Sunday, August 29, 2010

Mailbox Mondays and The Red Queen Winner

From close friend Brandy for My B-day,

Jean Plaidy The Queen of Diamonds

The Queen of Diamonds"The affair of the Diamond Necklace shook the throne of France and, some say, precipitated the French Revolution and so helped to bring Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette to the guillotine. But why did these fantastic and ultimately sensational events fail so neatly into place? Why should a prince of the Royal House of France become so credulous and without question play the almost incredible part prepared for him? Why was an ambitious and predatory woman allowed to steal that famous piece of jewelery that represented a fortune? Who were the secret instigators of the plot?

In this novel Jean Plaidy offers one solution to an historical mystery, the motives behind which have long puzzled students and amateur detectives of history".

Hardcover, 256 pages Published December 31st 1995 by Robert Hale Ltd (first published December 31st 1958) ISBN 0709057695 (ISBN13: 9780709057697)

Original title, The Queen of Diamonds, Amazon Paperback

Thank you Brandy for the to die for birthday present when it showed up in the mail I could not help but cry because I love it so much and it just is so special to me.

From Publishers,
The Forever Queen Helen Hollick
The Forever Queen: Sometimes, a desperate kingdom is in need of one great woman"Helen Hollick has it all. She tells a great story" -Bernard Cornwell
Married to a king incompetent both on the throne and in bed, Emma does not love her husband. But she does love England. Even as her husband fails, Emma vows to protect her people-no matter what. For five decades, through love and loss, prosperity and exile, Emma fights for England, becoming the only woman to have been anointed, crowned, and reigning queen to two different kings, the mother of two more, and the great aunt of William the Conqueror.
Praise for Helen Hollick:
"Helen Hollick has a powerful talent for bringing the past vividly to life." -Elizabeth Chadwick
"If only all historical fiction could be this good." -Historical Novels Review
"Hollick juggles a large cast of characters and a blood, tangled plot with great skill." -Publishers Weekly

The Red Queen: A Novel (The Cousins' War)Finally The Winner of The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory is....

I hope you enjoy the read and congrats! 

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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Recommended Reads For YA Readers, Sugestions Anyone?

Recently I was approached by a YA reader in search of "clean and innocent" books to read. Boy is that a hard mission when it comes to historical fiction. Sadly it made me realize that I generally have not covered many reads that are made for young adults. I need your HELP and I am posting a Mr. Linky (listed at the bottom) to see if anyone out there has a link for "clean and innocent' YA books.  It does not matter to me if your link is a review, a new release post, or even a link to an authors website. My only requirement is that if you do post a link you have to know for a fact that it is age appropriate to YA which means, no sex, no foul language, and defiantly no over the top bloody violence. I would love to hear from you on this. 

YA For Sure Appropriate 
The Redheaded Princess: A NovelThe Redheaded Princess by Anne Rinaldi
" Growing up, Elizabeth fears she can never be Queen. Although she is the King's daughter, no woman can ever hope to rule over men in England, especially when her mother has been executed for treason.
For all her royal blood, Elizabeth's life is fraught with danger and uncertainty. Sometimes she is welcome in the royal court; other times she is cast out into the countryside. With her position constantly changing, the Princess must navigate a sea of shifting loyalties and dangerous affections. At stake is her life—for beheading is not uncommon among the factions that war for the Crown.
With the vivid human touch that has made her one of the foremost writers of historical fiction, Ann Rinaldi brings to life the heart and soul of the young Elizabeth I. It's a portrait of a great leader as she may have been as she found her way to the glorious destiny that lay before her". 

