This royal throne of kings, this sceptred isle, This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars, This other Eden, demi-paradise, This fortress built by Nature for herself Against infection and the hand of war, This happy breed of men, this little world, This precious stone set in the silver sea, Which serves it in the office of a wall Or as a moat defensive to a house, Against the envy of less happier lands,-- This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England. ~~William Shakespeare, Richard III

Monday, August 31, 2009

Doing Some Work on Blog

Just wanted to give a heads up to everyone. I'm going to be playing around with my background and template and stuff over the next few days so if you log in and things are weird looking (or missing or something WORSE!) don't panic. I'll be panicking enough for both of us. Just working on getting everything backed up now before I start messing with things. :)

I'll let y'all know when I'm done tinkering around so you can let me know if you like the new look better. :)

This Day in History...

August 31, 1422 - The great warrior King Henry V died and his son, aged about six months, became Henry VI of England.

Henry V is most famous for the incredible English victory at Agincourt, France. This battle was part of the English Kings' (yes, that is plural as several tried to accomplish this) campaign to gain the crown of France, which they thought they had a right to. He died after a battle of France.

His son Henry VI's reign is most notable for the War of the Roses, where the rival House of York laid claim to the English throne. Henry VI for the most part didn't want to be king.

Mailbox Mondays

Mailbox Mondays is hosted by Marcia over at The Printed Page. It is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week (checked out library books don’t count, eBooks & audio books do).
So, without further ado...

1. The First Princess of Wales, Karen Harper

This is a great story about Joan of Kent, wife of Edward the Black Prince. Got this one off Paperbackswap. Wanted to add this one to my collection after getting it from the library.

2. The Daughter of Time, Josephine Tey

So the title of this one really gives you no clue as to what the book is about. It is about a detective who sets out to investigate Richard III, to see if he was as horrible as tradition has made him out to be. This one came from Paperbackswap, too. I can't wait to start this one but I have to finish SKP's Time and Chance first.

3. The Last Boleyn, Karen Harper

Obviously a book about the Boleyns, this one about Mary. This is probably a much better version of what her life was really like, with a lot less historical inaccuracies than PG's The Other Boleyn Girl. Again, got this one off Paperbackswap (you should join, really!).

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Book Review: When Christ and His Saints Slept

When Christ and His Saints Slept, Sharon Kay Penman
4.5 roses

Another of Sharon Kay Penman's wonderful works. This is the first of a trilogy about Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine. It took me a little while to get into this book, longer than it took with "Sunne" but after about half way I started picking up speed. Having never read anything about the struggle between Maude and Stephen, this book was a real eye opener.

Henry I (son of William the Conqueror) loses his only legitimate son when he drowns in the sinking of the White Ship and ends up naming his daughter, the Empress Maude, as his sole heir. Many of the barons of England don't like the thought of a woman ruling them (and they don't like Maude's second husband, Geoffrey of Anjou, who she was forced to marry) and many try to convince Stephen of Blois (grandson of William the Conqueror through William's daughter Adela) that HE should claim the throne of England. As it happens, when Henry I dies Maude prepares to head to England to claim her crown and then hears that Stephen has claimed and been crowned King of England. Thus starts one of the most turbulent times of civil war in English history.

The story is told through several POV's: Maude's, Stephen's, and Ranulf's (a fictional illegitimate younger brother of Maude). You also get, at some points in the story, the viewpoint of the common people of England who really didn't care who was ruling over them as long as they had peace and their families were safe. This war that lasted somewhere around 15 years (give or take a few) really brought England to a low spot. I was amazed at how many towns and villages were ransacked and burned, how many innocent citizens died, and how much flip flopping of loyalties occurred. For the people of England, it really was a time "when Christ and His saints slept." Towards the end of the story you see more and more of Maude's son, Henry (the future Henry II), and Eleanor of Aquitaine. When Stephen looses his oldest son Eustace(thank goodness!) he ends up naming Henry as his heir. The story comes to a close not long after Henry and Eleanor are crowned King and Queen of England.

