Sunday, December 13, 2009

upcoming release: The Murder in the Tower



COMING JULY 13, 2010!

I was just browsing Random House to see if there were any updates to their Jean Plaidy page, and lo and behold... another reprint! I read this one not even a year ago, and thought it was not one of her best, but a good read on the court of James I (there aren't too many out there). The cover sure is pretty!

My review is here.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Can you guess + giveaway!

The following sentences are the beginning of a Jean Plaidy book. If you can guess which one you will get:



To Hold the Crown, previously published as Uneasy Lies the Head

Now, to the fun part... which Plaidy novel starts with:

'A King cannot have too many children, if they be bastards,' mused the King. 'It is only the legitimate ones with which he should be sparing. Too many legitimate sons can cause friction, as in my own family. But bastards can be thrown a castle or two, honours, titles and they may boast throughout their lives of their royal connection, and be loyal often, for a man will be loyal to that of which he is proud. But even so a King should have more than one legitimate son, for in what sad case he is if by evil fortune he should lose his heir.'

**Please, if you already have To Hold the Crown and do not need to be entered in the contest, do not guess and ruin it for the others :) Thank you!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Book Review: Myself My Enemy




Myself My Enemy is a terrific account of Henriette-Marie’s life by my very favourite author, Jean Plaidy! This novel is told in the first person and so vividly described and filled with emotion that it definitely has become another of my preferred reads.

In Myself My Enemy, you inmmediately get the feeling of what this loyal- to her- king –lady is all about. Henriette-Marie was first and foremost, the great King Henri IV de Navarre’s last daughter. As a daughter of France by blood and by right, she is sent to marry Charles I of England. Wanted and chosen by Charles-The Queen of France relinquishes her daughter in the hopes of reuniting differences amongst not only the French and the English, but especially the religions (Protestant and Catholic).

From the very beginning we get to see that this fine Queen Consort of England is no push-over. She stands firm for her beliefs and choices when it comes to religion, friends, principles and ideas…unfortunately for her, this tenacity sometimes borders big time stubbornness. Such defiance is not always pleasing to the King; yet, he loves his Henriette dearly and although it would seem that they were opposites- in terms of sticking to their own point, they were actually quite similar.

Their relationship becomes one of give and take in where they both need it most. As time goes on, they develop a strong love and bond that will keep them faithful and caring deeply for eachother until the very end.

I really wanted to read this one in particular, especially becauseI'm way gaga over Charles II and so it was only right that I read Plaidy’s novel on his mother. I’m so glad I did! Reading Myself My Enemy gave me an inside look on Charles as a youngster seen through the eyes of his mother as well as his siblings and their situation amidst the terrible fate of Charles I. What I enjoyed mostly though was getting in closer on Henriette Marie’s last child, and Charles II’s favourite sibling- the absolutely delightful and charming young Henriette, or Minette, as her big brother called her. (see my post on her here).

The book is filled with a lot of the history and turmoil of the time period and makes no excuses for Charles I ‘s somewhat lacking traits for a King…The details are incredible and although I did get a very good sense of his leadership weakness, I did see the magnitudes of his strength in character when it came to love for his wife, family, and England (as he saw it), as well.

Henriette Marie loved her husband and did all she could to help him. After her escape to England (to save her pretty head), she and Minette lived in almost utter poverty without ever giving up hope. Her biggest wish was for Charles II and all her children to turn to the Catholic faith- and this she struggled towards achieving right up to the end. Minette, her favourite child would live her life taking on this role as crusader for the faith as well. Strange coincidence how both mother and daughter of the same name were both born by Kings who never got to see them into their childhood and on…

Excellent Book! I strongly recommend it.

Sidenote: Charles I was a one-woman-man. On this aspect, Charles II absolutely did not take from his dad. But if we can base ourselves on the positive way his dad treated and loved his strong-character mom, then it’s fair to say that it’s no wonder Charles the Rake was an absolute fine and understanding man when it came to treating the ladies; making him an absolute gentleman.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Jean Plaidy autographed items

I've stumbled across an auction site that has some Jean Plaidy items for bid and thought I'd share. My husband recently bid for an autographed photo like the one below (though I have not yet received it).

A beautiful color photograph, autographed.



You can bid on it here.

A note card thanking the recipient for birthday wishes:



You can bid on it here.

A typed letter with signature:



You can bid on it here.

A handwritten letter:



You can bid on it here.

And on eBay I found a SIGNED 1959 copy of The Road to Compiegne for $142 am was set to buy it (after begging the hubby) and when I went back they had upped the Buy It Now cost to $489! I was very upset, but then the hubby told me I can buy the remaining Arrow reprints I needed for my collection (a total of $190) for my Christmas present. So, either way, it's a Plaidy Christmas for this fan! I now have 81 of 94 single Plaidy novels!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

review: The Shadow of the Pomegranate



The Shadow of the Pomegranate

This is my first Jean Plaidy audiobook and the fact that I had already read the book (more than 3 years ago) did not diminish my enjoyment of the story. I’ve been reminded why Plaidy’s version of the Tudors is my favorite, and for the same reason I like all of her books: they mix political intrigue perfectly with the character’s personalities and offer excellent explanations as to the thoughts and actions of those characters.

The Shadow of the Pomegranate is the middle book in the Katharine of Aragon trilogy, the first being Katharine the Virgin Widow and the last The King’s Secret Matter. Though it is in a trilogy it reads as a stand-alone, beginning shortly after the marriage of Henry VIII and Katharine of Aragon. The foundation of Katharine’s relationship with Henry is laid, while she watches him slowly change from petulant boy to tyrannical man. She holds her place firmly in his affection until the perfidy of her father – using Henry to pay for his wars, while promising him conquest for England – and, of course, her many failures at producing the male heir Henry so greatly desires.

