Posted in 15th Century First Line Friday Tudor

First Line Friday: The Tudor Bride

“The grey-green sea looked hungry as it lapped and chewed on the English shore, voracious, like the monsters mapmakers paint at the edge of the world.” THE TUDOR BRIDE by Joanna Hickson “The thrilling story of the French princess who became an English queen, from the best-selling author of The Agincourt Bride. Perfect for fans of The White Queen. Even the greatest of queens have rules – to break them would cost her dearly… King Henry V’s new French Queen, Catherine, dazzles the crowds in England but life at court is full of intrigue and her loyal companion, Mette, suspects that the beautiful Eleanor Cobham, protégée of the Duke of Gloucester, is spying for him. Catherine believes herself invincible as she gives birth to an…

Continue Reading...
Posted in 16th Century Reviews Time Travel Tudor

review: Seven Will Out: A Renaissance Revel

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, Mary Queen of Scots, Bess of Hardwick, and more. During her night of wine and conversation she learns quite a bit, as well as relaying some present day tidbits to the 16th century ladies. Focused on the authorship of Shakespeare’s works, this is an entertaining “what-if” for conspiracy theorists regarding the Bard’s plays, and contains subplots involving Arabella Stuart and, separately, the women involved with…

Continue Reading...
Posted in 16th Century 17th Century Reviews Tudor

review: Watch the Lady

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 brother who catches the Queen’s attention. Robert Cecil, son of the Queen’s most trusted advisor, Lord Burghley, has loathed Robert Devereux since childhood, when the latter joined in to bully the physically weak Cecil. Thus an enmity existed when they each became an important fixture at court. Penelope, ever her brother’s champion, lead the family through the tangle of intrigues, deftly extracting herself from scandal…

Continue Reading...
Posted in 16th Century Reviews Tudor

review: The Lady in the Tower

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 Philippa Gregory, with her not-so-flattering portrayal of Anne as a great intriguer with temperamental dominance. In The Lady in the Tower, Anne is imprisoned in the Tower of London, recounting her life in its entirety in an effort to distract herself from her present state. She details her early life at Hever, the years spent in the court of France, and her relations with James…

Continue Reading...
Posted in 16th Century Reviews Tudor

review: The Tudor Secret

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 regal Princess Elizabeth. Along the way he discovers the pieces to his past and uncovers treasonous plots that endanger himself and those he loves. If you’re a fan of historical mysteries and the Tudors, this is the perfect read for you. King Edward is dying, Northumberland is scheming and both Princess Mary and Princess Elizabeth are questioning the events taking place. Brendan is courting danger…

Continue Reading...
Posted in 16th Century Reviews Tudor

review: King’s Fool

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 VIII. I would liken this book to The Autobiography of Henry VIII by Margaret George, though more abridged and it has a little more to do with Will’s life rather than Henry’s. They both show Henry in a positive light and make his decisions seem more rational than the topical history suggests. Will starts life as the son of a churchman and has learning, though…

Continue Reading...
Posted in 16th Century Reviews Tudor

review: Brief Gaudy Hour

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 the lush, glittery world of the Tudor Court. The beauty and charms of Anne Boleyn bewitched the most powerful man in the world, King Henry VIII, but her resourcefulness and cleverness were not enough to stop the malice of her enemies. Her swift rise to power quickly became her own undoing. The author brings to light Boleyn’s humanity and courage, giving an intimate look at…

Continue Reading...
Posted in Author Guest Post Tudor

author guest post: Robert Stephen Parry

Virgin and the Crab: Sketches, Fables and Mysteries from the early life of John Dee and Elizabeth Tudor by Robert Parry So who is the Virgin and who is the Crab? Well, it probably comes as no surprise that the Virgin refers to Elizabeth, later to become Queen Elizabeth I. The Crab is a little less obvious – but it represents Elizabeth’s guide and confidante John Dee, a person perhaps not quite so well known. It is in a bid to rectify this sorry state of affairs that I first began to write my story. The whole thing takes place during the turbulent decade of the 1550s – shortly after the demise of Henry VIII. The character of Elizabeth is therefore not as we generally…

Continue Reading...
Posted in 15th Century Articles Tudor Wars of the Roses

Richard III and the Princes in the Tower Novels

There are three “Princes in the Tower” novels that have intrigued me over the years: To the Tower Born by Robin Maxwell, Figures in Silk and Portrait of an Unknown Woman by Vanora Bennett. All three make use of a background character’s view of events, some fictional–such as Bennett’s Isabel Lambert and Maxwell’s Nell Caxton–and others who were indeed on the fringes of the court during the era–Elizabeth of York, Jane Shore and Meg Giggs. While To the Tower Born and Figures in Silk are set during the era, Portrait of an Unknown Woman is indeed a Tudor novel set in the 1520’s, but has roots that lead back to 1485 via Thomas More, known for slandering Richard III in his book The History of…

Continue Reading...
Posted in 16th Century Non-Fiction Reviews Tudor

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

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 a brief history and descriptions of life at court, others are dedicated to a character, including a bio as well as a vignette. These fictionalized short stories display an insightful scene between the Queen and the man in question. Also included is a discussion on what the term “Virgin Queen” meant in Elizabethan times and the significance of the Queen’s astrological sign, Virgo—a link to…

Continue Reading...
Posted in 16th Century Reviews Tudor

review: The Lady Elizabeth

The Lady Elizabeth by Alison Weir A very comprehensive novel on the Virgin Queen’s early life, The Lady Elizabeth begins when the precocious child is not yet three. During her years as the king’s bastard daughter she witnesses her father marry four times, welcoming a new “step-mother” each time—fully aware that Catherine Howard’s fate was the same as her own mother’s. This shapes her view of the marital state, as does the pieces of her mother’s life and death that she is able to glean from servants’ gossip and royal outbursts. The next stage finds her in favor as the king’s “good” sister. As she is of Edward’s faith, she enjoys much learning and freedom during this period, though it ends with her disgrace as…

Continue Reading...
Posted in 16th Century Non-Fiction Reviews Tudor

review: The Fall of Anne Boleyn

The Fall of Anne Boleyn by Claire Ridgway A timeline of the final days of this controversial Queen of England, The Fall of Anne Boleyn recreates those harrowing months in 1536, with firsthand accounts, official documents and records, and court gossip. Though offering opinion here and there, many points of view are expressed from various biographers, and so there is representation from numerous sources. Veteran Tudor readers will not find much fresh information, though the format, being a day-to-day account of events, gives an easy to follow play-by-play of each accused person’s actions, beginning with his origins and introduction to court and the queen. Other key characters are also featured, with a clear understanding of his or her service (or disservice) in the royal court—most…

Continue Reading...