The Lady of Bolton Hill, Elizabeth Camden
"Female journalists are rare in 1879, but American-born Clara Endicott has finally made a name for herself with her provocative articles championing London's poor. When the backlash from her work forces a return home to Baltimore, Clara finds herself face-to-face with a childhood sweetheart who is no longer the impoverished factory worker she once knew. In her absence, Daniel Tremain has become a powerful industry giant and Clara finds him as enigmatic as ever. However, Daniel's success is fueled by resentment from past wounds and Clara's deeply-held beliefs about God's grace force Daniel to confront his own motives. When Clara's very life is endangered by one of Daniel's adversaries, they must face a reckoning neither of them ever could have foreseen".
The Quiet Gentleman, Georgette Heyer
"Returning to his family seat from Waterloo, Gervase Frant, seventh Earl of St Erth, could have expected more enthusiasm for his homecoming. His quiet cousin, stepmother, and young half-brother seem openly disappointed that he survived the wars. And when he begins to fall for his half-brother's sweetheart, his chilly reception goes from unfriendly to positively murderous".
Queen of the Summer Stars: Book Two of the Guinevere Trilogy, Persia Woolley
"In a country still reeling from the collapse of the Roman Empire, the young King Arthur and his wife Guinevere struggle to keep the barbarians at bay even as they establish the Fellowship of the Round Table. The spirited and outspoken Guinevere skillfully combats an accusation of planning to poison Arthur in a country simmering with unrest and scandal. But Guinevere's greatest battles are dangers Arthur cannot see-ones she'll have to fight on her own. And all the while, she must reconcile her thirst for freedom with her duties as queen, and her growing love for Lancelot with her loyalty to her husband. Vibrantly human and touchingly real, Guinevere reigns as a woman poised to discover the true peril and promise of the human heart".
The Fallen Kings (Morland Dynasty), Cynthia Harrod-Eagles
"1918: German troops flood back from the Russian front for an all-out assault in France, before the Americans can join the war. The under-strength British retreat; and for the first time the real possibility of defeat comes home to a shocked nation. At the front, Bertie struggles to bring his battered battalion out safely; at home Jessie, carrying his child, faces her family’s censure. Thomas follows the Romanovs to Ekaterinburg as Russia descends into bloody civil war. Emma drives an ambulance in the FANY, and Jack is shot down. In the last, terrifying year of the war, the Morlands are more than ever in the thick of it, and only love, faith, and compassion will keep the family safe until the longed-for days of peace".
Britain's Royal Heritage: An A to Z of the Monarchy, Mark Alexander Non-Fiction
"More than a biography of kings and queens, this is an encyclopedic work on every aspect of monarchy in Britain from semi-legendary times to the present day. Arranged in an A to Z format, it includes mini biographies on each of the 42 kings and queens who have ruled since the Norman Conquest, details of the royal lines in Scotland before the Act of Union, the background to the royal houses of Britain, and the consorts, largely foreign, who have married into the monarchy. Royal scandals, wars, ceremonies, households, tombs, and insignia make this a fascinating read. It is the ideal reference work for all those who want to know more about individual monarchs and about the impressive legacy of myths, traditions, beliefs, and practices which have grown up around the institution of the monarchy".
The Borgia Betrayal: A Novel (Poisoner Mysteries), Sara Poole
"In the summer of 1493, Rodrigo Borgia, Alexander VI, has been pope for almost a year. Having played a crucial role in helping him ascend the chair of Saint Peter, Francesca, haunted by the shadows of her own past, is now charged with keeping him there. As court poisoner to the most notorious and dangerous family in Italy, this mistress of death faces a web of peril, intrigue, and deceit that threatens to extinguish the light of the Renaissance".
