...making decisions on the basis of what seems best instead of following some single doctrine or style.
Me in a nutshell!!!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A Great Message for Americans...

This is a message well worth viewing.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Announcing the WINNER!!!!

Congratulations Kelly you were the random # picked by to win The Countess and The King by Susan Holloway Scott!!
I have sent you an email.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Book Giveaway The Countess and the King by Susan Holloway Scott...

Great giveaway of this wonderful book!!!! To enter in the giveaway make a comment including your email address. This is for U.S. and Canada only. Sorry about that.
Giveaway runs from today 9/13 - 9/27.

Good Luck!!!!!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Book Review of The Countess and the King by Susan Holloway Scott...

This is a mesmerizing story of 17th century England during the regin of Charles II. Such a tumultuous time to have lived. Scandalous affairs, libertines, and religious unrest. This is the world that Katherine Sedley was born into and raised. Her mother was crazy and her father was a well known libertine and favorite of King Charles II.

Katherine went to live with her father at the age of 10 and was brought up with indulgence and no discipline in the company of less than desirable characters such as the Duke of Buckingham and Rochester. Her father was her world and she was his. Katherine was never considered a beautiful child even said to be homely. She made up for her lack of beauty with her scathing wit. She was clever and percoious.

It is said that the habits established in youth are the hardest to break as the years pass, and certainly that was the case with me. My father's indulgence gave me much freedom and little guidance, and like the fledgling bird that tries to fly too soon to flutter unformed wings, my first attempts to act beyond my tender years were often not sweet. I told unseemly jests, I swore when I lost at cards, I laughed too loudly, and my ever sharpening wit was much more suited to one of Father's libertine friends than a brash, ungainly girl of thirteen. The Countess and the King pg. 43.

When Katherine was 15 she was not the least bit interested in marriage much to the dismay of her father the girl just wanted to have fun. Her world was just fine as it was until her father found his true love, Mrs. Ayscough. Katherine's life of late nights and late mornings were about to come to an end along with her inheritance. Mrs. Ayscough would become Lady Sedley and produce the longed for male heir which diminished Katherine's fortune by half. Her father will no longer be the fun loving libertine but a faithful, dutiful and responsible husband.

Katherine will be invited to court to attend to the newly married Duchess of York who the King feels will relate well to Katherine because of their similar ages. Katherine will go to court and attend the Duchess of York where she will for-go a respectable marriage to become the mistress of the handsome Duke of York who will later become the King James II. The story continues with intrigue, betrayal and scandal. Katherine does find love and stays true to her Protestant convictions in spite of her lover being a Catholic who will have to morally rationalize to himself his affair with her.

There is so much more to this amazing story. I am usually stuck in 14th and 15th century England so this was a refreshing change. I really think it would make for a good period piece. I think we are all a little intrigued by Charles II's court.

Last summer I had the opportunity to visit Windsor Castle and my favorite part was visiting the apartments of King Charles. Also visiting London and seeing where the great fire started, etc. was fascinating to say the least.

I loved this book and I am a new fan of Ms. Scott's. She captures the essence of the feelings she is portraying. One part that was particularly poignant to me was when Katherine realized her father was in love with another woman and she was asked to accept her. I have been there and done that with my own father and I am ashamed to say that I acted in much the same way as Ms. Scott portrayed Katherine's reaction.

Thank-you Ms. Scott for giving me this opportunity to read and review your marvelous new novel I look forward to reading your previous works.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Book Review re-schedule...

Just a little note to let everyone know that my review of The Countess and the King by Susan Holloway Scott will be rescheduled for Tuesday Sept. 7.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Guest Post with Susan Holloway Scott author of the newly released The Countess and the King...

It is a great privilege to present this awesome guest post from Susan Holloway Scott the author of the newly released The Countess and the King about Katherine Sedley who becomes the mistress of King James II the brother of King Charles II. It's an extraordinary story and Ms. Scott does an awesome job in presenting it. I am sure you will enjoy her post on Two Brothers, Two Kings...

Two Brothers, Two Kings
By Susan Holloway Scott

As a visitor here at All Things Royal, it seems only fitting to discuss the two king in The Countess and the King. Charles II (1630-1685) and James II (1633-1701) were the last two Stuart kings to sit on the English throne. They were also brothers. Charles was the elder, ruling from 1649 until his death. With no legitimate son and heir, James inherited the throne, though his reign was considerably shorter. But more about that later….

