2010 Release: The Coutiers: Behind the Scenes of the Georgian Court at Kensington Palace by Lucy Worsley

by Lucy Worsley

Release Date:  August 17, 2010

SYNOPSIS:  Kensington Palace is now most famous as the former home of Diana, Princess of Wales, but the palace’s glory days came between 1714 and 1760, during the reigns of George I and II . In the eighteenth century, this palace was a world of skulduggery, intrigue, politicking, etiquette, wigs, and beauty spots, where fans whistled open like switchblades and unusual people were kept as curiosities. Lucy Worsley’s The Courtiers charts the trajectory of the fantastically quarrelsome Hanovers and the last great gasp of British court life. 

Structured around the paintings of courtiers and servants that line the walls of the King’s Staircase of Kensington Palace—paintings you can see at the palace today—The Courtiers goes behind closed doors to meet a pushy young painter, a maid of honor with a secret marriage, a vice chamberlain with many vices, a bedchamber woman with a violent husband, two aging royal mistresses, and many more. The result is an indelible portrait of court life leading up to the famous reign of George III , and a feast for both Anglophiles and lovers of history and royalty.

Woo Hoo...this one sounds juicy!


So, you wanna read about....Queen Victoria

Recently I received an email from one of my beautiful followers, Alexandra asking me what books I would recommend for reading about Queen Victoria.

This inspired a new feature here on PTTP called "So, you wanna read about..."!  Here I will be highlighting various historical characters along with some reading suggestions/recommendations for that person.  I hope you enjoy!  If you would like to see a post about anyone in particular, please send me an email!

Queen Victoria is the longest-reigning British monarch, with her reign lasting 63 years.  She became Queen at the age of 18, when her uncle, William IV, died in 1837 and three years later she married Prince Albert.  They would have nine children together.

Historical Fiction

Victoria Victorious: The Novel of Queen Victoria by Jean Plaidy

Queen and Lord M by Jean Plaidy

The Queen's Husband by Jean Plaidy

Queen Victoria: Demon Hunter by A.E. Moorat


We Two: Victoria and Albert: Rulers, Partners, Rivals by Gillian Gill

Queen Victoria: A Personal History by Christopher Hibbert
Becoming Queen by Kate Williams

Queen Victoria (British History in Perspective) by Walter Arnstein

Queen Victoria (Essential Biographies) by Elizabeth Longford

Queen Victoria at Home by Michael de-la-Noy

Queen Victoria: An Eminent Illustrated Biography by Lytton Strachey

Twilight of Splendor: The Court of Queen Victoria During Her Diamond Jubilee Year by Greg King

Her Little Majesty: The Life of Queen Victoria by Carolly Erickson

Uncrowned King: The Life of Prince Albert by Stanley Weintraub

Victoria's Daughters by Jerrold M. Packard

The Last Princess: The Devoted Life of Queen Victoria's Youngest Daughter by Matthew Dennison (story of Princess Beatrice)

Dearest Vicky, Darling Fritz: The Tragic Love Story of Queen Victoria's Eldest Daughter and the German Emperor by John Van der Kiste

An Uncommon Woman - The Empress Frederick: Daughter of Queen Victoria, Wife of the Crown Prince of Prussia, Mother of Kaiser Wilhelm by Hannah Pakula

Edward VII: The Last Victorian King by Christopher Hibbert

Born to Rule: Five Reigning Consorts, Granddaughters of Queen Victoria by Julia P. Gelardi

The Royal Mob by Theresa Sherman (story of the 4 granddaughters of Queen Victoria)

The Queen's Knight by Martyn Downer


Mailbox Monday!

Another Monday, Another Mailbox!! This is a feature where we all share with each other the yummy books that showed up at our doors! WARNING: Mailbox Mondays can lead to extreme envy and GINORMOUS wishlists!!

 The Secret of the Glass by Donna Russo Morin | Release Date:  3.1.10 (Via Donna Russo Morin - thank you!)

SYNOPSIS:  At the dawn of the 17th Century, the glassmakers of Murano are revered as master artisans, enjoying privileges far beyond their station, but they are forced to live in virtual imprisonment, contained by the greedy Venetian government who fears other countries will learn the intricacies of the craft…and reap the rewards. 

