Thursday, July 30, 2009

Book Review: FLINT by Margaret Redfern

Flint a short read at less than two hundred pages was anything but an easy read in the beginning. A enticingly challenging tale of two deeply bonded brothers named Will and Ned. The first challenge was the dialect of the story: Welsh, at times it was hard for me to follow. I had noticed that around page thirty the story took a turn and I became fully immersed in Ned and Will's trials. The final part I struggled with was each section had a symbol: a swan, cross, shovel, and boat. I had figured that the cross was the narrator, which I presume is Will. The swan was Will throughout the tale. The shovel I am not positive is Ned. The others I could not figure out and it bothersome. Now that is out of the way we can get to the good points.

The favorable points of the book was the relationship between the brothers. The unconditional love between them was moving. Will was the younger brother being about ten, Ned the older in his early teens. Ned was a mute, not really being able to speak except to Will in a special way. Will had all his life taken to looking out for his big brother, which made him exceptionally feisty. Ned reminded me of what we would view as highly intelligent, a savant for music, a whisperer to animals and nature itself. He spent most of his tale being a aloof wanderer, Wills feelings and emotions being more than enough for insight. I think Ned was curious and that would lead to wandering. The brothers wandering beginning is them being commandeered into King Edwards army and marched from their comfortable safe homes in the Fens.

The army was called upon to build the kings new castle. Once in North Wales they went to Flint to start the foundation and dig out the moat. King Edward had ordered them to work, they had no choice, and no where to run to, so they made the best out of the situation. All that mattered was they had each other. Things became cloudy and stormy once the work began, and many suffered. I had to remind myself of what year this was to have taken place, no real convinces. England was was a dark and brutal place under King Edward "Longshanks rein. They called him the "leopard"who attacks it's kill and feasts on its victims still living flesh. During the time at Flint they had learned many brutal life lessons, experiencing many daily trials was the norm. While the men were forced into back breaking labor, their fellow people from the Fens were suffering. Ned being of the mind he was had knowledge of herbs potions and plants. He would use them to help his comrades. When they suffered they began to seek comfort.

Ned was keen to his surroundings, given that any opportunity would arise, he would not hesitate to pounce on it. Which is how he was able to get permission to go to the sacred well of holy water. They were allowed there once but Ned had the taste in his mouth and could not leave it alone. It was famous for its healing powers and he needed more to help his comrades. Ned would end up sneaking off with Will in the dark of night in pursuit of more holy water. Sneaking off would cause ripples of consequences like a pebble does as it is dropped into the water for them both of them.

Ned was always looking for something or was it trouble, or that he was so smart he saw life in a different light. A higher level of understanding is what he craved. Their surroundings changed, people changed, died or ran off, but the brothers stood strong in their love and used it as armor to protect them selves at times. Holding fast to each other making it through the aversion of Flint only to be on the run for their lives. Running from the "bull" that struck sheer terror deep in their hearts. Would the brothers find their way or is that not the right way I wondered.

I enjoyed Flint even if it had a slow start. The unexpected twist ending made up for everything that Will and Ned survived through. I would personally like to challenge anyone interested in Flint to give it a go and see if you can figure out who the shovel and boat are. It also gave me a deeper point of view of how many people suffered building for the king. People forget about the little guys who have to work for everything in an unforgiving environment. It was refreshing from a different point of view. Another wonderful feature of this book is that it is published by Honno books. Honno is a welsh women's press group who help welsh women publish their books. Which get kudos in my book.

"Two brothers, Will and Ned, are on the long march from the Fens to North Wales, commandeered into the army of ditch-diggers heading west towards Flint, to prepare the ground for the foundations of Edward I’s new castle. The English overseers are suspicious of the brothers, for not only is Ned a mute, herbalist and horse-whisperer, but they have been close to the enemy - Ned had been secretly taking lessons in music from an exiled Welsh bard before the ‘recruiters’ came. The boys find themselves besieged on all sides - a long way from home, unsure of their own allegiances, and in grave danger of being thought traitors to the King. Margaret Redfern Margaret Redfern started wandering as soon as she could walk. She was born in Yorkshire and has lived in Dorset, Lancashire, Lincolnshire and Turkey, and is now settled in Pembroke. She has been involved in education most of her working life but has also pulled peas, skivvied in restaurant kitchens, worked with the Wildlife Trust and as a journalist".

