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


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’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

Saturday, July 11, 2009

review: My Enemy the Queen

Lettice Knollys, the Countess of Leicester, because of her beauty and attractiveness, was a constant rival to Queen Elizabeth I. A Boleyn relation, she was summoned to court to attend the queen at an early age, and the Queen recognized her right away as one of those young women she would have to watch closely, less they become ‘wanton’ and stir up gossip in her court. Queen Elizabeth is described as coquettish towards the male favorites, but stern and strict with the ladies. Though she liked having beauties surrounding her, she always wanted to think of herself as the most beautiful of all. And so, she became jealous and angry if any of her women had lovers or wed secretly.

Robert Dudley, the Earl of Leicester, was the favorite among favorites and could do no wrong (at least in the long run). The Queen would reprimand him again and again, but always took him back into favor. The worst offense, according to the Queen, was his secret marriage to Lettice. Once it was known they had wed, the Queen went into a rage and refused to have Lettice, newly dubbed The She-Wolf, at court ever again. Robert, however, was allowed back into her good graces after a while and returned to favor.

This story is from the perspective of Lettice, who is not exactly an admirable character – she is vain, selfish and overly ambitious. She is, however, a good mother and the choices she makes are justifiable for the most part. I quite enjoyed reading about her extremely long life (94 years!) and her complex relationships. I was not impressed by her attraction to Leicester, but I think it was depicted in a way that allowed her to be human - a woman with a weakness who made mistakes and admitted such.

I’ve read several accounts of Robert Dudley from different authors, and I have to point out that this one is the most unflattering. It is insinuated that he poisons anyone who gets in his way, though never stated as absolute fact. In this novel he is sinister and his only goal in life is climbing his way to the throne, no matter by what means. In Lettice he sees an ambitious woman who also matches his amorous appetites, and once he is certain the Queen will not marry him she is settled on as his partner in life. The fact that she had a husband did not stop him, and one more person conveniently died a suspicious death, making Lettice available for a second marriage. Unfortunately for her, this was her ticket to a life in the country, never to be admitted to court again. It wasn’t long before she began to realize that perhaps Robert wasn’t worth the trouble.

This is a wonderful account of the happenings at court not directly related to politics – Elizabeth’s shortcomings, gossip and scandals. While it’s not entirely fair to the Queen, as it mostly shows her weaknesses, it does give a sense of that other side of her – the coquettishness and aversion to marriage. Though she was not at court to witness everything, Lettice had friends and relatives close to Queen at all times, including her son, Essex, who was a great favorite. As such, she had firsthand accounts of everything and was able, in a way, to be involved even if Elizabeth would not see her face to face.

Elizabeth’s death came 30 years before her own, though because she was impoverished by Leicester’s debts she remained in the country caring for her grandchildren.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Friday Fan Question

What is the ugliest Plaidy cover you own or have seen elsewhere?

Without a doubt the ugliest one I have is the Omnibus of St. Thomas's Eve, Royal Road to Fotheringay, The Goldsmith's Wife and Perdita's Prince. It has a photo of a couple, with 1980's hairstyles, clasping hands under a castle window or door, the walls of which are crumbling (so it can't have been the time period they are supposed to be from). The other colors on the book are an ugly beige and red/blue/white band across the middle. The text is black and goes over the photograph so that you cannot see parts of it that are in the dark areas of the photo. I'm honestly thinking about chucking the cover because underneath is a nice red (imitation) leather with gold text. I'll be reading The Goldsmith's Wife from this volume soon!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Overwhelmed! ...on this Touch Base Thursday...

Don't know about you, but in this corner of the world someone is slowly getting swallowed up by a pile of TBR books...

Yet somehow, Plaidy usually gets priority around here. So for this month I'm reading (trying to) The Thistle and The Rose.

I haven't really got a feel for it yet- but I'm counting on it being promising (Hey-the lady's got a great record...)

So...I'm waaaaaay into page...37 (lol!)

'All marveled at her beauty and charm, her brilliant Tudor coloring, her vitality, good health and high spirits...All the worthies of the district who must come and pay homage to the daughter of their King...The trumpets sounded and minstrels sang to welcome her.'

What's your read this month? We'd love to read a few lines...


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Wordy Wednesday Giveaway

Today we are giving away a copy of The Silk Vendetta by Victoria Holt via a draw. To be entered you must list ONE Plaidy word and its definition.

*For any newbies, Plaidy words are uncommon, intellectual or archaic words you find in her novels (there are lots!!)

