Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Catherine Delors on The King and the Emperor and Bonus Giveaway!

Please welcome author Catherine Delors back to Historically Obsessed with a re-post of her event guest post for historical fiction bloggers round table event which was back in 2010. HFRT featured Catherine's hard copy release of "For the King" last year and I enjoyed this one greatly. I figured it would be appropriate and fun to re-post this very cool post on the correspondence between Louis XVIII and Napoleon with an exciting giveaway. Catherine's lovely novel "For the King" will be hitting stores on July 5th 2011. With out further delay please take it away Catherine.

The King and the Emperor: Louis XVIII and Napoléon

My novel is called FOR THE KING for a reason (for several reasons, in fact, but I will leave it to the reader to discover those.)

In 1800 France was still a republic, nominally run by three Consuls. For all intents and purposes, only the First Consul, Napoléon Bonaparte, mattered. He had seized power in a bloodless coup in the fall of 1799.

At first, royalists indulged in the hope that Bonaparte would step down and restore the monarchy. The pretender to the throne was a younger brother of the late Louis XVI, Louis-Stanislas. He was now known to his followers as Louis XVIII, to allow for the theoretical reign of the young Louis XVII, son of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette, who had died jailed at the Temple.


In 1800 Louis XVIII was 45. He had been friendly to reform in the beginnings of the French Revolution. But as it took a more radical turn, he had fled at the same time as the royal couple. Only he had succeeded in reaching Brussels when Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette were arrested near the border.

Since then, Louis XVIII had lived the unhappy life of an exile, at the mercy of the varying generosity of foreign sovereigns and the vagaries of international politics. In 1800 he was living under the protection of the Tsar of Russia.

Louis XVIII was by all accounts, like his elder brother, a man of superior intelligence, but he was a far more astute politician than Louis XVI. He was patient, ambitious, cunning, and determined to step some day unto the throne of his ancestors.

This is what he wrote Napoléon in September of 1800:

You must have long known that you have earned my esteem. If you ever doubted that I was able of gratitude, chose your own place, decide the fate of your friends.
As for my principles, I am a Frenchman: merciful by nature, I shall be all the more so by reason.

No, the victor of Lodi, Castiglione, Arcole, le conqueror of Italy and Egypt cannot prefer a vain fame to glory. However you are wasting precious time; we can ensure the peace of France. I say “we” because I need Bonaparte for that, and that he cannot do it without me.

General, Europe is watching you, glory awaits you, and I am impatient to restore peace to my people.
Keep in mind that Bonaparte had not yet given any indications that he planned to restore monarchy for his own benefit. He would only crown himself Emperor four years later. But he obviously thought the time had come to dash royalist illusions. 

Here is his response to Louis XVIII:

I received your letter. I thank you for the kind things you write about me. You must not wish for your return to France. You would have to step upon 500,000 corpses.

Sacrifice your interest to the peace and happiness of France; history will remember it to your credit.

I am not indifferent to your family’s misfortunes. I will be happy to contribute to the comfort and tranquility of your retreat.

Bonaparte had dropped the mask! These letters, by the way, provide useful glimpses into the minds of the two men. Note how Louis XVIII flatters Bonaparte, and emphasizes cooperation, and how all but one of Bonaparte’s sentences begin with “I”.


A few months later, royalists will detonate a bomb along the path of Bonaparte’s carriage, in the assassination attempt I describe in FOR THE KING.
As to Louis XVIII, he had to bide his time. But eventually, he was restored to the throne, while Napoléon died in exile on the forlorn island of St. Helena. Twists and turns of history…

Thank you Catherine for dishing us this wonderfully delicious piece of correspondence between the two men. I do have to say though that the secret of the title was one of my favorite parts and my lips are sealed. If you want to know the FOR THE KING secret you will just have to read it.

For More on Catherine Delors FOR THE KING check this out:
For the King, Amazon
Catherine's Website

Lets kick off this killer giveaway! 
The giveaway is for two finished paperback copies so that mean two separate people will score a copy of "For the King". This one is only open to the US residents. Giveaway ends July 4th 2011 at midnight west coast time.