This novel covers the European powers of the time, from the Emperor Maximilian, Ferdinand of Spain and Louis XII of France to Charles V and Francois I of France. Henry’s disastrous early campaigns to gain territory in France and Katharine’s great defeat of the Scots are expanded upon, but there is also much intriguing in the court between courtiers , statesmen (like Cardinal Wosley) and the foreign ambassadors trying to rise in favor and in the process degrade one another. I really enjoy a book that can tie all of these together to make an intriguing story.

As usual there are mini-stories happening in the background to explain the actions of the main characters. A relationship between a peasant woman and one of the King of Navarre’s secretaries claims a chapter of the book in order to explain how his schemes were found out by Ferdinand and thus a war was started which robbed Henry of his desired campaigning on the continent. I marvel at small details like this because it is the product of such immaculate research.

As for the format, I really enjoyed listening to this book being read on my commute to and from work. Anne Flasnik is an excellent narrator and I plan to buy more Jean Plaidy audiobooks read by her. She can flawlessly execute a different voice for each character – so feminine for the ladies and a deeper tone for the men. She also has a gift with pronunciation and foreign accents.

I have nothing but praise for this book and hope to own more Plaidy on audio soon!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Did you know?

When I first discovered Jean Plaidy, apart from being overwhelmed at the number of books she published, I noticed many had strange titles. To name a few: The Vow on the Heron, The Passage to Pontefract, Health Unto His Majesty, The Rose Without a Thorn, Epitaph for Three Women; some are not so strange, but have a special meaning pertaining to the main character in the book and are sometimes from a poem or an unofficial title. I’ve enjoyed finding out the meanings behind the titles. Here are a few examples:

Revolt of the Eaglets – Henry II had a painting of himself as an eagle and his four sons as eaglets. Three of the eaglets are attacking the eagle while the fourth eaglet is waiting, watching. Historically, his three older sons spent their lives battling against him and John, the youngest, waited in the shadows and just before Henry’s death he found his ‘loyal’ son had gone over to the other side as well.

Uneasy Lies the Head – The story of Henry VII, though ‘uneasy lies the head that wears a crown’ is from Shakespeare’s play, Henry IV, it still fits the story well. Henry Tudor may have won the crown on the battlefield, but he is plagued with potential usurpers who may have a better claim than himself. He spends his reign rebuilding a broken country and firmly planting his house of Tudor as the rulers of England.

In the Shadow of the Pomegranate – Katherine of Aragon, Queen of England and first wife of Henry VIII, was perpetually pregnant, but had trouble producing a full-term, healthy male child. It was customary for the queen to have an official symbol, and unfortunately for Katherine, hers was a pomegranate fruit – the symbol of fertility. This inability was ultimately her downfall, for if she had a son Henry never would have divorced her.

St. Thomas’s Eve – This is the story of Sir Thomas More, writer, humanitarian and unwilling Chancellor of England. He was beheaded on orders from Henry VIII on the eve of St. Thomas (Catholic Saint Day).

The Lady in the Tower – Anne Boleyn signed her last letter to Henry VIII ‘The Lady in the Tower’.

Here Lies Our Sovereign Lord – An outrageous poem of Rochester, daringly nailed to King Charles II’s bedchamber door (who thought it was quite witty, though banished him for a while anyway):
Here lies our Sovereign Lord,
the King whose word no man relies on:
He never said a foolish thing
nor ever did a wise one

Saturday, October 17, 2009

review: Goddess of the Green Room

Dorothy Jordan, actress extraordinaire and royal mistress, was unlike most woman in her position: she was honest, loyal and completely selfless. She always used her pay to take care of her loved ones, and was devoted to one man at a time, even if he didn’t deserve her.

The daughter of an affluent, Irish actress, Dorothy was born for the stage. When her father left and her mother was too ill to work, she made the money the family needed to survive. So much they depend on her that she had to do things that were against her better judgment (and her values) to keep the bills paid. One of such was becoming the mistress of a selfish and vindictive theater manager.

She finally had enough of that scene and moved to England to try her luck, and became an instant hit. A few years acting in the provincial theaters and she received an offer from London: Richard Sheridan and Drury Lane! She became the most popular comedy actress and continued to be adored by the public throughout her acting career.

Perhaps the most notorious scandal Mrs. Jordan was involved in is her role as the Duke of Clarence’s mistress. They lived together for 20 years and had 10 children before he left her to pursue various young heiresses, as he was deep in debt and perhaps going through a mid-life crisis as well.

Dorothy is a very likable character, but she gives too much and it’s heartbreaking to see all of the bad things that happened to her. This is a great story and covers much on the actors and actresses of the time, as well as, the politics – especially between Pitt and Fox. Even so, I didn’t enjoy reading about Dorothy’s problems and I wish she had had something to hold on to at the end.

The Prince Regent is tolerable in this novel, which is a complete change from a Plaidy novel I read earlier this year, Indiscretions of the Queen (Caroline of Brunswick, Princess of Wales). It is strange that she could write a character with so many facets that he is likable in one scenario and detestable in another – and it still makes sense. Jean Plaidy was such a clever writer and her early studies in psychology really show in her novels.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Incidental…or not so Incidental, Lady Rosamund Clifford


