Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A Day in the Diary of a Plaidy Mystery-Lady...

I dislike my sister-in-law. She’s always watching over us like a hawk. She and her husband are both so afraid that my beautiful daughter will inherit everything.

They’ve stripped me of my title, but they won’t keep my daughter from getting what is duly hers. My husband loves me and will do anything to make me happy.

All I want is for my daughter to be legitimate. I shall write to the highest authority…Only he can understand and grant me my wish. The future of my beautiful daughter is all I can think about…

Who is this mystery lady?

Sunday, March 29, 2009

It's Wordy Wednesday!

Hello everyone! Here are the Plaidy ‘words’ for this Wordy Wednesday.

Continually : Middle English, from Anglo-French continuel, from Latin continuus continuous

: Middle English restyf, from Anglo-French restif, from rester to stop, resist, remain
Date: 15th century

Ignobly : Middle English, from Middle French, from Latin ignobilis, from in- +
Old Latin gnobilis noble - of low birth or common origin Date: 15th century

Alacrity: Latin alacritas, from alacr-, alacer lively, eager
Date:15th century : promptness in response : cheerful readiness

: Latin sollicitus
Date: 1563
1 : manifesting or expressing solicitude
2 : full of concern or fears : apprehensive, solicitous about the future

Aught: Middle English, from Old English Date: before 12th century
1 : anything
2 : all, everything for aught I care, for aught we know

Date:15th century
1 : deserving or exciting pity : lamentable, pitiable victims
2 : of a kind to evoke mingled pity and contempt especially because of inadequacy , a pitiable excuse

Magnanimous :
Latin magnanimus, from magnus great + animus spirit —
Date: 1567
1 : showing or suggesting a lofty and courageous spirit, the irreproachable lives and magnanimous sufferings of their followers
2 : showing or suggesting nobility of feeling and generosity of mind, too sincere for dissimulation, too magnanimous for resentment

Expiate : Latin expiatus, past participle of expiare to atone for, from ex- + piare to atone for, appease, from pius faithful, pious
Date: circa 1500
transitive verb1obsolete : to put an end to
2 a: to extinguish the guilt incurred by b: to make amends for. permission to expiate their offences by their assiduous labours

Obdurate : Middle English, from Latin obduratus,
Date: 15th century
1 a: stubbornly persistent in wrongdoing b: hardened in feelings
2: resistant to persuasion or softening influences

Source: merriamwebster.com

Did you come across any special Plaidy words in what you’re reading? If so, which ones?

posted by Lucy

Tudorific Giveaway!

Amy at Passages to the Past is having a fantastic giveaway of Mary, Queen of France, by Jean Plaidy!

This would be such a treat for us Plaidy fans! Head on over there right now! Good Luck:)

posted by Lucy

Incidental Plaidy Lady: Jeanne III of Navarre (1528-1572)

Character in Evergreen Gallant

Jeanne was the daughter and heir of Marguerite of Angouleme (sister of Francois I, king of France) and Henry II of Navarre. She married twice, but the first – a match with Anne of Cleves brother, William — was annulled on the grounds that it was not consummated. The second was to Antoine de Bourbon, a love match which resulted in the birth of five children, with two surviving to adulthood. She was a fierce Huguenot (France’s reformed religion) and spent her later years working for this cause. One of her last political moves was to marry her son Henri to Catherine de’ Medici’s daughter, Margot. She died soon after traveling to Paris, some say of poison by the Queen-Mother’s profumer.

Evergreen Gallant is the story of Henri IV of France, Jeanne’s only surviving son. However, the story begins with her pregnancy with Henri. Jeanne’s father wants him raised as a man of Navarre, not a court gallant like Jeanne’s husband. And so he has a peasant woman take him into her home to nurse him. Jeanne attempts to instill in him his duty as heir to the throne of Navarre and religious reformer. With his mother’s help, at age 14 he heads the army as small skirmishes arise between the Catholics and Huguenots, though he is not fully interested in the role of soldier. He begins his amorous ways, which incense Jeanne because he cannot be serious minded and focus on what she deems important. She does not trust Catherine de’ Medici, but meets with her to plan the nuptials of Henri and Margot. Just when it seemed negotiations had stalled and Henri was still safely out of Catholic Paris, Jeanne dies a rather swift and suspicious death, prompting Henri into enemy territory. The wedding plans go forward, bringing many Huguenots into the city and setting the stage for the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre. Henri, Jeanne’s hope for Navarre and the Huguenot cause, was then imprisoned at the French court.