The characters in this story are what every good writer should strive to create. The main characters are not clear cut good, bad, etc. They all have depth to them which is wonderful. I found myself at different times liking, being aggravated by, wanting to slap or hug, several of the main characters. I felt sorry for Maude because she was only trying to claim what was rightfully her's and the people of England really treated her badly. Then at the same time, I wanted to smack her because she really didn't help her cause by acting the way she did (which ultimately cost her the crown). Stephen was a likable guy but, besides being a good battle commander, was completely unsuitable to be King(and he DID steal Maude's crown). I could feel some pity for him with all this troubles he had with his barons but he did bring it on himself (just as Maude did). Ranulf was an interesting character to add into the story. You get a different perspective of what was happening through his eyes. He was very loyal to his sister and seemed to have his head on straight most of the time. I was okay with him through most of the novel though I wanted to hit him because he just couldn't let go of Annora, even though it was obvious that she wasn't going to leave her husband.
Obviously Henry and Eleanor of Aquitaine figure into the story more towards the end but I'm not going to go into detail about them here as their story is told more in full in the next book. There are many other interesting characters in the story (Geoffrey of Anjou, Stephen's calculating brother the Bishop of Winchester, Stephen's HORRIBLE son Eustace, Maude and Ranulf's brother Robert, Stephen's queen Matilda, John Marshal, etc, etc) but I can't sit here and talk about all of them unfortunately.

I really enjoyed this story as it covered a part of British history that I previously had read very little about. I think the best part came towards the end, once you get more and more of Maude's son Henry and Eleanor. Their story is amazing and continues in the next book Time and Chance.

This Day in History...

August 20, 1146 - Pope Innocent II held a conference of European leaders and prelates in which they outlawed the use of the crossbow. In fact, it wasn't JUST the crossbow ("the dastard's weapon") they were outlawing, it was "the deadly and God-detested art of slingers and archers." They hoped that by banning the weapon, wars would eventually end for good (Why they thought this I don't know; man is still man and would fight a war with something else if need be). Despite this prohibition, crossbows continued to be used until the 1500s (however the English used the longbow much more often in battle which was much easier to use and more deadly as more bolts could be shot per minute), when they were replaced by firearms.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

This Day in History...

August 29, 1911 - Ishi is discovered in California. He is described as the last surviving STONE AGE Indian in the US.

By the beginning of the 20th century, Europeans had flooded the continent and most Native Americans had assimilated, to some degree, into this new Anglo society. This man seemed to be the exception. When he was found he spoke no English and was unfamiliar with white ways. It was eventually discovered that he was the last remaining member of the Yana Tribe. He was taken to Berkley Museum for protection and he eventually became used to life around him (even liking to ride on the trolleys).

He lived at Berkley Museum for 5 years before he caught TB and died. According to the customs of his people, his body was cremated.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Englishmen in America in the 1400s?

Michelle Moran, the History Buff, had this article posted on her blog and I found it really fascinating. Thought I would pass it along in case anyone else would be interested. :) I love it when stuff like this is found...really makes me wish I had gone into archeology or somehow majored in British history. Can you imagine being the first person to touch something like this in over 500 years???? Clink the link below to go to the full article.

Letter from Henry VII

This Day in History...

August 28, 1996 - Prince Charles and Princess Diana, after some urging from Queen Elizabeth II, finally divorce after a few years of separation.

They were married in 1981 in a huge, fairy tale wedding that was watched by billions. They had two sons, Princes William and Harry.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Book Review: The White Queen

So I couldn't hold off doing my review of this book. I have found I really enjoy reviewing books so don't be surprised to see them popping up here more than at the end of the month now! is my review of Philippa Gregory's newest book The White Queen.

The White Queen, Philippa Gregory
3 roses

While I enjoy reading Gregory's books because they're decently entertaining for the most part I do wish she'd quit insisting she was such a wonderful historian. If this constant insisting that she does such "impeccable research" would go away, I could stomach her books better. This book was better than the last one but it wasn't outstanding.

The story covers a time period of about 20 years (give or take a few) starting from when Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville meet up until its almost time for Bosworth Field. This could have been a very good book but there were a few things that really irritated me. The first issue I had was the constant repeating of certain aspects of the story she obviously didn't want the reader to forget (perhaps she thinks all her readers are dumb and she must repeat everything?). She refers to Edward repeatedly as a "boy" for several chapters at the beginning (yes, a 20-something young man can certainly act like a boy but technically would not be considered one, ESPECIALLY in the 15th century). By about the third chapter I felt like if she mentioned Elizabeth's family connection to Melusina (a water goddess for those that are unfamiliar with the name) one more time I was going to go hop in a fountain somewhere. She also couldn't keep Elizabeth from constantly referring to the fact that she had Warkwick and George's names, in her blood, in her locket, and she would get her revenge. The water imagery got old after a while as well. Really, I got all these points the first time I read them and I don't need to be reminded every couple of paragraphs. While I didn't really have a big problem with the magic element in the story since it wasn't completely over the top (and there has always been speculation about her mother and witchcraft), I found myself rolling my eyes quite a bit over the convenient "let's blow gently out of our lips and a nice storm will blow up somewhere in England or the Channel to stop our enemies." At least she didn't have them in a cellar somewhere huddled over a bubbling pot.

