2010 NF Release: Margaret Beaufort: Mother of the Tudor Dynasty by Elizabeth Norton

How gorgeous is that cover?! Wow!  I really hope it's as good as it sounds.  So far I can only find a UK release, but will let you know as soon as a US one is revealed.

Margaret Beaufort: Mother of the Tudor Dynasty 

UK Release Date:  September 1, 2010

SYNOPSIS: Divorced at ten, a mother at thirteen & three times a widow. The extraordinary true story of the 'Red Queen', Lady Margaret Beaufort, matriarch of the Tudors. Born in the midst of the Wars of the Roses, Margaret Beaufort became the greatest heiress of her time. She survived a turbulent life, marrying four times and enduring imprisonment before passing her claim to the crown of England to her son, Henry VII, the first of the Tudor monarchs. Margaret's royal blood placed her on the fringes of the Lancastrian royal dynasty. After divorcing her first husband at the age of ten, she married the king's half-brother, Edmund Tudor, becoming a widow and bearing her only child, the future Henry VII, before her fourteenth birthday. Margaret was always passionately devoted to the interests of her son who claimed the throne through her. She embroiled herself in both treason and conspiracy as she sought to promote his claims, allying herself with the Yorkist Queen, Elizabeth Woodville, in an attempt to depose Richard III. She was imprisoned by Richard and her lands confiscated, but she continued to work on her son's behalf, ultimately persuading her fourth husband, the powerful Lord Stanley, to abandon the king in favour of Henry on the eve of the decisive Battle of Bosworth. It was Lord Stanley himself who placed the crown on Henry's head on the battlefield. Henry VII gave his mother unparalleled prominence during his reign. She established herself as an independent woman and ended her life as regent of England, ruling on behalf of her seventeen-year-old grandson, Henry VIII.


Review: The Dark Rose by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles

The Dark Rose
Book Two, Morland Dynasty Series

by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles

Release Date:  July 1, 2010
Sourcebooks Publishing

SYNOPSIS:  It is 1501, and Paul, great-grandson of Eleanor Morland, has inherited the estate and has a son to follow him. But he fathers an illegitimate boy by his beloved mistress, and bitter jealously between the half-brothers causes a destructive rift that threatens to destroy them all.

Paul's niece Nanette has her own passions, and becomes maid-in-waiting to Anne Boleyn. At the court of Henry VIII, she witnesses firsthand the events leading up to the rift with Rome, her mistress's execution, and the further efforts of the sad, ailing king to secure the male succession. And through all the turmoil of Henry VIII's reign-from drought to floods, from religious reform to court intrigue-the Morlands find new ways to come together while the world seems intent on tearing them apart.

MY THOUGHTS: As much as I enjoyed book one, The Founding (READ MY REVIEW HERE), I gotta say that book two was rather disappointing. Set during the reign of Henry VIII, The Dark Rose takes us on a journey through the lives of the Morlands, in particular Paul (the matriarch Eleanor’s great-grandson) and his niece Nanette during this tumultuous time in England’s history. And you would think that being set in Tudor times that the book would be exciting, riveting but I found it just plain boring and sometimes a bit unbelievable. It wasn’t a bad read necessarily, just not a great one.

The Morlands have their share of heartbreak in this novel and Paul is entwined in a battle between his heir and his bastard son which comes to a head at the end. Nanette is our eyes and ears to the Tudor Court as she serves as lady in waiting to Anne Boleyn and later Katherine Parr and willingly puts her own life (and love) on hold to remain loyal to them, almost to her detriment.

Eagles’ does throw the reader a big OMG moment about about ¼ of the way into the novel, but what it is you’re going to have to find out for yourself…you won’t find any spoilers here! Suffice it to say that you’re eyebrows will be raised and you may just say to yourself as I did, WTH?  After my first initial shock, the storyline didn’t bother me so much, but I most definitely did not see that coming!

Although The Dark Rose didn’t do much for me and was not a page turner by any form of imagination, I am not letting it stop me from continuing the series. Book Three: The Princeling comes out later this year and I am crossing my fingers that the series is redeemed.


Teaser Tuesday

I haven't done a Teaser Tuesday in a loooong time, but I'm going to try and get back in the saddle.  Today I am quoting from Legacy by Susan Kay.  It's been hailed as "THE" book to read on Elizabeth I, and so far I am really enjoying it and finding the writing excellent and the characterizations spot on.  Here is an excerpt taken from a scene between Elizabeth and her tutor Roger Ascham that I thought was poignant.

"Shall I ever find my match?' she asked with a mixture of coquettishness and sincere interest.

He stopped and looked at her with a curious thoughtful stare.