Of course, there is much more to Henri’s story in this novel. Ultimately Jeanne helped shape his character as a military leader, if not his ways with women.

posted by Arleigh

Other Pseudonyms

Have you read any books under any other pen names? I have several Holt novels and one Carr, but I haven’t tried them yet with the exception of The Queen’s Confession (Holt) which is the most detailed and accurate account of the life of Marie Anotinette I’ve encountered in fiction. It read just like any other Plaidy novel, so I’m not sure why it was published under Victoria Holt. I had thought that was her ‘dark mystery’ pen name , Carr her romance name and Plaidy her historical fiction name.

Will you be collecting books under the other names? I’ve heard ones under Eleanor Burford, Ellalice Tate, Kathleen Kellow and Elbur Ford are hard to find. I’m going to start collecting them all, though the Plaidys are definitely a priority. Most of the ones I lack are the more expensive ones.

posted by Arleigh

Wordy Wednesday

Every Wednesday we will be posting a list of words from Jean Plaidy’s writing. This started a few years ago when I noticed that Plaidy uses many uncommon words and started writing them down.

Here is our first list:

melodious (adj) Containing or pertaining to a pleasing succession of sounds; tuneful; agreeable to hear.

irascible (adj) Prone to outbursts of temper; easily angered.

salubrious (adj) Conducive or favorable to health or well-being; wholesome; healthful.

peccadilloes (n) A small sin or fault.

bagatelle (n) An unimportant or insignificant thing, a trifle.

beldame (n) An old woman, especially one that is loathsome or ugly.

avaricious (adj) Immoderately fond of accumulating wealth.

insouciance (n) Lack of concern; indifference.

argury (n) The art, ability or practice of arguring; divination.

disconsolate (adj) Beyond consolation; hopelessly sad.

posted by Arleigh

Someone enlighten me.

Why is Fotheringhay spelled Fotheringay on some books? My copy of Royal Road to Fotheringhay is the Three Rivers Press reprint and has the “h”, but the old omnibus I just bought has it spelled without the “h” as do many of the older versions. Just curious…

posted by Arleigh

I love this photo!

As you can see I used a small version of it on the sidebar, but just found this one of better quality. Do you know any details about this photo? How old she was? It may be an engagement photo (see the ring?)

posted by Arleigh

Incidental Plaidy Lady: Eleanor Talbot Butler (?-1468)

The story behind this lady is that she was instrumental in indirectly putting Richard of Gloucester on the throne.

Apparently, it all began after the passing of Eleanor’s husband (Sir Thomas Butler), whose father could not repossess two properties because he didn’t have the appropriate transfer permit to do so. As a result of bad (or non-existent) paper work, Edward lV took advantage of this opportunity to seize them himself.

Since Lady Eleanor wanted her properties back, she went directly to the king and asked for these in return. Being the ladies’ man that he was, Edward did what he did best when it came to women; he tried to seduce her. Story has it that Eleanor did not succumb. Rather, she came out of this with both her properties and a pre-contract of marriage. Whatever happened after that is a mystery…except that Edward then secretly went on to marry Elizabeth of Woodville (Why all the hush? Was he worried about Eleanor coming around and spilling the beans?)

Someone else though, it seems, was ready to tell all…that awful nuisance of a brother, George the Duke of Clarence. We’ll never know if he truly succeeded but one thing we do know is that he was found drowned in his favourite drink. This would all come out after Edward’s death, with Robert Stillington, Bishop of Bath, confessing that he knew the whole thing to be the truth, since he was the one who had married them…really? He had apparently shared some of this truth when he did time in the tower with Clarence. After this announcement Edward’s boys were no longer legitimate heirs to the throne. And- Richard of Gloucester became King Richard lll.

So what of Lady Eleanor Talbot Butler? The truth behind her marriage to Edward will continue to remain a mystery, since Henry Vll asked that all copies of the acts deposing Edward be destroyed. But- after Richard’s death, new evidence by Tudor historians found that after all that, Eleanor was not the one! Stillington actually had another woman named Elizabeth Lucy (also known as Elizabeth Wayte) married to Edward.

