Thursday, December 26, 2013

Book Review: THE THREE CROWNS by Jean Plaidy

In Post-Restoration England Princess Mary was the favorite niece of King Charles II. Her father James the Duke of York heir apparent doted on his favorite daughter. Her uncle Charles sadly had no legitimate male heirs making Mary’s father next in line for the throne and her second if her father had no male heirs. Mary’s parents married for love and besides her fathers affairs with numerous mistresses her childhood was a happy one. Mary’s younger sister Anne and her grew up in a close family. Both girls had it all, beauty, titles, wealth, family, education, and good health except for bad eyes, they were all very happy together. Mary was a daydreamer and she knew she had an ideal life; she was a beauty at court that was petted and loved by her father, uncle, and handsome illegitimate cousin Duke of Monmouth. She could have gone on living that way forever and been happy. She had never really given any thought to marriage or the fact that princesses were normally married off for the political gain of their country. Princesses were political bargaining chips and all of that went completely over Mary’s head. She never thought she would be subject to the same fate as most before her.

When Mary was 15 Charles decided it was time for Mary to be married and it had to be a Protestant bridegroom for Mary. Mary and her sister had been raised in the Church of England and since her father had converted to being a Catholic and re-married a Catholic woman; Charles concluded Mary had to marry a protestant for a few reasons. One reason was to please the people of England because there was unrest all over England about the heir apparent being Catholic. The second reason was King Charles needed Holland on his side and the prince of Orange (his nephew) had already met Mary and wanted her for his wife. The deal was sealed even though her father was forced to submit to the marriage he never wanted for his daughter.

Poor Mary her whole life fell apart the moment she was told she was to marry the Prince of Orange. William was ugly, rude, reserved, and could not be more opposite from Mary’s sunny disposition. She sobbed all the way to the wedding vows and William would never forgive her rejection of him. William was emotionally abusive and over the years he degraded her yet he constantly kept his eye on his one true ambition, the three crowns of England. The only thing in William’s way was James Duke of York his own father in-law. Pit between father and husband Mary must choose between the love of a father or the love and approval of her husband.

4/5 I liked this one but it really got old that William just heaped abuse upon abuse on Mary. I wanted to kill him yet I cannot wait to see what happens in the next book “Royal Sisters” because it really cut off at the ending.

PG 13 for slight sexual reference.
FTC this novel is from my personal collection.

"The Three Crowns" by Jean Plaidy
The Stuart Saga by Jean Plaidy

Friday, December 20, 2013

Book Review: THE MURDER IN THE TOWER by Jean Plaidy

Robert Carr fell from his horse in front of King James I and became his longtime favorite from that day on. Handsome as he was he was not very bright yet James was very forgiving of his faults. With help from an old friend working as his secretary Robert became the most powerful man at court for decades. He had never really given too much thought about relationships with women until he crossed paths with Frances Howard.

Frances Howard was rotten even as a child. She was cruel to her servants and was used to getting her way. Her uncle and parents made her a child bride; she was married at court then sent back home for a while to “grow up”. Regret sank in while her husband studied abroad. She wanted to return to court and eventually she was allowed to return. Frances was the type of woman that knew she was beautiful and used it as a weapon. She would stop at nothing to get what she wanted. At that moment Frances wanted to be free. She was married to one man but that did not stop Frances from falling madly in love with the only man at court that could compete with her beauty the kings long standing favorite Robert Carr.

She set her hopes high on Robert yet he was only half warm towards her. Robert was a man that did not want conflict in his life and avoided it whenever he could. Francis wanted the one thing she should not have. She wanted to be married to Robert even though she belonged to another. To keep the man she loved and get rid of the one she did not want, Frances would go to any means to get what she wanted. She would let no one stand in the way of what she wanted but could she be capable of murder?

5/5 Plaidy, Plaidy, Plaidy we all love Plaidy. I enjoyed this novel but found so hard not to hate Frances with every fiber of my being. I feel like Robert got all tangled up in a black widows web of deceit and paid the ultimate price. I am bound and determined to finish Plaidy’s Stuart Saga and I am elated that I can finally do it. I would highly recommend this novel because Plaidy novels are always perfectly blended historical fiction novel. Plaidy just makes sense of everything historical fiction and I cannot recommend her more highly.

PG-13 Sexual reference and violence.
FTC-This novel is from my personal collection.