ArabellaArabella by Georgette Heyer
The prolific Georgette Heyer--author of more than 70 novels--is perhaps best known for her Regency romances. A consummate storyteller, Heyer was also an astute historian of the times she wrote about; every detail of the language, dress, and customs rings with authenticity. Arabella is one of Heyer's most charming Regency novels. In it, young Arabella Tallant, the beautiful daughter of an impoverished clergyman, comes to London for her social debut and almost immediately runs afoul of Robert Beaumaris, a wealthy, eligible aristocrat. Beaumaris suspects that Arabella engineered a carriage accident in order to meet him; Arabella, in a rage, leads him to believe that she is the heiress to a massive fortune and thus quite uninterested in his own riches. Having set the stage for inevitable misunderstandings between this arrogant Romeo and hotheaded Juliet, Heyer then peoples it with unforgettable secondary characters. Arabella's warm heart and strong principles lead her to befriend such unsavory types as an abused apprentice to a chimney sweep, a stray dog, and a fallen woman happily known as "Leaky Peg"--all of whom she foists on the reluctant but gallant Mr. Beaumaris. Arabella is an intelligent, witty romp--both a romance with a hearty sense of humor and a historical novel that remains true to the times it depicts. 

YA Unsure Appropriate  

Emma and the Vampires (Jane Austen Undead Novels)Emma and the Vampires by Wayne Josephson 

"Watch out Edward Cullen! Meet Mr. Knightley…The Vampire
Screenwriter Wayne Josephson Gives Jane Austen’s Emma Some Bite. Literally. From Bela Lugosi’s portrayal of the Count in the 1931 film Dracula, to the hit 90s TV show Buffy The Vampire Slayer, to the modern-day HBO series True Blood and the blockbuster book and film franchise Twilight, the vampire has evolved from a being that wreaks horror on humans to one that wreaks havoc on the affairs of the heart. Pop culture continues its fascination with vampires in the latest classics mashup Emma and the Vampires. The Regency-era comedy of manners finds Jane Austen’s beloved title character, Emma Woodhouse, attempting to arrange the affairs of the young ladies and gentleman vampires, including Mr. Knightley, in her social circle with delightfully disastrous results. Emma and the Vampires reflects the author’s passion for retelling the great classics of literature for a modern-day audience. Josephson originally rewrote Emma for his teenage daughter, who then suggested he add vampires given their popularity in books, TV, and film.
Emma is the most popular Jane Austen novel with young adult readers, and continues to delight audiences today, including the loose adaptation of the story in 1995’s Clueless, starring Alicia Silverstone, and the 1996 film adaptation with Gwyneth Paltrow portraying Emma. Is the mashup dead? No, it’s undead".
The Queen's Dollmaker by Christine Trent
"On the brink of revolution, with a tide of hate turned against the decadent royal court, France is in turmoil - as is the life of one young woman forced to leave her beloved Paris. After a fire destroys her home and family, Claudette Laurent is struggling to survive in London. But one precious gift remains: her talent for creating exquisite dolls that Marie Antoinette, the Queen of France herself, cherishes. When the Queen requests a meeting, Claudette seizes the opportunity to promote her business, and to return home...Amid the violence and unrest, Claudette befriends the Queen, who bears no resemblance to the figurehead rapidly becoming the scapegoat of the Revolution. But when Claudette herself is lured into a web of deadly political intrigue, it becomes clear that friendship with France's most despised woman has grim consequences. Now, overshadowed by the spectre of Madame Guillotine, the Queen's dollmaker will face the ultimate test".
As far as Trent goes, this one is really a maybe for me. I remember that there is a part where there is an attempted rape but as far as I remember that was the worst of it. It was not sexual and the main protagonist  Claudette is more the prim and proper type than the rebellious wild child. Tell me what do you think appropriate for YA or not

