Thursday, December 31, 2009
Monday, December 28, 2009
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
I owe a special thanks to the Phillipa Gregory forum and to Arleigh and Lucy of Plaidy's Royal Intrique, Enchanted by Josephine and Historical Fiction for turning me onto Jean Plaidy and many other wonderful historical fiction authors. Amy of Passages of the Past also has many great recommendations listed on her blog homepage, that is where I found The Tea Rose by Jennifer Donnelly now one of my favs. Alaine from the Queen of Happy Endings sent me The Luxe which I found to be very good, and ended up reading the sequel Rumors.
I'm looking forward to reading even more in 2010.
The Other Boleyn Girl: Phillipa Gregory ****
The Boleyn Inheritance: Phillipa Gregory *****
The Secret Bride: Diana Haeger ***
The Innocent Traitor: Alison Weir *****
The King's Fool: Margaret Campbell Barnes *****
To Hold the Crown: Jean Plaidy ****
The Bastard King: Jean Plaidy ****
On the Road to Forthingay: Jean Plaidy ****
The Hammer of the Scots: Jean Plaidy *****
Murder Most Royal: Jean Plaidy *****
Lady of Hay: Barbara Erskine *****
The Kingdom of Shadows: Barbara Erskine ****
Katherine: Ana Seaton ****
The Tea Rose: Jennifer Donnelly ****
The Luxe: Anna Godberson ****
Rumors: Anna Godberson ****
The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane: Katherine Howe ***
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Today marks the end of the story and reviews. I have enjoyed reviewing this book so much. It's a wrap up now. Closing events in Catherine Howard's life comes very swiftly. After Anne is executed on trumped up charges King Henry will waste no time in marrying Jane Seymour. She is already pregnant which pleases the King very much. She loses the baby a few weeks later causing much distress for the King. Will he ever get his son, the heir to the throne. It is not just the loss of the baby causing the King distress but his eldest daughter Mary refuses to sign the affidavit proclaiming herself a bastard and acknowledging that her mother, Katherine of Aragon, was never truly the King's wife. She holds out as long as possible, until the King makes it very clear that if he can execute his wife he can execute his daughter as traitor. She signs the paper and is admitted back into court where she will befriend her new step mother Jane Seymour.
In honor of this great book and this great author I am hosting a giveaway! I will be giving away:
- 1 brand new copy of Murder Most Royal by Jean Plaidy &
- 1 brand new DVD of Anne of a Thousand Days
Rules to participate:
- 1 entry for becoming a follower or if you do follow please indicate
- 2 entries for posting this giveaway on your blog & send link
- 2 entries for twitting about the giveaway!
- 3 entries for picking out your favorite review of my 5 reviews on Murder Most Royal and commenting on it on this review.
- Please leave your email address
- This giveaway is available for all including my international followers
- Drawing will be Wednesday, December 23, 2009
- Total of 8 possible entries
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Princess Elizabeth has been born much to chagrin of her father King Henry VIII. At first he was patient considering both his and Anne's age. Surely they had time to conceive a son. However; Anne did not conceive quickly after the birth of Elizabeth which worried her to the point that she would lie to the King and tell him she was pregnant hoping that she would be soon. He was outraged to find out that she had deceived him. He felt manipulated by this woman who had bewitched him. Henry had already begun seeking out other women, particularly a mousy Jane Seymour. She was everything that Anne wasn't. She was somewhat plain in appearance, she was mild and unassuming. She did not rail on the King as Anne did, and appeared to have no temper at all. She worshiped him, and being the egotist that he was he thrived on it.
Anne knew that she had to do something desperate to hold onto the King. She had Jane removed from court in spite of the King's protests. She actively tried to be more demure and sweet in the King's presence. This worked for awhile and he was all Anne's again. She did get pregnant and all were overjoyed! She did all in her power to assure the safety of her unborn child, which had to be a son or she was doomed. Anne knew that the King's interest in her was fading, having a son would assure her place on the throne.
During Anne's later pregnancy the King began again his affair with Jane Seymour who just happened to always be within his reach. Anne was informed, sending her into the rage of rages which caused her to go into premature labor delivering a still born boy 2 months early. The King taking no responsibility as usual curses her and declares he will never have another child with her. Anne knows now that her number is up and lives in fear. She hears the whispers, she sees the sly smiles of her enemies. Life at court is electrified with tension. Those who are jealous of Anne begin plotting against her, in particular her infamous sister-in-law Jane Boleyn. Jane is just waiting behind curtains and doors to make her move against Anne.