Lettice's New Up Do

Lettice got a new up do and I thought you all might want to see the new and improved her. I saw that some of you out there would like me to do Mary Queen of Scots. I gave it a go last night and I started with Mary but ended up with something completely different. Figures! I will post the newest one when it is finished which should be Sunday. I love it that everyone loves my art work, it inspires me to do more and lots more. Thank you everyone for the wonderful comments, I really appreciate them.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Today In History, Wedding Bells for Queen Mary of Scots

On July 29Th 1565 Queen Mary of Scots married Henry Stuart, Lord Darnely. He was also her half first cousin.

Mary had fallen head over heels in love with the "long lad" (Queen Elizabeth's words) after he had come to Scotland from England earlier in the year (with the permission of the English). On the other hand, Elizabeth felt threatened by the prospect of such a marriage, because both Mary and Darnley were claimants to the English throne, being direct descendants of Margaret Tudor, the elder sister of Henry VIII. Their children would inherit both parents' claims, and thus, be next in line for the English throne.

Palace. Before long, Darnley became arrogant and demanded power with his courtesy title of "King". Darnley was jealous of Mary's friendship with her private secretary, David Rizzio, and, in March 1566 Darnley entered into a secret conspiracy with the nobles who had rebelled against Mary. On 9 March a group of the lords, accompanied by Darnley, murdered Rizzio in front of the pregnant Mary while the two were in conference at Holyrood, Darnley changed sides again and betrayed the lords, but the murder had made the breakdown of their marriage inevitable.

One night in February 1567, after Mary had left to go to the wedding of one of her maids of honour, an explosion occurred in the house, and Darnley was found dead in the garden, apparently of strangulation.

That was just the beginning for Mary. Later she fled from Scotland to England for her own safety. She was held a prisoner by Queen Elizabeth I and eventually beheaded for treason.

Carolly Erickson's new release "The Memoirs of Mary Queen of Scots" is due to be released on September 1st 2009. I am so excited I can not wait to see how she plays out Mary's character.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

New Blog Award, Queen of Alll Things, Awe-Summm!

Thank you Jo-Jo from Jo-Jo loves to read for bestowing me this wonderful award! Girl you Rock! In the spirit of awards I would love to pass this one onto my two favorite blogs:

Enchanted Josephine

Keep up the good work!

Sundays Art: Fairest Maid in the land Joan of Kent

Hello everyone! I just had to share my new piece I just finished. I was inspired by Karen Harper's "The First Princess of Wales". This is my Joan of Kent on her wedding day. I kept to how Karen described her in the book because it was best fitting.

My media on this was first regular pencil, and then color pencil. I finished her off with some

I am dying to ask if anyone out there has ever met anyone with striking violet eyes?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Sundays Art: What if they were HF dolls?

What if all of our leading HF ladies were made into dolls? Could you picture Joan of Kent? Elizabeth I? I wandered across this wonderful site called Crawford Manor where a wonderful artist named Cheryl Crawford makes Barbie and her friends into exquisite dolls that usually go to a charity auction or to a private collector. I just had to share my favorites:

Booking through Thursday: Preferences

Which do you prefer? (Quick answers–we’ll do more detail at some later date)

  • Reading something frivolous? Or something serious? Both
  • Paperbacks? Or hardcovers? Paperback
  • Fiction? Or Nonfiction? Fiction
  • Poetry? Or Prose? Poetry
  • Biographies? Or Autobiographies? Biographies
  • History? Or Historical Fiction? Both
  • Series? Or Stand-alones? Both
  • Classics? Or best-sellers? Both
  • Lurid, fruity prose? Or straight-forward, basic prose? Lurid
  • Plots? Or Stream-of-Consciousness? Both
  • Long books? Or Short? Short
  • Illustrated? Or Non-illustrated? Both if lucky
  • Borrowed? Or Owned? Borrowed
  • New? Or Used? Both it depends on how bad I want it

