Customer Reviews for

Bristol House: A Novel

Average Rating 4.5
( 10 )
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

5 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

Annie Kendall¿s academic historian career has been at a standsti

Annie Kendall’s academic historian career has been at a standstill for ten years when she’s offered the chance of a lifetime, or so she sees it.  She is hired by Weinraub, the head of the Shalom Foundation, to travel to London and find secret treasures hidden by Giacomo...
Annie Kendall’s academic historian career has been at a standstill for ten years when she’s offered the chance of a lifetime, or so she sees it.  She is hired by Weinraub, the head of the Shalom Foundation, to travel to London and find secret treasures hidden by Giacomo the Lombard, also known as the Jew of Holbern.  These treasures are connected to the ancient Second Temple of Jerusalem.  But there’s a heaviness and threatening attitude from Weinraub that bothers Annie but not enough initially to stop her from taking the job.  She’ll have free room and board and she has three months to complete what is really an impossible task.  So it begins!
The first unsettling aspect of this job is that after her landlady leaves Annie begins hearing chanting and visually senses the presence of a monk in her temporary home.  She has this uncanny ability to sit down immediately after seeing something and drawing it precisely as if it were a posing model.  So imagine her shock when she meets a researcher and TV personality, Geoff Harris, who is writing a book about what he believes to be a looming disaster that will occur in Israel; Geoff looks exactly like the monk haunting her home.  Their relationship forms slowly; Annie is a recovering alcoholic and so doesn’t expect anyone to believe her actual experience of her haunted dwelling.  But Geoff is a fine judge of truthful or sham characters and comes to believe that Annie is conveying reality, including later scenes of hearing music, seeing things written on the misty bathroom mirror and much, much more.
Somehow Annie and Geoff, along with Geoff’s dying mother and another Rabbi, come to see that the Jew of Holbern’s hidden treasures are linked to the Catholic Church and a secret sect known as the True Obedience of Avignon, tracing back to the time of a terrible schism in the Church about who was the “real” Pope.  Are these relics connected with Judaism or Christianity? What seems to be pointing to the Middle East leads them on a long journey of finding clues accompanied by the actual account told by the Jew of Holbern and the monk of Avignon who are connected in ways the reader could never imagine!
Bristol House… is a terrific mystery, thriller, fantasy and/or work of historical fiction.  If you love a complicated puzzle or a great mystery, this is the book for you. The clues move along slowly but then the pace picks up and the reader has to pay careful attention to piece it all together as the tension grows and grows. If you love historical fiction, this is a book that suggests how fanaticism regarding history can become so delusional that it poses a dire threat to the present on a global scale.  All in all, a fine novel that deserves much attention, rave reviews, and best seller status! This reader hated for the story to end – I want to know more about Annie and Geoff and what adventures their future holds! Congratulations Beverly Swerling!

posted by literarymuseVC on April 8, 2013

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Most Helpful Critical Review

4 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

It would be nice if we could read the reviews from customers wit

It would be nice if we could read the reviews from customers without their writing about the entire book.  Please be brief and don't ruin it for everyone.  I have not read the book, but according to B&N, I have to give it a rating, so this isn't an accurate rating, ...
It would be nice if we could read the reviews from customers without their writing about the entire book.  Please be brief and don't ruin it for everyone.  I have not read the book, but according to B&N, I have to give it a rating, so this isn't an accurate rating, just a means of letting customers know we do not appreciate their revelations.   

posted by 675628 on April 9, 2013

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  • Posted April 8, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Annie Kendall¿s academic historian career has been at a standsti

