Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Teaser Tuesday

Welcome to Teaser Tuesday here at All Things Historical Fiction!
Anyone can play along! So here's how it works:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two "teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! Share the title & author, too, so that others can add the book to their TBR Lists!

Here's my Teaser for A Royal Likeness by Christine Trent

pg. 70 Marguerite could not help herself. She dug her fingernails into her hands in fright, even though the rational part of her whispered that it must all be a trick.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Mailbox Monday

I've decided to participate in Mailbox Monday on the Monday's that I actually get new books. So I won't be doing this every Monday. Unfortunately, I can't get new books every week otherwise I'd probably wouldn't be able to pay my bills. I actually got this idea from The Story Siren and I thought it would be fun to participate when I can.

Last week I went home for Thanksgiving and I took advantage of Black Friday and purchased a few books from Barnes and Noble and Walmart. I also had a surprise on my doorstep!

My Mailbox

A Royal Likeness by Christine Trent
Release Date December 28th

I was so excited when this book arrived on my doorstep from Christine Trent! I loved her last book Queen's Dollmaker so I'm ready to dive right into this one!

 Barnes and Noble

Nefertiti by Michelle Moran

So I finally got my hands on this book! I'm so excited because every time I went to Barnes and Noble for this book they were out and I was so disappointed. But they actually had one left this time which totally made my day!

The Conqueror by Georgette Heyer

I thought this book looked interesting. It's about William the Conqueror and I've heard Georgette Heyer's books were good so I decided to pick this one up and give it a try.


Pope Joan
by Donna Woolfolk Cross

I was so happy to find this book! I've heard great things about it and I have been dying to get my hands on it. It's actually going to be made into a movie so I want to have it read before it comes out.  


The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig

I picked this book up at Walmar because it was only 5.99 and who could pass up a price like that?
So you've seen what was in my mailbox. What did you get in yours?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Review: The Perfect Royal Mistress by Diane Haeger

The Perfect Royal Mistress by Diane Haeger
★★★★ 1/2

Setting: 1666 London, England during the English Restoration

Synopsis: The Perfect Royal Mistress was set during the reign of King Charles II who was most known for the considerable number of affairs and committed relationships that took place throughout his life. He also had a wife, Portuguese Queen Catherine of Braganza who unfortunately miscarried all of her pregnancies. King Charles II had a wondering eye which eventually landed on the quick-witted sharp tongued, Nell Gwynne.

Nell Gwynne was a young girl born into poverty and raised in a brothel. She was left to fend for herself once her sister Rose was imprisoned for stealing and her drunken mother was out prostituting. Nell refused to follow in her mother and sisters foot-steps; therefore, she took to selling oranges outside the newly reopened King’s Theater. After awhile, her quick wit and sarcastic humor elevates her from orange girl to the star actress of the King’s Theater.

It doesn’t take long for Nell to win the attention of all of London and even the King himself. She soon finds herself falling head over hills for King Charles II but she soon realizes that the more she tries to please the King and his friends the harder it is to remain herself. She’s constantly torn between the glamorous world with the King and the exhilarating life as the star of the theater. Nell doesn’t want to give up the King nor acting but she finds herself doing a balancing act between the two.

Review: The Perfect Royal Mistress was a breath of fresh air. This was my first encounter with King Charles II and despite all of his affairs I actually admire him as a King. He had to deal with his father’s, King Charles I, murder as a young boy, which greatly affected his adult life. Diane Haeger did a great job with setting the tone for the book. I found the characters to be well developed and well researched.

What I loved so much about this book was how descriptive it was for example the description of the King on pg. 12
“He wore official Garter robes, billowing ivory satin, crimson velvet sewn with gold thread, and tall lace cravat, and his long, muscled legs were crossed at the ankles. His hands played restlessly at the lion’s head fixtures on the arms of his throne…” I find that so beautifully well written that I could actually picture him sitting there on his throne.

This is defiantly a rags to riches, Cinderella kind of story that will keep your attention all the way till the end. I highly recommend this book and I will be looking forward to reading more of Diane Haeger’s work.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Upcoming Releases

December 2010
A Royal Likeness by Christine Trent

February 2011 Hardback
March 2011 Paperback
Madame Tussaud by Michelle Moran                                                                 

March 2011
The Queen's Rival by Diane Haeger

  March 2011 Paperback
To Defy A King by Elizabeth Chadwick

April 2011
Elizabeth I by Margaret George

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Teaser Tuesday

Welcome to Teaser Tuesday here at All Things Historical Fiction!
Anyone can play along! So here's how it works:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page 
  •  Share two "teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! Share the title & author, too, so that others can add the book to their TBR Lists!