Update: Thank you to everyone who contributed to the YA list here is the submitted links as follows:
1. Cate of the Lost Colony by Lisa Klein
2. A Golden Web by Barbara Quick
3. The Bad Queen by Carolyn Meyer
4. Daughter of Fire and Ice by Marie-Louise Jensen
5. Ashes by Kathryn Lasky
6. Leigh Ann's Civil War by Ann Rinaldi
7. Three Rivers Rising by Jame Richards
8. Daughters of the Sea: Hannah by Kathryn Lasky
9. Warrior Princess by Frewin Jones
10. La Petite Four by Regina Scott
11. Duchessina by Carolyn Meyer
12. Duchessina by Carolyn Meyer
13. In Mozart's Shadow by Carolyn Meyer
14. Nine Days a Queen by Ann Rinaldi
15. The Last Duchess by Sharon Stewart
16. The Nine Days Queen by Karleen Bradford
17. Princess in the Tower by Sharon Stewart
18. The Pale Assassin by Patricia Elliott
19. Lady in the Tower by Marie-Louise Jensen
20. Time of the Witches by Anna Myers
21. Troubadour by Mary Hoffman
22. Lady Macbeth's Daughter by Lisa Klein
23. The Stolen One by Suzanne Crowley
24. Unclaimed Heart by Kim Wilkins
25. A Sweet Disorder by Jacqueline Kolosov
26. A Sweet Disorder by Jacqueline Kolosov
27. Two Girls of Gettysburg by Lisa Klein
28. The Plague by Joanne Dahme
29. Bewitching Season bY Marissa Doyle
30. The Season by Sarah Maclean
31. Chains by Laurie Halse ANderson
32. Prisoners in the Palace by Michaela MacColl
33. Montacute House by Lucy Jago
34. Faithful by Janet Fox
35. The Queen's Daughter by Susan Coventry
36. Everlasting by Angie Frazier
37. Red Necklace by Sally Gardner
38. I am Rembrandt's Daughter
39. Spy in the House by YS Lee
40. Edge on the Sword
41. YA historical fiction booklist on goodreads

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Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Stunned would not even come close to what I am feeling about this book right now. I was recommended to me by a very close friend of mine who knew I loved Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles. I see why she liked it because I liked it also but I can not recommend this book to anyone unless I stress a few points about it. It is very violent, extremely sexual, and to me is a full blown S and M novel. I figured if I was ever going to read one erotica novel in my life I would go for the recommended read by an old favorite author.

The tale of sleeping beauty through out history has been the muse of countless paintings, movies, plays, and fashion photo shoots. The princess has memorized all of us with her renowned beauty and magical circumstances of sleeping a hundred years under a spell that could only be broken by a prince’s true love kiss. Anne has taken the magical moment of the first kiss and turned it into something dark and fierce. No sweet tender kisses here the prince was there to claim her and he did just that. He claimed her and stole her naked back to his homeland as his new personal sex slave. I wish I could go into more detail but it is just too graphic for this blog because I do have YA readers. This is anything but the Disney version of Sleeping Beauty.

2/5 why the two you ask? The two for me is only because it was just too violent for me. I can do graphic sex but I could just barely stomach the degradation of S and M that sweet Beauty and others were subjected to. I believe that if the read had a bit more of the personal aspects of the characters especially the Prince then maybe the violence might not have bothered me so much. It was just too much pain and no rewards.

I do have to admit I liked it and will be reading the two other books in the series. It was like watching a train wreck happening before my eyes I just could not bring myself to look away. I finished the read in one night. It left me feeling with the need to find out if Beauty was ever released would she ever get to exact revenge for what was done to her. I hated it that he took her clothes and kept her naked all the time, poor Beauty. I can not recommend this book to everyone; I for one know this not a book I could discuss with my mother. This read is NOT for everyone but if you think you can stomach the erotic S and M I say go for it you might just like it.

FTC-This is my personal book
X-Rating for strong erotica
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Sunday, August 22, 2010

Mailbox Monday

From Barnes and Noble
Beauvallet Beauvallet by Georgette Heyer

"Sir Nicholas Beauvallet has never been known to resist a challenge. When a captured galleon yields the lovely Dominica, he vows to return her and her father to Spain. No sooner has he done so than he proposes an even more reckless venture — he will take Dominica as his bride even if he must enter the lion’s den".

Royal Escape: In which a dare-devil King with a price on his head fools his enemies and terrifies his friendsRoyal Escape by Georgette Heyer

"Dispossessed of crown and kingdom, the young Charles II must flee for his life, across Cromwell's England bound for a Channel port and a ship to France. But the irrepressible King, with his love of adventure and his unmistakable looks, is not an easy man to hide".

