Friday, June 27, 2014

The Outlaw's Tale ~ Margaret Frazer

Always enjoyable as a series, this Sister Frevisse novel is one that I had not read before. This author is very much missed by me and surely by others.

Frevisse travels with a fellow nun and gets into a complicated situation when an Outlaw, who is apparently her cousin Nicholas, takes her and her entourage hostage as he wants a pardon.

Frevisse's uncle, the always interesting Thomas Chauccer comes into play in this episode, almost too late to save the day for her. I so loved it and as always recommend it to all.

As a note: Gail( Margaret) Frazer's books continue to be releasedon Kindle by her sons after her death and are worth looking for. 

Monday, June 23, 2014

George Boleyn, Tudor Poet ~ Clare Cherry and Claire Ridgway

A very in-depth book about George Boleyn which was very enjoyable and informative. Not a lot is known about his family of origin and actually not a lot about his marital relationship. The research was very well done and referenced.

Claire Ridgeway has done tremendous research and presented it in a very readable fashion. Especially well put together were the appendices.

The Boleyns are my favorite family of this era, Mary especially but her children and her brother make important characters. I recommend this book to Tudor history followers and other serious historians.

Intractable Heart ~ The Story of Katheryn Parr by Judith Arnopp

 Different voices tell this fine story 

Katheryn Parr's life has been retold it in a thought provoking and enlightening manner in this fine novel. Judith Arnopp has researched the early life Henry's last wife and using known facts of those times, speaks for Katheryn,Thomas Seymour, Elizabeth I and Margaret Neville Katheryn's stepdaughter.

The story is thus told in four parts and the three others, using known facts, speak and give voice to Katheryn Parr's early life. A delightful and innovative way to weave a narrative. The events that transpired on the Pilgrimage of Grace at Snape Castle can be surmised from other similar sieges. 

Arnopp tells us in the author's note that we know little about Katheryn's early life so she allows the others to speak for her.It works so very well that I am saddened to realize that this fine woman may have had so little true happiness in her life. I cling to the fact that she was so resilient and astute that there were good times as well as laughter for her.

Recommended for everyone and especially for Tudor and Royalty fiction fans. 


 Judith Arnopp
 Always passionate about history, I graduated from the University of Wales, Lampeter in 2007 with a Master's degree in medieval history and a BA in English and creative writing. I now devote myself to writing full time. 
My first novel Peaceweaver, is the tale of Eadgyth, queen to both Gruffydd ap Llewelyn of Wales and Harold ii of England. 
The Forest Dwellers is set just after the conquest in King William the Conqueror’s ‘New Forest.’ 
The story is told from the perspective of the people evicted from their home by the king. 
My third novel, The Song of Heledd, is set in 7th Century Celtic Britain and based on the fragmentary poem Canu Heledd found in the Book of Hergest.
My Tudor novels include The Winchester Goose, The Kiss of the Concubine and Intractable Heart; the story of Katheryn Parr, all providing an unusual perspective of Henry VIII's court.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Short but Sweet

Sir Robert Carey as a character in a novel thrills me as much as his actual life story does, he had great depth and charisma. I just loved hearing about his life and his family some years after the series on the Scottish Borders.

It was a short story but I am hoping sincerely that it will be developed into part of the series written as PF Chisholm. Patricia Finney knows how to tell a story. Just loved it

Monday, June 16, 2014

Candle Flame- Being the Thirteenth of the Sorrowful Mysteries of Brother Athelstan

For my own reasons I rated somewhere between 3.75 and 4, although Athelstan as a character cannot be beat. Descriptions of 14th century London do give me the shivers, very gritty with too many adjectives repetitively used. Read Part One carefully as it is complex.

A convoluted plot starts and ends at the opulent (for 1381) Southwark tavern the Candle-Flame, built "on the profits of the recent war in France by Mine Host Simon Thorne". Built on blood,it is said, remember that!