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Book Review: THE KING'S DAUGHTER by Christie Dickason

Elizabeth Stuart daughter of king James I of England was born in Scotland. She eventually moved to England when her father became King of England upon Elizabeth I’s death. Elizabeth had a very sheltered childhood. Her father was adamant that she would not have any knowledge of the court’s happenings. He even went so far as to make sure she was not educated too much because he believed educated women were trouble. Even though her father forbade her many things including a loving mother, Elizabeth gathered court information from her beloved older brother Henry Prince of Wales.

Henry and Elizabeth were thick as thieves because their mother was not exactly all there and James was abrasive to say the least. That made their relationship solid but with their parents it was very awkward. The siblings literally had no relationship with their mother Queen Anne of Denmark and their relationship with James was brutal. James was cold, calculating, and hardly missed a beat. His children were terrified of the things he did. In the political world James wanted to play peacemaker in the courts abroad. To appease all fractions James promised one child would marry Catholic and the other Protestant. As Elizabeth came of age her list of suitors was long and always changing, which made it very hard for her to gather information about who was on the list. She was literally in the about any negotiations until a new unlikely friend was forced upon her.

This new friend showed up after Elizabeth had a disastrous reunion with her mother after she arrived in England. Her mother had treated her strangely. She was shown no love and later her mother gifted her a peculiar gift of a human being flesh and blood. Her name was Tallie and she showed up unannounced and had put Elizabeth on edge because she really had no idea what to do with the gift of a person. Tallie was a slave and had dark ebony skin yet it was not the color of her skin that made Elizabeth uneasy. Elizabeth did not care much for appearances she wanted the one thing no one else would give her, the truth. Elizabeth's “herd” of ladies were never completely honest with her and she knew it. Elizabeth became friends with Tallie because they made a pact that they would always be honest with each other. After the ground rules were established for their new friendship the two conspired together on gathering information on the ever-changing court objectives of the moment. Top on the courts priority list was finding a suitable suitor for Elizabeth.

Tallie would do anything for Elizabeth and Elizabeth the same because no one else ever seemed to care about the two girls except for Prince Henry. Henry was Elizabeth’s everything and he wanted to make sure Elizabeth married well. He genuinely wanted his sister to be happy. There were new suitors being added to the list daily for her hand. Then there was one suitor that the siblings became immediately smitten with, Frederick Elector of the Palatine. When he arrived in England Elizabeth immediately knew he was meant for her heart and soul. But in a tragic turn of events Elizabeth could loose the man she never had and the best friend she never asked for. She had to be brave and take her future into her own hands or loose everything she held so dear to her heart.

4/5 Light, fun read some might find this a “fluffy” novel. I enjoyed it and that is all that really matters in the end. I have not read much on James I’s court, which is a problem I am quickly working to rectify. I have a feeling this novel was more on the dramatic side of the historical fiction spectrum so if accuracy is your thing this might not be your cup of tea. I would recommend this novel to newbies of James I’s court and Elizabeth Stuart.

R-Rating for sexual reference
FTC- this novel is from my personal collection.

The King's Daughter by Christie Dickason

Monday, December 09, 2013

Mailbox Monday

Isabella Braveheart of France by Colin Falconer
"She was taught to obey. Now she has learned to rebel. 12 year old Isabella, a French princess marries the King of England - only to discover he has a terrible secret. Ten long years later she is in utter despair - does she submit to a lifetime of solitude and a spiritual death - or seize her destiny and take the throne of England for herself? Isabella is just twelve years old when she marries Edward II of England. For the young princess it is love at first sight - but Edward has a terrible secret that threatens to tear their marriage - and England apart. Who is Piers Gaveston - and why is his presence in the king’s court about to plunge England into civil war? The young queen believes in the love songs of the troubadours and her own exalted destiny - but she finds reality very different. As she grows to a woman in the deadly maelstrom of Edward’s court, she must decide between her husband, her children, even her life - and one breath-taking gamble that will change the course of history. This is the story of Isabella, the only woman ever to invade England - and win. In the tradition of Philippa Gregory and Elizabeth Chadwick, ISABELLA is thoroughly researched and fast paced, the little known story of the one invasion the English never talk about".~Lizzie~

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Book Review "ROYAL MISTRESS" by Anne Easter Smith