For 1 entry enter your name and email
For 2 entries be a follower and say so in the form
For 3 entries share this and add a real link.


Monday, June 27, 2011

Mailbox Mondays

Mary and Elizabeth by Emily Purdy aka The Tudor Throne by 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..."

Sylvester: or The Wicked Uncle Sylvester: or The Wicked Uncle by Georgette Heyer

"This is Heyer's only romance novel to feature a female writer in the Regency world where a young lady didn't usually have those aspirations.
Sylvester, Duke of Salford, falls in love with a feisty young lady who wants nothing to do with him and aspires to be a writer-in fact she has written a scandalous novel that portrays him as the villain. Then a ballroom encounter launches a real scandal".

Bath TangleBath Tangle by Georgette Heyer

"Lady Serena Carlow is an acknowledged beauty, but she's got a temper as fiery as her head of red hair. When her father dies unexpectedly, Serena discovers to her horror that she has been left a ward of Ivo Barrasford, marquis of Rotherham, a man whom Serena once jilted and who now has the power to give or withhold his consent to any marriage she might contemplate. With her father's heir eager to take over his inheritance--and Serena's lifelong home--she and her lovely young stepmother, Fanny, decide to move to Bath, where Serena makes an odd new friend and discovers an old love, Major Hector Kirkby. Before long, Serena, Fanny, Kirkby, and Rotherham are entangled in a welter of misunderstood emotions, mistaken engagements, and misdirected love. Georgette Heyer's genius has always been in creating memorable characters, then placing them in a comedy of manners that is absolutely true to the Regency period. Bath Tangle is a delightful romp through the haute ton of early-19th-century England, and the battling, passionate, meant-for-each-other Ivo and Serena are one of her most successful romantic duos".

The Triumph of DeborahThe Triumph of Deborah by Eva Etzioni-Halevy

"In ancient Israel, war is looming. Deborah, a highly respected leader, has coerced the warrior Barak into launching a strike against the neighboring Canaanites. Against all odds he succeeds, returning triumphantly with Asherah and Nogah, daughters of the Canaanite King, as his prisoners. But military victory is only the beginning of the turmoil, as a complex love triangle develops between Barak and the two princesses.

Deborah, recently cast off by her husband, develops a surprising affinity for Barak. Yet she struggles to rebuild her existence on her own terms, while also groping her way toward the greatest triumph of her life".

Black SheepBlack Sheep by Georgette Heyer

"Abigail Wendover, on the shelf at 28, is kept busy when her niece falls head over heels in love with a handsome fortune hunter and Abbie is forced into a confrontation with his scandalous uncle.

Miles Calvery is the black sheep of his family- enormously rich from a long sojourn in India, disconcertingly blunt and brash. But he turns out to be Abbie's most important ally in keeping her niece out of trouble.

But how can he possibly be considered eligible when she has worked so hard to rebuff his own nephew's suit for her niece? And how can she possibly detach from an ailing sister who needs her? This is a heroine who has to be, literally, swept off her feet . . ."

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Book Review: VLAD THE LAST CONFESSION By C.C. Humphreys

I have got to hand it to author C.C. Humphreys on “Vlad: The Last Confession” he ultimately succeeded in humanizing one of history’s darkest rulers of all time: Vlad the Impaler.

Vlad the Impaler brings to mind many dark thoughts of horrific violent deaths in a dark and devious foreign place but this novel might change that mind set. I looked forward to this novel for many reasons,  one was that my instincts told me this was going to be the perfect novel for me. Typically I cannot stomach anything that has blood and gore as a main focus of the read but I was pleasantly surprised that this novel really was not too bad in the blood department. It did have its moments where I cringed and plowed through quickly to the next setting though. In my mind it was do-able and really not too bloody. This novel is not meant as a confession to the estimated thousands of people he had executed by impalement but more of a spin around for what Vlad’s life was like and how he himself had been through so much at a young age that it was bound to cause irreversible damage. It seemed to me my worst fears with this novel were for Vlad and his person because no one suffered like he was forced to. My empathy for Vlad was surprisingly high. This is the story of a man who had a dream of bringing the law back to his lawless country of Wallachia.

