June Releases in Historical Fiction & History/Non-Fiction

Historical Fiction

June 1  Queen of the Summer Stars: Book Two of the Guinevere Trilogy by Persia Woolley (6.1.11)
June 1  The Fallen Kings (Morland Dynasty) by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles
June 1  The Quiet Gentleman by Georgette Heyer
June 7  The Red Queen (Paperback) by Philippa Gregory 
June 7  The Borgia Betrayal by Sara Poole
June 7  Queen Defiant: A Novel of Eleanor of Aquitaine by Anne O'Brien 
June 21  Revenger: A Novel of Tudor Intrigue by Rory Clements 
June 21  The Dark Enquiry (A Lady Julia Grey Novel) by Deanna Raybourn
June 21  The Summer Garden by Paullina Simons
June 28  Before Versailles: A Novel of Louis XIV by Karleen Koen 
June 28  Ellis Island: A Novel by Kate Kerrigan 


June 1  Britain's Royal Heritage: An A to Z of the Monarchy by Mark Alexander 
June 7  Napoleon and the Rebel: A Story of Brotherhood, Passion, and Power by Marcello Simonetta and Noga Arikha 
June 7   A King Condemned: The Trial and Execution of Charles I by C. V. Wedgwood
June 15  The Cecils: Privilege and Power Behind the Throne by D. M. Loades  
June 15  Raised to Rule: Educating Royalty at the Court of the Spanish Habsburgs, 1601-1634 by Martha K. Hoffman 
June 21  Aristocrats: Power, Grace, and Decadence: Britain's Great Ruling Classes from 1066 to the Present by Lawrence James 
June 28  The Ring and the Crown: A History of Royal Weddings 1066-2011 by Alison Weir, Kate Williams, Sarah Gristwood and Tracy Borman
June 28  George II: King and Elector (The English Monarchs Series) by Andrew C. Thompson 
June 30  Katherine Parr: Complete Works and Correspondence by Katherine Parr and Janel Mueller

Phew, that's a lot of good looking books!  What releases are you most looking forward to?


Mailbox Monday (post Book Blogger Con)

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 was originally hosted by Marcia at The Printed Page, but is now a traveling meme and for the month of May your new host for MM will be Mari @ Mari Reads!

Hello dear readers, how I have missed you!  I returned yesterday from New York City and the Book Blogger Con 2011 and have lots of new, yummy books to tell you about!  BBC was a great time...I learned a lot, met some fantastic bloggers and saw some NYC sights.  A post-event write up will be posted this week and I will give you the highlights of the Book Blogger Convention.

While in NYC I visited THE coolest used bookstore EVER called The Strand.  If you are ever in the city I highly recommend you go there.  My husband is so awesome and he patiently waited for me while I shopped around in total heaven BOTH times we went there.  I ended up walking away with 9 new books and that's with me practicing self-control!  My Goodreads iPhone app came in really handy as I used it to check my wishlist, look at reviews of the books I was considering purchasing and make sure that I wasn't getting titles I already owned.  Also posted here are two books I picked up at BBC and one ARC for review.  So, without further ado..

Books purchased at The Strand...

by Caroline Chapman

Publication Date:  December 20, 2002


It was one of history's strangest and most remarkable love triangles. For twenty-five years, Lady Elizabeth Foster was the intimate friend of Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire; for most of that time, she was also the mistress of the Duke, Georgiana's husband. Was Bess, as she was known, the scheming mistress, false friend, and relentless social climber portrayed in previous accounts of her life, including the bestselling Georgiana: Duchess of Devonshire? Or was she a devoted and beloved partner to both the Duke and the Duchess?

In Elizabeth & Georgiana, noted editor and writer Caroline Chapman contends that Bess was an intelligent woman of deep feeling who coped courageously with a series of personal and political crises. Drawing on hundreds of previously unpublished letters and the 128 journals in which Bess recorded her most private thoughts and observations, this moving biography reveals a complex and perceptive woman who strove to be a true friend to Georgiana, a passionate lover to the Duke, and a dependable ally to both.

You'll follow Bess from her privileged, upper-class childhood, through her disastrous arranged marriage to the abusive and tyrannical John Foster, and into the life of poverty and disgrace that followed her "private separation" from Foster. You'll witness the fateful surprise visit paid to Bess and her sister by the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire and the growing infatuation she felt for both the dashing William and the glamorous Georgiana.