Here's my Teaser from The Perfect Royal Mistress by Diane Haeger

pg. 137 She smiled up at him, reminded how much taller he was, how much more commanding in stature alone from the other men around him, and thinking how magnificent he looked in claret-colored velvet, trimmed in gold braid. "And you are as smooth as a sow's ear."

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Timeline of Britians Kings & Queens

Historical Fiction is my favorite genra to read because I'm mezmorized by the history behind it. History has always been a part of who I am ever since I was a little girl. I acquired my love of history from my dad. It was the one thing we had in common and ever since then I've been obsessed with learning everything I can about the past. So that's why I like to incorporate history into my blog whenever I'm not posting reviews or anything else that pertains to books.

Everytime I'm reading about a King or Queen I always want to know a little more about them and what all they accomplished during their reign. So I find myself constantly looking them up on the internet while I'm reading about them. I stumbeld across a really good website that listed the timeline of all of Britains monarchs and I found it to be very useful. So I thought if it was useful to me, then it may be useful to others. So here I am posting the entire British monarchy. Hope it's useful and enjoy!

The Normans (1066 - 1154)

•King William I, the Conqueror 1066 - 1087
•King Henry I 1100 - 1135
•King Stephen 1135 - 1154
•Empress Matilda 1141

Plantagenets (1154 - 1399)
•King Henry II 1154 - 1189
•King Richard I the Lionheart 1189 - 1199
•King John 1 1199 - 1216
•King Henry III 1216 - 1272
•King Edward I 1272 - 1307
•King Edward II 1307 - 1327
•King Edward III 1327 - 1377
•Richard II 1377 - 1399

The House of Lancaster (1399 - 1461)
•Henry IV 1399 - 1413
•Henry V 1413 - 1422
•Henry VI 1422 - 1461, 1470 - 1471

The House of York (1461 - 1485)
•King Edward IV 1461 -1470, 1471 - 1483
•King Edward V 1483 - 1483
•King Richard III 1483 - 1485

The Tudors (1485 -1603)
•King Henry VII 1485 - 1509
•King Henry VIII 1509 - 1547
•King Edward VI 1547 - 1553
•Jane Grey 1554
•Queen Mary I (Bloody Mary) 1553 - 1558
•Queen Elizabeth I 1558 - 1603

The Stuarts (1603 - 1649) (1660 - 1714)
•James I 1603 - 1625
•Charles I 1625 - 1649
•Charles II 1660 - 1685
•James II 1685 - 1688
•William III 1688 - 1702 and Queen Mary II 1688 - 1694
•Queen Anne 1702 - 1714

The House of Hanoverians (1714 -1901)
•King George I 1714 - 1727
•King George II 1727 - 1760
•King George III 1760 - 1820
•King George IV 1820 - 1830
•King William IV 1830 - 1837
•Queen Victoria 1837 - 1901

Saxe-Coburg-Gotha and The Windsors (1901 -1910) (1910 - Today)
•King Edward VII 1901 - 1910
•King George V 1910 - 1936
•King Edward VIII June 1936
•King George VI 1936 - 1952
•Queen Elizabeth II 1952 - present day

Friday, November 19, 2010

Author's in the Spotlight Friday: Jean Plaidy

Welcome to the second Author's in the Spotlight Friday here at All Things Historical Fiction! Last week I featured Susan Higginbotham author of The Traitor's Wife. If you missed it click here Susan Higginbotham

This week I have chosen to honor the Goddess herself Jean Plaidy (Eleanor Alice Burford Hibbert). During most of the 20th century, Eleanor was known as one of the finest English Historical Fiction authors. What's interesting about Eleanor was that she wrote under eight pennames and many of her readers of one penname never suspected her other identities. Some of her most used and well known pennames are: Jean Plaidy, Victoria Holt, and Philippa Carr.