Lady Rosamund Clifford (?- 1176)
In reading the Plantagenet Prelude, we come across more than just a passer-by incidental type of lady; this one happened to be a favourite mistress of Henry II, or so I beleive... 
I was intrigued by this mistress who was most probably a total change of pace for Henry, when compared to Eleanore.  Wherever you read about her there’s this sense of Rosamund bringing peace, joy and love in a warm, gentle and feminine haven for the rambunctious king to be enveloped in; extremely the opposite, when compared to the very intense, passionate and sporadic Eleanore (hey, even a king needs his respite;)
Whatever opinion I may have concluded to, the fact remains that there is little more than legend attributed to this fair lady.  There are so many stories that make for interesting reading and this is especially true of the books written about Eleanore. The one that prevails is the one of a very jealous Eleanore poisoning Rosamund at the Woodstock lodge that Henry put her up in.  And, still in others, she was murdered, tortured, or even roasted by the evil Eleanore- ahh!
It’s believed that Henry met Rosamund around the time that Eleanore was pregnant to their last child. Henry apparently met her during one of his campaigns on one of his stop-overs.  She was a young maiden,  daughter of a lord (marcher) and had several siblings as well.  Henry was taken by her beauty and she was to become his lover until death- or almost.  Two years before passing, Rosamund took up the veil, putting an end to their ‘grand’ love affair- she died two years later.
And so, how many heirs did the affair produce? This too is all based on legend and hearsay.  It’s speculated that she may have bore Henry at least one child, but no records can even prove that.  The story that she gave birth to Geoffrey Plantagenet and William Longespee would both prove wrong as well; Geoffrey was apparently born before the couple ever met and William was born four years after Rosamund died.  Historians claim that the two sons were born by two other different mistresses- but that’s another story.
Rosamund Clifford, Henry’s great love, with no facts and no records to substantiate the stories…was she merely but a passing concubine of the times or is there more to her story?
Here is a beautiful painting of Eleanore and Rosamund







Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Wandering Prince- Reading Group Discussion Continued...

Here are the 2 last questions for our September read: The Wandering Prince (First volume of - The Love of Charles II).




3. Louis' love for Henriette is increasingly tainted by his jealousy over her relationship with her brother. At what point does his obsession turn threatening? Does Henriette recognize the shift? How does Anne of Austria's death affect Louis' attitude toward leadership and love?

4. Why does Henriette consent to a rigorous Catholic education, when she knows it is against the express wishes of her late father and most of her siblings?

Please let us know what you think:)

-

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Reading Discussion- the Wandering Prince (The Loves of Charles II)


Hi everyone!  I’m happy to inform you that Arleigh is slowly settling back to some sort of normalcy in her life- Thank God she and her family are doing well and are nicely settled in a temporary new home. Arleigh we’re all glad you’re doing fine!
So then, on with the blogging as usual…
Since some of us did participate in our monthly reading of The Wandering Prince (embarrassed to say…not me..)- we do have some Discussion Questions pertaining to the read.  Please join along if you’ve read this book last month or ever before that. We'd love to hear your thoughts and opinions:)


Questions for The Wandering Prince (stand alone or included in omnibus The Loves of Charles II)
(taken from guideline questions in Plaidy’s omnibus)
1.      Henriette is introduced as a garrulous, opinionated, two-year-old political refugee masquerading as the son of a peasant.  That feisty personality does not reemerge until page 216, when Henriette exiles La Valliere in a vociferous fit of rage over the girl’s dalliance with Louis. In between these episodes, Henriette cuts a meek and tolerant figure, mild and forgiving even in the face of her husband’s flagrant indiscretions, her mother’s ruthless political ploys, and her lover’s repeated infidelities.  Is Henriette a wimp, or does she display control over her emotions? Either way, is, she likeable?

2.      The long suffering Henrietta Maria plays both the tragic figure and the villain throughout this novel. Do her constant harangues intensify-or offer comic relief from- the relentless tension of the story?  Do any of her wishes for her children come about?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Serious Alert and Giveaway Update

NOt the usual historical posts you're used to...

I just wanted to let our readers know that our Plaidy site will be temporartily suspended due to a devastating circumstance.

Arleigh's home has been seriously affected by the horrendous floods in Georgia. Her family has been evacuated from the place. So, in terms of giveaways, they may altogether be cancelled- all depending on the status of the books, as they may have been ruined.

Needless to say, that's the least of problems. Let's just hope that everything turns out fine for Arleigh and her family- that's the main concern. I will keep you posted as best I can within the limits of privacy.

Your thoughts and prayers are welcome.

-

Lucy

Friday, September 18, 2009

Another Book Review - And - GIVEAWAY for HF Bloggers Round Table Event!!!

http://enchantedbyjosephine.blogspot.com/2009/09/announcing-grand-historical-fiction.html


Goddess of The Green Room, by Jean Plaidy-Victoria Holt



Let me just start by saying that I’ve moved this book way up my list of favourite Plaidys. In fact, right now it stands as number 1.
Goddess of The Green Room is about the life of the famous 18th century actress, Dorothy Jordan and her eventual long-lasting relationship to George III’s third son, William.

As a very young girl, born and raised in Ireland, Dorothy started out her acting career in order to help support her family. Her father had left the family, and her mother, who was once a well-known actress, could no longer provide for them due to illness. Their only choice for survival was for Dorothy to find work and bring home the bread.

Fortunately, Dorothy had an amazing talent for comedy. She was blessed with a tiny and very swift body, which initially helped her attain roles which were written mainly for boys. Dorothy dressed up in ‘breeches’ or types of tights for these particular roles and this proved to be deliciously comical and enticing to watch. The audiences loved her and propelled her to the status of, much- in- demand- and adored celebrity.

However, Dorothy did not attain this high status easily. She worked incredibly hard and had to endure abuse, rejection, failed loves, a failed marriage, being the sole provider for numerous children and other family members (including the men in her life)…- and lastly, a royal yet, shaky love relationship that would in the end, vanish.

