb sounds like something I'd really enjoy:
Monty Collins is a sharp-tongued public defender who just wants to represent an upstanding character for a change. A priest with something to hide isn't quite what he had hoped for, but when the literate, arrogant, and tight-lipped Father Brennan Burke is implicated in the strange murder of a young woman, Monty doesn't just take the case—the case takes him. When Burke won't come clean, Monty is forced to play private detective, traveling into his client's past. Things look good for the case until another body is found, marked with the same telltale sign as the first. Burke keeps mum, alternate suspects are ruled out, and the trial looks like it might be lost before deliberation. As if it couldn't get any worse, Monty's wisecracking ex-wife enters the picture, and she seems to know more about Burke than Monty does. Evidence and coincidence pile up, leading to a revelation neither Monty nor the reader see coming.
And then I got one I've been waiting for literally for years. Back in 1995 my husband gave me volume #1 of Thomas Cahill's Hinges of History series: How the Irish Saved Civilization. There have been 4 more in the series, which is one of the most fascinating I've ever read. But it's been almost 7 years since the last one, and I'd about given up. This week, NanTalese/ Doubleday sent Heretics and Heroes to my open arms. I'm so excited! This one has a release date of Oct 29, 2013, so I'm starting this week back at #1 and plan to read the whole series leading up to this newest one. Here's the scoop:
In Volume VI of his acclaimed Hinges of History series, Thomas Cahill guides us through the thrilling period of Renaissance and Reformation (late fourteenth to early seventeenth centuries), so full of innovation and cultural change that the Western world would not experience its like again until the twentieth century. Beginning with the continent-wide disaster of the Black Plague, Cahill traces the many innovations in European thought and experience that served both the new humanism of the Renaissance and the seemingly abrupt religious alterations of the increasingly radical Reformation. This is an age of the most sublime artistic and scientific adventure, but also of newly powerful princes and armies, and of newly found courage, as many thousands refuse to bow their heads to the religious pieties of the past. It is an era of newly discovered continents and previously unknown peoples. More than anything, it is a time of individuality in which a whole culture must achieve a new balance, if the West is to continue.My summer will be a wonderful reading experience even if the mailbox is empty until Christmas!