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Book Review: THE FIRST PRINCESS OF WHALES by Karen Harper

Joan of Kent, her paternal grandparents were Edward "longshanks" and his second queen consort Marguerite. Her father Edmund was half brother to Edward II and brother in law to Isabella of France. Isabella was the beautiful French princess in the famous movie "Braveheart". Isabella stirred up all kinds of trouble in the kingdom. Siding with her lover Rodger Mortimer against her husband King Edward II. The mess Isabella had created would directly haunt Joan of Kent for the rest of her life.

In the beginning of Joan's early life she was raised at her family's estate of Lidell. The execution of her father mysteriously and swiftly haunted her family, her mother became a raving recluse and could not stand the sight of her own daughter. Who sadly was a constant reminder of the tragic loss of Joan's father Edmund of Woodstock. She grew up in solitude with her nurse Marta because her mother could not be around her, and her siblings were boys they did not stay at home where she was. She was given free rein to do as she pleased and did not have to awnser to anyone. She had a free spirit of a druid or a nymph of the woods. She constantly reminded me of a myth of the wood nymphs where a man would be lured to the woods and come across a beautiful woman who would run at the sight of a man and if caught would turn into a tree. The men being greatly disappointed would leave the tree and search again for that beautiful face in the woods usually to be lost forever in the forest. She loved to be in nature and it best suited her untamable spirit. Her quite beginning years at Lidell would come to a screeching halt when Queen Philippha sent for her to be raised at court with her cousins. Since her father was uncle to the current king Edward III of Windsor. It was only fitting for her to become the ward of the king and queen.

Upon her arrival at court, Joan being the forcefully independent young woman she was wondered away. In her wandering she by fate stumble upon some noise and went through a private door. Where she happened to see a spectacular site of a glorious man with one of his arms bound practicing his jousting skills. She unknown at the time was mesmerized by him in his full glory. After he took notice of Joan he stopped to ask her what she was doing there, she gave him some tart responses from her lightning quick silver tongue stating she was new to court and the new ward of the king and queen now. They separated not knowing each others names or titles, expecting to meet again at court, under more pleasant circumstances. Not knowing she had just me Edward "the black prince" she instantly felt the magnetic attraction between the two of them. Like a pulling at her soul. The wheel of fortune was turned towards them when they met but, could they make it when it was not?

Joan suffered at court even though she had found a kindred spirit in her sassy cousin the princess Isabella. Those two wild spirits together looked for trouble, and the trouble came from the king and queen. As her relationship with prince Edward deepened, the queen had grown tired of Joan's ways and plotted to keep her away from her son. Joan was secretly married off by the queen and was sent to live far away in France on her new husbands estate. But how doth' the wheel of fortune change bad to good, good to bad, and for Joan it seemed suck in bad.

She also had developed an extreme love and hate relationship between her and the prince. Which was quite amusing to read but at time I just wanted to reach into the book and slap "the fair maid of Kent" for all the brash things she said and did. The mystery's and secrets surrounding her own fathers treason execution would bring Joan to hate the people she loved. Causing fortunes wheel to spin out of control until it finally stopped. Denying her own destiny, she would defy them all even her own heart, until the fortune wheel stopped where it lay.

I gave this one 5/5 muses rating. Defiantly my new favorite. Even if it is defiantly is a chunkster at over 600 pages, which was so long. I loved it and bought it on used for a grand total of $4.81, the cost of shipping was more than the book itself! But it will be mine and it will on on my treasured book shelf where no one is allowed to touch.

"The daughter of a disgraced earl, she matched wits with a prince. It is the fourteenth century, the height of the Medieval Age, and at the court of King Edward III of England, chivalry is loudly praised while treachery runs rampant. When the lovely and high-spirited Joan of Kent is sent to this politically charged court, she is woefully unprepared for the underhanded maneuverings of her peers.