The Red Queen: A Novel, Philippa Gregory Paperback
"Nobody does the Tudors better than Gregory (The Other Boleyn Girl), so it should come as no surprise that her latest—the War of the Roses as seen through the eyes of Henry VII's mother —is confident, colorful, convincing, and full of conflict, betrayal, and political maneuvering. Gregory gives readers Margaret Beaufort in her own words, from innocent nine-year-old to conspiring courtier who stops at nothing to see her son on England's throne. Gregory devotees will note the difference between the supernaturally gifted Yorkist White Queen and Lancastrian Margaret, who, despite saintly aspirations, grows worldly through three marriages; a powerless widow at 13, remarried and separated from her only son by 15, it is not until she's 29 that Margaret is ready to realize her most audacious ambitions. Gregory clones have made historical novels from a woman's perspective far too familiar to make this seem as fresh as her earlier works. Yet, like Margaret Beaufort, Gregory puts her many imitators to shame by dint of unequalled energy, focus, and unwavering execution".
Fire on Dark Water, Wendy K. Perriman
"Fire on Dark Water is recounted by an English gypsy called Lola Blaise, who knows that Captain Edward Teach is a buccaneer when she marries him but has no idea she is about to become the thirteenth wife of the infamous Blackbeard, nor does she realize the unconscionable deeds she will have to perform to avoid the fate of her tragic predecessors. The action takes place in the Eighteenth Century's 'Golden Age of Piracy'. Lola takes us on an epic journey from her early Romany childhood, to loss of innocence in the slums of London, a horrific voyage on a white slave ship, indentured servitude on a Charleston rice plantation, life in a brothel on the 'Pirate Republic' of New Providence, and ultimately aboard the Queen Anne's Revenge (Blackbeard's flagship), as she interacts with real characters in factual situations. This is a gritty, violent, realistic portrayal of the lascivious, often manic events, acted out by dangerous drunk individuals with little left to lose. Warning: Not a tale for the faint of heart"!
Napoleon and the Rebel: A Story of Brotherhood, Passion, and Power, Marcello Simonetta and Noga Arikha Non-fiction
"Lucien was the most talented of the Bonaparte brothers, who not only can be credited for helping Napoleon seize power, but who also had a promising political career of his own. He was a romantic, an idealist, and an anti-monarchist whose love for Alexandrine, the woman he married in spite of Napoleon’s objections, caused him to fall out of favor with his powerful brother. Here, authors Simonetta and Arikha draw from a massive trove of first-hand documents, allowing them to present a rare, detailed portrait of this remarkable dynasty that reveals Emperor Napoleon and his family at their most intimate and vulnerable moments. The turbulent relationship between Napoleon and his favorite brother, Lucien, of whom the emperor said, “of all my siblings, he was the most gifted, and the one who hurt me most,” creates the perfect springboard to illustrate the bloody power struggles, romantic idealism, and corruption that characterized nineteenth-century Europe, as well as the rise and fall of the French empire".
The Cecils: Privilege and power behind the throne, David Loades Non-Fiction
"For over 50 years, one family dominated England’s high offices of state. William and Robert Cecil, father and son, held unparalleled power as statesmen, diplomats, counselors and spymasters throughout Elizabeth’s reign and long beyond. From Privy Councillor to Chief Secretary of State and Lord High Treasurer, both exerted far-reaching influence to secure the Queen’s realm and legacy. They enjoyed her reliance and trust, and Robert the gratitude of her successor James I, yet each inhabited a perilous world where favor brought enemies and a wrong step could lead to disaster".
Revenger: A Novel of Tudor Intrigue, Rory Clements
"In his critically acclaimed debut thriller, Martyr, Rory Clements introduced readers to the unforgettable John Shakespeare, chief intelligencer to Queen Elizabeth I and older brother to Will.
Now, five years later, the Queen needs Shakespeare’s services once more. Not only is England still at war with Spain, but her court is riven by savage infighting among ambitious young courtiers.
Shakespeare is summoned by Elizabeth’s cold but deadly Privy Councillor Sir Robert Cecil and ordered to undertake two linked missions: to investigate the mystery of the doomed Roanoke colony in North America—Sir Walter Ralegh’s folly—and to spy on Cecil’s rival, the dashing Earl of Essex.
Essex is the brightest star in the firmament, the Queen’s favorite. But when Shakespeare enters Essex’s dissolute world, he discovers not only that the Queen herself is in danger, but that he and his family are also targets. With a plague devastating the country, Catholics facing persecution and martyrdom at the hands of an infamous torturer, and John’s own wife, Catherine, possibly protecting a priest—Shakespeare has his own survival to secure, as well as that of his fading but still feisty Queen".
