visit Royal Cribs to see the homes of Mary, Queen of Scots!

Head on over to my other blog, Royal Cribs, to see the homes of Mary, Queen of Scots!

I hope you enjoy!



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!!

Mailbox Monday is hosted by Marcia at The Printed Page.

My week was historical fiction-tastic, I am pleased to say!  I received a few ARCs and found some really good used books at Goodwill and a local used bookstore.

The Stolen Crown by Susan Higginbotham (acquired via author - thank you Susan)
The Sisters Who Would Be Queen by Leanda de Lisle (acquired via Amazon)
Here Was A Man by Norah Lofts (acquired via Amazon)
Mistress of Rome by Kate Quinn (acquired via publisher)

From the used bookstore...

Elizabeth & Leicester by Elizabeth Jenkins
The Warrior Queens by Antonio Fraser
Virgins of Venice by Mary Laven

From Goodwill...

The Last Witchfinderby James Morrow
The Queen's Man by Sharon Kay Penman

So, how was your week?  Any goodies come your way?



Review: The Secret of the Glass by Donna Russo Morin

The Secret of the Glass
by Donna Russo Morin

As part of the February HF Bloggers Round Table event, here is my review of The Secret of the Glass by Donna Russo Morin.  As I am one of the last of the group to post their reviews and since their reviews were so thorough, I won't beat a dead horse and thought I would give you a short and sweet summary and then my thoughts.

Sophia Fiolario is a happy and blossoming young lady surrounded by the love of her family, especially her doting father, who has taught her a very dear and a very dangerous secret - glass making.  Should Sophia be found out the punishment could be death and their family left in ruins.  Their glass-making factory, La Spada, is one of the most successful in all of Venice, thus making Sophia a handsome prize for any ambitious and powerful nobleman.  Sophia's world turns upside down when her father falls ill and then there is the marriage summons that has been sent to her from Pasquale da Fuligna, son of local Venetian nobility - something she could not decline.   Endeavoring to keep her father's illness a secret to protect the family business and seeking a way out of her impending union with the horrid Pasquale, Sophia finds the strength within herself to persevere and save her family. 

Although I found this book to be a bit slow at times, I really enjoyed reading about the glass making process and the parts with Galileo and his telescope were interesting.   I would've liked to have had more time to get to know Sophia and her family before all of this befell them...I think it would've helped me feel more of a connection with them.  Lovers of historical fiction, particularly those that enjoy novels set in Venice will really enjoy The Secret of the Glass!

HF Bloggers Round Table reviews:

In case you missed our other posts...

Interview with author Donna Russo Morin:  Part One | Part Two | Part Three

Win a Murano Venetian Glass Pendant!  Open to international entries.  Ends on March 1st.

Win a copy of The Secret of the Glass!  Open to international entries.  Ends on March 1st.

Creative Posts:

Allie @ The Hist-Fic Chick: The History of Carnevale
Arleigh @ The Life and Times of Galileo Galilei & giveaway
Lucy @ Enchanted by Josephine: 18c Venetian Woman Makes History
Lizzy @ Historically Obsessed: Fact Checking the Island of Murano

I'd like to thank all of you that followed our event for The Secret of the Glass - I hope you enjoyed it as much as we did! 

And remember to check back tomorrow for Lucy's review!



the winner of The Boleyn Wife by Brandy Purdy is...

Congratulations to Rheanna from the blog, Try Reading My Mind!  You have won an autographed copy of Brandy Purdy's The Boleyn Wife!!!

Woo Woo!  I'll be sending you an email shortly! 

Thanks to all who entered and to Brandy Purdy for her generosity!

Have a good weekend everyone!



March Historical Fiction & History Releases



Murano Venetian Glass Pendant Giveaway at HFBRT!!!

In honor of The Secret of the Glass event at to the Historical Fiction Bloggers Round Table, we have a giveaway for a Murano Venetion Glass Pendant! Isn't it loverly?

Click HERE to enter.

Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY and ends on March 1st.  

Good luck!



