Category Archives: 16th Century

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 »

review: The Lady Elizabeth

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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… Read more »

review: The Secret Confessions of Anne Shakespeare

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The Secret Confessions of Anne Shakespeare by Arliss Ryan In a death bed confession to her beloved granddaughter, Anne Shakespeare (nee Hathaway) relates the secret life she lead after following her young husband to London when their children were very young. Feeling a burden to her parents-in-law in their already too crowded home, Anne set out to help Will with… Read more »

review: The Fall of Anne Boleyn

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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… Read more »

review: The Anne Boleyn Collection

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The Anne Boleyn Collection by Claire Ridgway This book reads like a collection of essays and may be blog posts from The Anne Boleyn Files—I’m not familiar enough with the website to know if this is the case. It is arranged in an easy to follow style with the purpose of bringing some of the most valid arguments forward regarding… Read more »

review: The Young Mary Queen of Scots

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The Young Mary Queen of Scots by Jean Plaidy This is one of three Young Adult novels by Jean Plaidy in Max Parrish’s “The Young” Series. As in her novel Royal Road to Fotheringhay, Plaidy begins with Mary, Queen of Scots at the age of five. Scotland was in danger of being invaded by the English, who wished the young,… Read more »

review: Meg Roper

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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… Read more »

review: Evergreen Gallant

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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… Read more »

review: To Serve a King

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To Serve a King by Donna Russo Morin Morin’s newest femme fatale, Genevieve Gravois, is sent to the court of Francois I as a spy and assassin. Brought up from a young age to honor and serve England’s King Henry VIII, Genevieve believes the story imbibed in her that the French king is responsible for her parents’ death. With pure… Read more »

review: The King’s Agent

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The King’s Agent by Donna Russo Morin Blending fact and fantasy, this fast-paced novel–which can only be described as an articulate historical adventure–Donna Russo Morin brings to life a real historical figure, Battista della Palla. Serving his beloved Florence’s political interests, Battista works as an art dealer for France’s King Francois I. He readily bargains and bribes to collect sought… Read more »

review: Loving Will Shakespeare

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Loving Will Shakespeare by Carolyn Meyer A young adult novel based around the courtship and marriage of William Shakespeare and Anne Hathaway, this book is also an excellent read on the ways of life in the country at the end of the sixteenth century in England. Agnes (called Anne by Shakespeare) lives a simple life on her family’s farm. She… Read more »

review: Duchessina

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Duchessina: A Novel of Catherine de’ Medici by Carolyn Meyer Duchessina is a young adult novel based on the early life of Catherine de’ Medici, niece of two Popes and later Queen of France. Catherine, orphaned at just a month of age, was raised in the Palazzo Medici with two distant cousins: the kind Ippolito and his polar opposite, Alessandro…. Read more »