The Hidden Queen, The Manny and Maiden Voyage

My reading diet has been a little varied of late. I’ve swung from the star magic and mystery of Enchanter and Battleaxe to the desert rites of passage for would-be queen Anghara and the meddling of a ghostly poltergeist with romantic endings, and enjoyed every bit of it.

New Additions

The only one which I have some misgivings about was The Manny by Holly Peterson. Don’t be mistaken that it was badly written. On the contrary, it was hilariously funny, quirky and sexy at the same time. It’s the premise of the plot which gave me some moments of unease — the heroine, Jamie Whitfield, hired a male nanny, Peter Bailey, for her neglected and slightly depressed kid and ended up falling for the cute guy, and finally plucked up the courage to ditch the husband and say sayonara to a loveless marriage for the sake of her own, and her kids’, happiness.

However, as I read the book, and learnt more of the circumstances, I began to root for the misplaced wife of a social climbing husband to whom all the trappings of wealth and status became more and more of an obsession, to the extent that it precedes the happiness of his family. You can sense the chasm that has opened up between the couple even from page 3, so it was with some trepidation that I approached the story, but the adulterer turned out to be the husband even while Jamie was valiantly trying to remain true to her marriage vows no matter how challenging it was becoming. Well, it takes great courage to admit you made a mistake, and even greater resolve to walk away and start over. That’s why in the end the reader is reconciled to and accepts the heroine’s decision. Definitely movie material and you bet there’s a sequel in the works cos’ the ending was left to dangle.

The Hidden Queen, The Manny and Maiden Voyage

A two-part epic fantasy by Alma Alexander, The Hidden Queen follows the trials of Anghara, who has to flee far from her home or die at the hands of her power hungry half-brother Sif, who has usurped her place and claim the crown of Roisinan for himself upon the untimely death of their royal father. While Sif overturned the country looking for her, Anghara must use all her wits to hide from him while learning to master her gift of Sight.

Thoughtfully plotted, the novel is cleverly written and the parallel universe is realistically built with hints of druidic influence and rich in a cultural tapestry depicting pagan Greek mythical undertones and Islamic references. I thoroughly enjoyed the author’s detailing of the desert isle states Anghara was exiled to, as well her early years with first her aunt’s family and a community of gifted sisters.

Maiden Voyage by Judith O’Brien was funny, poignantly romantic and not at all spooky even though there was a poltergeist involved. After all, it was the ghost which brought the heroine, Maura and the hero, Donal together in the end. The author is known for her time travel romance, so this one about a love that transcends the barrier of time, is her kind of specialty. It would have been boring if she’d made the couple fall head over heels from their first meeting.

The Hidden Queen, The Manny and Maiden Voyage

Thankfully, Ms O’Brien does not make that kind of mistake, so this book was a delight to read. However, I haven’t quite make up my mind if this is to be a Keeper, so I may end up putting it up for bookcrossing. That said, it was still an entertaining read.