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

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..........


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:

What did you read?