"No, madam,' he said slowly, reflectively.  'I don't believe you ever will.'  And that, he added silently to himself, may be your real tragedy, so you need not look so please about it.  A pedastal is a lonely place.


2010 Release: The Dressmaker by Posie Graeme-Evans

The Dressmaker
Release Date:  October 12, 2010

SYNOPSIS:  From international bestselling author Posie Graeme-Evans comes the passionate tale of a woman ahead of her time.

Ellen Gowan is the only surviving child of a scholarly village minister and a charming girl disowned by her family when she married for love. Growing up in rural Norfolk, Ellen’s childhood was poor but blessed with affection. Resilience, spirit, and one great talent will carry her far from such humble beginnings. In time, she will become the witty, celebrated, and very beautiful Madame Ellen, dressmaker to the nobility of England, the Great Six Hundred.

Yet Ellen has secrets. At fifteen she falls for Raoul de Valentin, the dangerous descendant of French aristocrats. Raoul marries Ellen for her brilliance as a designer but abandons his wife when she becomes pregnant. Determined that she and her daughter will survive, Ellen begins her long climb to success. Toiling first in a clothing sweat shop, she later opens her own salon in fashionable Berkeley Square though she tells the world – and her daughter - she’s a widow. One single dress, a ballgown created for the enigmatic Countess of Hawksmoor, the leader of London society, transforms Ellen’s fortunes, and as the years pass, business thrives. But then Raoul de Valentin returns and threatens to destroy all that Ellen has achieved.

In The Dressmaker, the romance of Jane Austen, the social commentary of Charles Dickens and the very contemporary voice of Posie Graeme-Evans combine to plunge the reader deep into the opulent, sinister world of teeming Victorian England. And if the beautiful Madame Ellen is not quite what she seems, the strength of her will sees her through to the truth, and love, at last.

Will you be reading?


2011 NF Release: She-Wolves: The Women Who Ruled England Before Elizabeth by Helen Castor

by Helen Castor

Release Date:  February 22, 2011

SYNOPSIS:  WhenEdward VI—Henry VIII’s longed-for son—in 1553 the extraordinary fact was that there was no one left to claim the title of king of England; all the contenders for the crown were female. Upon Henry’s demise, England would experience the “monstrous regiment”—the unnatural rule—of a woman.

Yet female rule in England had a past. Four hundred years earlier, Matilda, daughter of Henry I and granddaughter of William the Conqueror, came tantalizingly close to securing the throne for herself. Between the 12th and 15th centuries, three more exceptional women—Eleanor of Aquitaine, Isabella of France, and Margaret of Anjou—discovered, as queen, consort, and dowager, how much was possible if presumptions of male rule were not confronted explicitly—and just how quickly they might be vilified as “she-wolves” for their ambitions.

The stories of these women—brought to life here in all their vivid humanity—reveal the paradox which the female heirs to the Tudor throne had no choice but to negotiate. Man was the head of woman; and the king was the head of all. How, then, could royal power lie in female hands?

The subject of women and power—a compelling combination of the personal and political, of private and public lives—is extraordinarily relevant to our time. By exploring the lives of these women, Helen Castor’s shows us just how far women and men have come—and how little has changed.

What think you dear readers? 


I'm so excited I could scream like a little girl....

Daphne from Tanzanite's Shelf and Stuff has just made my day by posting the cover and blurb of Margaret George's new novel on my girl, Queen Elizabeth I...with the original title of Elizabeth I. It feels like I've been waiting for this book FOREVER, but my wait will be over sometime in April 2011.

I've read all of George's novels with the exception of Mary, Called Magdalene and LOVED them all.  I think my favorite is The Autobiography of King Henry VIII.  What about you?  Are you as excited as I am?

SYNOPSIS:  Margaret George tackles her most difficult subject yet: the legendary  Elizabeth Tudor, queen of enigma—the Virgin Queen who had many suitors, the victor of the Armada who hated war; the gorgeously attired, jewel-bedecked woman who pinched pennies. England’s greatest monarch has baffled and intrigued the world for centuries. But what was she really like? In this novel, her flame-haired, lookalike cousin, Lettice Knollys, thinks she knows all too well. Elizabeth’s rival for the love of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, and mother to the Earl of Essex, the mercurial nobleman who challenged Elizabeth’s throne, Lettice had been intertwined with Elizabeth since childhood. This is a story of two women of fierce intellect and desire, one trying to protect her country, and throne, the other trying to regain power and position for her family and each vying to convince the reader of her own private vision of the truth about Elizabeth’s character. Their gripping drama is acted out at the height of the flowering of the Elizabethan age. Shakespeare, Marlowe, Dudley, Raleigh, Drake—all of them swirl through these pages as they swirled through the court and on the high seas.