Eleanor Alice Burford was born on September 1, 1906 in Kensington, London. She acquired her love of reading from her father who was known to be a little weird. While in her twenties, she married George Percival Hibbert, a leather merchant who also shared her love of reading. Sadly, Eleanor died on January 18, 1993 while at sea. It was suspected her boat sank somewhere between Greece and Egypt.

The height of her career was in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Her novels were based on fictionalized history, which were all very carefully researched. One thing I found interesting about her was how she loved to collect old history books and read them from cover to cover and then transform them into exciting narratives that captivated readers all over the world.

By the time of her death, Eleanor Alice Burford Hibbert, was a global success. Her novels under Jean Plaidy had sold over 14 million copies and her Victoria Holt books had sold an astounding 56 million copies worldwide.

I absolutely adore Eleanor’s work, especially her Jean Plaidy novels. She really knows how to capture every moment and every detail of the past and then make them come alive on the page. I’m currently working on collecting all of her Jean Plaidy novels and then working my way to Victoria Holt and Philippa Carr. Although most of her books were written in the 50’s and 60’s, Random House publishing company is re-publishing her work with beautiful cover art.

Here is the master list of Eleanor's Jean Plaidy work:
(Note) I changed some of the titles to the new reprinted titles by Random House Publishers

Tudor Series

To Hold the Crown
Katherine of Aragon
Murder Most Royal
The King’s Confidante

The Sixth Wife
The Thistle and the Rose
Mary, Queen of France
For a Queen’s Love
A Favorite of the Queen

Mary Stuart Series

The Royal Road to Fotheringhay
The Captive Queen of Scots
James I
The Murder in the Tower

Charles II Trilogy

The Loves of Charles II

Stuart Saga

The Three Crowns
The Haunted Sisters
The Queen’s Favorites

Georgian Series

The Princess of Celle
Queen in Waiting
Caroline, the Queen
The Prince and the Quakeress
The Third George
Perdita´s Prince
Sweet Lass of Richmond Hill
Indiscretions of the Queen
The Regent’s Daughter
The Goddess of the Green Room
Victoria in the Wings

Queen Victoria Series

The Captive of Kensington Palace
The Queen and Lord M
The Queen’s Husband
The Widow of Windsor

Queens of England Series

Loyal in Love
Queen of this Realm
Victoria Victorious

The Lady in the Tower
The Courts of Love
In the Shadow of the Crown
The Queen’s Secret
The Reluctant Queen
The Merry Monarch’s Wife
The Queen’s Devotion
The Rose Without a Thorn

Ferdinand and Isabella Series

Castile for Isabella
Spain for the Sovereigns
Daughters of Spain

Lucrezia Borgia Series
Madonna of the Seven Hills
Light on Lucrezia
Lucrezia Borgia

de’Medici Series

Madame Serpent
The Italian Woman
Queen Jezebel
Catherine de’Medici
Henry of Navarre
Evergreen Gallant

French Revolution Series

Louis, the Well-Beloved
The Road to Compiegne
Flaunting Extravagant Queen

Spanish Inquisition Series

The Rise of the Spanish Inquisition
The Growth of Spanish Inquisition
The End of the Spanish Inquisition
The Spanish Inquisition

Norman Series

The Bastard King
The Lion of Justice
The Passionate Enemies

Plantagenet Series

The Plantagenet Prelude
The Revolt of the Eaglets
The Heart of the Lion

The Prince of Darkness
The Battle of the Queens
The Queen from Provence
The Hammer of the Scots
The Follies of the King
The Vow on the Heron
The Passage to Pontefract
The Star of Lancaster
Epitaph for Three Women
The Red Rose of Anjou
The Sun in Splendour

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Review: The Sixth Wife by Suzannah Dunn

The Sixth Wife by Suzannah Dunn
☆ ☆ 1/2

Setting: England 1547-1548
Henry VIII has just died leaving his sixth wife, Katherine Parr, a widow. Henry’s nine year old son, Edward, is now King of England. Katherine, commonly referred to as Kate by her closest friends, was known as the Protestant Queen of England. Kate was known to be intelligent, kind, and dignified.

Synopsis: Right after the death of Henry, Kate rushed into a secret elopement with one of her closest friends, Thomas Seymour. Catherine, the Duchess of Sulfolk has been Kate’s lifelong friend since childhood. Catherine felt hurt and betrayed that her dearest friend did not confide in her about marrying Thomas. Cathy did not trust Thomas. It was no hidden secret that Thomas once sought after the hand of the little Princess Elizabeth who is now his Stepdaughter.