"Royal Mistress" is a mistress I have not touched on before and I was pleasantly surprised to find a whole new perspective in The War of the Roses. Jane Shore was one of Edward VI mistresses but the only difference with Jane is that she was in it for the long haul. There are many sad stories that occur during the War of the Roses and Jane's was no exception. Each and every story during this time period has such a different perspective of what went down. I had never really touched upon Jane’s until now even though she was Edwards’s favorite. I had been saving it for a book I really wanted to read. I fell in love with Jane just like everyone else did in her day. Jane had grown up Jane Lambert. Her father was a successful silk merchant in London. Her father and her never really had a good relationship and he was eager to marry her off to a lame older silk merchant. Sadly her future husband never had any libido. Jane was considered a striking beauty and even that did not rouse her husband. Jane concluded that he was impotent and had been robbed her of the one thing she desired most: children. With a loveless marriage and no children in the future Jane was the unhappiest in her life. On one fateful day in London her husband had picked out the most exquisite dress and headdress to match for her to wear. He had made it all especially for this day so that she may sit in the shop window and get the attention of the nobility that would be parading through the London streets that day. His ultimate goal was to ensnare a rich customer even maybe a royal one but instead he ensnared something else he never saw coming that might yet become an advantage for him. 

Prior to Jane’s marriage she had fallen for the Marquis Tom grey and it never came to anything serious, one because she did not know who he really was and two he was already married. He never told her who he really was but that did not stop Jane’s puppy love for Tom. While Jane was married she fancied herself with Tom and he was never far from her thoughts. It was by chance that Will Hastings; King Edwards’s right hand man saw the beauty exquisitely sitting in the window waving at the procession that day. William saw Jane but Jane saw her Tom Grey and it was then everything clicked into place. Tom already had a wife and so did Will Hastings but that did not stop either one of them from falling head over heels for “Shore’s Wife”. Hastings wasted no time in tracking her down under the guise of a new gown for his wife. Jane and Will became fast friends and he became her “in” at court. Jane did not return Will’s feelings but instead they developed a friendship. Will knew it was only a matter of time before King Edward saw her and he would have to relinquish the newly discovered beauty.

King Edward had held a party at the palace in honor of all the guild members. Jane and her husband were personally given thanks from the king and queen. Love or Lust at first sight it did not matter both King and Jane became instantly smitten with each other. Edward was quick to dispatch Jane’s lame husband and claim her all for himself. He became Jane’s first love and lover all at once. Edward was blissfully happy with Jane. He even went so far as to parade her in front of his notorious wife Elizabeth Woodville. That is one woman you never want to cross yet Jane loved Edward so much she could not stay away from him. At that point it did not matter what Elizabeth Woodville thought because Jane had Edward’s love on lock down and it was enough for her. She never really thought about what could happen to her if he were suddenly gone. Jane tended to live in the moment and had not given too much thought into what her future could be like with out Edward. In a turn of tragic events Edward is suddenly taken from her and that is where the story really picks up. With Edward VI gone and his brother Richard now in control, Richard was adamant about cleaning up the loose morals at his brother’s court. Richard specifically went after Jane truly believing that she had hastened his brother quick demise. She would be his first example at court of how he would deal with immoral women.

4/5 I was on the fence about this one, I was unsure if it was a full 5 or not. I give this one a four because I kind of felt the whole execution of Anthony Rivers was kind of glossed over. However this novel is very moving I found myself rooting for Jane and her quick wit. I really could not put this one down after ¼ the way through it. At one point in my reading I was reduced to tears because I thought someone stole my book out my garage but thank goodness I found it.

PG-13 Sexual reference, violence.
FTC-this book was sent to me by the publisher for review.


Monday, December 02, 2013

Mailbox Monday

Shakespeare's Sonnets
The bard's sonnets read by a leading actor of stage and screen Simon Callow.

Savor the most celebrated love poems in the English language. Written almost 400 years ago, the sonnets of William Shakespeare are passionate and exalted, rich in imagery and alliteration, and full of mystery and intrigue.

This selection presents all 154 sonnets composed from 1593-1601. In words and rhyme, he reveals his infatuation with the "Dark Lady," his relationship with a rival poet, and his private thoughts on love, death, beauty, and truth: timeless themes that span the centuries to touch our hearts today.

A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America
A dramatic retelling of our nation's past by today's preeminent multiculturalism scholar, Ronald Takaki, this book examines America's history in "a different mirror"-from the perspective of the minority peoples themselves. Beginning with the colonization of the "New World" and ending with the Los Angeles riots of 1992, this book recounts the history of America in the voices of the non-Anglo peoples of the United States-Native Americans, African Americans, Jews, Irish Americans, Asian Americans, Latinos, and others-groups who helped create this country's rich mosaic culture. In this significant work of scholarship, Professor Takaki grapples with the raw truth of American history and examines the ultimate question of what it means to be an American.

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