The King wants nothing more to do with her and begins plotting on how to get rid of her and marry Jane Seymour. He wants her to resign herself to her fate and go to a nunnery. Knowing Anne as he does he realizes that her quietly going to a nunnery is ridiculous. He seeks out his advisers for a solution. He does not suggest a solution of course, that would actually make him responsible, he just suggests that he is in a bind that he doesn't know how to get himself out of. Cromwell knowing his future depends on making the King happy begins plotting and scheming. He notices how the Queen dotes on her musician, Mark Smeaton, a young man from humble circumstances that has found favor with the Queen. Mark is a beautiful youth, but rather frail and vulnerable. This will be to Cromwell's advantage. Mark is invited to dinner at Cromwell's estate. He is all excited that the nobility is recognizing him. Little does he know that he will never return to safety. He is seized and tortured into false confessions about the Queen having lovers. Cromwell wants there to be no doubt of the Queens treachery so he keeps torturing until he gets enough false information from Mark to seal the case against the her. Mark is taken to the tower to await trial.
Cromwell goes to the King and tells him what he has discovered. The King is outraged that the Queen has betrayed him, but secretly happy because now there will be no doubt that she will be removed from the scene allowing him to marry Jane Seymour. The King very willingly believes these accusations and orders the arrest of several young men in court including Thomas Wyatt (my 11th great grandfather) and George Bolyen, the Queen's brother.
George is accused of incest with his sister Anne and it will be his wife Jane Boleyn who will sign an affidavit declaring that she saw them together in an incestuous situation.
Anne will be at dinner at Greenwich when her uncle the Duke of Norfolk, Thomas Howard will come to arrest her and take her to the tower of London. Her Uncle will mock her and show her no mercy while taking her to her final destination. She will enter by boat through the Traitor's Gate and climb the stairs. She will be greeted by the head Constable who will later declare that she wept and laughed hysterically upon arrival. She will be housed in the same quarters she spent the eve of her coronation in 3 years earlier. Her ladies in waiting will be spy's who are constantly badgering her for a confession. There will be trials and verdicts. All the young men will be executed by beheading on Tyburne Hill excepting Thomas Wyatt. Who knows really why he was let off, except that his wife's father was a great friend to King.
Anne was taken to the Tower Green an executed on 19 May 1536 two days after her brother George and the others were executed on Tyburne Hill. It was not public, the King did not want any public sympathy. Her final words were "To Jesus Christ I commend my soul; Lord Jesus receive my soul." She was then buried in an unmarked grave in the Chapel of St Peter ad Vincula.
Catherine Howard who is about 14 years old and in love with Francis Derham a distant cousin who finds employment in the household of the Duchess of Norfolk. They have a hot and steamy affair planning their eventual marriage. They are discovered by the Duchess and all hell will break loose in the household. Catherine is beaten and sent into exclusion. Francis fears for his life and manages to get away. The Duchess is afraid as well because the rumors are circulating all over the neighborhood. Her step son the Duke of Norfolk will condemn her for her neglect and possibly have her removed. Every where there is chaos. The King has remarried, now to Jane Seymour. The King's daughter Mary is stirring up trouble to avenge her mother, Katheriene of Aragon. There seems to be no place truly safe any longer.
Teaser for tomorrow, the final post in the review...
Henry was furious at the reports brought back to him. He swore that he could not trust Mary. He was an angry man. It was but a matter of days since he had married Jane Seymour and yet he was not happy. He could not forget Anne Boleyn; he was dissatisfied with Jane; and he was enraged against Mary. A man's daughter to work against him! He would not have it! He called the council together. A man cannot trust those nearest to him! was his cry. There should be an inquiry. If he found his daughter guilty of conspiracy she should suffer the penalty of traitors. Murder Most Royal~Jean Plaidy pg. 363
Monday, December 7, 2009
Friday, December 4, 2009
Thursday, December 3, 2009
The story is about Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard~the 2nd and 5th wives of Henry III. I never get sick of this story. I have read several books including one of my favorite(s) The Other Boleyn Girl and The Boleyn Inheritance both by Phillipa Gregory. I have to say hands down Ms. Plaidy's Murder Most Royal is the best in my opinion.