The relationship that ensued would put even the most imaginative romance novelist to shame: Bess and Georgiana in a deep, almost feverish, friendship; the Duke and Duchess struggling to hold their marriage together; Bess secretly bearing two illegitimate children by the Duke as gossips hissed and hinted of scandal.

Set amid the whirling events of the Regency Crisis, the French Revolution, and the Napoleonic wars, Elizabeth and Georgiana whisks you from stately country manors to palatial London residences, from the glittering social life of the cream of British society to grand tours of Europe in the highest of style. This poignant and provocative true story combines the intimacy of a whispered confession with the sweep and grandeur of a Hollywood epic. Shocking, surprising, and ultimately uplifting, it will challenge your beliefs about friendship, loyalty, and the true nature of love.

Cleopatra: A Life
by Stacy Schiff 

Publication Date:  November 1, 2010


The Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer brings to life the most intriguing woman in the history of the world: Cleopatra, the last queen of Egypt.

Her palace shimmered with onyx, garnets, and gold, but was richer still in political and sexual intrigue. Above all else, Cleopatra was a shrewd strategist and an ingenious negotiator.

Though her life spanned fewer than forty years, it reshaped the contours of the ancient world. She was married twice, each time to a brother. She waged a brutal civil war against the first when both were teenagers. She poisoned the second. Ultimately she dispensed with an ambitious sister as well; incest and assassination were family specialties. Cleopatra appears to have had sex with only two men. They happen, however, to have been Julius Caesar and Mark Antony, among the most prominent Romans of the day. Both were married to other women. Cleopatra had a child with Caesar and--after his murder--three more with his protégé. Already she was the wealthiest ruler in the Mediterranean; the relationship with Antony confirmed her status as the most influential woman of the age. The two would together attempt to forge a new empire, in an alliance that spelled their ends. Cleopatra has lodged herself in our imaginations ever since.

Famous long before she was notorious, Cleopatra has gone down in history for all the wrong reasons. Shakespeare and Shaw put words in her mouth. Michelangelo, Tiepolo, and Elizabeth Taylor put a face to her name. Along the way, Cleopatra's supple personality and the drama of her circumstances have been lost. In a masterly return to the classical sources, Stacy Schiff here boldly separates fact from fiction to rescue the magnetic queen whose death ushered in a new world order. Rich in detail, epic in scope, Schiff 's is a luminous, deeply original reconstruction of a dazzling life. 

Publication Date:  June 5, 2007


Sweeping and scandalous, rich and compellingly readable, here is the first biography of Lady Harriet Spencer, ancestor of Diana, Princess of Wales, and devoted sister of Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire. Harriet Spencer was without a doubt one of the most glamorous, influential, and notorious aristocrats of the Regency period.

The second daughter of the prestigious Spencer family, Harriet was born into wealth and privilege. Intelligent, attractive, and exceedingly eager to please, at nineteen years of age she married Frederick, Viscount Duncannon, an aloof, distant relative. Unfortunately, it was not a happy union; the only trait they shared was an unhealthy love of gambling. The marriage produced four children, yet Harriet followed in the footsteps of her older sister and began a series of illicit dalliances, including one with the prominent and charismatic playwright Richard Brinsley Sheridan. Then she met Lord Granville Leveson Gower, handsome and twelve years her junior. Their years-long affair resulted in the birth of two children, and all but consumed Harriet: concealing both pregnancies from her husband required great skill. Had the children been discovered, it surely would have resulted in divorce—which would have been disastrous.

Harriet’s life was dramatic, and the history-making events she observed were equally fascinating. She was an eyewitness to the French Revolution; she participated in both the euphoria following Nelson’s victory at Trafalgar and the outpouring of grief at his spectacular funeral; she was privy to the debauchery of the Prince Regent’s wife, Princess Caroline. She quarreled bitterly with Lord Byron when he pursued her young daughter (rumor had it that he was truly interested in Harriet herself). She traveled through war-torn Europe during both the rise and the fall of Napoleon and saw the devastating aftermath of the Battle of Waterloo, where her son was gravely injured. Harriet, along with her sister, was one of the leading female political activists of her day; her charm allowed her to campaign noisily for Charles James Fox—while still retaining influence over supporters of his rival, William Pitt the Younger. Harriet survived Georgiana by fifteen years, living to see the coronation of George IV.

Janet Gleeson’s elegant, page-turning style brings Harriet’s story vividly to life. Based on painstaking archival research, Privilege and Scandal gives readers an inside look at the lives of the British aristocracy during the decadent eighteenth century—while at the same time shining the spotlight on one of the era’s most fascinating women.