Sophia Fiolario, the comely daughter of a glass making maestro, has no desire for marriage, finding her serenity in the love of her family and the beauty of the glass. She learns of its secrets at her father’s side, where a woman is forbidden to be. The life Sophia loves is threatened by the poor health of her father and the determined attentions of a nobleman who could and would never love her but seeks to possess her wealth and the privilege it affords. Thrust into the opulent world of the Venetian court, Sophia becomes embroiled in the scheming machinations of the courtiers’ lives. The beauty of Venice, the magnificence of the Doge’s Palace, are rivaled only by the intrigue and danger that festers behind their splendid facades. As she searches for an escape, she finds the arms of another, a man whose own desperate situation is yet another obstacle in their path.

Amidst political and religious intrigue, the scientific furor ignited by Galileo, and even murder, Sophia must do anything to protect herself, her family…and the secret of the glass.

Donna Russo Morin is also the author of The Courtiers Secret

Pilate's Wife by Antoinette May (via Goodwill)

SYNOPSIS:  A daughter of privilege in the most powerful empire the world has ever known, Claudia has a unique and disturbing "gift": her dreams have an uncanny way of coming true. As a rebellious child seated beside the tyrannical Roman Emperor Tiberius, she first spies the powerful gladiator who will ultimately be her one true passion. Yet it is the ambitious magistrate Pontius Pilate who intrigues the impressionable young woman she becomes, and Claudia finds her way into his arms by means of a mysterious ancient magic. Pilate is her grand destiny, leading her to Judaea and plunging her into a seething cauldron of open rebellion. But following her friend Miriam of Magdala's confession of her ecstatic love for a charismatic religious radical, Claudia begins to experience terrifying visions—horrific premonitions of war, injustice, untold devastation and damnation . . . and the crucifixion of a divine martyr whom she must do everything in her power to save.


2010 Release: The Dark Rose (Book Two of the Morland Dynasty) by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles

The Dark Rose
by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles

Release Date:  July 2010

SYNOPSIS: The second book in the epic bestselling Morland Dynasty series which spans from the Wars of the Roses to Queen Victoria’s long reign into the courts of kings and the salons of the Regency, onto the battlefields of Culloden and the Crimea, and beyond.

In The Dark Rose, the turbulence of Henry VIII’s reign brings passion and pain to the Morlands as they achieve ever greater wealth and prestige. Paul, great-grandson of Eleanor Morland, has inherited the Morland estates, and his own Amyas is set to be his heir. But Paul fathers a beloved illegitimate son, and bitter jealousy causes a destructive rift between the two half-brothers which will lead to death. Through birth and death, love and hatred, triumph and heartbreak, the Morlands continue proudly to claim their place amongst England’s aristocracy.

Pre-order at Amazon US | Amazon UK


Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone from Passages to the Past!


books that make you go hmmmm....

The Secret Confessions of Anne Shakespeare

by Arliss Ryan

Release Date:  June 1, 2010

SYNOPSIS:  Dramatizing a marriage born of passion and strained by ambition, Arliss Ryan’s fascinating historical novel chronicles a love affair for the ages, and the story of a woman who dares to fulfill her
own surprising destiny.

Anne Hathaway is weighing her prospects for marriage when a dalliance with young Will Shakespeare, the poetry-writing son of a rural glovemaker, leaves her pregnant and wed. When Will joins a traveling acting troupe and moves to London, Anne leaves their children in his parents’ care and boldly follows him. Taking up a new identity at Will’s side, Anne supports his career as a struggling actor by sewing costumes and transcribing manuscripts in the rough-and-tumble world of London’s theatres. As Will finds his true calling in writing, Anne’s own literary skills begin to flower, leading to a secret collaboration that makes Will the foremost playwright in Elizabethan England.


New Giveaway: The Lady and the Unicorn by Tracy Chevalier (with new rules)

Okay kiddies, Miss Amy has a new giveaway for you!  I found a hardback copy of The Lady and The Unicorn by Tracy Chevalier, author of Girl With a Pearl Earring, at my local Goodwill store and seeing that I already have a copy I thought I would give one of my lovely readers a chance to win it!

