2011 Re-Release: The Tudor Secret (The Elizabeth I Spymaster Chronicles) by C.W. Gortner

C.W. Gortner's Elizabeth I Spymaster Chronicles has been acquired by St. Martin's Press and they will be releasing the first book, which was released as The Secret Lion in 2006, in February of 2011 under the new name of The Tudor Secret.  Per C.W.'s website, there will also be two more books in the series.  

Congrats C.W. and yeah for us readers!!!!

by C.W. Gortner

Release Date:  February 1, 2011

SYNOPSIS:  Summer 1553: A time of danger and deceit. Brendan Prescott, an orphan, is reared in the household of the powerful Dudley family. Brought to court, Brendan finds himself sent on an illicit mission to the King's brilliant but enigmatic sister, Princess Elizabeth. But Brendan is soon compelled to work as a double agent by Elizabeth's protector, William Cecil--who promises in exchange to help him unravel the secret of his own mysterious past. A dark plot swirls around Elizabeth's quest to unravel the truth about the ominous disappearance of her seriously ill brother, King Edward VI. With only a stable boy and Elizabeth's lady-in-waiting at his side, Brendan plunges into a ruthless gambit of half-truths, lies, and murder. Filled with the intrigue and pageantry of Tudor England, THE TUDOR SECRET is the first book in the Elizabeth's Spymaster series. 

Summer 1553: A time of danger and deceit. Brendan Prescott, an orphan, is reared in the household of the powerful Dudley family. Brought to court, Brendan finds himself sent on an illicit mission to the King's brilliant but enigmatic sister, Princess Elizabeth. But Brendan is soon compelled to work as a double agent by Elizabeth's protector, William Cecil--who promises in exchange to help him unravel the secret of his own mysterious past. A dark plot swirls around Elizabeth's quest to unravel the truth about the ominous disappearance of her seriously ill brother, King Edward VI. With only a stable boy and Elizabeth's lady-in-waiting at his side, Brendan plunges into a ruthless gambit of half-truths, lies, and murder. Filled with the intrigue and pageantry of Tudor England, THE TUDOR SECRET is the first book in the Elizabeth's Spymaster series.

Visit C.W. Gortner's WEBSITE | BLOG


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the winner of The King's Mistress is.......

The winner of The King's Mistress by Emma Campion is..............................


Carrie from In the Hammock Blog !!!!!

CONGRATULATIONS!!! 

Thanks to everyone for such a great turnout with 110 entries and to Marcia from The Printed Page for providing the giveaway copy.

AUGUST IS GOING TO BE HOT WITH GIVEAWAYS HERE AT PTTP, SO BE SURE TO STOP BY NEXT WEEK FOR ANNOUNCEMENTS !!!!

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Review: Watermark by Vanitha Sankaran

Watermark: A Novel of the Middle Ages
by Vanitha Sankaran

Publication Date:  April 1, 2010
Publisher: Avon
368p



SYNOPSIS:  The daughter of a papermaker in a small French village in the year 1320—mute from birth and forced to shun normal society—young Auda finds solace and escape in the wonder of the written word. Believed to be cursed by those who embrace ignorance and superstition, Auda's very survival is a testament to the strength of her spirit. But this is an age of Inquisition and intolerance, when difference and defiance are punishable "sins" and new ideas are considered damnable heresy. When darkness descends upon her world, Auda—newly grown to womanhood—is forced to flee, setting off on a remarkable quest to discover love and a new sense of self . . . and to reclaim her heritage and the small glory of her father's art.

What a great year 2010 has been for historical fiction writer debuts! I have really been blown away by the shear awesomeness of these first timers and know that I will be reading them for years to come....and author Vanitha Sankaran is no exception.

Sankaran has painted an exquisite and beautiful tale about a mute Albino girl named Auda, who is the daughter of a papermaker living in Narbonne, France in the 14th century. Born during a time of religious persecution and intense superstition, Auda’s affliction causes her to be a target and she has to be extremely cautious when leaving her house or risk being called a witch and handed over to the Inquisition.

My knowledge of watermarks and the paper making process itself were very limited prior to reading Watermark and it was fascinating to me to read about the history and the way it was made back then. One thing that I thought was very interesting was that watermarks were sometimes used by heretics as a means of conveying secret messages. I felt like I really learned a lot from reading this book and for me that is always a plus and one of the main reasons why I read historical fiction.

Auda is an extremely likeable character, with her passion for the written word that any reader can relate to. She has spirit, bravery and fortitude and is inspiring to read about – all good qualities for an awesome heroine in my book! 

Watermark is a strong, solid debut from an emerging new talent and I HIGHLY recommend it!

FTC: Many thanks to the author for sending me a copy to review.

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Currently Reading...

Last night I stayed up late and finished up the excellent novel by Elizabeth Chadwick, For the King's Favor...LOVED it!!!  Now I'm off to explore the world of Georgette Heyer, as well as, 11th century Sicily.