England and especially London, being in a turmoil, the Regent John of Gaunt figures prominently. Gaunt's tax collectors are being targeted, presumably by a mysterious and unseen assassin called Beowulf, or are they? Sir John Cranston and Athelstan drop everything to get to the bottom of it.

Recommended, of course, for fans of this series and this genre, as well as historical mystery lovers of any kind. It is, after all" the Thirteenth of the Sorrowful Mysteries of Brother Athelstan". Received from NetGalley for an honest review. 

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Her Highness the Traitor - Engrossing and vivid ~ Susan Higginbotham

An amazingly moving book by a fine historical writer, I could not put it down. Gratifyingly,the author's research tells us that Jane Grey the Nine Day Queen was just a girl of the times, who lived with normal parents, who were of the nobility. It was poignant and often starkly sad as Higginbotham told their story.

"Their " story involved both the Dudleys and the Greys in an intricate alternating verbal dance that was engrossingly real and vivid. Neither "side" was held harmless but the Dudleys possibly had the edge of normalcy, as we know it.

Recommended for Tudor and other historical fiction fans, and I must share that I am NOT enamored of Henry VIII or his daughters, but always the victims of these three rulers grips me. It was not different for Edward the boy king who seems to have had some culpability in these events, although enabled by adults for sure. 

Friday, June 13, 2014

Kim Rendfield ~ The Cross and the Dragon and the upcoming sequel

I read this morning while following Judith Arnopp that Kim Rendfield has an upcoming release, which sadly has been shelved already by NetGalley. When I went to look for my Blog post on The Cross and the Dragon I realized that, as a new blogger and kindle  owner I had just a small post on Goodreads.

"A very readable book about an era new to me. I recommend it and will look for more about Charlemagne."

So let me remedy that and further say :  The Carolingian Kings may be significant in my own family as many of my ancestors came to Ireland in the retinue of the Norman Kings. The L'Enfant family were justices and minor barons in Ireland and are said to be connected to Charlemagne through his son Pepin and DNA shows them to be from Southern France. That being said, I snapped up this book when I first purchased my kindle and really enjoyed it.

Roncevaux is a magical story and the author was inspired by the stories of Roland when she visited Germany. I am glad that she did so as it is an important glimpse at a time that is not so well researched.

I am very much wanting to review this one and cannot wait until it is released!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Canterbury Papers ~ Judith Koll Healey

An entertaining fictional novel about a little known historical person, Alais Capet deserves to have her story told. The basic bones of her life were accurate and the fanciful tale of her abduction and later life made it definitely worth the read. Was this William the William Count of Ponthieu that the real Alys really married? I must find out.!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Sisters of Treason - Elizabeth Freemantle ~ 5 stars

Elizabeth Freemantle has done painstaking research on the Grey sisters and woven a very believable story of their family. It has always troubled me that Jane Grey's parents pushed her to the throne and then abandoned her to her fate, and this gentler narrative rings true to me.

Nothing good or easy occurred in the lives of the daughters of Francis Brandon and Henry Grey. All know that Lady Jane Grey was the "Nine Day Queen" and went to her death through no fault of her own. 

Her sister Catherine Grey was married to Henry Herbert by her parents and that marriage was annulled when political fortunes changed. She then met Edward Seymour,Earl of Hertford through his sister and they married clandestinely. Hertford was sent abroad and Catherine was pregnant and was incarcerated by the Queen They had 2 sons but Catherine was kept in captivity until her early death at 27.

Lady Mary Grey, who was said to be small and with a spinal defect was a lady in waiting to the Queen, married Thomas Keyes, the Queen's Sergeant Porter with out permission. Married a short time, Mary and Keyes were separated and kept in captivity. Not as much is known of Mary's later years and she did have a few years of happiness although living alone, Thomas Keyes having died of illnesses acquired in the Fleet prison.

A very poignant and said look at this family but Fremantle feels that some of the negative aspects of their early lives were possible not accurate, an outlook I agree with. Catherine Grey's oldest son had heirs that live on in the royalty of today, a happy thought. Recommended for Tudor and other historical novel fans for a different aspect to the story of the Greys.