The Dark Enquiry (A Lady Julia Grey Novel), Deanna Raybourn
"Partners now in marriage and in trade, Lady Julia and Nicholas Brisbane have finally returned from abroad to set up housekeeping in London. But merging their respective collections of gadgets, pets and servants leaves little room for the harried newlyweds themselves, let alone Brisbane's private enquiry business.
Among the more unlikely clients: Julia's very proper brother, Lord Bellmont, who swears Brisbane to secrecy about his case. Not about to be left out of anything concerning her beloved—if eccentric—family, spirited Julia soon picks up the trail of the investigation.
It leads to the exclusive Ghost Club, where the alluring Madame Séraphine holds evening séances…and not a few powerful gentlemen in thrall. From this eerie enclave unfolds a lurid tangle of dark deeds, whose tendrils crush reputations and throttle trust.
Shocked to find their investigation spun into salacious newspaper headlines, bristling at the tension it causes between them, the Brisbanes find they must unite or fall. For Bellmont's sake and moreâ they'll face myriad dangers born of dark secrets, the kind men kill to keep…."
Effie: The Passionate Lives of Effie Gray, John Ruskin and John Everett Millais, Suzanne Fagence Cooper
"Effie Gray, a beautiful and intelligent young socialite, rattled the foundations of England’s Victorian age. Married at nineteen to John Ruskin, the leading art critic of the time, she found herself trapped in a loveless, unconsummated union after Ruskin rejected her on their wedding night. On a trip to Scotland she met John Everett Millais, Ruskin’s protégé, and fell passionately in love with him. In a daring act, Effie left Ruskin, had their marriage annulled and entered into a long, happy marriage with Millais. Suzanne Fagence Cooper has gained exclusive access to Effie’s previously unseen letters and diaries to tell the complete story of this scandalous love triangle. In Cooper’s hands, this passionate love story also becomes an important new look at the work of both Ruskin and Millais with Effie emerging as a key figure in their artistic development. Effie is a heartbreakingly beautiful book about three lives passionately entwined with some of the greatest paintings of the pre-Raphaelite period".
Aristocrats: Power, Grace, and Decadence: Britain's Great Ruling Classes from 1066 to the Present, Lawrence James Non-Fiction
" Descended from the early knights, British nobility seized greater power with the Magna Carta, birthed English politics and performed a delicate balancing act with rulers who embraced the "divine right of kings," regardless of its effect on either the aristocracy or the impoverished lower classes. British historian James (The Middle Class: A History) effectively shows how these ambitious, proud families combined the "balance of public duty with private selfishness," transforming over the centuries from rugged warriors to Oxford-educated art collectors who expanded the British empire and occasionally started wars. Packed with rich, entertaining information on major nobles and an unusual depiction of the monarchs who irked them, James occasionally psychoanalyzes while fleshing out the reality behind these pre-media celebrities. Interestingly, the politically astute Shakespeare serves as a source on the nemesis of Queen ElizabethÖs grandfather without bolstering the argument that Richard III was an ineffectual tyrant. Regardless, anyone who indulges in modern interpretations of Tudor courts or relishes details of British historical undercurrents should enjoy JamesÖs take on the power behind the British throne and the aristocracyÖs current fight to remain relevant. 16 pages of color photos".
The Ring and the Crown: A History of Royal Weddings 1066-2011, Alison Weir, Kate Williams, Sarah Gristwood and Tracy Borman Non-fiction
"The excitement surrounding the marriage of Prince William to Kate Middleton has prompted four of Britain's top historical biographers to look closely at Royal Weddings from 1066 to the present day. Professionally, Alison Weir, Kate Williams, Sarah Gristwood and Tracy Borman do events and television together, and are known affectionately, as the 'History Girls'. They bring an elan, and a passion for detail and dramatic narrative to all their subjects".