Great Maria
by Cecellia Holland

Release Date:  August 1, 2010

SYNOPSIS:  Her father is a robber baron...

Her husband has grand ambitions and a quick temper...

She will become...the Great Maria.

A lush portrait of the eleventh century that leaves out none of its harshest nature, Great Maria is Cecelia Holland at her most evocative. A mere fourteen years old, strong-willed Maria is betrothed to Richard. Theirs is a marriage of conflict, yet one that grows over the years into respect and partnership. As they struggle-at times against each other, at times side-by-side-Maria and Richard emerge as full-blooded characters you'll never forget.


by Jennifer Kloester

Release Date:  August 1, 2010

SYNOPSIS:  Immerse yourself in the resplendent glow of Regency England and the world of Georgette Heyer...

From the fascinating slang, the elegant fashions, the precise ways the bon ton ate, drank, danced, and flirted, to the shocking real life scandals of the day, Georgette Heyer's Regency World takes you behind the scenes of Heyer's captivating novels.

As much fun to read as Heyer's own novels, beautifully illustrated, and meticulously researched, Jennifer Kloester's essential guide brings the world of the Regency to life for Heyer fans and Jane Austen fans alike.

What are you currently reading?



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Wordless Wednesday

Framlingham Castle, England
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Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

♛ Grab your current read
♛ Open to a random page
♛ Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
♛ BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS!
♛ Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Today's Teaser Tuesday is taken from an ARC copy of For the King's Favor by Elizabeth Chadwick, which I am immensely enjoying at the moment.

From page 338

John's smile deepened.  "They say every man has his price, my lord.  I wonder what yours is."

Roger heard the teasing note in John's voice, but there was speculation behind it and a genuine, ruthless curiosity.  "My lord, I suspect both you and the chancellor would beggar yourselves finding out."


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August releases in Historical Fiction & History/Non-Fiction

 
Whew...not only is it hot outside, but it's a SIZZLING month of releases!!!

Take a peek and see what books are coming out!

Which one are you most excited about?



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2011 NF Release: England's Queens by Elizabeth Norton

Sorry kiddos...no US release date or cover yet, but you know I'll bring it to you as soon as I get my hands on it! In lieu of the cover I am including a pic of Queen Victoria.

Queen Victoria
England's Queens: The Biography
by Elizabeth Norton

UK Release Date: February 1, 2011

SYNOPSIS: Her story not his, the English monarchy through the private and public lives of the queens of England. Nearly eighty women have sat on the throne of England, either as queen regnant or queen consort and the voices of all of them survive through their own writings and those of their contemporaries. The primary role of the queen over the ages was to provide an heir. Catherine of Aragon found this to her cost, divorced by Henry VIII for failing to produce a healthy son. Anne Boleyn was executed shortly afterwards for the same reason. The birth of an heir was also a route to power for a queen and Eleanor of Aquitaine became the most powerful woman in Europe during the reigns of her sons. Emma of Normandy was so desperate to be queen mother that she manipulated her three sons in an attempt to ensure that one would be king. One was murdered when he attempted to reach his mother but her remaining two sons became kings in turn with their mother as a leading advisor. Strong relationships could also develop between the queens and their husbands. Richard II and Anne of Bohemia made an arranged marriage but quickly fell deeply in love and, on Anne's death at Sheen Palace, Richard's grief was so intense that he ordered the palace to be destroyed. Edward VIII even abandoned his throne when forced to choose between the crown and his lover, Wallis Simpson. Not all marriages were happy and queens such as Isabella of France and Catherine Howard took lovers to escape their marriages. The unhappy Sophia Dorothea of Celle was imprisoned for over thirty years by her husband George I when her affair was discovered. Her lover, Count von Konigsmarck was murdered. Most queens made arranged marriages and were used by their families to build alliances. Some queens were able to break away from this control. Queen Victoria spent her childhood secluded with her overprotective mother, even sharing the same bedroom until the day when she was proclaimed queen and finally freed herself from her mother's control. For the first time, the voice of each individual queen can be heard together, charting the course of English queenship through nearly two thousand years of history. Each queen played her own part in shaping what the role of queen would become and it developed through the lives and actions of each of the women in turn.


Will you be reading?

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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.

Hello dear readers!  Welcome to another Mailbox Monday, my favorite meme of the week - I just love seeing what everyone gets in their mailbox!

This past week quality trumped quantity and I was tickled pink when this gorgeous baby showed up at my door!  Queen Hereafter by Susan Fraser King has been on my wishlist forever and I am so excited to tell you that Ms. King will be stopping by PTTP in December for an interview!

Release Date:  December 7, 2010

SYNOPSIS:  Margaret, a young Saxon princess shipwrecked with her family on a Scottish shore, must accept sanctuary from the warrior-king, Malcolm Canmore, who sees a political prize in his grasp.  Bargaining his support for her brother, the rebel Edgar of England, Malcolm claims Margaret for his bride.  Now, a foreign queen in a strange land, Margaret must learn who is friend and who is foe.

