Thursday, April 30, 2009

INSTRUMENTAL Plaidy Lady : Duchess Sophia (from Princess of Celle)

Duchess Sophia of Hanover- Electress of Brunswick-Luneberg (October 14, 1630- June 8, 1714)

What a gal…She looks so beautiful and placid in this portrait; nothing like what she’s depicted in the Princesse of Celle…

Duchess Sophia was the youngest of 5 daughters of our Incidental lady, Elizabeth, Queen of Bohemia. She was actually born in Exile and when she was older went to live with her brother Chatrles II Louis. From a very young age, she was very bright and determined. The Duchess was very literate and enjoyed the works of Descartes and the likes. Her main concern was becoming Queen of England, and this would have been possible if only (as she'd hoped)her cousin Anne had passed away before her.

Obtaining the crown was a lifelong quest for Duchess Sophia. After agreeing to marrying Ernest August, in a marriage of convenience, she was always devising ways of escalating her name and family’s worth- through titles, money and properties. She never let any of her emotions rule her.

Duchess Sophia was also the mother of George I; whom she considered to be the dullest of her sons and the least worthy of the throne. Of all the emotions she managed to keep in check, her jealousy towards her French sister-in-law, Eleonore d'Esmier d'Olbreuse was the only one she could not contain. She despised this woman for having a loving relationship with her husband and for raising the seemingly perfect princess, Sophia Dorothea.

Despite the jealousy, her love of money and quest for power prevailed. Against the will of both Eleanore and Sophia Dorothea, Duchess Sophia was instrumental in the evolution and planning of the marriage between her son George Lewis and Sophia Dorothea- a marriage of convenience, reconciliation between the fathers, and a chance of uniting royalty.

Duchess Sophia was a rather healthy lady who lived a long life. She met her end one afternoon after her daily walk in her gardens. To seek shelter from a sudden downpour, Sophia ran for cover and suddenly collapsed. She was 83. Her cousin, Anne, died a few months after that...


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Words for Wedneday

Sorry we overlooked this feature last week, but we were both so busy (Lucy and I).  Here are this week's words:

barbarously (adj) lacking refinement or culture.

cadaverous (adj) of corpselike pallor; emaciated, gaunt

deprecating (v) to express disapproval of; to belittle

enmities (n) deep-seated, often mutual hatred

intricacies (n) the condition or quality of being intricate; complexity

jollity (n) convivial merriment or celebration

leaden (adj) lacking liveliness or sparkle; dull

misprision (n) an act of sedition against a government or the courts

palimpsest (n) an object, place or area that reflects its history

potentate (n) one who dominates or leads a group or an endeavor

Monday, April 27, 2009

Reading Group Message Board + May Pick...

So everyone, the Message Board for our Reading Group is now ready. The questions for this month's Plaidy book : The King's Confidante are up and all that's needed is for us to begin our chat! Please go here to visit, read and leave your comment. Come join the conversation- See you there!

Also, please note:
Our May pick is Indiscretions of the Queen from the Georgian series.


Friday, April 24, 2009

Incidental Plaidy Lady: Elizabeth Queen of Bohemia (19 August 1596 – 13 February 1662)

Briefly mentioned in Princess of Celle, this Queen, who was a great beauty, was also the mother of Duchess Sophia. She is briefly mentioned in Plaid’s novel through Duchess’ Sophia’s thoughts of her. Apparently, this charming Queen was very much loved by all. In fact, she was known as the ‘Queen of Hearts.’ But to Duchess Sophia, the Queen was not always accessible. She also felt a bit neglected by her, it seemed. The Duchess referred to her mother, the Queen, as preferring the company of her dogs and monkeys as opposed to that of her children…

Elizabeth, Electress Palatine and Queen of Bohemia, was named in honor of Queen Elizabeth l. she was the eldest daughter of King James Vl of Scotland and James l of England and Ireland and Anne of Denmark (Queen of Scotland, England and Ireland).

At the age of seventeen, she married Frederick V, then Elector of the Palatinate. Six years later, Frederick accepted the crown of Bohemia. Consequently, Elizabeth became Queen of Bohemia.

When driven into exile, the Royal couple moved to Holland, where Frederick would later die, in 1632. Queen Elizabeth would pass away thirty years later. Meanwhile, Duchess Sophia would succeed as Electress and her son, King George would attain the Throne of England. Resulting that from that point on, all monarchs after George l are descendants of this Bohemian Queen of Hearts.