Determined to increase the breadth of his rule, the king will use any means necessary to gain control of France—including manipulating his own son, Edward, Prince of Wales. Joan plots to become involved with the prince to scandalize the royal family, for she has learned they engineered her father’s downfall and death. But what begins as a calculated strategy soon—to Joan’s surprise—grows into love. When Joan learns that Edward returns her feelings, she is soon fighting her own, for how can she love the man that ruined her family? And, if she does, what will be the cost?

Filled with scandal, court intrigue, and prominent figures of the Medieval Age, The First Princess of Wales has at its center a wonderful love story, which is all the more remarkable because it is true. Karen Harper’s compelling, fast-paced novel tells the riveting tale of an innocent girl who marries a prince and gives birth to a king".

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

New Release, O, Juliet by Robin Maxwell

I am so excited about this one it has had me wriggling in my chair since I read the last page of Signora Da Vinci. Even though it is such a long wait until February 2ND, 2010! I will have to hold back until then but at this point it seems a completely impossible feat to accomplish.

Robin Maxwell was gracious enough to bestow some tidy bits to hold us all over for a while. She has stated: "I set the story of the lovers in Florence, and you'll be happy to know that Lucrezia de' Medici (Lorenzo mama) at age 18, is Juliet's best girlfriend and confident". Lorenzo being one of my favorite characters from Signora Da Vinci, the steamy, intelligent, and hot Italian man.

"Penguin books also is planning a big Valentine's Day promotion, which is fitting, as this is the greatest love story every told. And once the book is on sale, I'm going to run a contest via my website -- asking readers to send in their own love stories. There will be prizes"!

Oh goody goody! I am going to start writing my own love story asap so it will be done when the book finally hits stores. My husband and I defiantly shared a fateful meeting of destiny when we came together. It will be fun to put it to pen and paper. Thank you Robin for all the wonderful information as we all wait patiently for its release.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Thank You Everyone!

I just wanted to say thank you to all of you for your wonderful comments about my Princess. I had scheduled all of the most recent post some time ago and thank goodness for that! It has made me feel so much better since you all like them so much!

Today In History, Claude Queen Consort of France

On July 20Th, 1524 Queen Claude of France Passed away. She was Queen Consort of France and the Duchess of Brittany in her own right. Being the eldest daughter of Louis XII of France and the Anne Duchess of Brittany. When her husband François became King in 1515, two of Claude's ladies-in-waiting were the English sisters Mary and Anne Boleyn, coincidence I think not.

Claude's life was spent in an endless round of annual pregnancies. Which had to be hard on any woman's body. Her husband had many mistresses, but was usually relatively discreet. Claude imposed a strict moral code on her own household, which only a few chose to flout. Her husband was also Henry VIII arch enemy. They even competed in there womanizing skills. Once they even bare brawled. Henry lost and was pissed that he lost to François.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Booking through Thursday: Unread and TBR Catch Up

Well I am quite a bit behind, I thought it time about time I got caught up. It is two in one, and it is defiantly late. I know duh! Right, I will get it together eventually.

July 16Th, 2009
Follow-up to last week’s question:
Do you keep all your unread books together, like books in a waiting room? Or are they scattered throughout your shelves, mingling like party-goers waiting for the host to come along?

Organization is the key, everything of mine is separated. One book case of Educational, math, computers, languages, and business. Second bookcase, art, painting books, and art supplies. Third and fourth bookcases are fiction, historical Reference, Egyptology, Archeology, and Sci Fi. My husband has literally
almost has every book in paper back of the Star Wars series and Robert Jordan's books. So many that he has a whole gigantic box of books in the garage because we do not have enough room. Which reminds me I still need another book case.

