Posted in 15th Century Reviews Wars of the Roses

review: The Sun in Splendour

The Sun in Splendour by Jean Plaidy Elizabeth Woodville is the focus of this detailed account of the Wars of the Roses, beginning with her auspicious meeting with King Edward IV, where she boldly asked him to favor her with the return of her deceased husband’s estate, but ultimately won the crown of England for herself and her family. Cold and calculating, Elizabeth masked her true feelings behind a perpetual charming façade, enslaving her husband with her acceptance of his amours and other faults, in exchange for titles, lands and boons for her family members, placing the Woodvilles as the highest family in England. The great Neville family, specifically Warwick the Kingmaker, hated the Queen and her relations and schemed to bring them down—to his…

Continue Reading...
Posted in 18th Century Georgian England Reviews

review: The Prince and the Quakeress

The Prince and the Quakeress Fourth Book in the Georgian Saga by Jean Plaidy This is the story of the young George III, when he was not yet considered significant—only the eldest son of the Prince of Wales, Frederick, and grandson of King George II. If you’re not familiar with England’s King Georges’, you may find parts of the story hard to follow, as it alludes to characters from the previous books in the Georgian series, Queen in Waiting and Caroline the Queen. Old King George II is in his winter years, bad tempered and constantly lamenting his deceased wife, Queen Caroline, whom he reveres more in death than he did in life. At the forefront is Frederick, Prince of Wales, his wife Augusta, and…

Continue Reading...
Posted in 18th Century Georgian England Reviews

review: Perdita’s Prince

Perdita’s Prince Georgian Saga #6 by Jean Plaidy This installment of Plaidy’s Georgian Saga comes directly after The Third George and begins with the Prince of Wales’ coming-of-age. At seventeen he is still kept under lock and key, the king controlling his life down to the food he is allowed. When given an inch of freedom, young George runs head-first into debauchery, finding–to the King’s horror–friends in the enemy camp, Charles James Fox, Uncle Cumberland, and anyone of the Whig political party. He sets up an actress as his mistress and lives, purposely, a completely opposite lifestyle from the King. Perdita is Mary Robinson’s part in Shakespeare’s play, The Winter’s Tale, in which the King had decided to make a rare appearance with his heir….

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

review: Meg Roper

Meg Roper by Jean Plaidy This young adult novel penned in the early 60’s is based on the eldest daughter of Sir Thomas More, one of King Henry VIII’s ministers who fell out of favor during the king’s marriage to Anne Boleyn. It is a simplified version of her full length novel titled St. Thomas’s Eve (republished as The King’s Confidante) but is not, as some listings file it, the same book. Chronicling the political career of Sir Thomas More, this story covers the controversy with religion, including Martin Luther and Henry VIII’s title of Defender of the Faith. It follows More’s family from their happy home at the Barge to their new home in Chelsea. When More becomes the most important man in the…

Continue Reading...
Posted in 18th Century French Revolution Reviews

review: Madame du Barry

Madame du Barry by Jean Plaidy This is the story of Jeanne Becu, most famously known as Madame du Barry, mistress to Louis XV of France in the last years of his reign and the most beautiful woman in France at the time. Plaidy’s du Barry is kind, good-hearted and forgiving of even her enemies, whom she tries relentlessly to befriend. She has no enmity toward anyone and wishes for all to be as happy as she, who has the king’s heart. She is not greedy, but is wrongly labeled as such by court intriguers when she accepts luxurious gifts from Louis to make him happy. Madame du Barry’s main adversary is the dauphine, Marie Anotinette, who eventually receives the great diamond necklace the king…

Continue Reading...
Posted in 16th Century Reviews

review: Evergreen Gallant

Evergreen Gallant by Jean Plaidy There are three major themes to this novel: Catholics versus Huguenots, the succession of the French throne and Henri IV’s amorous ways. One of the reasons I really liked this book is that it aptly sums up a period in France’s history that was previously unknown to me. I’ve read up to Henri II and then skipped all the way to Louis XIV, so it was refreshing to read a new setting and characters. And Plaidy does wonderfully explaining all of the political intrigue as well as the characters and their relationships. This book covers two of Henri II and Catherine de’ Medici’s sons as Kings of France, Henri de Guise (a rival for the throne) and Henri Quatre. The…

Continue Reading...
Posted in 19th Century Articles Reviews Victorian

From Historical Fiction to Suspense: Victoria Holt’s Mistress of Mellyn

Today is the 20th anniversary of Eleanor Hibbert’s passing on January 18, 1993 and in honor of her memory I have taken on her first suspense novel, published in 1960 under the pseudonym Victoria Holt—Mistress of Mellyn. While I have previously read The Queen’s Confession and My Enemy, the Queen, both biographical historical novels have the exact same quality and style of her Jean Plaidy novels. In fact, I am unsure why they were even published under Holt, unless it was to keep with the pace of publishing one Holt novel each year (as two other “Jean Plaidy” novels were published during those same years). Mistress of Mellyn is different from Plaidy, Kellow and Tate novels in that it is undeniably of the mystery and…

Continue Reading...