She questioned his motives for marrying Kate. Was it for money, surely not for royalty or children? Kate has been barren all her life and she no longer was Queen of England, but instead the Dowager Queen of England. Kate seems happy now and so Catherine tries not to make a big deal about her sudden marriage to Thomas. So instead, she takes it upon herself to try and solve the mystery behind the mysterious Thomas Seymour. Soon Catherine feels herself trapped in a dark secret of her own. She’s now faced with her loyalty to her friend and the risk of losing everything she loves and holds dear to her heart.

Opinion: This book, I regretfully admit, was a disappointment through and through. I was looking forward to getting to know Katherine Parr and her struggles as the last wife of Henry VIII. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. Instead, I got to know everything about Catherine, the Duchess of Suffolk and Thomas Seymour, but not so much Katherine.

Catherine was the narrator throughout the entire book, which was disappointing in itself. The book was dry and the characters weren’t well developed. Upon reading the first chapter, I was lost. I had no idea what was going on because it’s like I was reading from the end of the book instead of from the beginning. So this caused me to feel like there was a piece missing like I was completely out of the loop with the characters. I think if Katherine had been the narrator and there was a little more background to Katherine’s life in the beginning then I might have enjoyed it a little more.

So unfortunately, this was a disappointment I don’t really recommend it. I haven’t given up on Suzannah Dunn yet. I will definitely read another of her books when I come across one.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Teaser Tuesday

Hey everyone I got the idea of a Teaser Tuesday from a Muse in the Fog and I thought it sounded like fun!

Anyone can play along! So here's how it works:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two "teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! Share the title & author, too, so that others can add the book to their TBR Lists!

Here's my teaser: It's from The Sixth Wife by Suzannah Dunn
pg. 118 "Love? Well, if Charles didn't, perhaps, understandably, at first love me,or not as a wife rather than a stepdaughter, he did love being married. In that sense, he married me for love."

pg. 75 "I hated her for it; of course I did. And I hated her for her sickness which to me not only disgusting but wilful. I longed to shake her out of it, to shake her back to herself."

Monday, November 15, 2010

5 Reasons Why I Love to Read!

1) I love the feeling of escapism while reading. I get to travel away from all my worries and responsibilities and walk in someone else’s shoes. The feeling of escaping to Tudor England or Versailles, France and experiencing what they experienced during their era. It’s exhilarating!

2) Once I finish a book I get the feeling of accomplishment; even though, once I finish I will look over at my desk and see that huge stack of homework that I’ve been neglecting.

3) There’s nothing better than walking into a huge book store or even a little used book store and seeing the endless options of books to choose from! My mom hates going to the book store with me because she says if she doesn’t keep pestering me to hurry up I would probably just camp out over night! Trust me if I could I WOULD!

4) I adore getting a new book with its nice crisp pages that have never been flipped through before. The cover is still in pristine shape never been bent or torn. Don’t get me wrong I take excellent care of my books and I never lend them out to people just for that reason, but things do happen. I have three cats and three dogs all of which are curious little creatures!

5) I just love learning new things about history! I hate reading those huge boring textbooks in school! They are so dry with no life to them what so ever. I’ve always been great in history. I even won an award for my history ability, but that doesn’t mean I enjoyed those monstrous textbooks! Historical Fiction novels actually bring history alive. You really get a sense of who they were and why they chose to do what they did that made them famous.

I’m curious to know why YOU love to read! Obviously you do or you wouldn’t be here now RIGHT?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Review: The Wise Woman by Philippa Gregory

The Wise Womany by Philippa Gregory
☆ ☆ ☆ 1/2

The Wise Woman by Philippa Gregory takes place in Durham County England in 1535.
It was during this time that the English Reformation was put forth by King Henry VIII. Henry VIII sought out to split from the Roman Catholic Church because Queen Anne Boleyn failed to produce England with a male heir. In order for Henry VIII to be completely rid of Anne and be free to marry another, he accused her of witchcraft. Anne Boleyn was sentenced to die by the sword. This led Henry to pass the Anti-Witchcraft Law for England, which caused many English citizens to become paranoid. Anyone who looked out of the ordinary or seemed to be doing something suspicious was accused of being a witch. This sets the stage for Philippa Gregory’s book The Wise Woman.