Wordless Wednesday

Since I am in Ireland at the moment with William Marshal and his wife Isabelle via The Scarlet Lion by Elizabeth Chadwick, I thought I'd take you there as well!

   Kilkenny Castle, Ireland (picture circa 1890)



2010 Release: The Courier's Tale by Peter Walker

by Peter Walker

US & UK Release Date: August 2, 2010

SYNOPSIS: Reginald Pole, diplomat, friend of scholars, cardinals and artists, and cousin to Henry VIII, is first seen stealing into the Medici chapel at dead of night to catch a forbidden glimpse of Michelangelo's masterpiece of funerary sculpture. But as the king's representative in Italy, and an admired scholar himself, it falls to him to make the case for Henry's divorce from Katherine of Aragon. And it falls to the hapless Michael Throckmorton to become Thomas Cromwell's courier to Pole in Rome. In Peter Walker's imaginative novel, in which two worlds, increasingly opposed, are beautifully evoked, we see these famous events that saw England become a Protestant nation through the eyes of the luckless courier. The dubious privilege of being courier to Cromwell and the King, makes of Michael Throckmorton's life a tragicomedy of endless journeys back and forth between England and Italy. And even though in time he becomes the loyal friend of the disgraced Pole, who can never risk returning to England while Henry lives, this is no compensation for the childhood love who appears to have been lost along the way.

Pre-order at PTTP's Amazon US Store | PTTP's Amazon UK Store



So, what's cooking with your favorite historical fiction authors?!

I put together a little post for my fellow historical fiction lovers!  Here's a peak at what is in progress from some of your favorite HF authors!  I'll bring you more updates as I find them!


Jules Watson is busy working on her next novel, the follow up novel to The Swan Maiden (which I loved). Per Jules, The Raven Queen "is a "reimagination" of the life of Queen Maeve and her part in the famous Irish epic, The Tain. It's all juicy stuff, with my usual mixture of romance, adventure, swordfights and Celtic spiritual goings-on." Other books by Jules Watson: The White Mare (Book One - Dalriada Trilogy), The Dawn Stag (Book Two), The Boar Stone (Book Three).

The fabulous Leslie Carroll is going to grace our bookshelves with a new yummy book. Per Leslie, “my current nonfiction wip is tentatively titled ROYAL PAINS: A Rogues' Gallery of Brats, Bastards, and Bad Seeds, and you're on the right track. It's about the brothers, sisters, and children of European monarchs, from Prince/King John to QE2's younger sister Princess Margaret, who had a scandal-ridden life, and how their behavior (from usurping the crown, to becoming involved in sex scandals, etc) impacted the monarch and the monarchy.” I can’t wait to get my hands on this one as I had so much fun with her other books, Notorious Royal Marriages and Royal Affairs – they are must reads for any lovers of royal history!

Elizabeth Chadwick fans are going to have a good year! Chadwick will be releasing To Defy a King in May 2010 and will also have an earlier novel re-published, The Leopard Unleashed, in December 2010. EC is also working on a novel about Empress Matilda and Queen Adeliza of Louvain. Per Elizabeth Chadwicks website…”Alison and I have been investigating the life of the Empress Matilda for about 6 months now. There is still a wealth of research to come, but here, for the curious and the interested, are a few select paragraphs from the 100,000 words we've assembled so far on the subject of her life, her times, and the people surrounding her. My work in progress has a working title of LADY OF THE ENGLISH (which may change) and is going to be about Empress Matilda between 1125 and 1148. She will be sharing the stage with Henry I's queen, Adeliza of Louvain, who was also 'Lady of the English' during her time as a royal wife”.

Sandra Worth, author of The Rose of York trilogy, The King's Daughter and Lady of the Roses, has a new book deal with Penguin! Per Sandra’s website…”PALE ROSE OF ENGLAND: A NOVEL OF THE TUDORS on the life of the Scottish princess, Lady Catherine Gordon, is the last to be set during the Wars of the Roses. Alone in the glittering but deadly Tudor court, with four marriages made for love in an era when men control the destiny of women, Catherine’s life unfolds a tale of tragedy and triumph that proves her a rose for all seasons, one who dares defy the tyranny of kings.” 