Although some would say that her role as mistress to William put her in the same category as courtesans or as one who claimed several lovers; In reality, Dorothy was a one-man woman throughout. She was loyal to love and never made any demands- nor was she ever a ‘kept’ woman. In terms of her relationship with William, Dorothy really made him wait. He courted her incessantly- and she consistently resisted. It was a very long and platonic courtship. Finally when she consented, the two went on to have a long and loving relationship that produced ten children; which Dorothy financially supported throughout.

What was most interesting in this delectable read was to find, weaved into the story, the unraveling lives of that colorful George III’s dynasty. Goddess of the Green Room combines all the bits of notable history involving the individual monarchs and other noteworthy figures of the times. For instance, we get a glimpse of George IV’s failed marriage to Caroline of Brunswick, his Maria, all of his glamour and obsessions, George III’s illness and disappointment with his sons, (we also discover why the famous ‘eh’ at the end of his sentences)- and there’s even a section with Perdita. We experience it all as the pieces of the puzzle come together perfectly.

Not only is this an engaging read, its brilliant storyline is inviting with historical accuracy and colorful characters. Goddess of the Green Room exceeded all my expectations. This is an excellent read and I highly recommend it.

Interesting Tid-bit:
I was intrigued by Plaidy’s dedication at the beginning of the book:

‘For William’s and Dorothy’s Great-Granddaughter, HERBE ELSNA - With great admiration for her work, gratitude for her friendship and love for herself’


This inscription is what actually led my curiosity- and I just had to read the book.
Excellent!

And now, to wrap up the HF Bloggers Round Table Event...here's another Plaidy GIVEAWAY!!!

THE MIRACLE AT SAINT BRUNO'S, by Philippa Carr (Plaidy pseudoname)




How to Enter:


1 Chance…leave a comment and tell us which is your favorite Plaidy book.

2 Chances…Tweet, or post about this mentioning HFB Round Table Event.

3 Chances...Become a follower.

This giveaway is open to international and ends September 21st.

Good Luck!!

-

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Round Table Event & giveaway # 1



Plaidy’s Royal Intrigue is joining in on the excitement of the Historical Fiction Blogger Round Table Event!

In the wonderful spirit of historical fiction blogging and to be part of this great book blogging community, here at Jean Plaidy’s Royal Intrigue we’re joining in with our own giveaways, posts and reviews that we will be linking back to the HFB Round Table Event.

Without further ado, we present you today with Arleigh’s review of Revolt of the Eaglets.

**********************************************************



This novel begins exactly where The Plantagenet Prelude left off. The aftermath of Thomas a Becket’s murder was still plaguing Henry II, while Eleanor was planning to urge her sons into revolt. Kings die, sons die, Eleanor is imprisoned for many years, but still she lives and is the ripe old age of 67 when she is finally released from her prison.

This book expands upon Richard’s dukedom of Aquitaine, while his brothers Henry and Geoffrey scheme and intrigue endlessly and to their detriment. They just cannot take empty titles from their father. In a way, I felt sorry for Henry. He did love his sons and wanted very much for them to work for him and be on good terms, with himself and one another. He saw that together they could be all powerful and rule a great part of Europe. But he would not relinquish one piece of land – one castle – to any of them, except in name. He had the final word on the managing and holding of these possessions.

On the other hand, his fits were shameful and childish, he treated Eleanor horribly and he had a really scandalous relationship with a very young girl, a princess of France and his son Richard’s betrothed. He was a good ruler; a very smart statesman and never loath to look after his dominions. These were his strengths, but the previous attributes mentioned make it very hard to like him as a person. Near the end, when he is so very desperate for the love of his family, one does wish he had it easier. But, as Eleanor continually tells him: the fault is his own. He was selfish and thought of his own desires, not allowing Eleanor her freedom or their sons leave to govern their small territories.

This novel ends with Henry’s death, Eleanor’s freedom and John waiting in the wings. You get a very sickly feeling from John in this novel and I am sure we will read more of him in The Heart of the Lion and most assuredly in The Prince of Darkness. I look forward to continuing on with the Plantagenet saga!

**********************************************************

And to further our celebration, we are GIVING AWAY:



1 paperback copy of William's Wife by Jean Plaidy.

How to Enter:

1 Chance…leave a comment and tell us who your favorite Stuart monarch is.

2 Chances…Tweet, or post about this mentioning HFB Round Table Event.

3 Become a follower.

This giveaway is open to international and ends September 18th.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Day 4 Reading Group Discussion on The Plantagenet Prelude



Lucy asks:

7. Why do you think Eleanore and Henry treated Richard, their son, so differently.

Arleigh asks:

8. What is your opinion on Henry bringing 'Bastard Geoffrey' into the royal nursery?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Day 3 Reading Group Questons for The Plantagenet Prelude



Lucy asks:

5. Discuss the relationship with her uncle...What do you think was more controversial back then: The relationship being incestual- or that she was cheating on her husband?

Arleigh asks:

6. The Pope is more or less a statesman rather than a churchman. Discuss his various decisions related to Eleanor's divorce proceedings.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Day 2 Reading Group Questions on The Plantagenet Prelude



Lucy asks:

3. How did you feel about Louis? Was Eleanore right in treating him the way she did to build him up to be a strong king?

Arleigh asks:

4. Do you think Louis and Eleonore were right in going on crusade in the fashion that they did (i.e. brining ladies with expensive clothes and all the comforts they could carry)?

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Plantagenet Prelude : Discussion Questions 1 & 2



Hello readers! Today begins a week long of discussions on The Plantagenet Prelude, our August 2009 read. For more information on joining our discussion group, visit our website. And, of course, everyone who has read this book - or even if you haven't but wish to make a comment - may join in these discussions!

Lucy asks:

1. What was your opinion on Eleonore from begining to end? Did your views on her change along the way? (compare with any other books you might have read on her)

Arleigh asks:

2. How did you view Eleonore's Courts of Love compared with Louis's court and then Henry's? Why was it such a important part of her life that she constantly compared other places with her dear Aquitaine?