The story begins with Anne living at Hever Castle as a child of seven getting ready to accompany Mary Tudor the sister of Henry VIII on her trip to France to marry Louis of France. The company is held up at Dover Castle where Anne will first meet Henry. She is impressed with his size and confidence. As a child she idolizes Mary Tudor~in Anne's eyes she is beautiful, funny and self-assured. The English Channel is storm ridden~delaying the trip to France. The more Anne is in the company of Mary she learns confidences re: the love Mary has for Charles Brandon the Duke of Suffolk. Anne learns at an early age to be told confidences and keep them.
Hever Castle located in Kent, England. The birth place and childhood home of Anne, George, and Mary Boleyn. It is truly a gorgeous spot of southern England. It's out in the middle of nowhere, far from any crowded city. It's easy to see why the Boleyn's loved it so. I had the privilege of visiting here this past summer.
To the left is Dover Castle where the company of Mary Tudor stayed while waiting out the storm on her way to France. Anne was among the company as a seven year old child.
Anne grows up in the French court where she is well educated by royal scholars. She becomes an accomplished musician and vocalist. She is a favorite of the court, being witty, beautiful and charming. She is no country bumpkin despite the fact that she was born in the country, her father, Thomas Boleyn being a merchant of no distinctive pedigree. It is Anne's mother Elizabeth Howard that descends from the noble & great, her father being the Duke of Norfolk with a claim to the throne of England.
Thomas Boleyn by artist Hans Holbein
When Anne returns to Hever as a teenager she quickly becomes a favorite among the younger people. She has a keen sense of fashion and excellent taste. It isn't long before her personal designs of dresses become copied among the court. She will soon discover that her sister Mary is consider a slut because she not only was the King's mistress but apparently mistress to several others at court. Anne is appalled that Mary could be so self effacing, does she have no pride? Anne will also learn of her Uncle Edmund Howard's poverty in his household with a wife and 10 children, among which is darling little Catherine Howard who bonds immediately with her older 1st cousin Anne. It is here at Hever that she will first meet the King on an intimate level.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Stain glass in Christs Church
The original students were not of nobility but humble "men" who showed educational prowess and contributed much to the development of the state through the centuries.
By 1214 Oxford was recognized as an University. Over the last 800 years countless scholars have graduated and contributed much to the ancient and modern world.
Among those are:
A note of interest: Women were not officially admitted to Oxford until 1920!!!!!
Monday, November 30, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Teaser Tuesday is hosted by Miz B~Should be Reading
The rules are as follows:
*Grab your current read
*Open to a random page
*Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
*BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
*Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers
This was disquieting news which set Henry trembling; Anne's defiance of Rome, her lack of superstitious dread, angered him against her, for he did not care that she should show more courage than he; although his conscience explained that hi felling was not fear but eagerness to assure himself that he had acted with the will of God.
pg. 223 Murder Most Royal by Jean Plaidy
Another awesome book Ms. Plaidy!!!
Friday, November 20, 2009
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Here are the rules :
■ Each Superior Scribbler must in turn pass The Award on to 5 most-deserving Bloggy Friends.
■ Each Superior Scribbler must link to the author & the name of the blog from whom he/she has received The Award.
■ Each Superior Scribbler must display The Award on his/her blog, and link to This Post, which explains The Award.
■ Each Blogger who wins The Superior Scribbler Award must visit this post and add his/her name to the Mr. Linky List. That way, we’ll be able to keep up-to-date on everyone who receives This Prestigious Honor!
■ Each Superior Scribbler must post these rules on his/her blog.
I would like to pass this award to the following people/blogs:
Monday, November 2, 2009
First off prior to reading this book my only reference for Edward I was his portrayal by Patrick Mcgoohan in the 1995 film Brave Heart. The movie portrayed him as a one dimensional character, a ruthless tyrant, widowed with only one child, a disappointing son. I love the movie Brave Heart and I was very apt to believe that Edward I was indeed nothing more than a Medieval dictator.
I really had no desire to pursue further research until this year when I discovered two very important things, one Jean Plaidy and two that Edward I was my 19th great grandfather. With these two things in mind it was a delight to discover that Ms. Plaidy had written a book about Edward I. The title alone Hammer of the Scots I found intriguing. The best part was finding this book at Waterstone's in Bath, England.