It’s unusual for royal brothers to both become kings, but then the lives of these Stuart brothers didn’t follow the customary plan for royal princes. The eldest sons of Charles I and Henrietta Marie, Charles and James were part of a large family of healthy, handsome children, including another brother and three sisters – a rarity for any family, high-born or low, in 17th century England. (They’re preserved with heartbreaking beauty in the lovely group portrait by court painter Anthony Van Dyck.) Even more rare, the king and queen weren’t distant parents, but dearly loved one another and their children as well. All three young princes were educated to be potential kings. English history was sadly filled with young heirs who died before their fathers –– Henry VIII was a second son, as was Charles I himself –– but no one expected the family to be broken apart as it was.

For although Charles I was an excellent father, he was a lamentable king who resisted the desires of his people. Most disastrously, he believed his monarchy was divinely appointed, and refused to listen to Parliament’s wishes regarding taxation and religion. His defiance led to the two English Civil Wars between his own Royalist supporters and the Parliamentary forces led by General Oliver Cromwell. The Royalists lost and the king was captured, tried for treason, and, on a cold January morning in 1649, beheaded.

While the teenaged Charles, Prince of Wales, fought for his father in the early stages of the Civil Wars, by 1646, he was sent abroad for safety’s sake. He never saw his father again. James, Duke of York, was seized by the Parliamentary troops and held as a prized political pawn. But the fifteen-year-old prince boldly managed to escape his captors and join his older brother in exile. The queen also fled to France with Henrietta, the youngest princess. The last brother, Henry, Duke of Gloucester, was only nine when his father was executed. Unlike his older brothers, he remained in England as a prisoner with his sister Elizabeth, who died in captivity 1650 at fifteen. At last, in 1652, Henry was released to join his mother in France.

The exile was devastating to the once-close royal family. Scattered among several royal courts in Europe and pawning jewels for living expenses, the Stuarts survived largely on hope. When Cromwell died, Charles II was invited back to London to be restored to his throne in 1660. Charles and his two brothers returned to the joyful celebration known as the Restoration. But the personal sorrow wasn’t over. Their oldest sister, Mary of Orange, died in 1660, and their youngest brother, Henry, died of smallpox the same year. The youngest sister, Henrietta, was unhappily wed to the younger brother of Louis XIV, and she, too, died too young at 26. Queen Henrietta Maria died in 1669. By 1670, Charles and James were the only ones left.

So much tragedy left its mark on both men, but in surprisingly different ways. Charles was determined not to repeat his father’s errors. He resolved not to keep himself apart from his people, but moved freely among them, in parks, playhouses, and churches. Ever-charming, he avoided conflict if he could help it, whether with his mistresses or with Parliament. To keep himself as independent from Parliament as he could, he engaged in elaborate secret diplomacy with France and other countries, even accepting private subsidies as part of his backstairs diplomacy. While known to history as the Merry Monarch, Charles had an inescapable air of melancholy about him that shows in his portraits. For a king who lived so publicly, he was also very private; though he most likely converted to Catholicism on his deathbed, he had always remained an Anglican for the good of England.

James, however, reacted very differently to the family’s misfortunes. Just as Charles was dark-eyed and olive-skinned while James was blue-eyed and fair, their personalities, too, were equally at odds. While James was known for his hearty bluster and bravery in battle, he lacked his brother’s wit and intelligence. He could be stubborn and inflexible, much as their father had been. Also like their father, James believed in the divine right of absolute monarchy, and regarded Parliament as something to be bent to royal will. When he followed his conscience and publicly converted to Catholicism, his popularity among Protestant England sank, and he refused to see the reason why. He endorsed a large standing army, and defensively wished to eliminate any sort of dissension among the people.

It was all the proverbial recipe for disaster, and when James became king at the childless Charles’s death, the disaster was not long in coming. After three years of James’s reign, he was chased from his throne in the Glorious Revolution of 1688, and replaced by his son-in-law and daughter, William and Mary. Yet James was not a bad man (and certainly not the monster that many later historians have painted him.) He followed his conscience, however misguided the results, and he believed that he was acting for the good of England. He was, quite simply, the wrong man for a vastly complicated job.

When Katherine Sedley fell in love with a Stuart brother, it was not the charming Charles who caught her heart, but the challenging James. And that is the story of The Countess and the King.

Here’s a link ( to an excerpt from The Countess and the King on my website (
I hope you’ll also stop by my blog with fellow author Loretta Chase, where we discuss history, writing, and yes, even the occasional pair of great shoes:

Many, many thanks to Susie for having me here today!
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