Alys is an orphan raised by her foster mother the local town’s wise woman, Morach. She and Morach live in a tiny shack right off of Bowes Moor where they are labeled as outcasts. The town fears Morach, suspecting her of being a witch capable of performing dark magic. Alys is sent away to live with the local nuns by the parents of her childhood crush Tom. This was done to prevent Tom from marrying Alys because his parents saw her as a girl with no respectable family that could pay her husband a dowry.

On a cold dark night, Alys awoke to a smell of something burning. She soon realized that the entire Abbey was on fire and was under attack by Lord Hugo and his men. Upon leaving her room she noticed that she was the only one who was awake. The other sisters and Mother Hildebrand were unaware of the danger they were in, but Alys was worried that if she helped them escape that she would be dead too. So Alys ran as fast as she could away from the nunnery not knowing whether anyone survived the attack or not. She found herself back at Morach’s door begging her to take her back so long as she would not have to use her powers and could remain true to her vows.

Alys was once again forced into living with Morach and succumbed to the feeling of being unclean and famished. One day Alys was summoned to the castle of Lord Hugh. His health was failing and he begged her to work whatever magic she could to save him. She confessed that she was only an herbalist and did not partake in witchcraft. Lord Hugh soon grew found of Alys and offered to let her stay in the castle where she would become his clerk. She agreed in order to escape from Morach’s damp and filthy shack.

It did not take long for Lord Hugh’s son Hugo to become infatuated with Alys, which caused his wife Lady Catherine to become extremely jealous. Alys soon finds herself backed into a corner as a result of Lady Catherine’s outrageous accusations of her being a witch and hexing Hugo into loving her. For her own safety, Alys decides to set aside her vows and take up the powers she’s learned from Morach. The spell she conjures up becomes too powerful for her to control and so it takes on a life of its own. This puts Alys in mortal danger and on the path to self destruction. Does Alys rise so far to the top only to fall so low to where not even her powers can save her?

After reading this book, I can see why so many had a hard time even finishing it because of the combination of witchcraft and very erotic sex scenes. I must admit this is not Philippa’s best work but it does not deserve to be shunned like so many have done. I went in knowing there were to be some crazy sex scenes and so I was prepared for them when they appeared. I enjoy reading paranormal books so the witchcraft aspect didn’t bother me a bit, in fact I found it refreshing. It was nice to read something a little different from your typical HF books.

I did find the character of Alys to be a little disturbing at times. I kept questioning why she chose to do some of things she did. I knew she wasn’t making very wise choices that may cause her to dig her own grave, but I was curious as to where it was going to lead her in the end.

Overall, I was not too disappointed with this book. If you can accept the fact that there will be some crazy and also some disturbing sex scenes down the line then it shouldn’t be too bad. If you choose to read this book, don’t expect another Other Boleyn Girl or The White Queen. Expect something more like Wideacre. If you could handle Wideacre then it may be a good choice for you.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Friday: Author in the Spotlight

Welcome to the first Friday of Author in the Spotlight here at All Things Historical Fiction!

Today I decided to shine the light on Susan Higginbotham, author of The Traitor’s Wife, Hugh & Bess, & The Stolen Crown. I got all my information from Susan's site which I linked down at the bottom.

I must regretfully admit I have not had the pleasure of reading any of her work. The book store, in my college town does not have a wide range of books to choose from so I have to take what I can get.
Susan Higginbotham is recently new to the Historical Fiction world. Susan dabbled in different areas before she finally found her was to writing HF. Once she graduated from college she worked at different clerical and editorial jobs. Then she decided to go to law school where she worked as a solo practitioner for several years. Later down the road, Susan decided she would like a change of scenery, which led her to a legal publisher position where she is still currently working.
The story of what inspired Susan to write her first HF novel, The Traitor’s Wife, is a story I found very interesting and worth sharing. One day she came across an online version of Christopher Marlowe’s play, Edward II, which she had read some time ago. She found herself sucked into the riveting drama of Marlowe’s play and the historical background behind it. Therefore, she decided to do a little research, which led her to Eleanor de Clare. Susan was so intrigued and inspired by Eleanor de Clare’s life that she felt compelled to recreate it by writing her first novel The Traitor’s Wife. So basically Susan just fell into writing HF novels and has been hooked ever since!