All we do know for sure is that Eleanor ‘died in a convent in June 1468 and was buried in the Church of the White Carmelites, in England’.

Source: -knowledgerush.com/kr/encyclopedia/Eleanor_Talbot/
Artist: Mark Satchwill: http://www.redbubble.com/people/marksatchwillart/art/2105383-2-lady-eleanor-talbot

posted by Lucy

Incidental Plaidy Lady: Anne of Denmark

Anne of Denmark, wife of James I of England and Scotland

* minor character in The Murder in the Tower

As depicted by Plaidy, Anne of Denmark was a frivolous, pleasure-seeking kind of woman who loved her children and made them her priority in life, followed by displaying her extravagance and planning court entertainments. James had apparently traveled to her homeland to collect her after she had a near-disaster crossing the channel. They had a happy early marriage, but it was soon marred by James’s peculiarity and Anne’s anger from being separated from her children. She loathed her husband’s fondness for young, handsome men though tolerated it, keeping her own court.

Anne was born in Denmark in 1574, a second daughter. In early childhood she was raised by her maternal grandparents in Germany. Scotland was initially interested in her older sister, but she had already been affianced to the Duke of Brunswick. James accepted Anne, who was 14 years to his 23. It has been noted that she considered herself in love with him, though there were already rumors of his special relationships with men. Anne did not hear of them and his daring journey to meet her and take her home to Scotland must have cemented her new love. He wrote her poetry and seemed to be genuinely happy with his marriage.

Their first child was not born for 3 years, sparking more rumors – both about James and Anne. After Prince Henry was born, the real problems started within the marriage. Anne wanted her son with her, but James insisted on taking him to Sterling Castle to be raised by the Earl of Mar. Anne fought for years, using every political angle to get her way, but by the time Henry was 9 she had only been allowed to see him a few times.

Anne had ten pregnancies with three ending in miscarriage, all of which were brought on by emotional distress at the forced separation. Four of the seven children born alive died in infancy or early childhood. With her last child, Sophia, Anne almost died in childbirth and the child died within a day. Anne decided she was not having any more children, which further strained her relationship with James.

A great lover of the arts, Anne’s court was lively and entertaining. She enjoyed living extravagantly: rich, beautiful clothes, jewels, as well as costumes for the many masques she commissioned. Sometimes she would perform herself. This went on well into her thirties, though by forty she withdrew from court as her health deteriorated. The death of her beloved son Henry seemed to take a great toll on her. Her daughter Elizabeth married into Germany and the only one of her children left to her was her son Charles. He stayed by her bedside throughout her illnesses and until she died. James, on the other hand, did not. His final goodbye came in the form of a poem after her death:

So did my Queen from hence her court remove
And left off earth to be enthroned above.
She’s changed, not dead, for sure no good prince dies,
But, as the sun, sets, only for to rise.

Source: Wikipedia

posted by Arleigh

Incidental Plaidy Lady:Jane Lambert Shore (born: Elizabeth Lambert) 1445-1527

Ahhh, the notorious Jane Shore…Well, it just so happens that she incidentally shows up for two pages in Plaidy’s The Reluctant Queen; merely to introduce how Richardlll dealt with Hastings and Dorset’s treason. Who was this woman known as EdwardlV’s favourite mistress?

Born in London, Jane Shore (named Elizabeth at birth), was the eldest girl of six children. Her parents, John and Amy Lambert were very well off. John was a merchant who dealt with Mercers, one of the richest companies in London at the time. No complaints from her mother’s side either; Jane’s maternal grandfather, Robert Marshall was a very rich grocer. Jane, who was not only gorgeous, with a petite physique, fair complexion and long blonde hair; she was also educated and therefore quite literate as well. Apart from her great beauty, seemingly, it was her wit, charm, intelligence and good humor that captivated her admirers.

Probably noticing his daughter’s flourishing attributes at already a young age, John Lambert was quick to marry off his eldest daughter. And so it appears that, although there are no real records other than the writings of Sir Thomas More, Jane was married when she was still a child. Her husband, William Shore, a goldsmith was about fifteen years older than her. There hasn’t been much on their life together as a couple, but one can imagine that there were certainly difficulties since, they were later divorced on the grounds of William’s impotence. Now, to get her divorce petition granted, there were all sorts of steps to be taken; primarily permission from the Pope and Bishops. Such a difficult, long, bureaucratic process certainly entailed lots of money…leading to the question of how Jane could have possibly afforded this if her husband was just a goldsmith…hmm. Anyway their marriage was annulled some time in 1476. William, apparently never remarried after that.

