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!!!!!