"The majestic Silk House stands as a testament to the Sallonger family's time-honored tradition of exquisite silk making. Home to the spirited Lenore Cleremont and her grandmother, who works as a designer for the legendary silk firm, the young Lenore is educated with the wealthy Sallonger children. As the girl matures, her charm and beauty win the hearts of both Sallonger sons. But Lenore cannot foresee that this exciting newfound love will bring both tragedy and peril.

For after she chooses a husband, Lenore's happy life is shadowed by a succession of violent and mysterious acts that point to an inexplicable vengeance. Fleeing, she and her grandmother begin anew as couturiers to the haute monde in Paris. The business prospers but a malevolent fate pursues her still. Born of a generations-old rivalry and nurtured by years of deceit, it threatens now to destroy all that Lenore values. Only when an ancient family feud is unraveled, and an arrogant French count reveals the dark secrets of the past, will Lenore escape forever the menace of the silk vendetta."


Monday, July 6, 2009


Fictitious portrait called Amy Robsart (Amy Dudley (née Robsart), Lady Dudley)
by Edward Scriven,

Can you hear the whispering around this lady’s ‘accidental’ death? For the longest time there was (and historians are still not settled on this one), doubt on how Amy Robsart Dudley died.

She and Robert Dudley (the then future Earl of Leicester) were both married around the age of eighteen. Dudley was a busy guy even back then, when his father took him often to Court with him. When Edward VI died, Dudley was part of the plan to place Lady Jane Grey on the throne and was consequently sent to ther Tower. Amy visited him there regularly.

When he was released, Dudley led a very eventful life in Court and this was even more so when Elizabeth reigned. Amy began to feel neglected and often depressed. The rumours of her husband being the Queen’s favourite and having an alleged affair, along with the suspicions of him marrying Elizabeth upon her death, nearly drove her mad.

There’s another side to this however…Amy was also known to suffer from what we now know as breast cancer (possibly causing debilitating pain and an associated depressive state- leading to suicide). It’s also speculated that she may have suffered from osteoporosis (which could explain her fragile neck easily breaking from the fall). Other thories have given light to the possibility of Amy having had an aneurysm (which either caused the fall –or happened immediately after)…

Nevertheless, on a Sunday in 1560, Amy decided that her servants, despite their contrarity to this, should go to the Fair. She remained at home with Lady Owen. When the servants returned they found Amy dead at the bottom of the staircase.

Did she have a stroke? Was she depressed enough to finally end it all? Was she pushed down the stairs? Was this a contracted hit? Or had she simply slipped down the stairs? History still isn’t clear on any of it. Without alluding to any partaking of sides in this very shady situation, the fact still remains that Robert Dudley never ran to the fatal scene to be by Amy’s side; nor did he even attend her funeral…

Any idea as to what really might have happened?

Friday, July 3, 2009

Friday Fan Question


You're sitting in your favorite reading spot devouring a Plaidy novel, when you see a glowing light seemingly coming from the mirror in the bedroom. You get up to investigate and words appear on the mirror:

"Touch the glass and you will be taken back to in time to live the life of any character from a Jean Plaidy novel, if only for a short time. You can touch the glass on a mirror from that time to get back."

Life has been pretty boring lately, and you decide that it would be fun and adventurous to live in the past for a while. If you decide you don't like it, you can easily return as the mirror said.

Who do you choose?

You gingerly take a step nearer and stretch out your hand toward the glowing light and say, "I want to be..."

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Touch Base Thursday & new discussion board!

For everyone who has finished My Enemy the Queen, and those who had read it previously, please head on over to our new discussion board and let's talk about this book!

All of the archives from our first 2 discussions have been moved over and are open to further comment!

Now, onto our July reads! This is Pick Your Own Plaidy month! What do you plan to read?

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Wordy Wednesday - AND - Riddle-Me Who?

These Wordy Words are from: My Enemy the Queen

Prevarication: To deviate from the truth

Abstemiousness: Refraining from consumption of food or drink

Uxorious: excessively fond of or submissive to a wife

(to) Broach : to open up a subject

Panegyric: Formal or elaborate praise

Riddle-Me Who?

This man had done bad
The Queen was so sad

“My favourite before
But now no more”

“Mercy!” Mom plead,
“Enough!” The Queen said,

Too pompous, too proud
Attracted wrong crowd

The Queen felt cheated
He must be defeated

Bess thought she had reason
So she tried him for Treason