Off to do the happy dance :)


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.

This past week was a good one and I received a few for review and I picked up a couple at Goodwill and two that were on sale at Barnes & Noble.
For review I got...

by Kate Furnivall

Release Date:  August 3, 2010

SYNOPSIS:  The national bestselling author of The Russian Concubine takes us back to Tsarist Russia for a sweeping novel of love and intrigue.

Russia, 1910. Valentina Ivanova is the darling of St. Petersburg's elite aristocracy-until her romance with a Danish engineer creates a terrible scandal and her parents push her into a loveless engagement with a Russian count.

Meanwhile, Russia itself is bound for rebellion. With the Tsar and the Duma at each other's throats, and the Bolsheviks drawing their battle lines, the elegance and opulence of Tsarist rule are in their last days. And Valentina will be forced to make a choice that will change not only her own life, but the lives of those around her forever.

by Lauren Willig

Release Date:  October 28, 2010

SYNOPSIS:  Arabella Dempsey’s dear friend Jane Austen warned her against teaching. But Miss Climpson’s Select Seminary for Young Ladies seems the perfect place for Arabella to claim her independence while keeping an eye on her younger sisters nearby. Just before Christmas, she accepts a position at the quiet girls’ school in Bath, expecting to face nothing more exciting than conducting the annual Christmas recital. She hardly imagines coming face to face with French aristocrats and international spies.

Reginald “Turnip” Fitzhugh—often mistaken for the elusive spy known as the Pink Carnation—has blundered into danger before. But when he blunders into Miss Arabella Dempsey, it never occurs to him that she might be trouble.  When Turnip and Arabella stumble upon a beautifully wrapped Christmas pudding with a cryptic message written in French, “Meet me at Farley Castle”, the unlikely vehicle for intrigue launches the pair on a Yuletide adventure that ranges from the Austens’ modest drawing room to the awe-inspiring estate of the Dukes of Dovedale, where the Dowager Duchess is hosting the most anticipated event of the year: an elaborate 12-day Christmas celebration. Will they find poinsettias or peril, dancing or danger? And is it possible that the fate of the British Empire rests in Arabella and Turnip’s hands, in the form of a festive Christmas pudding?

by Jerrold M. Packard

SYNOPSIS:  Five women who shared one of the most extraordinary and privileged sisterhoods of all time.

Vicky, Alice, Helena, Louise, and Beatrice were historically unique sisters, born to a sovereign who ruled over a quarter of the earth's people and who gave her name to an era: Queen Victoria. Two of these princesses would themselves produce children of immense consequence. All five would face the social restrictions and familial machinations borne by ninetheenth-century women of far less exalted class.

Researched at the houses and palaces of its five subjects-- in London, Scotland, Berlin, Darmstadt, and Ottawa-- Victoria's Daughters examines a generation of royal women who were dominated by their mother, married off as much for political advantage as for love, and passed over entirely when their brother Bertie ascended to the throne. Packard, an experienced biographer whose last book chronicled Victoria's final days, provides valuable insights into their complex, oft-tragic lives as scions of Europe's most influential dynasty, and daughters of their own very troubled times.

by Lauren Willig

SYNOPSIS:  Determined to secure another London season without assistance from her new brother-in-law, Mary Alsworthy accepts a secret assignment from Lord Vaughn on behalf of the Pink Carnation. She must infiltrate the ranks of the dreaded French spy, the Black Tulip, before he and his master can stage their planned invasion of England. Every spy has a weakness and for the Black Tulip that weakness is beautiful black-haired women—his “petals” of the Tulip. A natural at the art of seduction, Mary easily catches the attention of the French spy, but Lord Vaughn never anticipated that his own heart would be caught as well. Fighting their growing attraction, impediments from their past, and, of course, the French, Mary and Vaughn find themselves lost in a treacherous garden of lies.

And as our modern-day heroine, Eloise Kelly, digs deeper into England’s Napoleonic-era espionage, she becomes even more entwined with Colin Selwick, the descendant of her spy subjects.

by Susan Vreeland

SYNOPSIS:  In her luminous debut novel, Susan Vreeland told the story of a Vermeer painting that transformed the lives of its many owners with its beauty. Now, in her stunning new novel, she tells the story of a painter who transformed Renaissance Italy with the beauty of her work. The Passion of Artemisia chronicles the extraordinary life of Artemisia Gentileschi, the first woman to make a significant contribution to art history.