Susan has a new novel due to come out January 2011 called The Queen of Last Hopes, which focuses on the story of Margaret of Anjou.
While researching the life of Susan Higginbotham, I came across some interesting facts about her. Like me, Susan has a love for animals. I counted four cats and two dogs, which sounds very similar to me with three cats and three dogs. She enjoys reading works by the classic authors: Charles Dickens & Jane Austen. She also enjoys reading a good historical fiction novel by Margaret Campbell Barnes, Sharon Penman & Jean Plaidy.

For more information about Susan Higginbotham visit her site Susan Higginbotham Site

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Review: A Foreign Affair by Caro Peacock

A Foreign Affair by Caro Peacock
☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

A Foreign Affair, by Caro Peacock, takes place in both England and France during 1837. It dates back to the death of King William IV and the accession of Queen Victoria. I found this book in a little used book store in my home town and immediately grabbed it because it looked to be a historical fiction novel due to the fact that the cover stated it took place in Victorian England and the look of the cover itself. Once I finally got around to reading A Foreing Affair, I soon realized it's not really historical fiction but more of a mystery/thriller that takes place in Victorian England. Since I'm an avid Historical Fiction reader I must admit I was a little disappointed by the lack of historical facts. However, once I got passed the fact that this novel was a mystery and not historical fiction, I thoroughly began to enjoy it.

A Foreign Affair is the first novel of three in the Liberty Lane series. Liberty Lane is a young lady who runs away from one of her aunts to meet her father in Calais. Her father has been away for sometime and is finally returning to her. Liberty soon discovers, upon arriving in Calais that her father has been shot fighting in a dual. Unable to accept the fact that her father died in a dual, Liberty finds her self immersed in a whirl-wind of danger, deception, and corruption. Not knowing who to turn to or even to trust, Liberty decides to take matters into her own hands and see that justice is done.

Caro Peacock did an amazing job in keeping up the suspense. I have to admit the beginning was a bit dry. Although, once I got passed the first 30 pages or so I just couldn't put the book down. I found myself in the library at school finishing the last 20 or so pages because I wanted to know what happens next and how it would end. Once I finally finished, I realized I should have been studying for my exam. Without spoiling the book, if you keep reading you will see that there is a little history behind the plot of the story.

I've already bought A Dangerous Affair, the second novel in the Liberty Lane series and I know I will be rushing out to get the final novel soon. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who loves a good thriller with a hint of history behind it, and it keeps you wanting more.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Nov. 9, 1541, Queen Catherine Howard imprisioned in London Tower

Can you believe on this very day, November 11th, Henry VIII's fifth wife, Catherine Howard was imprisoned in the London Tower.

Catherine Howard, who was a first cousin to Anne Boylen, was raised in the country in the home of the Dowager Duchess. When King Henry VIII married Anne of Cleves, Catherine was placed in Anne's household as a lady-in-waiting. Once the King saw Catherine he immediately fell in love with her. Some writers believe that the King was pathetically infatuated with her and that he truly did love her. There was an astounding age difference between them. Catherine was only 15 or 16 when they met and Henry was well into his 50’s and he no longer looked like the dashing King he once was.

It was no hidden secret that King Henry VIII despised Anne of Cleves. He once stated that she looked like a “horse.” So it did not take long for Henry to seek to divorce Anne and in order to take Catherine Howard as his wife. Cromwell was beheaded on July 28, 1540. It was on that very same day that Henry married Catherine. This shows how torn up Henry was about executing his once trusted advisor.

As a result of never being coronated, Catherine was never Queen in her own right, however, she was called the Queen Consort. To this day, there is much debate as to why Henry never crowned Catherine. Some believe that he did not want to put Catherine in the public’s eye since she had been raised always having her own privacy.

Many believed Catherine was feeding her Uncle secret information about the King; therefore she was always treated with suspicion by many people of the court. It did not take long for Catherine’s past to haunt her. Mary Lascelles, who was once a servant for the Dowager Duchess, brought Catherine’s past to the attention of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Cranmer. She told Cranmer about Catherine’s love affair with Francis Dereham and Thomas Culpepper. It was Cranmer who informed the King of Catherine’s indecencies and current involvement with Thomas Culpepper. The King did not want to believe, what he thought to be, lies about his young wife.