July 9Th, 2009
“So here today I present to you an Unread Books Challenge. Give me the list or take a picture of all the books you have stacked on your bedside table, hidden under the bed or standing in your shelf – the books you have not read, but keep meaning to. The books that begin to weigh on your mind. The books that make you cover your ears in conversation and say, ‘No! Don’t give me another book to read! I can’t finish the ones I have!’ “

I have a system of on my desk is my book I am reading "The First Princess of Wales" by Karen Harper. Then I have a bookshelf behind me and it has three books on it "Flint" by Margaret Redfern, "Pride and Prejudice" by Jane Austen, and "The lady and the Unicorn" by Tracy Chevalier. All in my computer room are next. Then onto the bookshelf's in the living room of the house: all of my books have been read except for one top half shelf of unread books which "have to be read next" for awhile now. I even have them in order of which one is next. But I never quite make it to the half shelf with at least 10 books to read.

Sundays Art: Reception of Le Grand Condé at Versailles

Artist Jean-Léon Gérôme historical depiction of the Sun King Louis XIV's reception of Le Grand Condé painted in 1878

Louis II de Bourbon, Prince de Condé was a French general and the most famous representative of the Condé branch of the House of Bourbon. For his military prowess he was renowned as The Great Condé
aka Le Grand Condé.

I find this piece amazing for the representation of the glamorous court of the Sun King. Absolutely beautiful, what it must have felt like to stand before the glorious Sun King. Also note Jean-Léon in 1858 he helped to decorate the Paris house of Prince Napoleon Bonaparte in the Pompeian style.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Farewell My Sweet Princess

Farewell my sweet girl, I will sorely miss you! On Tuesday I had to say good bye to my sweet little min pin, princess. We had a good ride and we rode together to the end. The ten years went by so fast.

A few words from Robin Maxwell's Signora Da Vinci only seem fitting: " Pericles... that what you left behind was not what was engraved in stone monuments, but what was woven into the lives of others"

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

New Release, The Tudor Rose by Margaret Campbell Barnes

October 1st 2009 Paperback
Elizabeth of York, my favorite woman who was the only to be daughter, sister, wife to the crown. One of the greatest mysteries in history her lost brothers the "princes in the tower". One of my absolute favorite time periods, nearing the end of the war of the roses, Henry VII coming to the crown, and of course my favorite Henry VIII as a child. This has potiental to be a good read.
The Tudor Rose: The Story of the Queen Who United a Kingdom and Birthed a Dynasty

"One woman holds the key to England's most glorious empire in this intimate retelling of the launch of the Tudor dynasty
A magnificent portrait of Elizabeth of York, set against the dramatic background of fifteenth century England. Elizabeth, the only living descendant of Edward IV, has the most valuable possession in all of England—a legitimate claim to the crown. Two princes battle to win Britain's most rightful heiress for a bride and her kingdom for his own. On one side is her uncle Richard, the last Plantagenet King, whom she fears is the murderer of her two brothers, the would-be kings. On the other side is Henry Tudor, the exiled knight. Can he save her from a horrifying marriage to a cut-throat soldier?
Thrust into the intrigue and drama of the War of the Roses, Elizabeth has a country within her grasp—if she can find the strength to unite a kingdom torn apart by a thirst for power. A richly drawn tale of the woman who launched one of the most dramatic dynasties England has ever seen, The Tudor Rose is a vibrant, imaginative look at the power of a queen."

Monday, July 13, 2009

New Release, Fires of Faith: Catholic England under Mary Tudor by Eamon Duffy

Releasing September 15Th 2009, Hardback. This one has me going hum, this is the down and dirty of Queen Mary. The dark and scary Mary who got revenge in the end.

"The reign of Mary Tudor has been remembered as an era of sterile repression, when a reactionary monarch launched a doomed attempt to reimpose Catholicism on an unwilling nation. Above all, the burning alive of more than 280 men and women for their religious beliefs seared the rule of “Bloody Mary” into the protestant imagination as an alien aberration in the onward and upward march of the English-speaking peoples.