After reading this book I can say What I didn't know about Edward I was a lot.
What I didn't know was;
- He came from a large family of brothers and sisters
- He was dearly loved and adored by his parents Henry III and Eleanore of Provence
- He was considered a very handsome youth favoring his Viking ancestors
- He was named Longshanks because of his height and long legs
- He was devoted to his parents. He loved his father dearly
- He married Eleanor of Castile and remained faithful to her their entire marriage. He was devoted to her and she him. She accompanied him on the ninth Crusade to the Holy Land where he was nearly killed and she nursed him back to health. It was there at Acre that she delivered a daughter one of 16 children they would have. The baby died and is buried at Acre in the Holy Land.
- Of the 16 children only 6 would live to adulthood and of the 6 there was only one son the youngest child Edward II.
- He was devoted to his family, he loved his wife and children.
- He would conquer Wales and create the Prince of Wales
- He would expel the Jews from England. 16 -20,000 Jews would be ordered to leave by Edward I.
- He would design the special torture of being drawn and quartered for traitors
- He was just and generous to his family, servants, and citizens, but woe to those who were his enemies. He valued loyalty and loathed insincerity.
- He was determined to make England a great, respected kingdom with an invincible army.
- He placed a shrine to his wife Elenore every where her funeral procession would stop between Winchester and Westminster.
- He requested on his death bed to have his bones carried before the troops while engaged in battle against Scotland so he could be part of the victory.
- His heart would be taken and buried in the Holy Land as an act of penance before God for his sins.
These are just a few of the highlights of this great story. Ms. Plaidy has not left William Wallace out of the story at all. In fact the last few chapters of the book are devoted entirely to him. Very interesting and not so much the Brave Heart version, in fact I liked it better.
I love the way Ms. Plaidy writes. She gets to point and doesn't waste time with loads of description. She doesn't hesitate to tell you just how it was. Sometimes you love the character and sometimes you truly can't stand them.
I highly recommend this book for Jean Plaidy fans as well as Medieval History buffs. Believe me Edward I was far from being a one dimensional character, there was many facets to this man. I would have to say he was a great king, one that was needed to unify England. He took his calling in life very seriously and honestly did try to do the best he could. He had regrets to be sure.
I give the book 4.5 royal crowns!
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Grab your current read
Open to a random page
Share with us two "teaser" sentences from that page somewhere in the middle
Make sure to share the title and author of the book
NO SPOILERS PLEASE
My teasers come from pg 197: The Virgin and the Crab by Robert Parry:
To the very south there is the river, the broad Thames with its teaming populations of ships and small craft, while all around there stand the mighty ramparts that mark the boundaries of the fortress itself - the numerous towers and turrets in which prisoners are kept in all manner of conditions ranging from the most damp and rat-infested holes to rooms which by many people's standards would be considered quite palatial, even if not luxuriant in certain instances, depending on the status and wealth of the occupants.
Enjoying this book very much!
Friday, October 23, 2009
While traveling in London this past summer one of the highlights was visiting the Tower of London. So much history stored up in that place. I particularly wanted to see the infamous "Traitors Gate". It was eerie! One could truly imagine the boat pulling in through the gate with the prisoner being let out at the bottom of the stairs, then climbing up the stairs to be imprisoned waiting for execution.
Originally Traitors Gate was called the Water Gate which was commissioned King Edward I to have a water entrance into the Tower of London which was used at the time for Royal family accommodation. Over the years the Tower became a prison for traitors to the crown. To be imprisoned in the tower you had to be of some notoriety, otherwise you were sent to Newgate prison in London.
Most people will associate The Tower with Tudor history and rightly so. More imprisonments and executions were carried out in the Tower in this era than any other time period.
The journey for the condemned would start on the river Thames in a prison barge. The barge would sail down the river under the London Bridge which usually had the heads of recently executed prisoners on spikes for all to see. After passing under the bridge the barge would sail through the river entrance to the Traitors Gate coming to rest at the bottom of the stairs that lead up to St. Thomas Tower, one of 23 towers in the Tower of London
complex. This grisly practice would continue until 1648.
