Title: Those Rosy Hours at Mazandaran
Author: Marion Grace Woolley
Publisher: Ghostwood Books
Release Date: February 14, 2015
Acquired Via: TLC Book Tours
It begins with a rumour, an exciting whisper. Anything to break the tedium of the harem for the Shah’s eldest daughter. People speak of a man with a face so vile it would make a hangman faint, but a voice as sweet as an angel’s kiss. A master of illusion and stealth. A masked performer, known only as Vachon. For once, the truth will outshine the tales.
On her eleventh birthday, Afsar’s uncle tries to molest her, and her father, the Shah, gifts her a circus. With the circus comes a man who will change everything. Inspired by Gaston LeRoux’s The Phantom of the Opera, Marion Grace Woolley takes us on forbidden adventures through a time that has been written out of history books.
“A sumptuous dark treat of a novel, will keep you shocked and enthralled until the very last page.” – Will Davis, author of The Trapeze Artist
“Rising from the cracks and hints in Gaston Leroux’s classic, Those Rosy Hours delivers a striking and glorious original historical fantasy that sings across time from the heart of a lost empire.” – David Southwell, author of The Phoenix Guide to Strange England: Hookland
“…evocative and gripping. I missed several tube stops thanks to my immersion in [Those Rosy Hours]…” – Kate Harrad, author of All Lies and Jest
“Disquieting and enchanting.” – Peter Dawes, USA Today best-selling author of Pandora
I haven't written a negative review in a really long time, and, unfortunately, this is going to to be one. Those Rosy Hours at Mazandaran was rife with gratuitous violenc and demented individuals, but lacking in characters that I cared anything about. The writing was not awful, but neither did it pull me into the story.
Full disclosure - I've never seen The Phantom of the Opera that I can recall, but it's a huge part of our culture, so I know the story. I'll still grant that I may have lost something there. HOWEVER, I've read books in the middle of a series, in genres I don't care for, and about subjects I don't like or am not comfortable with, and I have still been unable to put them down, or I get into the characters or story. I read Those Rosy Hours at Mazandaran to the very end mostly because I was marveling at my total detachment despite the readability of the novel.
Why did I want to read Those Rosy Hours at Mazandaran? I'm fascinated by Middle Eastern history and anything set in that area of the world. The portion of the book that focused on the setting was really the only positive thing about the novel. I will say that the description of Naser al-Din (who was never named, but that's the Shah) was fairly accurate. Maybe the harem was a little exaggerated, but if so, it wasn't by much. The last Shahs made some fairly terrible decisions politically and financially.
The characters... *sigh* Afsar and Eirik were deplorable human beings, and I could not root for either of them in any capacity. They were psychopaths, especially Afsar, and they deserved everything that came their way (and more). I get that their being disturbing is supposed to make a point, but the violence, torture, and murder for no reason is not for me. I prefer characters I can relate to or root for, and all I wanted for were these disgusting individuals to be institutionalized.
Those Rosy Hours at Mazandaran has quite a few positive reviews on Goodreads, and I'm sad that I can't give another one. If you're interested in the events before The Phantom of the Opera, this may be the book for you.
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About the Author
Marion Grace Woolley is the author of three previous novels and a collection of short stories. In 2009, she was shortlisted for the Luke Bitmead Bursary for New Writers. She balances her creative impulses with a career in International Development; she has worked and traveled across Africa, Australia, Armenia, and a few other places beginning with ‘A’. She is an associate member of the Society of Authors, and is currently at work on her fifth novel.
Follow Marion on Twitter @AuthorMGW
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Those Rosy Hours at Mazandaran Tour Schedule
Monday, February 2nd
Wednesday, February 4th
No More Grumpy Bookseller
Thursday, February 5th
Friday, February 6th
Beth Fish Reads - author guest post, “Sweet Tooth”
Wednesday, February 11th
5 Minutes for Books
Thursday, February 12th
Lit and Life
Friday, February 13th
Peeking Between the Pages
Friday, February 13th
Luxury Reading – author guest post, “Dress Code”
Monday, February 16th
Life is Story
Tuesday, February 17th
Life is Story – author guest post, “What’s in a Name?”
Tuesday, February 17th
Ageless Pages Reviews
Wednesday, February 18th
Reading Reality – review and author guest post, “On That Note”
Thursday, February 19th
History from a Woman’s Perspective
Monday, February 23rd
Tuesday, February 24th
Wednesday, February 25th
Ends at 12:01am EST on March 10th
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To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received a copy of the novel from the publisher through TLC Book Tours in exchange for an unbiased review. It has in no way affected the outcome. All expressed opinions are awesome, honest, and courtesy of me.