Sunday, January 23, 2011
Early Mailbox Mondays
The Three Crowns: The Story of William and Mary by Jean Plaidy
"When an empire is at stake, one woman stands between the past and the future
In post-Restoration England, King Charles II has fathered numerous bastards, but not a single legitimate heir. Because of this, his brother, James, Duke of York, is heir-presumptive to the thrones of England, Scotland, and Ireland—the three crowns of Britain. But James’s devout Catholicism, and desire to return Britain to the rule of Rome, does not sit well with his subjects and his time as king is sure to be short.
Raised under the Protestant guardianship of her uncle King Charles, James’s daughter Mary finds herself at fifteen facing a marriage to the Dutch and Protestant William of Orange, long prophesied to be destined for the throne. But can she follow her calling to rule Britain without losing the love of her father?
Captivating in its historical detail, lush and sweeping in its scope, and unforgettable in its dramatic depiction of relationships between monarchs and families, The Three Crowns is the singular story of the only joint sovereigns in British history".
Madonna of the Seven Hills: A Novel of the Borgias by Jean Plaidy
"The most beautiful woman in Rome, Lucrezia Borgia, was born into a family—and a destiny—she could not hope to escape . . .
Fifteenth-century Rome: The Borgia family is on the rise. Lucrezia’s father, Pope Alexander VI, places his illegitimate daughter and her only brothers, Cesare, Giovanni, and Goffredo, in the jeweled splendor—and scandal—of his court. From the Pope’s affairs with adolescent girls to Cesare’s dangerous jealousy of anyone who inspires Lucrezia’s affections to the ominous birth of a child conceived in secret, no Borgia can elude infamy.
Young Lucrezia gradually accepts her fate as she comes to terms with the delicate nature of her relationships with her father and brothers. The unbreakable bond she shares with them both exhilarates and terrifies her as her innocence begins to fade. Soon she will understand that her family’s love pales next to their quest for power and that she herself is the greatest tool in their political arsenal.
From the inimitable pen of Jean Plaidy, this family’s epic legend is replete
with passion, intrigue, and murder—and it’s only the beginning".
Light on Lucrezia: A Novel of the Borgias by Jean Plaidy
"Some said she was an elegant seductress. Others swore she was an incestuous murderess. It didn’t matter what they called her. She was the most dangerous and sought-after woman in all of Rome. She was Lucrezia Borgia.
Born into Rome’s notorious Borgia family, young Lucrezia led a life colored by violence and betrayal. Now, married for the second time at just eighteen, she hopes for happiness with her handsome husband, Alfonso. But faced with brutal murder, she’s soon torn between her love for her husband and her devotion to her brother Cesare . . . And in the days when the Borgias ruled Italy, no one was safe from the long arm of their power. Even Lucrezia.
In this compelling story of a beautiful woman caught up in a tortuous web of fear and love, Jean Plaidy sheds light on the much maligned Lucrezia and vividly brings her to life".
The Tudor Secret (The Elizabeth I Spymaster Chronicles) by C.W. Gortner
"In Gortner's latest riveting historical (after The Last Queen), the influential Dudley family sends orphan servant Brendan Prescott to serve their cruel son, Lord Robert, at King Edward's court, and the young man is soon caught up in intrigue, suspicion, and shifting loyalties. Young King Edward is under the thumb of the Dudleys, but illness is greatly affecting his influence. Then the lion-eyed Princess Elizabeth, whom the Dudleys view as a threat, arrives and Prescott becomes a spy for her protector, William Cecil. Deeper involvement in the conspiracies surrounding the throne makes Prescott increasingly uncertain of loyalties, including his own, and he begins to question his fate and identity. In Gortner's capable hands, Prescott is a believable and enjoyable hero, a man of strong loyalties but naïve enough to be exploited. And while the Dudleys are mostly broadly drawn villains, Robert has depth, and though readers familiar with the Tudor era will know the key players, they may be surprised by their depiction here. Gortner handles action with aplomb, adding a riveting, fast-paced thriller to the crowded genre of Tudor fiction".
The Creation of Eve by Lynn Cullen
"The largely unknown story of female Renaissance painter Sofonisba Anguissola (c. 1532–1625) is beautifully imagined here in YA novelist Cullen's sparkling adult debut. In a page-turning tale that brings to life the undercurrent of political, romantic, and interfamily rivalries in the court of Spanish King Felipe II, the author shines a light on Sofonisba, who is brought under the tutelage of Michelangelo and later appointed as a lady-in-waiting for the king's 14-year-old wife, Elisabeth, to whom she becomes a close confidante. The author offers an intriguing vision of what life was like for women of different economic and political stations at that time, and she also takes care to not short-shrift the specifics of Sofonisba's art and methods. Cullen has found a winning subject in Sofonisba, whose broken heart as a young woman colors her perceptions and judgment about the queen and her imperious husband, as well as the young Elizabeth's attraction to the king's brother, and Elizabeth's odd relationship with the king's son from his first marriage. Ongoing references to the Spanish Inquisition and the life of the controversial Michelangelo add depth to this rich story".