Publication Date:  July 14, 2004


As lovely and charming as she was shrewd and calculating, Athenais de Montespan became the most powerful noblewoman of her day by brilliantly manipulating her forbidden role as mistress of King Louis XIV. With a lively narrative style that reads like fiction, Lisa Hilton reveals the woman behind the most dazzling days of the Sun King's reign.

As a lover, Athenais risked the disgrace of adultery to conduct an affair that scandalized Europe. As a patron, she supported the leaders of the cultural renaissance, including MoliËre and Racine. As a mother, she was the ancestor of most of the royal houses of Europe. The greatest beauty of her day, she lived publicly and sensationally until bizarre accusations of witchcraft forced her from grace in the "Affair of the Poisons," a mystery that remains unsolved.

Athenais is an informative and thrilling look at a true age of extremes and a woman who achieved the heights of power at a time when it was denied to most of her sex.

Publication Date:  October 12, 2005


In the first full-scale biography of Mary Stuart in more than thirty years, John Guy creates an intimate and absorbing portrait of one of history’s greatest women, depicting her world and her place in the sweep of history with stunning immediacy. Bringing together all surviving documents and uncovering a trove of new sources for the first time, Guy dispels the popular image of Mary Queen of Scots as a romantic leading lady — achieving her ends through feminine wiles — and establishes her as the intellectual and political equal of Elizabeth I.

Through Guy’s pioneering research and superbly readable prose, we come to see Mary as a skillful diplomat, maneuvering ingeniously among a dizzying array of factions that sought to control or dethrone her. Queen of Scots is an enthralling, myth-shattering look at a complex woman and ruler and her time.

by Anne Somerset

Publication Date:  August 1, 2002

Glitteringly detailed and engagingly written, the magisterial Elizabeth I brings to vivid life the golden age of sixteenth-century England and the uniquely fascinating monarch who presided over it. A woman of intellect and presence, Elizabeth was the object of extravagant adoration by her contemporaries. She firmly believed in the divine providence of her sovereignty and exercised supreme authority over the intrigue-laden Tudor court and Elizabethan England at large. Brilliant, mercurial, seductive, and maddening, an inspiration to artists and adventurers and the subject of vicious speculation over her choice not to marry, Elizabeth became the most powerful ruler of her time. Anne Somerset has immortalized her in this splendidly illuminating account. 

by Kathleen Kent

Publication Date:  September 3, 2008


Martha Carrier was one of the first women to be accused, tried and hanged as a witch in Salem, Massachusetts. Like her mother, young Sarah Carrier is bright and willful, openly challenging the small, brutal world in which they live. Often at odds with one another, mother and daughter are forced to stand together against the escalating hysteria of the trials and the superstitious tyranny that led to the torture and imprisonment of more than 200 people accused of witchcraft. This is the story of Martha's courageous defiance and ultimate death, as told by the daughter who survived.

Kathleen Kent is a tenth generation descendent of Martha Carrier. She paints a haunting portrait, not just of Puritan New England, but also of one family's deep and abiding love in the face of fear and persecution. 

by Marina Fiorato

Publication Date:  March 30, 2010


In this exhilarating cross between The Da Vinci Code and The Birth of Venus, an irrepressible young woman in 15th-century Italy must flee for her life after stumbling upon a deadly secret when she serves as a model for Botticelli...

When part-time model and full-time prostitute Luciana Vetra is asked by one of her most exalted clients to pose for a painter friend, she doesn't mind serving as the model for the central figure of Flora in Sandro Botticelli's masterpiece "Primavera." But when the artist dismisses her without payment, Luciana impulsively steals an unfinished version of the painting--only to find that someone is ready to kill her to get it back.

What could possibly be so valuable about the picture? As friends and clients are slaughtered around her, Luciana turns to the one man who has never desired her beauty, novice librarian Brother Guido. Fleeing Venice together, Luciana and Guido race through the nine cities of Renaissance Italy, pursued by ruthless foes who are determined to keep them from decoding the painting's secrets.

