Friday, April 26, 2013

Royal Mistress ~ Anne Easter Smith

I have been waiting impatiently for this book to be in print and I was not disappointed. Anne Easter Smith is a tremendous writer and a fine researcher. She said this in her author's notes " That Jane Shore, known by her fellow citizens as the Rose of London, became the concubine of Edward IV, William Hastings, and Thomas Grey is fact".

Jane Lambert was essentially sold in marriage by her father to a cold and impotent silk merchant many years older than her. A lovely woman, she is pursued by many handsome men and won by King Edward as his favorite mistress for years.

Surprising to me, the author, a staunch Richard III supporter, was somewhat disapproving of Richard's treatment of Jane Shore after his brother, Edward IV's death. Smith hopes "I have created an enigmatic personality with flaws" in regards to Richard's character and deeds.
I think she succeeds quite well and the book has twists and turns which take the reader on a journey.

The journey ends in an afterword where she shares with readers a meeting that Jane,now Mistress Thomas Lyneham,has with Sir Thomas Moore as an old impoverished woman,who,"delighted not so much in her beauty as in her pleasant behavior"

A solid ending to a fine book about an extremely fascinating person.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Queen's Gambit ~ Elizabeth Freemantle

Elizabeth Fremantle begins her first novel as Katherine Parr is about to be widowed for the second time. Lord Latymer is dying and already King Henry VIII has cast his eye on Katherine Parr..

As a courtier she delays returning to court, which is her occupation until she is summoned to Mary Tudor's entourage. Reluctantly she packs up herself and her young stepdaughter Meg and Meg's maid,Dot.

Dorothy(Dot)Fowntain could have a whole story written about her and the book divides her life's narrative with Katherine Parr. Her marriage to William Savage a court musician helped brighten the otherwise sad ending.

Katherine Parr like many females attached to the court was sacrificed to her family's ambitions through all three of her first marriages. The fourth marriage her "love match" with Thomas Seymour was not happy even before it ended with her death.

This was an impressive first novel,the characters came alive and drew me in early on. Elizabeth Fremantle's research is impeccable and her storytelling enthralling.

I hope to see another one very soon.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Shadow on the Crown +Patricia Bracewell

The Anglo Saxon Chronicle relates ""And in the same spring the Lady, Richard's daughter, came here to the land". Emma of Normandy was raised to be a Peaceweaver although that probably was not shared with her. She arrived in Canterbury in 1002 at a very young age to wed an older monarch. Æthelred the Unready had decided to replace his recently deceased with Emma as the lesser of two evils.

Emma knew she was intended to be England's Queen. She did not know she was not really welcome in that land either by her husband, his children or the people. Her resilience and intellect prompted her mother Gunnora to choose her to fulfill England's request instead of her older sister who was expected.

Æthelred and Emma were not a match made in heaven or anything close to it. Anglo-Saxon Britain was far more violent and savage than continental Normandy; the King was the epitome of  a brutal warlord who had no love for anyone around him. Emma the Queen and Peaceweaver did not act as the teenager she was and rose to fulfill the role she was delegated.

I loved this book, adored Emma and really, truly, was sorry the book ended. I am thrilled that it will have a sequel or two. Patricia Bracewell is a splendid writer and the characters sprang to life again after 1000 years . I am counting down until the next book.