At age eighteen, Artemisia Gentileschi finds herself humiliated in papal court for publicly accusing the man who raped her-Agostino Tassi, her painting teacher. When even her father does not stand up for her, she knows she cannot stay in Rome and begs to have a marriage arranged for her. Her new husband, an artist named Pietro Stiatessi, takes her to his native Florence, where her talent for painting blossoms and she becomes the first woman to be elected to the Accademia dell'Arte. But marriage clashes with Artemisia's newfound fame as a painter, and she begins a lifelong search to reconcile painting and motherhood, passion and genius.

Set against the glorious backdrops of Rome, Florence, and Genoa, peopled with historical characters such as Cosimo de' Medici and Galileo and filled with the details of the life of a Renaissance painter, The Passion of Artemisia is the story of Gentileschi's struggle to find love, forgiveness, and wholeness through her art. At once a dramatic tale of love and a moving father-daughter story, it is the portrait of an astonishing woman that will captivate lovers of Gentileschi's paintings and anyone interested in the life of a woman who ignored the conventions of her day and dared to follow her heart.

by Victoria Holt

SYNOPSIS:  For Harriet Delvaney, the great house of Menfreya, standing like a fortress on the Cornish coast, had always been a citadel of happiness and high spirits. Not until she herself came to Menfreya as a bride did Harriet discover the secret family legend of infidelity, jealousy and murder. And not until the legend seemed to come dangerously to life did Harriet begin to believe the old story that when the tower clock of Menfreya stopped, someone was about to die

So dear readers, what goodies came your way?


announcing a "Most Royal" GIVEAWAY!!!

Murder Most Royal to be exact!!!  I recently picked up a gently used copy of Jean Plaidy's Murder Most Royal: The Story of Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard and since I already own a copy I wanted to share this one with one of my loverly followers!!!  This book is one of my favorite Plaidy reads.

SYNOPSIS:  One powerful king. Two tragic queens.

In the court of Henry VIII, it was dangerous for a woman to catch the king’s eye. Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard were cousins. Both were beautiful women, though very different in temperament. They each learned that Henry’s passion was all-consuming–and fickle.

Sophisticated Anne Boleyn, raised in the decadent court of France, was in love with another man when King Henry claimed her as his own. Being his mistress gave her a position of power; being his queen put her life in jeopardy. Her younger cousin, Catherine Howard, was only fifteen when she was swept into the circle of King Henry. Her innocence attracted him, but a past mistake was destined to haunt her.

Painted in the rich colors of Tudor England, Murder Most Royal is a page-turning journey into the lives of two of the wives of the tempestuous Henry VIII.


- Giveaway is open to US and International entries.
- To enter, please leave a comment with your email address.
- Only one entry per person.
- For 2 extra points....tweet, facebook or post about this giveaway.
- Giveaway ends on July 9th.




July releases in HF and History/NF

My birthday month is looking hot, hot, hot for new and yummy looking releases!!!  I may need to get a second job because there are too many I want!!


2011 Release: Clara and Mr. Tiffany: A Novel by Susan Vreeland

Susan Vreeland, author of Girl in Hyacinth Blue and The Passion of Artemisia, has a new book being released early next year and it sounds really good and I love the cover!

Release Date:  January 11, 2011

SYNOPSIS (via Susan Vreeland website):  During the Gilded Age just before the turn of the twentieth century, Tiffany forged his reputation in stained-glass. His highly recognizable style blended Art Nouveau, the exoticism of the Aesthetics Movement, and his own adoration of nature.

Until recently, it was assumed that he was the designer of the celebrated leaded-glass lampshades. However, two collections of letters reveal that an unrecognized woman, Clara Driscoll, designed the floral shades as well as many of the bronze bases.

Clara and Mr. Tiffany presents these two figures--one the giant of American decorative arts, the other unknown--as they engage each other, collaborating, probing and frustrating each other, stumbling over their passions.

Driven by the Tiffany Family Imperative to honor his father, owner of Tiffany & Co., by surpassing his elder's fame and financial success, Tiffany confronts the central issue in the Arts and Crafts debate: art versus industry, and its concomitant, creative indulgence versus financial restraint.

Yearning to establish herself as a creator of exquisite pieces of art, and to be recognized publically, Clara is a vibrant, intelligent, wry woman, a leader whose challenge, like that of many women, is to decide what makes her most happy--the professional world of her hands, or the personal world of her heart.

The novel interprets her creative and personal life, her loves, losses, triumphs, and her startling decisions.


the winner of the Reader Appreciation $25 Amazon Gift Card is....

Drumroll please....the winner of the PTTP 2nd Birthday Reader Appreciation $25 Amazon Gift Card is....

Congratulations!!!  Alyce runs the fabulous blog, At Home With Books, so make sure to check it out!!!

I would like to thank all of you for entering and your kind birthday/blogiversary wishes...I have the best followers EVER!

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