The Sleeping Beauty Novels: The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty / Beauty's Release / Beauty's Punishment The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty by A.N. Roquelaure, Anne Rice

"From bestselling author Anne Rice, writing as A.N. Roquleaure. In the traditional folktale of 'Sleeping Beauty,' the spell cast upon the lovely young princess and everyone in her castle can only be broken by the kiss of a Prince. It is an ancient story, one that originally emerged from and still deeply disturbs the mind's unconscious. Now Anne Rice's retelling of the Beauty story probes the unspoken implications of this lush, suggestive tale by exploring its undeniable connection to sexual desire. Here the Prince reawakens Beauty, not with a kiss, but with sexual initiation. His reward for ending the hundred years of enchantment is Beauty's complete and total enslavement to him…as Anne Rice explores the world of erotic yearning and fantasy in a classic that becomes, with her skillful pen, a compelling experience". 

From Publishers
Emily Hudson: A NovelEmily Hudson by Melissa Jones

"Inspired by an episode in Henry James' life-the story of an independent young woman's flight from convention.

After the start of the Civil War, Emily Hudson-an orphan who lost her family to consumption and fever-finds herself the begrudged guest at the home of her relatives in Newport. Emily's longing to be an artist is dismissed by her puritanical uncle, who wants nothing more than to rid himself of her through marriage. Her only friend is her aesthete cousin, William, an ailing young writer. When a promising engagement to the eligible Captain Lindsay is broken, William rescues Emily from an uncertain future by taking her to England. Lonely and desperate to escape her cousin-once her confidante, now her obsessively controlling patron-Emily sets out alone to meet her destiny in the eternal city of Rome.

Reminiscent of the novels of Edith Wharton, Emily Hudson is an exquisitely told tale about a heroine struggling to be true to herself, and also find love in a society where only marriage or an independent income guaranteed a woman the freedom to do as she pleased".

The Countess and the King: A Novel of the Countess of Dorchester and King James IIThe Countess and the King by Susan Holloway Scott

"Katherine Sedley lived by her own rules and loved who she pleased- until she became the infamous mistress of King James II...

London, 1675: Born to wealth and privilege, Katherine is introduced to the decadent court of King Charles II, and quickly becomes a favorite from the palace to the bawdy playhouses. She gleefully snubs respectable marriage to become the Duke of York's mistress.

But Katherine's life of carefree pleasure ends when Charles II dies, and her lover becomes King James II. Suddenly she is cast into a tangle of political intrigue, religious dissent, and ever-shifting alliances, where a wrong step can mean treason, exile, or death at the executioner's block. As the risks rise, Katherine is forced to make the most perilous of choices: to remain loyal to the king, or to England".
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Friday, August 20, 2010

Book Review: THE CANTERBURY PAPERS by Judith Koll Healey

Wow I am stunned, this read packs a hidden punch. I really did not know what to expect but whatever I was expecting this read went way beyond that. I can not wait to read the sequel “The Rebel Princess”.

The princess Alais of France has in the past year drawn me into a few reads like “The Queens Pawn” by Christy English. I have not until now had an opportunity to read a novel about Alais’ later years. I had been searching for some read that focuses on her time after Henry II died and after she moved back home. Most importantly to me was the years when her brother Philippe was ruling king of France.

“The Canterbury Papers” was a riveting read to the point where you could read 100 pages easily in one sitting and not have your brain hurt. In reality there is little known documentation of princess Alais' time after she went back home to France. I love Alais’ story even if she grew up in one the most confusing circumstances. Her father was married to Eleanor of Aquitaine. It was not one of the best matches and Eleanor divorced him for the king of England. It was later that he remarried and later had Alais. Her and her sister were sent to the English king and queen, why he sent his little girls to his ex-wife I will never understand. I bet he regretted it until the end of his days. As we all know Eleanor and king Henry II’s love match reached a sour point and Henry locked Eleanor up and separated her from all the children including Alais. In this read Alais was promised to Eleanor’s son Richard who would become Richard the Lion heart the future King of England, she loved Richard but that did not stop his father from plucking one of the untouchable court flowers. In the end the king always got what he wanted and certainly there are consequences for getting down with the king. The question this read covers is did Alias have a child by the king or more logically did the child survive?