Before Versailles: A Novel of Louis XIV, Karleen Koen
" Louis XIV is one of the best-known monarchs ever to grace the French throne. But what was he like as a young man—the man before Versailles? After the death of his prime minister, Cardinal Mazarin, twenty-two-year-old Louis steps into governing France. He’s still a young man, but one who, as king, willfully takes everything he can get—including his brother’s wife. As the love affair between Louis and Princess Henriette burns, it sets the kingdom on the road toward unmistakable scandal and conflict with the Vatican. Every woman wants him. He must face what he is willing to sacrifice for love.
But there are other problems lurking outside the chateau of Fontainebleau: a boy in an iron mask has been seen in the woods, and the king’s finance minister, Nicolas Fouquet, has proven to be more powerful than Louis ever thought—a man who could make a great ally or become a dangerous foe".
The Tudor Throne, Brandy Purdy
"In the wake of King Henry VIII's death, England's throne is left in a precarious state - as is the peculiar relationship between his two daughters. Mary, the elder, once treasured, had been declared a bastard in favour of her flame-haired half-sister, Elizabeth, born of the doomed Anne Boleyn. Yet the bond between the sisters was palpable from the start. Now reinstated, Mary eventually assumes her place as queen. But as Mary's religious zeal evolves into a reign of terror, young Elizabeth gains the people's favour. Gripped by a tormenting paranoia, Mary is soon convinced that her beloved Elizabeth is in fact her worst enemy. And the virginal Elizabeth, whose true love is her country, must defy her tyrannical sister to make way for a new era...
George II: King and Elector (The English Monarchs Series) by Andrew C. Thompson Non-Fiction
"Despite a long and eventful reign, Britain's George II is a largely forgotten monarch, his achievements overlooked and his abilities misunderstood. This landmark biography uncovers extensive new evidence in British and German archives, making possible the most complete and accurate assessment of this thirty-three-year reign. Andrew C. Thompson paints a richly detailed portrait of the many-faceted monarch in his public as well as his private life.
Born in Hanover in 1683, George Augustus first came to London in 1714 as the new Prince of Wales. He assumed the throne in 1727, held it until his death in 1760, and has the distinction of being Britain's last foreign-born king and the last king to lead an army in battle. With George's story at its heart, the book reconstructs his thoughts and actions through a careful reading of the letters and papers of those around him. Thompson explores the previously underappreciated roles George played in the political processes of Britain, especially in foreign policy, and also charts the intricacies of the king's complicated relationships and reassesses the lasting impact of his frequent return trips to Hanover. George II emerges from these pages as an independent and cosmopolitan figure of undeniable historical fascination".
Katherine Parr: Complete Works and Correspondence by Katherine Parr and Janel Mueller Non-Fiction
"To the extent that she is popularly known, Katherine Parr (1512–48) is the woman who survived King Henry VIII as his sixth and last wife. She merits far greater recognition, however, on several other fronts. Fluent in French, Italian, and Latin, Parr also began, out of necessity, to learn Spanish when she ascended to the throne in 1543. As Henry’s wife and queen of England, she was a noted patron of the arts and music and took a personal interest in the education of her stepchildren, Princesses Mary and Elizabeth and Prince Edward. Above all, Parr commands interest for her literary labors: she was the first woman to publish under her own name in English in England".
Last Month's Releases: May
- A Race to Splendor, Ciji Ware
- Mary of Carisbrooke: The Girl Who Would Not Betray Her King, Margaret Campbell Barnes
- The Confession of Katherine Howard, Suzannah Dunn
- Sylvester: or The Wicked Uncle, Georgette Heyer
- Elizabeth and the Prince of Spain (Elizabeth I Trilogy), Margaret Irwin
- Knight's Ardor, Teresa Swift
- To Be Queen: A Novel of the Early Life of Eleanor of Aquitaine, Christy English
- Claude & Camille: A Novel of Monet, Stephanie Cowell Paperback Edition
- Daughters of Rome, Kate Quinn
- The Philosopher's Kiss: A Novel, Peter Prange
Finding Emilie, Laurel Corona
The Bird Sisters: A Novel, Rebecca Rasmussen
Delilah, Eleanor De Jonge
Captive Queen: A Novel of Eleanor of Aquitaine, Alison Weir
Jane Austen Education, A: How Six Novels Taught Me About Love, Friendship, and the Things That Really Matter, William Deresiewicz