Moving on to her more colorful life; Jane was, in her most important role, the mistress of EdwardlV by 1476; coincidence, coincidence. As history indicates this beloved King was known for cultivating all ‘passions’ of sorts. It appears though, that with Jane, this was a lasting affair. Jane (whose name was most probably changed due to a ‘conflict of interest’ with another so-called Elizabeth…), captured the King’s fancy in ways that persuaded or changed his mind on several fronts. This was by no means a hidden affair of sorts, since Jane was an accepted part of the King’s court. They were lovers throughout the Wars of the Roses and up until the King’s death.

Things drastically changed after that. For a while Jane favored the company of Thomas Grey, lst Marquis of Dorset, the Queen’s son, who had laid eyes on her for a while. Meanwhile, Hastings, the good friend of EdwardlV, took it upon himself to become Jane’s protector. One thing led to another, they became lovers, but this was not a lasting relationship either. Hastings, for reasons of treason against Richardlll, was executed and that was the end of his story. Jane apparently took part in the Hastings’ conspiracy by having secret messages delivered to the late Edward’s Queen Elizabeth (who was relentlessly opposed to the usurping of the crown by Richard). Well, well, it sure seemed like the two rivaling ladies had now formed some sort of allegiance. Richard didn’t take too well to this and had Jane sent to the Tower of London. Besides the reasons already mentioned, Richard also thought that Jane had aided Dorset escape from sanctuary after Hastings execution.

On the grounds of suspected sorcery and of being a woman of ‘ill-repute’, Jane was made to do public penance at St. Paul’s Cathedral. A branded woman, she was forced to walk the streets in nothing more than her underwear; an embarrassing and degrading feat to say the least. She was then sent to Ludgate prison to do her time. Adding to her crime, Richardlll had been convinced that she again had aided Dorset to, this time, escape England to follow Henry Tudor. It just never ends…

In a turn of events, it was in prison that she would meet her third husband, Thomas Lynom, a lawyer who worked for Richard. He pleaded for Jane’s pardon so that she could be put back into her father’s care. This though, was under the condition that Lynom never marry her. Jane got her pardon and Lynom, against the King’s wishes, married her anyway. Not much is written about their life together after that except that they had one daughter and that Jane continued to be the charming, witty and intelligent spark that she was sought out to be. She lived until the ripe old age of 82.

Jean Plaidy writes a remarkable novel based on Jane Shore’s life in: The Goldsmith’s Wife.

Sources:- http://www.william1.co.uk/article_3.htm
- wikipedia
- www.middle-ages.org.uk

posted by Lucy

From beginning to end... back to beginning.

I was wondering who else, besides me, ever goes back to rereading the first chapter of a Plaidy novel, after having finished the book? With me it’s a pattern. After I reread the beginning, I find that I have the whole novel summarized at my finger tips. Everything makes even more sense. Yet, whenever I begin a Plaidy novel, the first chapter just seems like the beginning of the story.

Plaidy gets me every single time. She basically gives an outline of her book within the first chapter, but does it in such a way that naturally lures you onto the next. Elements of surprise are constantly popping up and I readily accept them as I ravage through the novel even though she warned me right from the start. Even the history that I already know seems new to me.

This grasping aspect is typical of Plaidy’s writing style. So then, I ask myself, how is it possible that I’m so enraptured by the book when I know right from the beginning what the course of events will be? Let’s face it, most people hate spoilers. So why isn’t it so with Plaidy’s novels?

Review: The Reluctant Queen

Anne Neville, second – born daughter of Richard, the Earl of Warwick met Richard at Middleham Castle when they were young children. Anne immediately befriended the reserved and frail-looking boy. The bond and friendship they shared grew into a relationship of caring, trust and love that would eventually bring them to marriage, a coronation, a son, to culminate with the early death of Anne, at age 42.