Vlad had his motives and this novel shows them plain as day. When he was a younger boy he was forced to go to the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire: Murad Han as a token of his father’s current loyalty in Wallachia. His little brother Radu also went along with Vlad's most loving companion Ion. Being virtually prisoners in the Sultans domain would set Vlad upon a path of terrible suffering and abuse. Punish or be punished was the scariest motto ever applied at Tokat, Vlad would never forget it either. Vlad was sent to Tokat in Turkey for his “training” but really Tokat was punishment for Vlad helping one of the princes concubines escape to their home land of Wallachia. Ilona was worth it and she would wait for Vlad for as long as it took because he was her only love. It was at Tokat that the most damage to Vlad was done, beatings, forced into torturing the local criminal and the worst of them all was when Vlad was forced into watching up close as the Turks executed a young boy close to his own age by violent impalement. After Vlad's time at Tokat his mind would never be the same again and it would leave a lasting impression on him. Even those closest to him would see the change upon his arrival home.

If it was not one thing for Vlad it was another, Vlad was released from Tokat and it was not exactly a happy time because he was only released because his father and brother had been wrongfully murdered back at home. The sultan needed Vlad to go back home and take over his place as Voivode. When he finally arrived back at home it was to an unstable throne and he was furious with the Wallachian high noblemen, the Boyars. Vlad would fight off numerous attackers of Wallachia, outside forces like Janos the white knight and worst of all his own Boyars who murdered not only his father but his other brother too. They say “an eye for an eye will make the whole world blind” well the Wallachia’s were pro’s at this theory and Vlad took his revenge to a whole another level. He would see justice done for the deaths of his Draculesti family and the Boyars never thought he would go so far to make sure they got their just desserts. It was when he dealt with the Boyar’s he settled to move onto more important things because the truth was Vlad had a bigger fish to fry, the new sultan and arch enemy now Sultan Mehmet II aka “the conquer”. Vlad could never forget that when he left the Sultan’s realm he was given no other choice but to leave behind his younger brother Radu “the handsome”. Radu belonged back at home in Wallachia and nothing was going to stop Vlad from killing Mehmet for what he did and bringing justice to his doorstep.

⅘ This one can quite possible change your mind on how Vlad is portrayed as a brutal leader who fought with terrible violence to fend off the biggest threat of the time: The Ottoman Empire. I swear after you read this one you could never forget Vlad’s history and what could have possibly happened to him. Just imagine if Vlad had never been forced into going to Tokat or sent to the Sultan in the first place, would he have been able to kill so many people in the name of justice? Would he have had the dire drive to kill them all? I guess we will never really know but this novel really appeals to a different side of Vlad I never knew existed. I would highly recommend this novel to readers who can stomach some violence because it does have blood and graphic scenes. But the violence is not the primary focus of the novel
  • FTC~This novel was sent to me by the publisher for review.
  • R~Rating for graphic violence

Vlad: The Last Confession
Blood Ties
French Executioner
Absolute Honour

Friday, June 24, 2011

Today In History: Happy Birthday Lord Robert Dudley

Happy birthday Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester! Born on June 24th 1532, Robert Dudley loved a woman that he could never have. Queen Elizabeth I locked herself in her room for days when she was told of his death and Cecil had to beat down her door.