Friday, September 4, 2009

Giveaway winner and Reading Group Info!

Congratulations Marie on winning The Reluctant Queen. My question had a really lame 'all of the above' answer, but I really just wanted to let everyone know that we have been updating and changing things around. I really appreciate all who checked it out and left nice comments. I am slowly but surely adding book descriptions and cover photos for all of the books (and there are A LOT of them). First, I am going off of my own Plaidy books I have here on my bookshelf. I chose not to copy and paste from other websites because I want to put my own hard work into it. I will probably be scanning my own photos, as well, for the ones that are out of print.

It's already September 4th and we have not yet posted questions for our August read: The Plantagenet Prelude. Lucy and I plan to take the entire week next week (starting Sunday) and posting questions 7 days straight. This is not to say we will do it this way every month, but we wanted to start with a bang and see how it works out. Those who have read The Plantagenet Prelude previously may also join in the fun!

Our September read is The Wandering Prince. Just a note for any who may be having a problem locating a copy, it is included in the omnibus The Loves of Charles II, which is IN PRINT by Three Rivers Press. I have also seen it on Paperback Swap, for those of you who use this service.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Mystery Lady # 3

Because of my extraordinary resemblance to the Queen, I became involved in the hoax that brought her downfall. I was unaware of the deceitful nature of my adventure. I merely put on a beautiful gown and had my hair dressed, exactly as the Queen had the week before, and waited on the grounds of the palace to say five simple words to a grand gentleman. It was playacting. I was told the Queen would be watching and would be pleased if I did my part well. I lived in a dream that night… I had pleased the Queen! To my horror, a year later I was arrested for playing a part in an elaborate scheme to steal a great diamond necklace, which the jewelers thought they had sold to the Queen. I was sent to prison, but thankfully freed soon after, as I had no knowledge of the true nature of my crime.

Who am I?

Monday, August 31, 2009

review: The Plantagenet Prelude



The Plantagenet Prelude was published 11 years before her autobiographical novel on Eleanor of Aquitaine, The Courts of Love, and focuses on the men in Eleanor’s life rather than Eleanor herself. I wasn’t expecting this proud, selfish woman that Plaidy portrays, as she was so much more likable in The Courts of Love. We get a better understanding of Louis, king of France and Eleanor’s first husband, and a much more intimate view of Henry, Duke of Normandy and later king of England.

First the book follows Eleanor from a 14 year-old bride, crusader, and several years of marriage to Louis that only produces 2 daughters. She then meets Henry and is determined to obtain a divorce (which she had been planning for years anyway) and marry the Duke, 12 years her junior.

Meanwhile, there is another relationship expanded upon – that of Henry and his Chancellor, Thomas Beckett. I really enjoyed the story of how his parents met. I believe that was my favorite part in this novel. I don’t know why I was expecting not to like Thomas (perhaps I had him mixed up with Bernard of France), but it has to be something I’ve read of him in the past, some other characterization. He was a very good and likable man in this book, and became a saint and martyr. He reminded me a lot of Thomas More, as he had like ideals and convictions.

A few years and many kids later, Henry and Eleanor find themselves king and queen of England, holding vast lands in France – but there is no longer a romantic bond between them. Henry has his Fair Rosamund and Eleanor begins to see where the true power lies… with her children.

The next book in this saga is Revolt of the Eaglets, where Henry comes up against his sons. It should prove interesting and I cannot wait to get through the entire Plantagenet saga.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Friday Fan Question & giveaway



Question: What is the newest thing added to our website?

a. new layout
b. magazine and newspaper reviews
c. Plaidy quotes
d. mini-bio
e. all of the above

You don't have to answer correctly to enter the draw (but you should!!) I know many of you already have this one, as it's listed on so many of your lists on the Challenge page. But, I'm sure there are some out there who need this one...



The Reluctant Queen

"In 1470, a reluctant Lady Anne Neville is betrothed by her father, the politically ambitious Earl of Warwick, to Edward, Prince of Wales. A gentle yet fiercely intelligent woman, Anne has already given her heart to the prince’s younger brother, Richard, Duke of Gloucester.

Unable to oppose her father’s will, she finds herself in line for the throne of England—an obligation that she does not want. Yet fate intervenes when Edward is killed at the Battle of Tewkesbury. Anne suddenly finds herself free to marry the man she loves—and who loves her in return.

The ceremony is held at Westminster Abbey, and the duke and duchess make a happy home atMiddleham Castle, where both spent much of their childhood. Their life is idyllic, until the reigning king dies and a whirlwind of dynastic maneuvering leads to his children being declared illegitimate. Richard inherits the throne as King Richard III, and Anne is crowned queen consort, a destiny she thought she had successfully avoided. Her husband’s reign lasts two years, two months, and two days—and in that short time Anne witnesses the true toll that wearing the crown takes on Richard, the last king from the House of York."

Giveaway ends September 4, 2009 and is open to everyone!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Wednesday's Riddle-Me-Who?



Had a sweet little sis
Who’s hubby should have been ‘Miss’,

My couisin’s French court is no fun,
Too pious for a King who’s called Sun.

My court, on the contrary,
is wonderfully merry.

I am the one ladies adore,
For assuredly, I'm in no way a bore

They come one and all
To enjoy my grand ball.

I revel in their splendor
For I love their soft gender.

Call me a lover, call me a rake
I'm King of Love’s give-and-take.

-

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Teaser Tuesdays from the Plaidy Ladies...



TEASER TUESDAYS is hosted by ShouldBeReading and asks you to:
♠Grab your current read.
♠Let the book fall open to a random page.
♠Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page.
♠You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
♠Please avoid spoilers!