The best part of this read is that none of it is set in the above mentioned time frames. I found it pleasurable that the story did intermingle Alais' past with the present. The whole kick off point of the read is when Alais receives a letter from Eleanor; she needs Alais to go on a covert mission to Canterbury cathedral. Her mission objective is to retrieve Eleanor’s letters hidden in the church behind the martyr Becket’s alter. I know you are wondering why Alais would even consider undertaking a dangerous mission for Eleanor’s good given what had passed between them. Eleanor pulls at Alais’ one soft spot she makes a mention of rewarding her for her service with privy information about Alais’ mysterious child that for all she knew was dead and had been dead for sometime. Of course she had to go to Canterbury and she would come to find out like many other nobles of this time period that where ever King John roved no one was safe.

5/5 Word can not even express how intriguing this read was it was mysterious in all aspects. It was like a puzzle that once you completed part of it you make the realization that by solving that one part of it you revealed three more unseen puzzles. Healey amazed me with her fluent gift of story telling, she is reminiscent of the great Elizabeth Chadwick and at one point used my favorite Chadwick’s favorite medieval slang for William Marshall “slugabed”. The other part that makes me think of Chadwick is another welcomed appearance from William Marshall. In case you are wondering in this one he is so hot even in this read. This book was such a joy to read it had the Templar Knights, sneaky queens, and all in the middle of it Alais on a quest for the truth which might not be so forthcoming. I would highly recommend this read to HF medieval enthusiasts.

PG-13 mild violence and mild sexuality
FTC This book was sent to me by the publisher.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Book Review: GEORGETTE HEYER'S REGENCY WORLD by Jennifer Kloester

I know what you are thinking; Lizzy is not the typical non-fiction reader. I must admit this book is the ultimate guide to anything related to Georgette Heyer and the era known as The Regency period. It is a very complicated time period that is one of the most intimidating in my mind is right up there with Eleanor of Aquitaine. During the regency in England there were a large variety of social classes that are very complicated to understand. The most alluring factor of the Regency to readers is that is was a time when manners were most important and Jane Austen broke through to deliver to the masses her eloquent vision of a proper romance.

From the ups and downs of the social latter all the way down to a who’s who of the regency this read has it all. This will satisfy any Regency thirst for knowledge. You might as well call this book the regency lovers dictionary. For a newbie to this period I found the first section “Up and Down the Social Latter” very helpful, it cleared up many of the things I did not understand that were the norms of the time.

The “At home in Town and Country” section was a real treat. Not only did it cover all of the key Regency locations it even covered what the Vauxhall Gardens served for its popular dinner service. In case you were wondering customers had a choice between the best chicken and ham in town, which ever took your fancy. The sections went on farther to a mans world, the gentle sex, on the town, the pleasure haunts of London, the fashionable resorts, getting about, what to wear, shopping, eat drink and be merry, the sporting life, business, military, and finally the most important the who’s who in the regency. The best feature of this book is not just the beautiful pictures that accompany the sections. The fact that each one of Heyer’s books is referenced and tied into locations, events, dresses, and anything else that was relevant in the books.

3/5 I liked it and enjoyed the read but it made me sad to realize how little I knew of this time period and Georgette Heyer’s books. I really need to read more of her books I loved “Arabella”. I would have to recommend this book to the Heyer and regency enthusiast. This would be an excellent wealth of regency knowledge for an aspiring author.

FTC: Publisher sent me this book, thank you Sourcebooks!
Amazon Georgette Heyer's Regency World
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Monday, August 16, 2010

Giveaway, The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory

Giveaway time yes indeed,  I am so proud to announce that I have got the hook up on "The Red Queen" by Philippa Gregory. Up for grabs is one finished copy.