I also really never felt any connection with any of the characters. In TOBG, while I knew there were huge historical inaccuracies (HUGE), I actually cared about what happened to the characters. Not so here. There really didn't seem to be any dimension to them whatsoever. I was satisfied with her portrayal of Richard, Duke of Gloucester. She didn't make him seem like a horrible monster but he didn't come across as saintly. As this story was from Elizabeth's POV and she didn't really like Richard at all, that was to be expected and I thought that aspect was well done.

As to her being considered such a great historian, one thing really jumped out at me that makes me question how thorough she is with some topics. At one point Elizabeth mentions they're going to Nonsuch Palace. Nonsuch was started by her grandson, Henry VIII (around 1538 if I'm not mistaken). Anyone can go to the internet, type in "Nonsuch Palace," and get this information. Some might consider that a bit nit picky on my part but in my opinion, if you're going to call yourself a great historian, at least have your characters going to places that existed at the time.

Overall, I'm glad I only checked it out of the library. It wasn't horrible by any stretch but I still prefer Sharon Kay Penman's "The Sunne in Splendour" which covers this same time period.

And I swear the covers of her books get worse and worse.

Booking Through Thursday - Fluff

Q: What’s the lightest, most “fluff” kind of book you’ve read recently?

A: I'd have to say Philippa Gregory's The White Queen about Elizabeth Woodville. I call it "fluff" simply because it just doesn't come close to living up to other author's portrayals of the same time and people. I'm not saying it was BAD (it was enjoyable if you don't care much about historical inaccuracies), it just isn't the wonderful historical work that it (and the author) are made out to be. I've never bought into the whole witchy idea connected to Elizabeth and her mother and though its done decently here (no dancing around cauldrons or flying on broomsticks), I just had to roll my eyes through most of it.

This Day in History... active week for volcanoes...

August 27, 1883 - Krakatoa, a volcano on a small island between the Indonesian islands of Java and Sumatra, erupted, blowing itself apart. This explosion is the most powerful volcanic eruption in history (recorded history anyway). It was heard 3000 MILES AWAY!!! Ash was hurled 50 miles into the air, huge tsunamis were created when the island collapsed into the ocean, and 36,000 people were killed (about 30,000 of those from the tsunamis). Some of the pyroclastic flows stretched 40 miles (across the water too) and killed thousands on the nearby islands.

Fine dust and ash that was hurled into the air during the explosion drifted around the earth, causing amazing sunsets and forming a veil in the upper atmosphere that lowered temperatures worldwide by several degrees.

Eruptions since then have caused a new volcano to form in almost the same spot. The locals call it "Anak Krakatau" or "child of Krakatoa.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

New Books on the Way!!

Even though I am still working my way through Penman's Time and Chance about Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine (and enjoying it as I do all of her books) I am super excited about a couple of books I have headed my way!

I have a copy of The First Princess of Wales, a novel about Edward the Black Prince and Joan of Kent, and a copy of Daughter of Time, about Richard III, on their merry way to me from I have read Princess and I am thrilled to get my hands on a copy and add it to my growing historical fiction collection without having to pay at least $15 for it. Daughter comes highly recommended from readers over at the Goodreads website and I am itching to read it.

I've also been on the lookout for copies of The Seventh Son and Court of the Midnight King, both about Richard III.

Help needed from more knowledgable bloggers!

How do you go about changing the template (background) on your blog without loosing everything you have on there?? I had that issue when I was first creating this spot and I never figured it out. There is NO WAY I will ever change my background in the future (not now...I like it too much!) unless I figure out how to do this without loosing everything I have on there.

This Day in History...