In this controversial reassessment, the renowned reformation historian Eamon Duffy argues that Mary's regime was neither inept nor backward looking. Led by the queen's cousin, Cardinal Reginald Pole, Mary’s church dramatically reversed the religious revolution imposed under the child king Edward VI. Inspired by the values of the European Counter-Reformation, the cardinal and the queen reinstated the papacy and launched an effective propaganda campaign through pulpit and press.
Even the most notorious aspect of the regime, the burnings, proved devastatingly effective. Only the death of the childless queen and her cardinal on the same day in November 1558 brought the protestant Elizabeth to the throne, thereby changing the course of English history."

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sundays Art: Signora Da Vinci, The Woman in The Veil by Raphael

I am quivering with excitement! Today in my local Oregonian paper I found an article stating that the Portland Art Museum will have Raphael's: The Woman with a Veil on loan from Italy and it will be on display from October 24, 2009 - January 3, 2010. This is a once in a life time opportunity that I will not miss!

"This October, the Portland Art Museum will present a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to view Raphael's renowned painting The Woman with a Veil. This single-painting exhibition will bring one of the most important paintings of the Renaissance to Oregon for the first time.

The Woman with a Veil (la velata or la donna velata) was painted in 1516 and depicts a serene woman looking intently at the viewer. It is believed that the model for the painting is the same woman depicted in other Raphael works including La Fornarina. Scholars have suggested that the woman was Raphael’s lover, Margherita Luti."

The painting also brings to light quite possibly my most favorite book: "Signora Da Vinci" by Robin Maxwell. The woman in the veil just so happens to be the cover for Maxwell's novel. If you love historical fiction and have not read it you are completely missing out. Two days is all it took once I got a hold of it, it was like I inhaled the book rather than read it.

"I was fifteen years old in 1452 when I bore a bastard child in the tiny village of Vinci. His name was Leonardo, and he was destined to change the world forever.

I suffered much cruelty as an unmarried mother, and had no recourse when they took my boy away from me. I had no rights, no prospects, no future. Everyone believed I was ruined. But no one knew the secrets of my own childhood, nor could they ever have imagined the dangerous and heretical scheme I would devise to protect and watch over my remarkable son as he grew into manhood. Some might call me a liar, since all I describe would be impossible for a woman of my station. But that is where my design unfolds, and I am finally ready to reveal it.

They call me Caterina. And this is my story."

Sundays Art: Study of the Horse from Leonardo's journals

One of my all time favorites Leonardo da Vinci. This one is especially near and dear to me because of my love for horses. The muscles and definition on the neck and chest make it seem so real. Almost as if the horse is prancing down the road. To think this is probably just a "doodle" in his journal. He loved horses and it showed in his art. He also made the giant clay horse that was to be cast in bronze for the equestrian monument but At the start of the Second Italian War in 1499, the invading French troops used the life-size clay model for the "Gran Cavallo" for target practice.

For further reading about Leonardo, Robin Maxwell's Signora da Vinci is an amazing book about his mother.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

New Release, Lady Jane Grey: A Tudor Mystery by , Eric Ives

October 28Th 2009, Hardcover

I would love a good read about Lady Jane Grey. The poor girl never even wanted to be Queen. I will be checking in on this one when it hits the shelves.

"Lady Jane Grey is the queen England rejected and one of the most elusive and tragic characters in English history. Here, Eric Ives, master historian and storyteller presents a compelling new interpretation of Jane and her role in the accession crisis of 1553, with wide-ranging implications for our understanding of the workings of Tudor politics and the exercise of power in early modern England. This is the first major study of the 1553 crisis, created after Edward VI's untimely death left the Tudor dynasty in turmoil. It presents a vivid portrait of Lady Jane Grey, one of the least studied figures of English history, depicting Jane as a forceful, educated individual. It subjects Jane's writings to an original literary and religious analysis. It demonstrates that Edward VI's will gave Jane and her supporters strong legal grounds for her claim to the throne. It offers a fresh assessment of other characters involved in the 1553 accession crisis: including Edward VI; Mary Tudor; and, John Dudley, duke of Northumberland. It illuminates the inner workings of Tudor politics and the exercise of power in Early Modern England."

