What’s New?

So, I’m not terribly good at this blogging thing…For a writer, who happens to talk a lot, I don’t usually feel like I have much to say!  I’m going to try to get better at that.  I’ve started something new recently – I’m going to be adding my book reviews on here.  I’m a voracious reader so I’ve always got something I’m in the middle of, and often times I end up writing a review…I thought, perhaps, I’d share them with you!

In other exciting news, I’ve begun the research stage of my third novel.  This one will pick up on the day after Anne Boleyn’s execution and follow through the reign of her successor, Jane Seymour.  In this way, I will be able to tell the parts of the story I couldn’t in The Raven’s Widow.  This novel will be told from two perspectives, that of the queen and of the keeper of her jewels, Margery Horseman.  Mistress Horseman had a bit part in my last novel, so I hope you are interested in learning more about her.

Well, that’s all for now!  Stay tuned for more to come!

Book Review: Queen of Martyrs

QofMMary Tudor is one of those historical figures who confounds me.  While I don’t believe she deserves the title of Bloody Mary, I thoroughly abhor her religious policies and the many burnings carried out in her name.  I also admit to being slightly biased due to the fact that I’m…well…Lutheran.  So yeah, I probably would have found myself on the stake!  However, I fully believe that Mary was not born the person she eventually became. The fault for her zealotry lies squarely at the feet of her father, and the man certainly left a wake of destruction in his path.  These conflicted feelings led me to pick up the latest in Samantha Wilcoxson’s Plantagenet Embers series.  I wanted to see Mary as a person, rather than a list of deeds in a history book.  I was not disappointed.

Wilcoxon’s book opens with Mary at prayer, a fitting start.  Throughout the novel, she continues to linger on these very specific traditions and ceremonies.  So often, these are left out or glossed over in historical fiction, but here they are a character unto themselves.  I was particularly moved by a scene set during Mary’s Maundy Thursday giving.  It was almost as if I could see the entire thing play out in my mind. One of the things I loved most was seeing the relationships between Mary and the women in her life.  The sisterly bond she shares with Kateryn Parr and Margaret Pole is at turns heartwarming and heartbreaking; Her ladies, Fran and Susan offer another dimension, Mary as a kind, yet naïve employer.  Elizabeth I is the least likeable of the cast, and while I don’t necessarily see her in the same way, this is Mary’s story and it’s probably exactly how she saw her younger sister.

For me, the last third of the book, detailing Mary’s marriage to Phillip and her relationship to Cardinal Reginald Pole is where Wilcoxson really shines.  The intimate moments are told in such achingly tender detail, you can’t help but see the humanity inside Mary.  I was stunned by the author’s take on Mary and Reginald’s relationship, but I think she’s really hit on something there.  I won’t reveal more because *spoilers.*  I’m always drawn to novels that focus on women who didn’t have happy endings, because not everyone gets those.  Life is real and it’s raw, and full of pain.  Wilcoxson never shies away from that; nor does she gloss over Mary’s flaws.  She is judgmental and obstinate, but also compassionate and capable of great love – a true and complex human.

The Black Legend of Lady Jane Rochford

Today I am over at Queen Anne Boleyn talking about the sources traditionally used to paint Jane Boleyn as a vile, grasping villain.  It’s time we reconsider what those sources say about a woman who was just as much a victim as Anne and George Boleyn.

To read more, follow the link below:


Day Two

Today, my book tour finds me at the place where it all started, The Anne Boleyn Files.  If not for Claire Ridgway and her wonderful site about this unfairly maligned queen, I might never written a word about Catherine Carey or Jane Boleyn!  Claire is a master at finding the true facts hidden over time, so it’s only appropriate that I share the true facts about another much maligned woman on this stop.  Head on over to see!


Day One

Don’t miss my first stop on the book tour.  Today, I am on Janet Wertman’s blog talking about Henry VIII’s Queens and their relationships to the men in charge of their imprisonments, the Constables of the Tower of London.  Click on the photo for more info!