When Malcolm brings a female bard, Eva, to court as a hostage to ensure the good behavior of her kinswoman and former queen, his enemy Lady Macbeth, Margaret and Eva expect to resent each other.  Instead, they discover an unlikely bond as opposites-Eva a wild Celtic spirit among enemies, Margaret suppressing her passions in her need to the perfect queen and mother of princes.

Torn between loyalties, Eva must betray the king and queen in order to honor a secret promise to Lady Macbeth.  Tossed into a dungeon, charged with witchcraft and treason, Eva soon learns that Queen Margaret-counseled by the king and his stern priests-will decide her fate.

Susan Fraser King's WEBSITE


What showed up in your mailbox?

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Suddenly Sunday


Suddenly Sunday is hosted by the wonderful Svea at Confessions and Rambling of A Muse in the Fog.

Happy Sunday dear readers!  I hope this weekend has been treating you well, I know it's gone by too fast for me already.  And I don't know about any of you, but I am SO ready for the Summer to be over....this heat is just ferocious!

Anywho, back to the good stuff.  In READING NEWS...I spent my Saturday with Queen Elizabeth I and Robert Dudley and finished reading His Last Letter by Jeane Westin, which I really enjoyed.  I will be having an author interview with Ms. Westin here at PTTP, as well as, a giveaway for one lucky reader!  Westin also wrote The Virgin's Daughters, which also took place in the court of Elizabeth I (READ MY REVIEW).


I am also reading For the King's Favor by the uber-talented Elizabeth Chadwick.  I will have the honor of interviewing Ms. Chadwick here at PTTP in late August/early September so stay tuned!  

SYNOPSIS:  A captivating story of a mother's love stretched to breaking and a knight determined to rebuild his life with the royal mistress, For the King's Favor is Elizabeth Chadwick at her best. Based on a true story never before told and impeccably researched, this is a testament to the power of sacrifice and the strength of love. When Roger Bigod, heir to the powerful earldom of Norfolk, arrives at court to settle an inheritance, he meets Ida de Tosney, young mistress to King Henry II. In Roger, Ida sees a chance for lasting love, but their decision to marry carries an agonizing price. It's a breathtaking novel of making choices, not giving up, and coping with the terrible shifting whims of the king.

My NEXT FIVE READS are Georgette Heyer's Regency World by Jennifer Kloester, Great Maria by Cecelia Holland, The Wet Nurse's Tale by Erica Eisdorfer, Dracula in Love by Karen Essex and The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory.

I didn't do a Suddenly Sunday post last week because I was stuck in the Orlando airport, but I wanted to tell you about MY DATE WITH AN AUTHOR!  The loverly Christy English, author of The Queen's Pawn, just happened to be staying in my little town outside of Atlanta (actually she was like 2 minutes from my house), so we took advantage and met for dinner.  She was the first person I've met from online and I'm so glad it was her!  We had the best time, although I hope she couldn't tell how nervous I was.  We ate at Chili's and talked Eleanor of Aquitaine and Henry II, writing, blogs, crazy Mel Gibson and then we went to Barnes and Noble where we walked around and talked BOOKS....well, I mean what else are you going to talk about in B&N!?  Heehee.  But seriously we had a great time, it was like meeting with a friend that you've known forever and I hope we can do it again soon.  I invited her to the homestead next time, so we'll see if she braves my cooking :) 

Christy's next book, To Be Queen, will be released on April 5, 2011 and she has graciously agreed to come back to Passages to the Past for an interview!


This past Friday was the premier of The Pillars of the Earth mini-series on Starz and I caved in and ordered the channel just for the series.  I wasn't able to catch it Friday night, but I taped it and plan on watching it today.  I will also post reviews of each episode, I believe there are 8 total.

Starz is having a FREE PREVIEW of the first two episodes, which were aired together as one, so click HERE to watch the episodes, as well as, some behind the scenes videos!   

Well, I think that about wraps up things on my corner of the world...how was your week?

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2011 Release: The Reluctant Queen by Freda Lightfoot

  
PhotobucketThe Reluctant Queen
by Freda Lightfoot

Released on January 1, 2011

SYNOPSIS: A brand-new historical novel from a well-loved storyteller - Sixteenth century France. Gabrielle d’EstrĂ©es’ one wish is to marry for love, but her mother sells her as a mistress to three different men before she catches the eye – and the heart – of Henry of Navarre, King of France. Henry promises to marry her, but Gabrielle’s difficulties have just begun . . . for Henry’s wife will only divorce him if he promises not to marry Gabrielle. Is the love of a king enough to secure her both the happiness and respectability she craves and a crown for their son as the next dauphin of France?

Thoughts?

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