Friday, July 10, 2009

New Release, Loving Mr. Darcy: Journeys Beyond Pemberley by Sharon Lathan

September 1st 2009 Paperback

I felt it only fitting to put this one out since I am newly obsessed with Mr. Darcy from Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice". The other day I watched the movie for the first time ever as part of my Jane Austen challenge. I fell in love with Lizzy instantly, considering we have many things in common. When I saw this book I could not pass it up even if it is a paperback. Immediately after the movie was over, I ran down and got the book from the library. I am now currently reading "Pride and Prejudice" and "The First Princess of Wales". I just could not resist the two very different stories Lizzy vs. Joan of Kent.

"Darcy and Lizzy venture away from Pemberley to journey through England, finding friends, relatives, fun, love, and an even deeper and more sacred bond along the way.
Having embarked on the greatest adventure of all, marriage and the start of a new life together, now the Darcys take the reader on a journey through a time of prosperity, enjoyment, and security. They experience all the adventures of travel, with friends
and relatives providing both companionship and complications, and with fun as their focus.

The sights and sounds, tastes and flavors of Regency England come alive. Through it all, Darcy and Lizzy continue to build a marriage filled with romance, sensuality, and the beauty of a deep, abiding love."

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Book Review: THE QUEEN'S SECRET by Jean Plaidy

Grandmother of the Tudor dynasty. Katherine of Valois grew up with a mentally unstable father and a lusty sinful mother who did nothing to help her husband or children though hard times. She was a terrible evil woman. Katherine never knowing a mothers love was seeking stability in any form. It is only logical to me that she married "the conquer" of her fathers own land, desperate to escape the strife of France and her mothers ill fated choices. She was not a ambitious woman because she saw first hand what it means to be a king, and how much of a burden it could easily become. Life had not kind to her father or her brothers, they paid a high price for being the blood royal.

When Katherine went to England she devoted herself fully to her husband the warrior king. Sadly within two years her blessed son was born, whom she loved very deeply, and her husband was dead and buried. Leaving her all alone in England. Katherine's childhood affected her deeply. Much more than she ever let on to. She never expected anything in life, especially not true love. I do not even think she knew what unconditional love was until she met Owen Tudor the welsh soldier who had served her late husband the king. She found comfort with Owen when her sweet son was taken from her as a little child "to be raised by the high born English nobles, who knew how to raise a child by a kings standards". Withering under the strain of loosing her son she begins to blossom with love for Owen. They say we never choose love it finds us and this is the case with Katherine.

She did not choose to fall in love with him. Life has a way of finding it's own path. When the path became visible she went for it. Knowing that she was putting herself in harms way of her brother in laws. She still sought her happiness, and the consequences would put her into dire straights.

4/5 muses because this book was very depressing to me, she never had a fighting chance. I wanted her to be happy but did she even know what that was? They say blood is thicker than water, I think it is family who can hurt you the most because people are sensitive to the bonds of family members and vulnerable to them. Katherine knew this and decided to go for her chance to live a quite life in the country away from it all. Knowing all well it could be her downfall. I enjoyed the book for the fact that it gave insight to the battles between France and England, and why the French hated the English so much for many generations to come. It also made me understand what led up to the war of the roses, and why having a child king was so hard for England and why he was mentally unstable in his later years. A worthy read, even though it was heartbreaking it was very insightful.

"Katherine of Valois was born a princess, the daughter of King Charles VI of France. But by the time Katherine was old enough to know him, her father had come to be called “Charles the Mad,” given to unpredictable fits of insanity. The young princess lived a secluded life, awaiting her father’s sane moments and suffering through the mad ones, as her mother took up with her uncle and their futures became more and more uncertain. Katherine’s fortunes appeared to be changing when, at nineteen, she was married to King Henry V of England. Within two years, she gave birth to an heir—but her happiness was fleeting. Soon after the birth of her son, she lost her husband to an illness.