Due to circumstances with another giveaway that I had recently, I decided to add a rule for my giveaway winners:  If you have already won a copy of the same giveaway on another blog, kindly let me know and I will draw another name. This way, EVERYONE has a chance to win at least 1 copy and not just one person winning several.  Sounds fair right?!  Honor system people, honor system!   

I have 1 hardback copy of The Lady and The Unicorn up for grabs. 

To enter, please leave a comment with your email address AND answer the poll question at the upper left corner of my site. 

SYNOPSIS:  A tour de force of history and imagination, The Lady and the Unicorn is Tracy Chevalier’s answer to the mystery behind one of the art world’s great masterpieces—a set of bewitching medieval tapestries that hangs today in the Cluny Museum in Paris. They appear to portray the seduction of a unicorn, but the story behind their making is unknown—until now.

Paris, 1490. A shrewd French nobleman commissions six lavish tapestries celebrating his rising status at Court. He hires the charismatic, arrogant, sublimely talented Nicolas des Innocents to design them. Nicolas creates havoc among the women in the house—mother and daughter, servant, and lady-in-waiting—before taking his designs north to the Brussels workshop where the tapestries are to be woven. There, master weaver Georges de la Chapelle risks everything he has to finish the tapestries—his finest, most intricate work—on time for his exacting French client. The results change all their lives—lives that have been captured in the tapestries, for those who know where to look.

In The Lady and the Unicorn, Tracy Chevalier weaves fact and fiction into a beautiful, timeless, and intriguing literary tapestry—an extraordinary story exquisitely told.

Giveaway ends:  December 14th.  US and International entries are accepted!



Wordless Wednesday

The Sorceress
John William Waterhouse, 1913


new book on Elizabeth I and Sir Walter Raleigh

The Favourite: Ambition, Politics and Love - Sir Walter Raleigh in Elizabeth I's court
by Mathew Lyons

Release Date:  May 27, 2010

SYNOPSIS:  When the adventurer Walter Ralegh first encountered Elizabeth I, he supposedly placed his cloak over a puddle and allowed the queen to walk across it. Thus began one of the most intriguing relationships between a monarch and her favourite. "The Favourite" explores the labyrinthine complexity of human emotion, ambition and ritual within the restricted confines of the Tudor court. Was the favourite a Machiavellian schemer who fooled the queen in her affections? Was Elizabeth willing to manipulate her courtier for her own ends? The Queen's affection for Ralegh would protect him but he would soon become the 'most hated man in England'. In "The Favourite", Mathew Lyons reveals a new portrait of an immortal relationship and a fascinating exploration of the many layers of love between Gloriana and Ralegh- courtier, chancer and privateer.


books that make you go hmmm...

Enchanted Europe: Superstition, Reason & Religion 1250-1750
by Euan Cameron

UK Release Date:  March 2010

SYNOPSIS:  Since the dawn of history people have used charms and spells to try to control their environment, and forms of divination to try to foresee the otherwise unpredictable chances of life. Many of these techniques were called 'superstitious' by educated elites. For centuries religious believers used 'superstition' as a term of abuse to denounce another religion that they thought inferior, or to criticize their fellow-believers for practising their faith 'wrongly'. From the Middle Ages to the Enlightenment, scholars argued over what 'superstition' was, how to identify it, and how to persuade people to avoid it. Learned believers in demons and witchcraft, in their treatises and sermons, tried to make 'rational' sense of popular superstitions by blaming them on the deceptive tricks of seductive demons. Every major movement in Christian thought, from rival schools of medieval theology through to the Renaissance, the Reformation, and the Enlightenment, added new twists to the debates over superstition. Protestants saw Catholics as superstitious, and vice versa. Enlightened philosophers mocked traditional cults as superstitions. Eventually, the learned lost their worry about popular belief, and turned instead to chronicling and preserving 'superstitious' customs as folklore and ethnic heritage. Enchanted Europe offers the first comprehensive, integrated account of western Europe's long, complex dialogue with its own folklore and popular beliefs. Drawing on many little-known and rarely used texts, Euan Cameron constructs a compelling narrative of the rise, diversification, and decline of popular 'superstition' in the European mind.