"The second book in Philippa's stunning new trilogy, The Cousins War, brings to life the story of Margaret Beaufort, a shadowy and mysterious character in the first book of the series - The White Queen - but who now takes centre stage in the bitter struggle of The War of the Roses. The Red Queen tells the story of the child-bride of Edmund Tudor, who, although widowed in her early teens, uses her determination of character and wily plotting to infiltrate the house of York under the guise of loyal friend and servant, undermine the support for Richard III and ultimately ensure that her only son, Henry Tudor, triumphs as King of England. Through collaboration with the dowager Queen Elizabeth Woodville, Margaret agrees a betrothal between Henry and Elizabeth's daughter, thereby uniting the families and resolving the Cousins War once and for all by founding of the Tudor dynasty".

Sorry but this giveaway is open to US residents only.

For 1 entry leave me a comment with a way to contact you.

For 2 entries follow my blog. If you already do, thanks, and please let me know in the comments. You're eligible for the extra entry as well.

For 3 entries blog or tweet this giveaway to spread the word. 
Giveaway will end on August 23rd at 12pm 
Good lucky everyone!
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Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Face Behind the Words

I figured this has been a long time coming it is time to put a face to the words. Since today is my birthday it was only natural that I made a post that would give my readers a bit more information on me and what kind of person I am.

First thing out of the way for all of you who are wondering I live in Oregon not Ore-gun more like O-r-egon. The reason I say this is no one gets it right unless they are from here. When people think of Oregon I am sure the first thing that comes to mind is the wild west, pioneers on the Oregon trail, Lewis and Clark and trees lots of them. Oregon in itself is a very liberal state that firmly belives in conservation the people in Oregon are very unique unto themselves. We have been called tree hugers, weird and liberal hippies but in realty the thing about Oregonians as we call ourselves is that we love living here and we love our state and we want it to stay beautiful the way it is. Just look below at the picture I snapped off of my moms back deck. How anyone would want to take that away from this lovely earth I will never understand. 

In my life I have had my try at many different things and to be completely honest I am just trying to make my way in this world just like everyone else. I am a wife, mother, daughter, sister, and I am one of those people who believe that family matters most in life. I always put my family first but next in line in my heart are books. As a child I read a lot and remember wanting to spend my grade school recesses inside in the library because that was fun to me. I guess I never really changed in that aspect because my husband had to tell me he was tired of the weekly bookstore trips and library trips. Do not get him wrong he loves to read too and reads more than me and faster than me which I hate but I think if he found more things he would enjoy reading he would constantly have a book in his hand just like me. Life is interesting for me to say the least I have two little monsters that are 6 and 4 and they are the loves of my life alongside my husband. My life would be so boring with out them.

How is it I came this point in my life to be blogging you ask? Well to start with I was always the artistic person in the group but also the person who loved to read. In my younger years I worked hard to broaden my horizons with my art work but as I got older I found I was leaning more towards books. I did go to college for graphic design and website development but I also was working for an art minor at the same time, I went for 4 years and was on the deans list a few times. I loved school and love learning it is one of my favorite things in life. I feel as a human beings we are meant to evolve and sometimes that means mentally. Blogging found me by accident, crazy as it sounds I email Robin Maxwell to gush to her about "Signora Da Vinci" and she emailed me back with a few links and one of them was a blog. I wanted to follow the blog but was not sure how to and accidentally signed up for a blog in the process which was a good thing because I guess some things are meant to happen. So I am here and not going anywhere because now I found people who are like me and now I could never let them go.

Just for fun I posted my birthday astrology since it is Napoleons birthday also it just makes me laugh thinking of him and me being similar.

"Leos born on August 15 have enormous leadership potential. They may seem egotistical but are savvy about their own abilities, and they can size up their accomplishments with objectivity. They see the big picture better than almost anyone and yet can appreciate the value of details.
Leo Information
August 15
You should embrace: Ceremony, fastidiousness, fair play