Of course in between all of this we relive the making (by the Kingmaker Warwick, Anne’s father) of Edward lV; the descent of Henry Vl, the Woodvilles, Margaret of Anjou, the treasons and the tragic deaths. As fate would have it, nothing went smoothly. It was, after all, the time of the War of the Roses…

I very much enjoyed this book as it took me through Edward lV’s reign and the details of his family, which of course included his brother Richard. Much of Richard’s personality is seen through the eyes of Anne, as are the rest of the characters in this novel. Consequently, I began seeing many of the historical figures encountered in this novel, from a different perspective. Anne was a keen judge of characters who portrays Richard as a loyal brother to the King, as well as a fair and just man, but, also a caring and devoted husband. Anne immediately recognizes Richard’s brother, George, who was also her sister’s husband, as the devious and scheming character that he was. Through Anne’s eyes, I became a loyal Yorkist who admired King Edward and his charming good ways. Margaret of Anjou, detested at first, became an understanding woman capable of showing compassion and care when Anne became close to her during her short betrothal to this Queen’s son. I despised the whole Woodville clan, starting with Elizabeth Woodville, Edward lV’s Queen.

Anne Neville, in all her simplicity, succeeded in being admired by all. She was a loving and loyal wife to whom Richard confided all his worries and intentions. She was a doting mother who cared and worried constantly for the health of her son. Her own health was very frail but this did not keep her from wanting to be by her husband and son and fulfilling all of her duties. Towards the end of the book is where Anne’s personality takes on a less affirmative role. Much of her self confidence is lost to the persuasion that Richard wants to be rid of her, only to replace her by his own niece, Elizabeth of York, King Edward’s daughter.

This obsession consumes her as she slowly convinces herself that the only reason Richard ever married her, was for her to produce an heir to his throne. Towards the very end of the novel there is a climatic moment revealing much of what Anne suspects of both Richard and Elizabeth, his niece. Plaidy ties this exceptionally well by setting the mood; where anticipated celebration is destroyed by what Anne believes to be obvious deception. I felt her torment, and her spirit crush.

The story moved along at a very good pace. I must admit though, that some transitions seemed a bit ‘cut-off’ (especially in cases of tragic moments and deaths). These, I believe could have used a few more lines that would have made the episode much less mechanical, while providing the reader with more feeling for the moment. On the other hand, a story with such tremendous continuous evolvement could not have been told without these needed constraints.

The title for this novel is perfectly suited. No other word but ‘Reluctant’ could have better described how Anne felt as a Queen. Plaidy delivered once again in terms of historical accuracy and depiction of characters; even when seen from another perspective. Although The Reluctant Queen was not passionate enough to move me to tears, this Plaidy novel is outstanding in terms of capturing the historical essence of the time. I would highly recommend this book to anyone needing clarification of the many historical figures and events that happened during the War of the Roses (which can, at times, be so confusing).

posted by Lucy

Plaidy Omnibus

I was on Alibris looking for some good deals on Plaidy books and I came across one called Jean Plaidy: Selected Works. There was no description and since it was only $1.99 I ordered it. Does anyone know what this is?

I ended up getting 6 books for $1.99 each and being from the same seller I got combined shipping. The titles are Beyond the Blue Mountains, Evergreen Gallant, The Lion of Justice, The Revolt of the Eaglets and The Queen and Lord M (plus the omnibus I mentioned).

See my entire Plaidy collection.

posted by Arleigh


The first one is an old cover and most of these are illustrations that cater to romance readers. I never quite understood this, as her novels are so very far from romantic (must be a marketing ploy). The second cover is a modern UK edition and these feature a photograph, usually with the head cut off. Third we have an example of a reprint by Three Rivers Press, which has a painting on the cover. And last is the new cover by Three Rivers Press, which seems to be following the UK editions with the cut-off photos.

I am partial to the first Three Rivers Press editions. I love the antiquated look of books featuring portraits or paintings. I also love how the entire set of 19 matches; it’s my favorite part of my bookshelf. Of course, I would take a Plaidy novel with no cover as long as all the pages are there and it’s readable!

posted by Arleigh


I thought I would start off by posting an image I found online a while back: Jean Plaidy’s signature! I really wish I had one of these on a Plaidy novel. My thoughtful husband searched and searched online for one at Christmas one year, but he couldn’t find one for sale and so he ended up buying me a copy of The Other Boleyn Girl signed by Philippa Gregory. With Plaidy having passed away I think it would be very hard to find an autographed copy of one of her books, but if I ever do it will be the highlight of my entire book collection!

posted by Arleigh