"Elizabeth and Leicester miniatures by Hilliard"
Elizabeth and Robert
Roberts Signature

 "Robert Dudley"

Recommended on Amazon:
The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn, Robin Maxwell
The Queen's Bastard: A Novel , Robin Maxwell
The Tudor Secret (The Elizabeth I Spymaster Chronicles), C.W. Gortner
The Queen's Fool: A Novel (Boleyn), Philippa Gregory

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

In Stores Now and Giveaway Winner: The Darkest Heart by Thea Devine

In stores now and the winner of the giveaway is...
Heather Dickson

In bookstores today!
"Ever since a terrible fire killed her older son, one ambition has ruled Countess Lazlaric. Desperate to continue the family legacy, she is determined that her rakehell second son wed and produce an heir. Now, she’s found the perfect bride. A distant relative, writing to beg for help, is ideal for her secret plans.Alone in the world, beautiful raven-haired Senna Landseth finds more than just Drom Manor’s isolation sending a shiver down her spine. Countess Lazlaric seems overly eager to welcome her, strange noises fill the cavernous corridors of the gloomy manor, and she senses she is being spied upon. Then a note mysteriously appears, inscribed with chilling words: “I’m watching you. Nicolai.”In the years since the fire that supposedly destroyed him, Nicolai Lazlaric has inhabited the world of a vampire, consumed with seeking revenge on the creature who turned him. Now, it is time to return to Drom Manor. But Nicolai has no idea how badly the Countess wants an heir—or that his hated brother’s prospective bride is residing there. Senna’s unexpected presence upends Nicolai’s plans, for he can think only of possessing the beautiful innocent, of taking her in a blood-binding seduction from which she will never escape. . . ."

The Darkest Heart

Monday, June 20, 2011

Early Mailbox Monday

Lady of the EnglishLady of the English, Elizabeth Chadwick

"Royal wives and royal widows, Queen Adeliza and her stepdaughter, Empress Matilda, are the only two women to be titled "Lady of the English," a title that does not come cheap. Adeliza, widowed queen and peacemaker, is married to a warrior who supports Stephen, grandson of the Conqueror. Matilda, daughter of the last king and a fierce fighter, is determined to win her inheritance against all odds and despite all men, including Stephen. Both are women who, in their different ways, will stand and fight for what they know is right. But for Matilda, pride comes before a fall. And for Adeliza, even the deepest love is no proof against fate".

The ShackThe Shack Wm. Paul Young

"Mackenzie Allen Phillips's youngest daughter, Missy, has been abducted during a family vacation, and evidence that she may have been brutally murdered is found in an abandoned shack deep in the Oregon wilderness. Four years later, in this midst of his great sadness, Mack receives a suspicious note, apparently from God, inviting him back to that shack for a weekend. Against his better judgment he arrives at the shack on wintry afternoon and walks back into his darkest nightmare. What he finds there will change his life forever".

Pilate's Wife: A Novel of the Roman EmpirePilate's Wife: A Novel of the Roman Empire Antoinette May

"Biographer and journalist May (Adventures of a Psychic) turns to fiction to offer a privileged woman's view of religion, spirituality, sex and marriage in the time of Christ. May imagines 14-year-old Claudia Procula living with loving parents and holding a secret devotion to the goddess Isis and a gift for seeing the future. Six years later, Claudia marries the handsome and ambitious Pontius Pilate just before her family falls from imperial favor. While Pilate busies himself with affairs of state (and those of the extramarital variety), Claudia chats with her Jewish slave Rachel, visits her gladiator lover Holtan, tangles with the conniving Empress Livia, dines at Herod's palace and attends Jesus' wedding. Though blessed with the ability to see the future, Claudia never manages to prevent the tragedies she foresees. May is at her best when unencumbered by literary or historical precedent; Claudia's sister, the unwilling Vestal Virgin Marcella, for example, is better realized than the shallowly rendered Caligula, and descriptions of Antioch and Caesarea are more compelling than those of well-known locations like Pompeii.

Ellis Island: A NovelEllis Island: A Novel, Kate Kerrigan

"Sweethearts since childhood, Ellie Hogan and her husband, John, are content on their farm in Ireland—until John, a soldier for the Irish Republican Army, receives an injury that leaves him unable to work. Forced to take drastic measures in order to survive, Ellie does what so many Irish women in the 1920s have done and sails across a vast ocean to New York City to work as a maid for a wealthy socialite.
Once there, Ellie is introduced to a world of opulence and sophistication, tempted by the allure of grand parties and fine clothes, money and mansions . . . and by the attentions of a charming suitor who can give her everything. Yet her heart remains with her husband back home. And now she faces the most difficult choice she will ever have to make: a new life in a new country full of hope and promise, or return to a life of cruel poverty . . . and love".