It was a little later that Henry was shown letters addressed to Culpepper, supposedly written in Catherine’s own hand. What makes this interesting is that Catherine was known to be illiterate.

It was actually Catherine’s own uncle, the Duke of Norfolk, who sealed Catherine’s fate by turning against her in order to save himself. Does this sound familiar? It was also Anne Boleyn’s uncle who turned against her, which helped seal her fate of being beheaded. It was also Catherine’s uncle who visited her room reading aloud her Charge Papers.

"My Lady Catherine Howard. You have been charged with treason. The grounds for this charge is that you entered into marriage with His Royal Highness, King Henry VIII having knowledge of a previous betrothal to both Henry Mannox and Frances Dereham. It is also stated that you employed these persons, here at the Palace, with the full intention of continuing this sordid lifestyle. You have, not only brought shame upon your name, but have grievously sort to destroy His Majesty the King. It will be in your best interest to admit to these crimes and plead for his mercy".

Catherine's reply.

"I am innocent of all charges and will never admit to these lies. If there is any ground of truth in these statements, then it is because of childish ignorance and the evil companions with whom I was formally surrounded. I also seek to state, that I am faithful to the King and would never wish harm upon him. I will seek his mercy, but not by admitting to these treacherous lies".

It seemed for a while that Catherine’s charges were going to be dropped but like always there were evil people lurking around who ended up sealing her fate. So on November 11, 1541 Catherine was arrested and taken to the Tower of London where she was held until she was beheaded on February of 1542.

If you would like to read the Story of Catherine Howard, I highly recommend Jean Plaidy's novel Murder Most Royal.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Review: The Queen's Dollmaker by Christine Trent

The Queen's Dollmaker by Christine Trent

The Queen's Dollmaker by Christine Trent, takes place in 1765 - Paris, France. Claudette Laurent is the daughter of a highly recognized French doll maker in Paris, France. While growing up in her father’s work shop, Claudette inherited the same passion for doll making and she soon becomes her father’s apprentice. After a fire tragically destroys her home, and family, Claudette finds herself all alone in the world and unable to locate her betrothed (Jean-Philippe). She is forced to leave France on a ship headed towards London fooled into thinking that she is going to be provided a position as a governess in a London family’s home. Then she soon comes to the realization that she and her new found friends were being hired as prostitutes. Once they escape the grasps of Mr. Briggs, Claudette finds herself struggling to survive in London. She is forced to become a servant for a social climbing aristocrat. Later she discovers a way to escape servitude by re-creating her father’s work of French doll making; all the while wondering whether her beloved Jean-Philippe is looking for her or if he perished in the tragic fire.

Once her doll making creations reached the ears of the French Queen, Marie Antoinette, she is asked to make a special visit to the Queen's palace. Claudette sees it as a wonderful opportunity to expand and promote her business. By befriending the Queen of France, Claudette is thrown into dangerous turmoil, one that may cost her, her freedom or even worse her life!

I loved how the book incorporated two different view points: Claudette’s and Marie Antoinette’s. It was so interesting learning about doll making in the 18th century and I found it tragic what Marie Antoinette and the royal family were put through by the French Revolutionaries. At times I found the brutality difficult to read but I pushed through it.

I immediately related to Claudette. I found her to be a wonderful heroine that I could sympathize with. She is faced with one thing after another to overcome. I loved all the twists and turns. It kept me interested from start to finish, which I find to be the best kind of books. I hate being bogged down with so much fluff that the plot grows cold but you won’t find that in Trent’s book. I find it amazing that this was her first book and I will be on the lookout for her next book due to come out in December!

If you love a book that keeps you on the edge of your seat from start to finish that is enchanted with romance, tragedy, thrilling adventures, and danger all rolled into one, than this is the book for you! I highly recommend this book to any historical fiction fanatics!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Review: O, Juliet by Robin Maxwell

O, Juliet by Robin Maxwell
☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Robin Maxwell’s O, Juliet is a refreshing spin on Shakespeare’s classic Romeo & Juliet. Despite the similarities between Maxwell’s new take on Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet, there are also many differences. For instance, instead of taking place in Verona, Maxwell moves the story to Florence. Also, another significant change to the classic is Juliet’s betrothed Jacopo Strozzi. Jacopo is a foul smelling, yellow-teeth retch of a man, whereas, Paris was a handsome gentleman who actually had tender feelings towards Juliet. By moving the setting to Florence, Maxwell takes advantage of the significant Medici family, who influenced Florence during the 15th century, in order to incorporate some historical aspects to her version of Romeo & Juliet.

