Having read several other books about Bess of Hardwick, and always admiring her resilience, I was pleased with this interpretation of her life. Gillian Bagwell made her a bit softer than I suspect she was in real life. That being said, however, the author made a very good case for that more reticent side, as Bess had found the Tudor court overwhelming and even frightening.
Born into an impoverished upper class family, Bess also apparently had a resourceful mother, who sent her as a lady in waiting,at 12 years of age, to Lady Anne Zouche. This brought Bess into the Tudor court as Ann of Cleves came into England, which taught her caution.
The tale stops when she is 40 years old, leaving some of the more unpleasant parts of her story, untold. Therefore not sure why the title is Venus in Winter as Bess lived for many more years?
I certainly enjoyed this version and even put other review copies aside for a time.(gasp)Recommending it to lovers of accurate historical fiction as well as Tudor fans.