With Joan of Arc inciting the French to overthrow English rule, Katherine’s loyalty to her adopted homeland of England became a matter of intense suspicion. Katherine had brought her dowry and borne her heir; what use was she to England? It was decreed that she would live out her remaining years alone, far from the seat of power. But no one, not even Katherine herself, could have anticipated that she would fall in love with and secretly marry one of her guardians, Owen Tudor—or that a generation later, their grandson would become the first king of the great Tudor dynasty."

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Sundays Art: Duel After A Masquerade Ball

Jean-Léon Gérôme May 11, 1824 – January 10, 1904 was a French painter and sculptor in the style now known as Academicism. The range of his oeuvre included historical painting, Greek mythology, Orientalism, portraits and other subjects, bringing the Academic painting tradition to an artistic climax.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Everything Austen Challenge, R U up for it?

The Everything Austen Challenge will run for six months (July 1, 2009 – January 1, 2010)! All you need to do is pick out what six Austen-themed things you want to finish to complete the challenge and sign up here

This is exactly what I was looking for and I did not even know it. I recently went on an expedition to the library and I talked to someone about Jane Austen because believe it or not I have never read any of her novels or seen any of the movies. Scary right? My problem was I did not know where to start with all the novels. There was multiple versions, some not by her, and edited in many different ways. It got so confusing that I put it on the back burner for later. Then low and behold Ms. Lucy over at Enchanted by Josephine posted about her entry into the contest, so I am going for it!

Here are my six: Pride & Prejudice, Sense & Sensibility, and Emma. Since all three books also have a movie based off of them, my choice is three books and three movies

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Booking through Thursday: Celebrity Memoir

"Do you read celebrity memoirs? Which ones have you read or do you want to read? Which nonexistent celebrity memoirs would you like to see?"

No I do not read celebrity memoirs because every time I see one I think of a celebrity paying a writer to write the story of their lives. Or I picture bits written by the celeb and paying someone else to piece it together as a whole. I just do not find them appealing so I have never read one, sorry to all the lovers of celebrity memoirs.

New Release, Cutters Island: Caesar in Captivity by Vincent Panella

Released on Paperback April 2009

This one has the wheels turning in my mind. Dreams of Caesar as a young man. I love ancient roman history, and this one might give some insight into his early years. Who was he before he became the Julius Caesar of Shakespeare? Yes, I have read Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. I remember being in junior high and everyone in my classes whining about having to study Shakespeare. While I secretly stole away to the library to read more about Caesar and Shakespeare. I will be reading this one and doing a review also, as soon as I get my hands on it. I am looking forward to it!

"Most of us are familiar with the Caesar of Shakespeare and Shaw. We know him primarily as the manipulative warlord and statesman. But what about the Caesar of Plutarch and Suetonius - historians who dealt with Caesar as a young man? Here, in this stunning novel, written with all the excitement and eloquence of an epic poem, we find Caesar at the age of twenty-five captured by pirates as he sails to the Island of Rhodes to study rhetoric with the renowned Apollonias Moon. In an odd sort of way, Caesar finds, in the encounter with Cutter - the clever, bloodthirsty pirate and his band of assassins - a new strength of purpose, an unexpected vehicle for him to hone his tactical skills, something he must develop if he is to equal or surpass his contemporaries. After all, weren't Crassus and Pompey the Great already famous generals in their twenties? In eloquent and burnished prose, Vincent Panella has Caesar tell the story of his kidnapping and ransom and his solemn vow to avenge his forty days of captivity. It is a time when Caesar's self-doubt is at a peak: 'I don't know where I fit - am I really a man of dreams? Am I as strong as brave a Pompey?' It is in Caesar's final encounter with the wily pirate and his men that he is challenged to become himself at last."

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

My Version of Lettice Knolly's

Wow, I whipped this known bad girl out last night. Since I now own My Enemy the Queen, I loved the cover art so I thought I would share my version of Lettice. I hope you all like!
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