Eighteen year old Juliet finds herself trapped in the middle of her father’s new business deal with Jacopo Strozzi. Juliet’s hand in marriage is her father’s way of enticing Jacopo into becoming his business partner in order to keep his silk trade booming. Juliet is repulsed by Jacopo’s foul breath, bad manners, and his intimidating mother. She expresses her emotions and feelings through her poetry that is inspired by Dante’s work.

When Juliet meets Romeo Monticecco, at her friend Lucrezia’s masquerade ball, she immediately falls in love with him. They find they have something in common; their love of Dante’s poetry. They quote his work to express their feelings towards one another, which brings them even closer. For once in Juliet’s life, she has found someone who actually understands and shares her passion for writing and reading poetry, however, this posses two problems. The Capalletti’s and the Monticecco’s are families at war with one another and Juliet is soon to be betrothed to Jacopo Strozzi.

I understand why there are mixed reviews about Maxwell’s spin on Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet. I personally thought Maxwell’s take was enchanting and fresh. In Shakespeare’s version, Romeo & Juliet are young and their romance takes place within a week making it less believable. Maxwell’s characters are older, more mature, and their romance develops slower over a longer period of time. This allows the characters to become more developed and believable. You really get to know who Romeo & Juliet are as individuals. Unlike Shakespeare’s version, you get to witness what Romeo & Juliet are thinking and feeling as their romance develops.

Maxwell really made this her own and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Throughout the entire read you are wondering how she is going to end the story. Will she stay true to Shakespeare’s tragic ending or will she create a surprising twist and end it with them living happily ever after. You will just have to read and find out! For more reviews and news about other historical fiction authors visit my site http://allthingshistoricalfiction.blo...

Friday, November 5, 2010

Review Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen

Pride and Prejudice (Signet Classics) by Jane Austen
☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice is probably her most popular novel. I have to admit; I read Austen's novel Emma first and didn't thoroughly enjoy it. Therefore, I put off Pride & Prejudice for months and months. Finally one day I decided to take a crack at it. At first I found once again the plot to be slow and dry. Once the characters were all introduced I really became engrossed with the story and setting. I immediately fell in love with Elizabeth and grew to feel sorry for her. Elizabeth is the second eldest of five daughters. She is completely misunderstood by everyone in her family except for her eldest sister Jane and her father. It was very obvious that Elizabeth’s mother favored Jane and was very anxious for her to be engaged to Mr. Bingley, a wealthy gentleman who just moved in to Netherfield Park.

When Mr. Darcy was first introduced, I thought he was very arrogant and rude and just a revolting man to be around. However, as the story and plot continued I began to like him more and more. It was really hard to get a handle on Mr. Darcy. Is he arrogant and rude or is he really shy and mysterious?

Overall, I absolutely loved Austen’s Pride & Prejudice. I really got a feel for who most of the characters were and I loved the twists and turns. Austen did a fantastic job making it witty and comical. I would have given this novel 5 out of 5 stars, however, I did find it to be dry in parts and found myself skipping paragraphs and even a page or two at times and didn’t really feel I was missing anything. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves a witty romance novel.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

I'm back on Blogger!

Ok so I know I haven't posted anything since August 15th! I've been very busy with school and I just gave up blogging for awhile. Well I just realized how much I love blogging about the wonderful novels I have been reading and also sharing my reviews. So basically I'm back and it's going to be even better than before! I apologize due to the lack of posts I currently have. I have decided to start from scratch, therefore, I have completely redone my layout and have deleted past posts. I've also noticed blogger has made some really great changes since I've been gone that I intend to take advantage of! Please be patient with me getting things added to the site. I'm a college student working on my RN degree and I haven't been writing reviews of the books I have recently read. So basically it will take some time for me to catch up. Again I apologize for my absence, but now I have to sign off because Vampire Diaries is about to start and it's my Thursday night destressor along with Grey's Anatomy!