You should avoid: A prickly personality, rudeness, dominating others
Friends and Lovers
August 15 individuals are devoted to their friends. They frequently pursue several distinct levels of friendship, both social and personal. They are extremely romantic. Scandal has a way of finding them, and their behavior may be called into question on many occasions.
Children and Family
Family matters can be the thorn in the side of August 15 individuals. They are loving, involved parents who may not truly come into their own until they have children.
August 15 people have vigorous good health, which can be undermined only by their own bad habits. If they wish to remain in good shape -- and most August 15 natives do -- they'll eventually find a workout regimen that's appropriate for them.
Career and Finances
These ambitious go-getters have a great desire to make it to the top of the professional ladder but are equally concerned with the methods that may propel them there. They like to live sumptuously and enjoy the respect that comes from earning a good salary.
Dreams and Goals
August 15 individuals have the ability to see beyond the infinite and don't allow themselves to see any impediment to their success. They know that everyone trips up at one time or another, but to them the stumbles are merely incentives to make them try harder". 
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Thursday, August 12, 2010

For The Love of Philippa Gregory

Question: Why do you love Philippa Gregory?

I love Philippa Gregory for many different reasons. One of the main reasons is that when I first got into historical fiction it was right around when the movie “The Other Boleyn Girl” came out in theaters. I happened to pick up a book at my local store that was by Robin Maxwell on Anne Boleyn and after I had finished it in one day I went forward from there. My first author I went for after Robin was Philippa Gregory because she was in leading the front line of the main stream historical fiction. I completed the "The Boleyn Inheritance" first and later went on to read all of her other novels in a fury. I think I had completed all of her novels in less than one month because I enjoyed them all that much. I read all of them before I started my blog and when I really started tracking my favorite authors I had picked up that Gregory was working on a new series. You can only imagine that since I started my blog I have been in high anticipation for the releases of Philippa’s new series The Cousins’ War. I have noticed that because Philippa is many readers first love in HF she is the driving force that has lured many new comers into the historical fiction reading world and that is more than enough reason for me to be grateful that she keeps on writing.

Controversy seems to follow PG like a little looming black cloud on the horizon. It is like you know it is coming but there is nothing you can do about it but wait for it to roll in. It seems to me that Gregory has a knack for striking up this controversy for one reason and that reason is that sometimes she takes writing liberties to the extreme. Some view it as bad liberties that go way beyond the realistic means of actual historical events. I however do not and will not ever see it this way. As many of you might have already picked up on, I am not one that has to have absolute historical accuracy but I do drawn the line at some things. I feel that if you as a reader need to have complete historical accuracy then you should be reading biographies and non-fiction not historical fiction. One of my favorite aspects of historical fiction in general is that it is fiction and yes writers do take liberties but that makes it even more fun to find out what the actual history was after I finish a novel.

It has been argued that “The White Queen” for example was said to be “fluffy” and historically inaccurate at points but I once again would have to disagree. I enjoyed the fact that Elizabeth Woodville was “nice” in the read. I figured that was probably more how her own family saw her because you have to admit that there was something that was alluring enough about her to attract a king and keep everyone else around her on high alert after Edward was gone. Elizabeth Woodville as a witch with magical powers, some think that is too far but if you think about it logically then it just might make sense. What we modern day thinkers think of as a witch is not what was considered a witch back in the 15th century. Maybe it just might be possible that she was what we would call today a psychic or a mystic. I see it as anything is possible and bravo for Gregory for adding a new spin on Elizabeth because I did read it and I did enjoy it. Is there anything that we as readers could ask for in a good book, action, scandals, love, war, and family feuds at its best.

The Red Queen” I waited so patiently for because really I have not found another fiction book that is completely based on Margaret Beaufort. I was not disappointed with the historical accuracies on this one but I do have to bring to light that Margaret herself is not a very like-able person. I called her the all time “Tudor Villain” in my review because I can not see her as anything else but evil. I can only imagine how hard it is to write about a person that is so unlikeable and my hat goes off to Gregory for bringing villainous Margaret to life for me. I enjoy reading about the War of the Roses because it was such a traumatic time in England. But I do have to point out that there are so many different points of view on this war of who said what, who did what and there was so much done it is hard to sift through the history of it all. For me it boils down to this you are either sympathetic to Richard or not, did he or did he not have something to do with Elizabeth Woodville’s lost princes, I am not sure we will ever completely know the truth. It is one of histories greatest cold cases which you can read more about here,  As for me I am kind of in a limbo I feel I can not pick a side until I have more knowledge on the era, and let me tell you there is so much to know. I am not sure I will ever be able to come to a conclusion on it which is why I stand by the sidelines and see what others think on it. I think it is just is pointless to argue over a read that is fiction because it is fiction and if you do not like it do not read it. Gregory continues to draw in new historical fiction readers and brings mainstream ideas to a almost hidden world. I say it is hidden because in truth I had no idea this online world of HF book lovers existed until I stumbled upon it by mistake and if Gregory gives to new readers what she gave to me then I am a firm supporter of her and her novels.
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Monday, August 09, 2010

