Category Archives: 16th Century

Dorothy Dunnett Reprints

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Dorothy Dunnett’s THE GAME OF KINGS: Book One in the Legendary Lymond Chronicles. Combining all the political intrigue of Game of Thrones with the sweeping romanticism of Outlander, Dorothy Dunnett’s legendary Lymond Chronicles have enthralled readers for decades and amassed legions of devoted fans. The series will be reissued in an oversize trade paperback format on May 14th. The first… Read more »

Symbols and Emblems of the French Monarchy in 16th Century France

I first read of Diane de Poitiers in 2006 in a book by Diane Haeger titled Courtesan. I was intrigued by the descriptions of the personal badges she and the royals took, the reasoning behind them and the extent to which they were carved and displayed. Some survive to this day and in a way it is the mark of… Read more »

review: The Midwife of Venice

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The Midwife of Venice By Roberta Rich Venice, 1575. Hannah Levi , a midwife from the Jewish community, awaits news of her husband, who was captured during a business trip and imprisoned on the island of Malta. Desperate to raise the funds for his release, she accepts a hefty offer from a Venetian nobleman in exchange for saving his laboring… Read more »

review: Seven Will Out: A Renaissance Revel

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Seven Will Out: A Renaissance Revel by JoAnn Spears In Spears’ previous novel, Six of One: A Tudor Riff, modern day historian Catherine “Dolly” Rolly traveled to an astral plane where she met the wives of Henry VIII and learned their stories from the source. This time Dolly returns and is met by the later generation Tudors, including Elizabeth I,… Read more »

review: Watch the Lady

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Watch the Lady by Elizabeth Fremantle Penelope Devereux, daughter of Lettice Knollys, the woman Queen Elizabeth I called the “She-Wolf” for marrying the royal favorite, is pitted against the Essex faction’s rival, Robert Cecil, in this panoramic Tudor narrative. Penelope, beautiful, level-headed and witty, makes a perfect waiting lady and voice for the out-of-favor Devereux family, though it is her… Read more »

review: The Lady in the Tower

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The Lady in the Tower by Jean Plaidy This is the book that started my obsession with Jean Plaidy–the first of her novels I read and my absolute favorite characterization of Anne Boleyn. Eight years have passed, and reading it again I stand by my initial delight in finding an admirable protagonist in Anne–after having been introduced to her by… Read more »

review: The Tudor Secret

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The Tudor Secret by C. W. Gortner England, Summer 1553: Brendan Prescott, a foundling serving in the household of the Dudley family, is immediately immersed in political intrigue when he joins the court as Lord Robert’s squire. With an unknown background and generic face, he makes the perfect spy and is only too happy to lend his services to the… Read more »

review: The Serpent Garden

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The Serpent Garden by Judith Merkle Riley With the death of her husband, Susanna found herself alone and in debt. The only way to survive was to take up the trade her father taught her, which she gave up upon marriage — painting portraits. As a merchant, Susanna was banned from selling her work and so she passed the paintings… Read more »

review: King’s Fool

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King’s Fool by Margaret Campbell Barnes Another great novel from this author! I really enjoyed her book My Lady of Cleves, though found the one on Anne Boleyn, Brief Gaudy Hour, had a sketchy timeline and depicted Anne as I hate seeing her: shallow and evil. This is the story of the life of Will Somers, royal jester to Henry… Read more »

review: Brief Gaudy Hour

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The enigmatic Anne Boleyn comes to life in this charming, brilliant portrayal by acclaimed British novelist Margaret Campbell Barnes. The infamous love of King Henry VIII and the mother of Queen Elizabeth I, Anne Boleyn undertook a rocky journey from innocent courtier to powerful Queen of England. A meticulous researcher, Margaret Campbell Barnes immerses readers in this intrigue and in… Read more »

review: Elizabeth: The Virgin Queen and the Men Who Loved Her

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Elizabeth: The Virgin Queen and the Men Who Loved Her by Robert Stephen Parry A unique mixture of fact and fiction, this volume contains 14 short chapters on Queen Elizabeth I’s relationships with the various men in her life—from her cold and distant father to her trusted councilors and, of course, the well-documented round of suitors. While some chapters give… Read more »

review: In the Company of the Courtesan

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In the Company of the Courtesan by Sarah Dunant Inspired by Titian’s famous painting, The Venus of Urbino, this is the story of Roman courtesan Fiammetta Bianchini as told by her dwarf companion, Bucino Teodoldi. Together they flee the sack of Rome in 1527 and head to Fiametta’s mother’s house in Venice. Upon arrival they find the house empty and… Read more »