Some of the most famous people to make this journey were Anne Boelyn, Sir Thomas Moore, Catherine Howard, and the Lady Jane Gray. While Catherine Howard passed under the London Bridge she would look up and see her former lover Thomas Culpepper's head on a spike, thus she arrived at Traitor's Gate hysterical. Queen Anne upon arriving at the top of the stairs asked the Tower Constable if she were to be thrown into the dungeon. He told her she would have the same accommodations as she did on the eve of her coronation. Queen Anne began to alternately weep and laugh hysterically at this news.
Lady Jane Gray at Traitors Gate, Tower of London
Traitors Gate is closed now only to serve as a reminder of a grisly and sad past.
Suggested reading below. Please feel free to add to the list or mention other notable Tower prisoners. Some I have purposely left out to draw in some comments :-).
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Edward II the 1st Prince of Wales
The Welsh people wanted to have Prince of their own, one that was born in Wales and could speak neither English or French. He must speak Welsh. The Barons went to the King with their request. He thought it was a good idea. He wined them and dined them, and then brought out his infant son Edward, declaring him their Prince of Wales. He was born in Wales and he could speak neither English or French. He promised them that he would make sure that the first language the Prince would learn to speak would be Welsh. He asked the Barons if they would be willing to serve his son as the Prince of Wales. What could they say? They agreed and on 10 May 1301 when Edward was 16 years he was formally invested as the Prince of Wales in Lincoln.
From this time forward the heir to the Crown of England has been formally invested as the Princes(ses) of Wales. It is not a hereditary title or conferred at birth, it must be conferred in an official ceremony. The jewels that the Princes have received over the centuries as gifts now make up the official Crown of Wales.
Monday, October 19, 2009
Mailbox Monday is hosted by Marcia at The Printed Page
I haven't posted Mailbox Monday before because I do not always receive books during the week or I receive too many to list all at one time. However; I did receive a goody this week.
Virgin and the Crab: Sketches, Fables and Mysteries from the early life of John Dee and Elizabeth Tudor by Robert Parry
Robert was good enough to send me a copy of his book to read and review. I checked him out on Amazon and he has received excellent reviews.
The brilliant young mathematician and astronomer John Dee has one overwhelming obsession:liberty. Abandoned and humiliated, Elizabeth Tudor has one simple aim: survival. What will happen when these two are thrown together by circumstances neither can anticipate or control? This is their story as Dee and the mysterious brotherhood of the Rose Lodge - working against almost insurmountable odds and threatened by a vengeful and unforgiving Queen - attempt to guide the nation towards enlightenment and stability. Here, a parallel universe of secrecy and faith is revealed in which the unseen forces of nature support all that is visible and real - a place, too, where the special alchemy of the Virgin and the Crab works its magic, growing from childhood friendship, through adolescent flirtation to mutual respect and admiration as together they prepare to sacrifice everything for the world they wish to inherit. "One of the most extraordinary and yet untold relationships of the Tudor age."
I am thrilled at the prospect of reading this book. It sounds like it is right up my alley for the genre I love to read. What could be a better read than something royal, especially Tudor royal!!
I will be posting my review soon.
Thank-you again Robert for sending me your book!
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Monday, October 12, 2009
I am going to start with All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriott. I would say this book is probably one of my oldest friends on my shelf. I found this book 33 years ago when I was pregnant with my 2nd child. I had such miserable morning sickness it was hard to function. Everyday I would put my 15 month old baby down for a nap and I would take that time to nap myself and read. My friend brought this book to me and insisted I read it. She just raved and raved about it. It looked good to me. It was a true story about the life of a vet in the Yorkshire Dales in the late 1930's. I love true stories and I love stories about animals. From the very first page I was hooked! I read the book twice before returning it and was happy to discover that the sequel All Things Bright and Beautiful was already published and the same friend had a copy. I devoured that book the same way and was so anxious for the the third book All Things Wise and Wonderful to be published. I was the first on the reservation list at our local library.
Over the last 33 years I have read and re-read these stories countless times. Every chapter is an individual story. These books have truly been my friends during happy times and dark times as well. When I need some happiness and grounding in my life I will just grab one of these off the shelf and go to bed with it. They have become an institution in our home, my children know the stories, they have read the books several times themselves and I believe most of them have their own copies. I am sure many of you have read these books as well. BBC has done a wonderful job of creating a series based on these books. Check these as well. Available on NetFlix. I would love to hear from you.