    Annie Kendall’s academic historian career has been at a standstill for ten years when she’s offered the chance of a lifetime, or so she sees it.  She is hired by Weinraub, the head of the Shalom Foundation, to travel to London and find secret treasures hidden by Giacomo the Lombard, also known as the Jew of Holbern.  These treasures are connected to the ancient Second Temple of Jerusalem.  But there’s a heaviness and threatening attitude from Weinraub that bothers Annie but not enough initially to stop her from taking the job.  She’ll have free room and board and she has three months to complete what is really an impossible task.  So it begins!
    The first unsettling aspect of this job is that after her landlady leaves Annie begins hearing chanting and visually senses the presence of a monk in her temporary home.  She has this uncanny ability to sit down immediately after seeing something and drawing it precisely as if it were a posing model.  So imagine her shock when she meets a researcher and TV personality, Geoff Harris, who is writing a book about what he believes to be a looming disaster that will occur in Israel; Geoff looks exactly like the monk haunting her home.  Their relationship forms slowly; Annie is a recovering alcoholic and so doesn’t expect anyone to believe her actual experience of her haunted dwelling.  But Geoff is a fine judge of truthful or sham characters and comes to believe that Annie is conveying reality, including later scenes of hearing music, seeing things written on the misty bathroom mirror and much, much more.
    Somehow Annie and Geoff, along with Geoff’s dying mother and another Rabbi, come to see that the Jew of Holbern’s hidden treasures are linked to the Catholic Church and a secret sect known as the True Obedience of Avignon, tracing back to the time of a terrible schism in the Church about who was the “real” Pope.  Are these relics connected with Judaism or Christianity? What seems to be pointing to the Middle East leads them on a long journey of finding clues accompanied by the actual account told by the Jew of Holbern and the monk of Avignon who are connected in ways the reader could never imagine!
    Bristol House… is a terrific mystery, thriller, fantasy and/or work of historical fiction.  If you love a complicated puzzle or a great mystery, this is the book for you. The clues move along slowly but then the pace picks up and the reader has to pay careful attention to piece it all together as the tension grows and grows. If you love historical fiction, this is a book that suggests how fanaticism regarding history can become so delusional that it poses a dire threat to the present on a global scale.  All in all, a fine novel that deserves much attention, rave reviews, and best seller status! This reader hated for the story to end – I want to know more about Annie and Geoff and what adventures their future holds! Congratulations Beverly Swerling!

    5 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 29, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Prepare to be fascinated when you read this historical thriller

    Prepare to be fascinated when you read this historical thriller toggling back and forth in time from present day England to the 16th century Tudor period. Some authors are content to continue on a path they know to be successful. Historical fiction novelist Beverly Swerling has taken a different tack by presenting Bristol House, successfully intertwining history, romance, the supernatural, and mysteries of religious relics.

    Present day. Architectural historian Annie Kendall begins a three month research project in London to locate long missing artifacts for Shalom Foundation. Her assignment—“Find the Jew of Holborn.” If she can do that, she will discover the secrets and locations for specific ancient artifacts brought back to Europe from the Holy Land by the Knights Templar and find the connection between present and past. More so, successfully completing this assignment would give her back a sense of self worth and credibility in her professional life lost long ago before she walked into an AA meeting. Days after she moves into Bristol House for the three-month assignment, she meets Geoffrey Harris, dead ringer for the ghost she just met the afternoon before in the back room of the house.

    1535. King Henry VIII is executing Carthusian monks from the London Charterhouse who oppose him replacing the pope as head of the church. Thomas Cromwell plays his intrigue with power. The Jew of Holborn distributes his relics. How is the monk whose ghost Annie saw connected to the Jew? If he continues his story, will he be able to save her from danger?

    Swerling writes convincingly of the Tudor Period. She transports us to an enigmatic and treacherous world complete with codes to be broken, a mysterious mural with a secret, and back stories of the 16th century characters. The complex plot has many twists and turns. Readers must concentrate, but are given a huge pay-off at the end when the story coalesces into a mesmerizing journey through dark and mysterious corridors. Some sexual and gritty scenes pop up. The old style font used for the 16th century chapters is quite pleasing as are the maps of old London and Bristol House.

    If you are looking for a light beach read, save Bristol House for another day. If you love history, intrigue and the supernatural, embrace this book as a history-stocked fascinating journey.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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    Posted June 15, 2013

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 23, 2013

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