Arleigh and I thought that Plaidy should enter the fun too! So here are a couple of Teasers that are Plaidy-Only:)

Arleigh's Teaser: From The Haunted Sisters, page 24

'When Rochester had made his famous quip pointing out that he never
said a foolish thing and never did a wise one, Charles had retorted
with customary wit that his words were his own, and his action his
ministers'.

Lucy's Teaser:
From Goddess of The Green Room, page 242

'Perdita gave one of her theatrical shrugs. 'You know how it is with us theatre folk. We learn to be extravagant and then we find ourselves alone, in debt. She shivered. 'I feel I can confide in you, Mrs. Jordan...because I was once on the stage.''

-

Saturday, August 22, 2009

How much?

How much would you pay for a rare Plaidy novel? I think I would go up to $100, if it were for my birthday or Christmas. Searching amazon I found one under the pseudonym Elbur Ford for..........

$1,046.73

Are they serious??? Wow. Here's the link.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Guess the Plaidy novel!



Based on fact this is the dramatic story of Charlotte Walpole, who left her comfortable Norfolk home to act at Drury Lane, married Sir Edward Atkyns, and attempted to rescue Marie Antoinette from the guillotine.

It is also the story of Homer, the passionate, impulsive girl from the Cornish parsonage who, unwanted in her own home, joins her distant relation, Charlotte, in London.

Involved with them are Richard Danver, in the service of the British government; Jean Pierre de la Vaugon, serving the French government, the aristocrat who cannot hope to escape the attentions of the mob; the lecherous Sir Edward; and Sophie, the young girl for whom the guillotine is waiting.

The story, moving swiftly from the Cornish parsonage to London, Norfolk, Lille and Paris, tells of the loves and adventures in the lives of two very brave women. It will delight all readers of Jean Plaidy's memorable novels.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Touch Base Thursday



Who's reading The Plantagenet Prelude this month? I haven't started it yet, but as it is a smaller one I think I can get it in right at the end of the month. I have one more book to read before it.

We've decided on our September & October reads:

Sept. - The Wandering Prince (stand-alone or included in The Loves of Charles II trilogy). The trilogy is currently in print and available through Amazon, The Book Depository or any of the chain stores.

Oct. - Miracle at St. Bruno's (Philippa Carr) Out of print. I am going to see if I can get some copies from the used bookstores for those of you who can't find it.

Lucy is dying to read Plaidy's version Charles II & Louis XIV, so this is perfect! I read it a few years ago, so this is a refresher for me. Miracle at St. Bruno's is a nice introduction to her 'romance' pen name. I am curious to see just how romantic she gets.



Charles II, the most fascinating rake in England's history. The story of the years he spent in exile as a young man is seen through the eyes of two women.

Charles' sister Minette and his mistress Lucy Walter are brought vividly to life in this enthralling story of romance, escape and the youth of a king for whom love always came first.



Damask Farland

"I was born in the September of 1523, nine months after the monks had discovered the child in the crib on that Christmas morning. My birth was, my father used to say, another miracle: He was not young at the time being forty years of age . . . My mother, whose great pleasure was tending her gardens, called me Damask, after the rose which Dr. Linacre, the King's physician, had brought into England that year."

Thus begins the story narrated by Damask Farland, daughter of a well-to-do lawyer whose considerable lands adjoin those of St. Bruno's Abbey. It is a story of a life inextricably enmashed with that of Bruno, the mysterious child found on the abbey altar that Christmas morning and raised by the monks to become a man at once handsome and saintly, but also brooding and ominous, tortured by the secret of his origin which looms ever more menacingly over the huge abbey he comes to dominate.

This is also the story of an engaging family, the Farlands. Of a fathr wise enough to understand "the happier our King is, the happier I as a true subject must be," a wife twenty years his junior, and a daughter whose intelligence is constantly to war with the strange hold Bruno has upon her destiny. What happens to the Farlands against the background of what is happening to King Henry and his court during this robust period provides a novel in which suspense and the highlights of history are wonderfully balanced.

As Damask and her two cousins, Kate and Rupert, pass from childhood into adolescence, the peace that has lain for years over the big gabled Farland house as over England is shattered. At home the restless Kate has found the ivy-covered door in the abbey wall, and inevitably, curiosity leads to a confrontation with the mysterious boy Bruno and the knowledge of the perilous secret of the hidden treasure of the abbey. And beyond the Farland gates England's King has cast his covetous eyes on Anne Boleyn, and soon Sir Thomas More's severed head adorns London Bridge and a power-hungry Cromwell covets the abbey's riches.

The disappearance of Bruno and the treasure of the abbey and the betrayal of Damask's father to a hostile crown set forces in motion that threaten tragedy as Damask finds herself impelled by a force she cannot recognize, let alone cope with, to discover the secret of the missing abbey treasure and the truth surounding the handsome, almost mesmeric man whom she has always loved.

Damask and Bruno's story, the story of a questionable birthright, of the abbey and it's coveted treasures, The Miracle at St. Bruno's is also the story of sixteenth-century England - - an era of vicious corruption and deep tenderness, when periods of violent brutality follow a time of deep contentment, presided over by one of England's most colorful rakes and rulers, Henry VIII.

This long and richly entertaining novel is written with power and clarity and a superb sense of the suspenseful and dramatic.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Wordy Wednesday




Sorry for the lack of posts and updates, but Lucy and I have both been really busy lately. Here are some words:

assailing - to attack vigorously or violently.

caustic - severely critical or sarcastic

debarred - to hinder or prevent

lassitude - a condition of indolent indifference

noisome - harmful or injurious to health

opined - to hold or express an opinion

peremptory - leaving no opportunity for denial or refusal

pithily - brief, forceful and meaningful in expression

repertoire - the entire stock of works existing in a particular artistic field

sidled - to edge along furtively

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Wednesday's Riddle-Me-WHO??