The Red Queen Blog Tour: Guest Post: History and Fiction By Philippa Gregory

Hello and happy Monday to everyone. As many of you know I am participating in "The Red Queen" blog tour this year. "The Red Queen" hit  US bookstores August 3rd and will hit UK bookstores on August 19th I am proud to announce that Philippa Gregory has decided to pay a visit with a wonderful guest post. With out further delay please welcome Philippa Gregory to Historically Obsessed.

History and Fiction 
Philippa Gregory

Which historical women do you most admire and why?

I admire women in history who have been women of independence and have tried to live their lives according to their own standards and beliefs. In some societies this is terribly difficult – such as medieval England where women had no legal rights at all but belonged to their fathers, and on marriage, to their husbands. But even in these oppressive societies we see women educating themselves, like Margaret Beaufort of The Red Queen, setting their own standards and making a difference like the extraordinary Anne Boleyn in The Other Boleyn Girl, or acting skilfully and politically like Elizabeth Woodville in The White Queen. I find these examples – though so far from our own lives today – very inspiring in terms of what it is to be a woman without power and yet to make a space for yourself in the world.

Why write fiction and not history?

For the novelist, it can be much the same process. In the absence of any biography on a new character (Jacquetta, Duchess of Bedford) I am writing the biography as straight history and then writing the fiction which turns out to be a re-imagined version of the facts. They will be published alongside each other so the research work for this novel will be exactly the same as writing a biography. Certainly fiction is not "easier". What I find, when I move from the one form to another, is that the fiction is the inner life, dialogue, things we don't know but can only suspect, things that history is not much interested in like detail, things that history does not want to know much about as we now "know" is erroneous, but at the time was taken seriously like magic and alchemy. History is not much interested in ventures which fail or are scientific cul de sacs, but these are of great interest to the novelist. Of course the novel also needs a quite different structure to a history: the arc of the story, the satisfaction of the narrative selection, and a parallel life of symbolism in metaphor and language.

What's also striking is that in recent years - perhaps since the explosion of interest in the biography in the early 80s, is that the techniques of writing history have become more and more like those of a novel, so that someone like Starkey actually describes his process as like writing a novel. Historians are allowing themselves to speculate and to imagine more, and their writing is becoming more and more like fiction.

Why read fiction and not history?

Sometimes it is an answer as simple as that a good historical novel is going to be easier and more enjoyable to read than a history for most people. The author has pinpointed the interesting events and characters and linked them together into a narrative. You don't need to know all the details of armor and weaponry to understand and enjoy a rip-roaring description of a battle. You don't need the topography of the landscape just a sense of how it feels. Many people don't like and don't want to read non-fiction; but they might like the sense that what they are reading is somehow "real". For them a good historical novel gives them the sense of being somewhere else entirely and yet also a sense of relevance.

Part 2 of this exclusive blog entry by Philippa Gregory will be published on the 26th August. 

Thank you Philippa for sharing such a wonderful piece with us,  I enjoyed it very much. One of the big reasons I love historical fiction is that it is not a bio and should never be one. I love it that most HF novels start with a bio of a person that really did grace this green earth.  It makes it very interesting that after finishing a novel I can go and look them up on the internet and compare what I read with reality. I can say some of my favorite leading ladies have shocked me into the realization that history is filled with so many scandals that really did take place that we could not even dream this stuff up.

Philippa's Website
War of the Roses Books

Amazon Books
The White Queen: A Novel (Cousins' War)The Red Queen: A Novel (The Cousins' War)
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