Sharon Kay Penman is working on a novel about King Richard I of England, also known as, Richard the Lionheart and his consort, Berengaria of Navarre. Sharon writes about researching the novel regularly on her blog, so check it out when you get a chance – it’s great information!

Jennifer Donnelly, author of the spectacular books, The Tea Rose and The Winter Rose is working away on The Wild Rose. It's due into the publisher June 2010 and I'm on track to hit that deadline, so it should be published in late 2010 or early 2011. This is exciting news because I really, really enjoyed the first two books. If you haven’t read them, you are truly missing out on a fabulous story! Jennifer is also releasing a YA book this year called Revolution due out in September, which involves time travel and the French revolution.

Sandra Gulland, author of the remarkable Josephine B. Trilogy and Mistress of the Sun has posted some great news to her website…”The biggest news of the year — from my perspective — is that I finished the first draft of my next novel. Already under contract to HarperCollinsCanada, it's tentatively titled The Beginning of Magic.
"Set in the 17th-century world of the Sun King (the world of Mistress of the Sun), it's a novel inspired by yet another mistress of the Sun King: maid Claude des Oeillets, daughter of a theatrical diva and confidential maid to the King's mistress, Athénaïs de Montespan — a diva of quite another sort (as readers of Mistress of the Sun well know).

It's also a novel about the amazing theatrical renaissance of the period: grumpy, beloved Corneille, comic genius Molière, and the brilliant but unethical Racine all feature as characters. Intertwined with the fantasy world of the stage is the all-too-real stage of the Court, where power was poison (and vice-versa)."

One book that I am really looking forward to is from author Karleen Koen. Her novels, Through A Glass Darkly and Now Face to Face are still etched in my memory – they were that good!  She has also written a pre-quel to those novels called Dark Angels (which I have yet to read).
Karleen was gracious enough to give us an update on her work in progress. Per Karleen…”The working title is Monarch, king and butterfly (as in transformation) aspect. It's about four months in the life of Louis XIV, who was the star of the seventeenth century, when he was 22 and he both fell in love and had to make a decision about how to handle the most powerful man in his kingdom, and that man wasn't him. Much of the novel is based on history, but I threw in a man in the iron mask, only I made it a boy.” Ooooohhhh…sounds soooo good! 

Author Susan Higginbotham will be having a busy year with the release of The Stolen Crown next month, which tells the story of Kate Woodville, sister to Elizabeth Woodville and she’s also finishing up her next novel, called The Queen of Lost Hopes (I am so digging that title). This next book will be about the oft vilified Margaret of Anjou, matriarch of the House of Lancaster during the War of the Roses.

The wonderful C.W. Gortner - aka the man who writes and understands women better than I ever could – is also having a good year! He releases the much anticipated novel, The Confessions of Catherine de Medici in May of this year – I, along with most of the book blogging world is biting at the bit to read this! I also see from his website that St. Martin’s Press will be re-issuing the first novel in his Spymaster Chronicles, The Secret Lion.  C.W. also announced on his blog the other day about his work in progress and this is another one I’m geeked out about as C.W. will be tackling one of the most intriguing women in history, Isabella of Spain!

The new author on the block, Christy English, is a busy bee with releasing her first novel, The Queen’s Pawn in April and slaving away on the follow up novel called, To Be Queen. Both novels focus on the life of Eleanor of Aquitaine and if her books are as awesome as she is (and I have a feeling they will be), then we are in for a treat!!!!

Anne Easter Smith has just sent out a message to her Facebook Fan Page members asking for suggestions for a title for her work in progress about the Cecily Neville, Duchess of York - she was the granddaughter of John of Gaunt and his mistress-turned-wife, Katherine and married to Richard, the 3rd Duke of York.  If you'd like to join Anne Easter Smith's facebook fan page, click HERE.  Anne is the author of A Rose for the Crown, The King's Grace and Daughter of York.


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