In her youth...


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Princess of Celle- Book Review

Being a habitual history devourer of the French and British monarchy, this German-based novel was an unexpectedly welcomed and delightful read. I enjoyed the differences of customs and comparisons to the French court in terms of gallantry, food and fashion.

The Princess of Celle is gradually unraveled by leading us through the generations of the German house of Brunswick-Luneberg. The story begins with the two brothers, George William and Ernest Augustus with their not-a-care in the world attitude towards life; they traveled, loved, drank and made merry until their eventual time for marriage.

William, who had been chosen to marry Duchess Sophia of Heidelberg, ( who by lineage, dreamed of a possible shot at the throne of England- this being one of her main preoccupations) refused her on account of his wanting to live as a bachelor forever. He asks Ernest Augustus, who was the younger and dotingly admiring brother, to take his place in this marriage. To persuade Ernest Augustus to marry, William agrees to give any possibility of ascension to the throne, as well as his duly inherited rights. Duchess Sophia becomes resentful of this rejection by William, but being the staunchly brought up monarch that she was, agrees to marry Ernest Augustus. Theirs is from the start a marriage of convenience; which suits them both perfectly well.

Then, the inevitable happens; William falls in love with an exiled French princess, Eleonore d'Esmier d'Olbreuse, and decides to marry her. This is not well taken by Duchess Sophia who continuously makes her life a living misery. Nevertheless, William and Eleonore are extremely happy and soon they have a beautiful and much doted upon princess of their own; Sophia Dorothea. Unfortunately, no one in this precious family is recognized as having any titles because of William’s previous relinquishing of all rights. Continual struggles and barriers (imposed by Duchess Sophia) make it almost impossible for this right to be returned and finally awarded.

When the story finally focuses on Sophia Dorothea, it becomes extremely intricate. Many more characters are brought into this maze of happenings. The worst of all is Clara Von Paten, mistress of Ernest Augustus. This horribly scheming woman was responsible for the demise of all of her victims; Sophia Dorothea being no exception. The poor princess lived a life of total unhappiness. Who would have thought that this much loved princess, who was brought up by the most caring and loving parents, would have ended this way? Throughout her life, she was kind, loving and always careful to do the right thing; for her parents, in-laws, husband and children. I felt so sorry for this real fairytale princess. You’d think she could have at least been granted true love and a happily ever after…

I really enjoyed this novel of intertwined lives and unexpected consequences. I felt like personally avenging Sophia Dorothea, while wishing vicious revenge on Von Platen. The life and times of the characters in Princess of Celle revealed a never ending intrigue. Excellent read.

Follow-up Posts for this novel:

-Incidental Plaidy Lady
(historical character of note that was briefly mentioned): Elizabeth Queen of Bohemia

-Instrumental Plaidy Lady (character with an important role): Duchess Sophia

-Detrimental Plaidy Lady (definitely a villain): Clara Von Platen

Let's not leave the gentlemen out...

- Plaidy Hunk: Count Philip Christopher Konigsmarck

- Plaidy Flunk: George Lewis

Stay tuned...


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Wednesday Words

Amour propre - Essentially, the opposite of self-preservation (amour de soi). Amour propre is an acute awareness of, and regard for, oneself in relation to others. Whilst the savage person cares only for his survival, civilized man also cares deeply about what others think about him. This is a deeply harmful psychological deformation, linked to the development of human reason and political societies. At its root is a difference between being and appearing. Savage man can only "be", and has no concept of pretence: civil man is forced to compare himself to others, and to lie to himself. Rousseau traces the development of amour propre back to the first village festivals, in which competition to dance and sing well increases the villagers' awareness of each other's talents and abilities. Amour propre is best expressed in a society in which wealth dominates; there, all are compared on an insubstantial and harmful basis. -

Canticle - a song, poem, or hymn esp. of praise.

Denunciation - an act or instance of denouncing; public censure or condemnation.

Fillip - to strike with the nail of a finger snapped from the end of the thumb.

Vacillation - a state of indecision or irresolution.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Review Roundup and Challenge Updates

We are creating a page of review links on the website, and would love to link to your reviews.  Please let us know if that is okay… we aren’t taking content from your site, just linking to it. 