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Historically Obsessed's First Printed Review Quotes

I knew this one was coming but I did not want to get my hopes up. I had heard from C.W. Gortner that on the brand new paperback release of "The Confessions of Catherine de Medici: A Novel" I was going to have a review quote.  When it released of course I went out and bought a copy. The quote is as follows:

"Gortner opens a window into Catherine de Medici's soul, proving there are always two sides to every story. A perfect 5-star read!"

From Amazon:
"Catherine de Medici uses her natural and supernatural gifts to protect the French throne in Gortner's (The Last Queen) portrait of a queen willing to sacrifice happiness and reputation to fulfill her family's royal destiny. Orphan Catherine has her first vision at age 10, and three years later is betrothed to Henri d'Orleans, brother of the sickly heir to the French throne. She heads to France with a vial of poison hidden among her possessions, and after negotiating an uneasy truce with her husband's mistress, she matures into a powerful court presence, though power, she learns, comes at a price. Three of her sons become king in succession as the widow Catherine wields ever-increasing influence to keep the ambitious de Guise clan at bay and religious adversaries from murdering each other. Gortner's is not the first fictional reinterpretation of a historical villainess—Catherine's role in the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre, for instance, is recounted in a way sympathetic to her—but hers is remarkably thoughtful in its insight into an unapologetically ruthless queen".

I feel honored to be on C.W. Gortner's novel he is a wonderfully gifted author. His novels all have blown my mind away, first with  The Last Queen: A Novel, then The Confessions of Catherine de Medici: A Novel, and with The Tudor Secret (The Elizabeth I Spymaster Chronicles).  I hope that there will be more to come in the future which brings me to my next thought...

This one completely surprised me. It surprised me when it showed up in my mailbox but it really surprised me when I opened the ARC (advanced readers copy) and discovered not just a quote on the first page but another one on the second page too.

Many of my readers know I LOVE Kate Emerson she is one of the few series authors I read. Kate's series "Secrets of the Tudor Court" is not your typical Tudor series on Anne Boleyn. I am pretty burnt on the Tudors lately and for me to go for a read in the Tudor "area" means it HAS to be a compelling main character. Emerson always picks a side line player of the Tudor court for her main character which is most enjoyable when you read the same stories over and over. Usually it is someone I have heard mentioned in other novels but took a mental note to go back to them later. I have been waiting quite a while for Secrets of the Tudor Court: At the King's Pleasure and I can not wait to review it but in the meantime my review quotes will have to do.
"I love this series and continue to be awestruck by each and every book....."

"Another beautifully written Tudor secret love that before I never knew existed. It was everything I could have hoped it to be and more".

 Release Date August 23, 2011
"The fourth novel in Kate Emerson’s well-reviewed series set in Tudor England—based on a real life member of the royal court of Henry VIII. Following the acclaimed By Royal Decree, Pleasure Palace, and Between Two Queens, Kate Emerson again plucks a real figure from history in this lushly detailed tale featuring Lady Anne Stafford—who is torn between her husband and another man.
History remembers Lady Anne Stafford as the woman who cheated on her husband with both King Henry VIII and his companion, Sir William Compton. Lady Anne was indeed in love with two men at the same time….but the king wasn’t one of them. Lady Anne’s complex and heart-wrenching romantic relationships are at the core of this riveting tale that masterfully blends romance, drama, and historical detail as only Kate Emerson can.

From Kate's Super Cool Website:
"At the King's Pleasure is the story of Lady Anne Stafford, younger sister of the 3rd Duke of Buckingham, wife of one man and mistress of another and loving them both. Accused by her brother of allowing herself to be seduced by King Henry VIII, with whom she is most definitely not having an affair, Anne is packed off to a nunnery "for her own good," and from that beginning a tangled web of intrigue and danger ensue".
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