Friday, July 31, 2015

Viper Wine


In the time of Charles I, the dazzling Venetia Stanley was a  beauty that turned heads and inspired such notables as the painter Van Dyck. Viper Wine, by author Hermione Eyre, is a postmodern piece of historical fiction that follows the real-life Venetia Stanley's desperate quest for eternal youth and her mysterious death at age 33. 

Venetia Stanley has money, love, and court influence, but her beauty is the trump card. With such beauty came power and an unhealthy addiction to the adoration and attention she garnered. Time, however, is not on her side and she fears the toll of normal aging on her good looks. The arrival of coarse hair and the sagging skin of middle age makes Venetia frantic. When she hears of the mysterious "viper wine" that can restore and maintain her beauty, she presses her devoted husband, Kenelm, to provide it. 

Sir Kenelm Digby, is a celebrated personality in his own right armed with intelligence, the ability to time travel, court diplomacy and the necessary alchemy skills to provide Venetia with the potion. Premonitions haunt him and make him cautious. Though he could grant Venetia her wish, he has no compulsion to do so. To Digby, none of Venetia's beauty has diminished. While Eyre's characters reflect the court intrigue of the time period, she allows Digby to tap into the future in a fascinating and somewhat surprising way through his premonitions. “Kenelm was haunted by the future, which announced itself in echoes and pratfalls, in twitches as his body fell asleep, or hypnagogic visions as he daydreamed, when ideas from the future sounded to him as if they came from the past.”

When the physician Lancelot Choice secretly provides the potion, Venetia's beauty is restored and soon other ladies of the court seem to be supernaturally renewed. But, like everything in life, there is a price to pay and an integrated layer of treachery involved in getting exactly what you desire. 

[I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.]

20 comments:

  1. Now I really want to know what the price they had to pay was! Thanks for the review & have a great Friday! :)

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    1. If you weren't in Eygpt, I'd mail this book to you! I can't give away the whole plot...

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    1. The fact that it has some historical roots makes it fascinating.

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  3. There's always a price to pay and sometimes it's more than people can afford. Sounds like an amazing book

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    1. It's good! Takes a minute to get used to the language.

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  4. I enjoy historical fiction. This book sounds real interesting. I just Googled Venetia. I like how the author blended the supernatural with reality.

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    1. I think we'll see more from Hermoine Eyre, for sure!

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  5. Anything to eat or drink with the word "viper" in it does not sound like a good idea to me.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. Thanks for commenting, Janie. You always have something intelligent to say.

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    2. Most of the time I chat with Franklin. We have wonderful talks, we do. We talked a few minutes ago about the thunderstorm that will start soon and what a good job the new yard service is doing. He had his dinner, and I put a few french fries under his kibble. I don't know what I'll eat. The bread is moldy, and I'm in no mood to go out shopping in the heat.

      Love,
      Janie

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    3. I put a bit of cheddar cheese under Coco's food to make her eat it. She's on special food and she'd rather eat dirt.

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  6. This sounds like a book I could really sink my teeth into -- so to speak, lol. Have you read Deborah Harkness' All Souls trilogy? It is rich with historical detail and I enjoyed it tremendously.

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    1. No, I haven't, but I love historical fiction. I'll have to check it out.

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  7. I love historical settings. This sounds interesting.

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  8. Dying at 33 unfortunately gave her eternal youth.

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  9. This sounds like quite an interesting book and reminds me of the real Elizabeth of Bathory(I think I remember that right). Elizabeth was as nasty as they come.

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  10. Goodness this sounds like a fun read.
    But I agree with Janie, no food with the name viper in it !

    cheers, parsnip

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Thanks for your personal yada, yada, yada,
Love, Cherdo