Gloriously fresh and vivid, with a deliciously irreverent heroine, The Botticelli Secret is an irresistible blend of history, wit, and suspense.
by Marina Fiorato

Publication Date:  May 26, 2009


Venice, 1681. Glassblowing is the lifeblood of the Republic, and Venetian mirrors are more precious than gold. Jealously guarded by the murderous Council of Ten, the glassblowers of Murano are virtually imprisoned on their island in the lagoon. But the greatest of the artists, Corradino Manin, sells his methods and his soul to the Sun King, Louis XIV of France, to protect his secret daughter. In the present day his descendant, Leonora Manin, leaves an unhappy life in London to begin a new one as a glassblower in Venice. As she finds new life and love in her adoptive city, her fate becomes inextricably linked with that of her ancestor and the treacherous secrets of his life begin to come to light.

Books from BBC...

by Gabrielle Donnelly

Release Date:  June 7, 2011


Vibrant, fresh, and intelligent, The Little Women Letters explores the imagined lives of Jo March’s descendants—three sisters who are both thoroughly modern and thoroughly March. As uplifting and essential as Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, Gabrielle Donnelly’s novel will speak to anyone who’s ever fought with a sister, fallen in love with a fabulous pair of shoes, or wondered what on earth life had in store for her. 
With her older sister, Emma, planning a wedding and her younger sister, Sophie, preparing to launch a career on the London stage, Lulu can’t help but feel like the failure of the Atwater family. Lulu loves her sisters dearly and wants nothing but the best for them, but she finds herself stuck in a rut, working dead-end jobs with no romantic prospects in sight. When her mother asks her to find a cache of old family recipes in the attic of her childhood home, Lulu stumbles across a collection of letters written by her great-great-grandmother Josephine March. In her letters, Jo writes in detail about every aspect of her life: her older sister, Meg’s, new home and family; her younger sister Amy’s many admirers; Beth’s illness and the family’s shared grief over losing her too soon; and the butterflies she feels when she meets a handsome young German. As Lulu delves deeper into the lives and secrets of the March sisters, she finds solace and guidance, but can the words of her great-great-grandmother help Lulu find a place for herself in a world so different from the one Jo knew? Vibrant, fresh, and intelligent, The Little Women Letters explores the imagined lives of Jo March’s descendants—three sisters who are both thoroughly modern and thoroughly March. As uplifting and essential as Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, Gabrielle Donnelly’s novel will speak to anyone who’s ever fought with a sister, fallen in love with a fabulous pair of shoes, or wondered what on earth life had in store for her. 

Some things, of course, remain unchanged: the stories and jokes that form a family’s history, the laughter over tea in the afternoon, the desire to do the right thing in spite of obstacles. And above all, of course, the fierce, undying, and often infuriating bond of sisterhood that links the Atwater women every bit as firmly as it did the March sisters all those years ago. Both a loving tribute to Little Women and a wonderful contemporary family story, The Little Women Letters is a heartwarming, funny, and wise novel for today.

by M.L. Malcolm

Publication Date:  April 5, 2011


From M. L. Malcolm, the acclaimed author of Heart of Lies, comes a powerful sequel that spans the years from World War II to the turbulent 1960s—the riveting story of a family struggling with choices forced upon them by war . . . and the consequences that will take a generation to unfold.

Aman of many contradictions, Leo Hoffman is a Hungarian national with a French passport, a wealthy businessman with no visible means of support, and a devoted father who hasn't seen his daughter in years. He is also a spy.

Recruited by the Allies to help lay the groundwork for their invasion of North Africa, Leo intends to engage in as little espionage as possible—just enough to earn his American citizenship so he can get to New York and reunite with his daughter, Maddy. But while Leo dodges death in France and Morocco, Maddy is learning shocking truths about her father's mysterious past—haunting knowledge that will compel her down her own dangerous path of deception and discovery.

Received for review...

The Queen's Gamble
by Barbara Kyle

Release Date:  August 30, 2011


Young Queen Elizabeth I’s path to the throne has been a perilous one, and already she faces a dangerous crisis. French troops have landed in Scotland to quell a rebel Protestant army, and Elizabeth fears once they are entrenched on the border, they will invade England.

Isabel Thornleigh has returned to London from the New World with her Spanish husband, Carlos Valverde, and their young son. Ever the queen’s loyal servant, Isabel is recruited to smuggle money to the Scottish rebels. Yet Elizabeth’s trust only goes so far—Isabel’s son will be the queen’s pampered hostage until she completes her mission. Matters grow worse when Isabel’s husband is engaged as military advisor to the French, putting the couple on opposite sides in a deadly cold war.

Set against a lush, vibrant backdrop peopled with unforgettable characters and historical figures, The Queen’s Gamble is a story of courage, greed, passion, and the high price of loyalty…

Well, that's my mailbox...what goodies did you receive?

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