March 29, 2012

A Few New Releases: An Unfaithful Queen, A Kingmaker's Daughter, a Mistress and a Time Traveler

Here are a few upcoming releases I wanted to mention:

The Unfaithful Queen: A Novel of Henry VIII's Fifth Wife by Carolly Erickson

This novel follows the Katheryn Howard, the ill-fated fifth wife of King Henry VIII. According to Library Journal,
"Having given us the New York Times best-selling The Last Wife of Henry VIII (along with lots of other historical fiction and nonfiction titles), Erickson steps back to Henry’s penultimate bride, the vivacious Catherine Howard, who didn't bother to inform Henry that she’d had three lovers before him. And thus, with his disillusionment and her failure to produce a son, even as the succession was threatened by Prince Edward’s serious illness, Catherine met the fate of her cousin Anne Boleyn. Yummy for Anglophiles."

I'm curious to see how sympathetic (and accurate) this novel with be towards Katheryn. It will be available Sept. 18th in the USA.

The Kingmaker's Daughter by Philippa Gregory

Philippa Gregory continues her Cousins' War series with The Kingmaker's Daughter. Accorging to amazon,

"The Kingmaker’s Daughter is the gripping and ultimately tragic story of the daughters of the man known as the “Kingmaker,” the most powerful magnate in England through the Cousins’ Wars. In the absence of a son and heir, he uses the two girls as pawns in his political games, but they grow up to be influential players in their own right. In this novel, her first sister story since The Other Boleyn Girl, Gregory explores the lives of two fascinating young women.
At the court of Edward IV and his beautiful queen, Elizabeth Woodville, Anne grows from a delightful child brought up in intimacy and friendship with the family of Richard, Duke of Gloucester, to become ever more fearful and desperate when her father makes war on his former friends. Her will is tested when she is left widowed and fatherless, with her mother in sanctuary and her sister married to the enemy. Fortune’s wheel turns again when Richard rescues Anne from her sister’s house, with danger still following Anne, even as she eventually ascends to the throne as queen. Having lost those closest to her, she must protect herself and her precious only child, Prince Edward, from a court full of royal rivals."
This novel will be available on August 14th for those in the USA, and the 16th for those in the UK.

Bessie Blount: Mistress to Henry VIII by Elizabeth Norton

I am interested to read this one. I want to see what Norton has dug up, as there isn't a lot of historical evidence on Elizabeth "Bessie" Blount.

According to amazon, "Beautiful, young, exuberant, the amazing life of Elizabeth Blount, Henry VIII's mistress and mother to his first son who came tantalizingly close to succeeding him as King Henry IX. The earliest known, and longest lasting mistress of Henry VIII, Bessie Blount was the king's first love. More beautiful than Anne Boleyn or any of Henry's other wives or concubines, Bessie's beauty and other charms ensured that she turned heads, winning a place at court as one of Catherine of Aragon's ladies. Within months she was partnering the king in dancing and she rose to be the woman with the most influence over Henry, much to Catherine of Aragon's despair. The affair lasted five years (longer than most of Henry's marriages) and in 1519 she bore Henry VIII a son, Henry Fitzroy. As a mark of his importance Cardinal Wolsey was appointed his guardian and godfather. Supplanted soon after by Mary Boleyn, Bessie's importance rests on the vital proof it gave Henry VIII that he could father a healthy son and through Henry Fitzroy, Bessie remained a prominent figure at court. In the country at large, for proving that the king was capable of fathering a son Bessie prompted the saying 'Bless'ee, Bessie Blount' and her position of mother of such an important child made her an object of interest to many of her contemporaries. Sidelined by historians until now, Bessie and the son she had by the king are one of the great 'what ifs' of English history. If Jane Seymour had not produced a male heir and Bessie's son had not died young aged 17, in all likelihood Henry Fitzroy could have followed his father as King Henry IX and Bessie propelled to the status of mother of the king."

This biography was released in November 2011. You can read more about it on amazon.

The Time Traveler's Guide to Elizabethan England by Ian Mortimer.

According to amazon, "We think of Queen Elizabeth I as 'Gloriana': the most powerful English woman in history. We think of her reign (1558-1603) as a golden age of maritime heroes, like Sir Walter Raleigh, Sir Richard Grenville and Sir Francis Drake, and of great writers, such as Edmund Spenser, Christopher Marlowe, Ben Jonson and William Shakespeare. But what was it actually like to live in Elizabethan England? If you could travel to the past and walk the streets of London in the 1590s, where would you stay? What would you eat? What would you wear? Would you really have a sense of it being a glorious age? And if so, how would that glory sit alongside the vagrants, diseases, violence, sexism and famine of the time?
In this book Ian Mortimer answers the key questions that a prospective traveller to late sixteenth-century England would ask. Applying the groundbreaking approach he pioneered in his bestselling Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England, the Elizabethan world unfolds around the reader."

The Independent has written a nice review for it here.

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