Pre-order at:  Amazon UK


New Release: A Precious Jewel by Mary Balogh

by Mary Balogh

Release Date:  November 24, 2009 (tomorrow!)

SYNOPSIS:  New York Times bestselling author Mary Balogh weaves a sensuous spell of romance that brings together the unlikeliest pair of lovers in the unlikeliest place of all–an infamous London house of pleasure.

She was unlike any woman he’d ever met in the ton or the demimonde. But Sir Gerald Stapleton frequented Mrs. Blyth’s euphemistically dubbed “finishing school” for pure, uncomplicated pleasure–and nothing else. So why was this confirmed bachelor so thoroughly captivated by one woman in particular? Why did he find himself wondering how such a rare jewel of grace, beauty, and refinement as Priss had ended up a courtesan? And when she needed protection, why did Gerald, who’d sworn he’d never get entangled in affairs of the heart, hasten to set her up as his own pampered mistress to ensure her safety–and have her all to himself?

For Priscilla Wentworth, the path leading to Sir Gerald’s bed had been as filled with misfortune as it suddenly seemed charmed. But Priss couldn’t allow herself to believe she’d ever be more to a man like Sir Gerald than a well-cared-for object of pleasure. Now, despite Gerald’s deep distrust of marriage, neither scandal nor society’s censure can keep them apart–only the fear of trusting their hearts.


Meet my new kitty!


This tiny bundle of love showed up at our door last week cold, wet and hungry.  We fell in love immediately and despite having 3 others we decided to keep her!  Yes....we are insane!  But, look at that face....who could say no to this sweet face? 

Her name is Jasta and she is about 6 weeks old and quite the toe biter!


Mailbox Monday!

Another Monday, Another Mailbox!! This is a feature where we all share with each other the yummy books that showed up at our doors! WARNING: Mailbox Mondays can lead to extreme envy and GINORMOUS wishlists!!

The Lute Player: A Novel of Richard the Lionhearted by Norah Lofts

One of the most renowned figures in medieval history, Richard the Lionhearted, inspired by a vision of the Holy Land, led his knights onto the battlefields of the Third Crusade. During the years of fighting and intrigue, Richard's life was intertwined with the lives of two strong, vibrant, and drastically different women who loved him -- Berengaria, princess of Navarre, and his mother, Eleanor of Aquitaine. While his marriage to Berengaria was ill-fated, Eleanor loved her son with a frantic, possessive pride. But it is Blondel, the king's lute player, who here steps forward from the shadows to tell this tale of romance, war, and betrayal.

In her trademark style, Norah Lofts paints a complex and human portrait of a legendary king.

 Her Mother's Daughter: A Novel of Queen Mary Tudor by Julianne Lee

Her name was Mary Tudor. First of the Tudor queens, she has gone down in history as Bloody Mary. But does she deserve her vicious reputation?

She was the daughter of Henry VIII and Katherine of Aragon, and half-sister to Edward VI and Elizabeth I. Mary Tudor's life began as the sweetly innocent, pampered princess of Wales-until the age of eleven when the father she adored cast aside the mother she worshipped and declared Mary a bastard. Only after years of exile did Mary finally rise to the throne alongside the man who, aside from her father, was her greatest love-and her greatest betrayer.

Told by Mary herself and the people around her, this grand-scale novel takes us back to the glittering court of sixteenth-century England, and tells the tragic story of a fascinating, largely misunderstood woman who withstood the treachery and passion around her only to become one of England's most vilified queens.


 The Harlot's Progress: Yorkshire Molly (Book 1) by Peter Mottley

This is the first in a trilogy and a fictional realization of Hogarth's series of etchings called "A Harlot's Progress". Innocent virgin Molly Huckerby arrives in London from York. Immediately she is lured into The Bell by the notorious bawd Mother Wickham. Her destiny seems changed forever but there is a breathtaking twist in the tale...

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