Riddle Me- WHO?



First the brave King’s Head,
Then ‘off’ with hers, they said…

Young, beautiful and kind,
Yet, fault they needed to find

‘What have I done
Other than love and have fun?

They say I am to blame
For France’s great shame

My pious devotion
Causes such a commotion

My rosary I pray
Until my doom's day

When onto that block
My head I will lay’.

Then after that day,
Many would say:

France will never have seen
A kind and more gentler Queen.


In the streets all could hear:
Adieu La Reine Martyre!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Book Review: The Thistle and The Rose



This Plaidy novel begins with Margaret Tudor as a young girl. She is portrayed as strong-minded and very defiant, yet close to Henry, her brother. I love the way from the very beginning the two of them go at it in terms of who will rule first. Margaret is so intent on getting married and when all of a sudden it’s decided that she is to be wed to the King James IV of Scotland, although she is somewhat reluctant, she’s also extremely delighted.

From the moment she meets him, she becomes totally enamored with the King, whom she thought to be the handsomest man ever. Margaret is but a young girl, but being a Tudor in every way, her appetite for love is strong and her passions difficult to curb. The King enjoys his young bride and the marriage is seemingly perfect. It’s only when Margaret discovers that the formidably charming and irresistible James is also very much the ladies’ man…her heart is shattered.

King James is a kind man at heart, and although he cannot refute his passions, he still makes sure that his Queen never goes amiss of anything. He respects and nurtures her, and also takes care of her every need. They go through much hardship as the Queen suffers many miscarriages and deaths of their children. Finally, she bears him two sons; future heirs of the Scottish throne.

The happily-ever-married does not last forever…Margaret is terribly hurt from James affairs and she seeks her own adventures. When James dies, she goes on to marry the Lord Angus, to the dismay of all of Scotland. He was a Douglas, and thought to be extremely detrimental for the fate of their country. Nonetheless, Margaret made the terrible decision to marry Angus, for she cold not bear to not live out her lusty passions.

A tragedy suddenly hits when the youngest of her two sons, while under the guidance of the Duke of Albany (brother to the former King James) dies from the pox. Margaret is convinced that Albany wants to be rid of the boys to conquer the throne himself. She compares him to the late Richard III and the boys in the tower. A love-hate relationship begins…

The story unfolds with Margaret in continuous struggle to be back with her son, the King, and rid herself of Albany. But in the meantime, she also discovers Angus to be unfaithful. This leads her to having another affair and then again another marriage…another bad choice. Henry VIII, her brother, who is now King of England, is always in communication with his sister. Many a times, she finds refuge and assistance by his side- except when he does not want to acknowledge her divorce from Angus…for religious purposes (suitable to him until he seeks similar cause with his own once-beloved Anne…)

This story is continuously on the move. Margaret, who is so much like Henry in so many ways, is always ruled by her heart and passions rather than by logic. A Tudor weakness that is too often the blame.

I really enjoyed this novel especially because of the history. From the beginning, right up to the end, starting with Elizabeth of York, all the way to James V’s first wife and Henry’s Jane Seymore, the novel, through its historical figures and happenings, pieces the puzzle of this wonderful time in history.

I totally enjoyed reading about this feisty lady who loved passionately- all she wanted was to find someone who loved her deeply in return...The characters, the history, everything was incredibly entertaining. I highly recommend The Thistle and The Rose to anyone who’d love to read a great summary of what happened back in Scotland, England and France in the times of Margaret and Henry. It’s all Tudors and Stuarts. Loved it!


NOTE: I must also mention that this novel is filled with 'Incidentals'- so you can be sure I'll be writing a few posts on these as well. It's just too juicy.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Reading Group Discussion for July

As you may have read via email, we are no longer using the Message Board layout for our Reading Group Discussions. We've decided it is easier and more convenient to post our discussions here. As July was Pick Your Own Plaidy month, it will be even simpler! All you need to do is REPLY TO THIS POST and tell us about your July choice. You can also link to your review (if you posted one). We may reply to your comment, so check back to 'discuss' the books on this thread.

Lucy read The Thistle and the Rose. Her review is in the works.

I read The Goldsmith's Wife and you can read my review here:

http://royalintrigue.blogspot.com/2009/07/review-goldsmiths-wife.html

What did you read?

Friday, July 31, 2009

Friday Fan Question



Is there any particular novel you are just dying get? I cannot find Rochester, the Mad Earl (Katheen Kellow) anywhere and I want this one badly. Rochester is one of the most interesting people from the court of Charles II and I really, really want to read Plaidy's take on him.



This is the true story of John Wilmott, Earl of Rochester, a poet and libertine who lived at the time of King Charles II.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Touch Base Thursday



Saturday, August 1st we will post about our July reads, so please check back! We want to hear about everyone's choice and get links to your book review (if you wrote one).

Our August pick is The Plantagenet Prelude.



Book Description:

"The King, the Queen and the archbishop who dominated the dawn of the Plantagenet epoch.

Eleanor of Aquitaine -- romantic and beautiful Queen of the 'Courts of Love', scandalizing Christendom by her infidelity to her husband the King of France.
Henry, Duke of Normandy and great-grandson of William the Conquerer. When Eleanor saw him, twelve years her junior, she was determined that Henry should be her husband.

Thomas a Becket, the merchant's son, who rose to become a saint and a martyr. Beloved and hated in turn by Henry his king, Becket's course moved inexorably toward the tragedy of blood and steel before the high altar at Canterbury."