Holly has posted a review for Victoria Victorious:

Jenny has posted a review for Madame Serpent:

We are adding three past reviews from Devourer of Books (with permission):

Victoria Victorious

To Hold the Crown

Murder Most Royal


Also, we have a new reader in the Plaidy Challenge, Susie.  Please visit her new blog and say hi!

Lucy, Mog and I are reading the April 2009 pick, The King’s Confidante/St. Thomas’s Eve.  This will put myself and Mog at 3 Plaidy novels and Lucy at 4.  Lucy and Marie will be leading the challenge!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Buying Plaidy

Recently someone (Daphne I think) suggested The Book Depository for buying the UK reprints. The shipping cost is free and there are several titles to choose from that are not available in the US by Three Rivers Press. I ordered one of the Plantagenet series books and it was a smooth transaction and got here in no time! The books range from about $9-12 each, so it is an amazing deal! Now I have my first brand new UK printing of a Plaidy novel! My collection is so mismatched - with ex-library, horribly ugly 70's mass markets and my beloved Three Rivers Press reprints - but I love them all!

posted by Arleigh

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Plaidy's Wednesday Words

deshabille (n) variant of dishabille; the state of being dressed in a careless, disheveled or disorderly style or manner; undress.

capitulate (v) to surrender unconditionally or on stipulated terms.

supercilious (adj) haughtily, disdainful or contemptuous, as a person or facial expression.

deprecating (v) to express earnest disapproval of.

truculently (adj) fierce, cruel; savagely brutal.

rapacious (adj) given to seizing for plunder or the satisfaction of greed.

prevarication (v) to speak falsely or misleadingly.

corpulence (n) bulkiness or largeness of body.

despotic (adj) of, pertaining to or of the nature of a despot or despotism; autocratic, tyrannical.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Join our reading group!

Every month Royal Intrigue will choose a Plaidy novel to read and discuss.  April 2009 is the newest Three Rivers Press reprint 'The King's Confidante', also printed as 'St. Thomas's Eve'.  If you'd like to join, let us know and we will announce near the end of the month how we will manage the discussions.  The new version of the novel has 15 reading group questions, so that is a very good way to begin.  If you have any suggestions we'd love to hear them!

posted by Arleigh

Monday, April 6, 2009

Book Review: The Rose Without A Thorn

This novel of Katherine Howard, the fifth of Henry VIII’s six wives, was a very enjoyable and clarifying historical read. To begin with, let’s agree that Katherine was never given a fair chance in comparison to the King’s other wives. Katherine was not as extravagant, well-known, or amazingly beautiful as some of the more renowned ones were. She was extremely young to be a bride; a child in fact. So, this in itself puts her in a category of her own.

The author brilliantly exposes this fact by writing in the first person, so that we are never to forget the fact that she was merely a child. Reading it from this point of view makes the history so much more understandable. It is difficult to be judgmental towards Katherine in any way when you read the story through her perspective.

Katherine Howard’s life is pretty simple up until she moves into the Royal Court; where, she is ultimately set-up for her demise. The events in her life unfold like a cruel domino effect, led by the deceptions and scheming of others leading Katherine to her tragic end. Her innocence, kindness, curiosity, and acts without malice, rendered her character simply endearing. Plaidy captures the essence of this Child-Belle enraptured in a world of delusion, schemes and intrigues. The game was too quick and too fierce for her to endure. Inevitably, this young girl’s innocent and hopeful nature could never survive in the vulturous world of Henry VIII.

The Rose Without a Thorn is a quick read that moves you from one scene to the next in smooth and inviting transition. The passages are moving and although I often felt exasperated by some of Katherine’s decisions and motives, I felt I understood this character precisely because of her circumstances. The build up to the tragedy is difficult and ultimately heartbreaking. Excellent read.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Wordy Wednesday

gauche (adj) lacking social grace; awkward, crude or tactless.

fulminated (v) to issue or pronounce with vehement denunciation, condemnation or the like.

languidly (adj) lacking in vigor or vitality.

lackadaisical (adj) without interest, vigor or determination.

belie (v) to show to be false; contradict.

coxcomb (n) a conceited, foolish dandy.

iniquitous (adj) characterized by injustice or wickedness.

penury (n) extreme poverty; destitution.

emphatic (adj) using emphasis in speech or action.

parables (n) a simple story illustrating a moral or religious lesson.

posted by Arleigh