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Wordy Wednesday

Here are our words this week. I need help with a couple of them!

cessation (n) temporary or complete stopping

gourmand (n) a person who is fond of good eating

louring (adj) to be dark and threatening

palatable (adj) acceptable or agreeable

equivocation (n) a fallacy caused by the double meaning of a word

panegyrie CAN YOU TRANSLATE THIS ONE, LUCY?

pettishly (adj) petulantly peevish

stultifying (v) to cause to appear foolish

panche ?? Also not in the dictionary.

tocsin (n) a bell used to sound an alarm

Friday, July 24, 2009

Friday Fan Question



What is your latest Plaidy purchase?

I just ordered the Last of the Stuarts trilogy: The Three Crowns, Haunted Sisters and The Queen's Favorites. Some of these are going for a lot on different websites. The omnibus of all three in one is very expensive. I happened to find them for $2 each (plus shipping) from Alibris and Amazon. I now only lack 32 books to complete my Plaidy collection!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Touch Base Thursday



As you may have noticed we skipped Wordy Wednesday this week as I decided to post my latest book review instead. How are you doing on your July Plaidy read? I finished The Goldsmith's Wife in record time because it was so good I couldn't put it down!

Message Board news... we have decided that it's just not working. Not only am I getting loaded down with spam accounts, which I have to sift through to try and find the real accounts, but it just seems to be a bit much to go back and forth between website, blog and message board. And so, we will be posting Reading Group news and questions here from now on. When August 1st rolls around we'll have something special up for our July reads!

I've updated the Plaidy Challenge numbers on the website and Mog is leading with 9 books read! I announced this in an email, but just a reminder:

1st place prize = 2 Plaidy novels of your choice from The Book Depository
2nd & 3rd place = 1 Plaidy novel of your choice from The Book Depository

The Reviews page has also been updated with new reviews by several members!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

review: The Goldsmith's Wife



Jane Shore, notorious mistress of King Edward IV, is a refreshingly honest person. She is a beauty and knows her charms, but she is also very moral, but not overly religious. She always wants to do what she feels is right and stands by her convictions even at her own peril.

Jane unwillingly enters a marriage with one of her merchant father’s connections, a goldsmith named William Shore. She wanted to marry for love, but found being a young, wealthy and beautiful woman attracted too much attention from men who wanted other than honorable marriage. Running from a particular stalker, she thought she would be safe with a ring on her finger.

Marriage to Will was nothing like her romantic dreams and she found herself susceptible to the charms of other men. She soon came to the notice of the King and against her better judgment moved to court to play the role of favorite mistress. Never asking for anything for herself, she used her influence for the good of others and became a fast favorite of the people. She was even on friendly terms with the Queen, who was grateful King Edward had such a selfless mistress who didn’t get involved in politics or empty the royal coffers.

Near the end the story turns from Jane’s unfortunate fall from grace to the story of the Princes in the tower. I’ve read so many takes on this particular part of history and didn’t think I would be surprised, but Plaidy actually had a little spin on the conspiracy that I haven’t read before. It also seems very plausible.

I enjoyed Jane’s ending (as an old woman), even though it is different from what I’ve read before. Even Wikipedia has her ending her days with Thomas Lynom and the birth of a daughter. A book I read earlier this year, Figures in Silk, also had her marry Lynom and have a child. I do wonder why Jean Plaidy decided to write the story a bit differently, but I am not unhappy with the ending she created. It seemed to compliment the personality that she gave to Jane.

I really enjoyed this book very much and now count it as one of my favorite Plaidy novels (of the 30+ I have read).

I thought I would include the Author’s Note that Plaidy wrote for this book, as I agree wholeheartedly with her opinion.

“It is unfortunate that Shakespeare’s play, Richard III, with its misstatements and distortions and exaggerated character-drawing of the central figure, should be generally accepted as history. But such is the case, so that if Richard is written about from any other angle an explanation seems advisable.

Handicapped as he was by living under Tudor rule, Shakespeare naturally dared not contradict the historians of the day, whose concern it was to vilify Richard in order to applaud the Tudor usurpation, and in so doing lay the blame for the foulest crimes of the period upon Richard.

Since the Tudors guiltily destroyed any state papers which might confound their falsehoods, it is not easy to discover the truth of what happened during Richard’s brief reign. The evidence obtainable has been sifted and analyzed, and I am sure that the fair-minded will agree that the picture of Richard as presented in The Goldsmith’s Wife is a balanced one.

As for Jane’s discovery of Anne Neville, that is entirely fictional. How Richard discovered his future wife is a mystery; but, taking into consideration Jane’s adventurous and warm-hearted nature, together with the fact that, owing to her upbringing in Cheapside, it is more likely that she, rather than any other at court, would have been in touch with the humbler citizens of London, my theory of Anne’s rescue seems plausible.“

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Dragging in Touch Base Thursday...




So far this book (The Thistle and the Rose) has all in the making for it to be great…so what’s my problem? Don’t know about you, but it seems that my reading is on snail pace. And, it’s not that I haven’t been interested, or that the book is boring in any way…what is going on?

As I slowly turn to page 85...here’s an excerpt from The Thistle and The Rose:

'If she could only have been sure of producing a healthy child and did not suffer sickness and disabilities which were always her lot at such times, those would have been the happiest moments of Margaret’s life. Never since those early days of her marriage had James been so completely hers'.

Is it just me, or is anyone else feeling the drag?

-

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Wordy Wednesday & some announcements



Announcement # 1 : This is our 100th post!

Announcement # 2 : Dolleygurl won The Silk Vendetta!

Announcement # 3 : The Plantagenet Prelude is our book for August!

Now that's out of the way, let's get onto our words for this week.

1. chary - cautious or careful, shy or timid
2. voluble - fluent, talkative
3. asperity - hardship, difficulty
4. farcical - ludicrous, absurd
5. jocularly - suited to joking, jesting