August 26, 1346 - The English army, led by Edward III and his son Edward the Black Prince, won the Battle of Crécy against Philip VI of France. Edward III believed he had a claim to the French throne through his mother, Isabella, who was a Princess of France. These battles, called the Hundred Years War, were the English's attempt to claim the French crown.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A Great Book Swap Site

So, you want to read a book BUT:

a) the library doesn't have it anywhere


b) you really don't want to spend the money to purchase the book

What do you do?? Well, here's a suggestion!!

Paperbackswap is a great book swapping site and best of all...there is no sign up fee! How does this site work, you ask? Well...let me tell you.

1) Sign up at the site.

2) List (post) books that you are willing to part with (swap). You get a certain number of credits when you post your first 10 books (4 or 5 I think). After that, you get credits each time someone receives one of your books. You need credits to request books that YOU want.

3) Browse all the books available (I think there's a billion or something lol). If you have credits, you can order a book and the member who posted it will mail it to you. And now you have your book.

4) If a book you really want isn't available (no one has posted it on the site) you can put it on your wish list so when it IS posted you will be notified and you can say "yes! send me that book" or "nah, I'll pass right now."

5) You will get requests for the books you've posted (hopefully!). You will get an email saying "Someone wants this book you posted. Can you mail it?" You print out a wrapper, wrap it up, mail it (you do have to pay the postage but hey, other members have to pay the postage when they mail YOU a book so it evens out), and when the other person receives it, you get a credit.

That's all there is to it! So far I have posted several books, mailed out about 4, and received about 4 or 5. Its really a great site. Check it out!

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly meme hosted by Should Be Reading. Here's how it works:

*Grab your current read.
*Open to a random page.
*Share two (2) "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page.
*Include the title and author so others can add it to their TBR list.

Here are my two teaser lines for the week. They are from Sharon Kay Penman's 2nd novel in her Eleanor of Aquitaine trilogy, Time and Chance.

Eleanor could not help smiling, for that sounded just like Arnulf of Lisieux. A shrewd, worldly man in his late fifties, he was as noted for his political acumen as for his erudition, and since his arrival from his Norman see, he'd been advising Henry how best to outmaneuver Becket. She regretted, though, that he'd seen fit to strip Will of his optimism. Will needed hope as much as he did air and food.

Eleanor did not fully understand it, either. How could these two men have been such close friends and yet misread each other so calamitously? Her husband had utterly failed to anticipate the archbishop Becket would become. But what of Becket? Had he learned nothing in their years together? How could he not realize what a formidable and unforgiving enemy Harry would make?

If I Were Producing a Movie - Lady Jane Grey

She was only Queen of England for 9 days...and that was at her parents' bidding (supposedly they beat her and locked her in a closet until she agreed). Poor Jane is often overlooked being stuck in between such Tudor figures as Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. I think a story about her would be interesting to watch.

Please feel free to comment and let me know if you think someone would be a better fit for a part! Still working on this one!

EDIT AUG 28 - Thanks again to the folks at Goodreads for suggesting some actors/actresses for some of these parts!

Jane Grey (child) - Abigail Breslin Elle Fanning

Jane Grey (older) -Ellen Page (I think she could pull this off)

Frances Brandon - Claire Forlani

Henry Grey -Daniel Craig (wouldn't he just look wonderful in doublet and hose??)

Duke of Northumberland - Hugh Laurie (I love him...)

Guildford Dudley -Daniel Radcliff

Thomas Seymour - Jude Law

Princess Mary - Charlotte Gainesbourg

Catherine Parr - Kate Winslet (old enough?)

Princess Elizabeth -Evan Rachel Wood

Henry VIII - Ray Winstone (He did so good when he played this role in another movie and he could pull off a very sick and fat Henry!)

Edward VI - Freddie Highmore

This Day in History...

Another rather slow day in history (August has been like that...either its something really interesting or absolutely nothing at all). Had trouble finding something to post, though I think this little tidbit was funny enough (if not very historical).

August 25, 1835 - "The Great Moon Hoax," a series of articles in a New York newspaper, written by Dr. Andrew Grant, claimed that his collegue Sir John Herschel had found amazing life on the moon. Some of the "amazing life" he had found were supposedly unicorns, 2-legged beavers, and furry humanoids with wings that seemed to resemble bats. There were also great descriptions of the moon's surface with features that included lush vegetation, huge crystals of amethyst, and flowing rivers.

Readers completely believed the story and it even fooled some Yale science professors. In September the newspaper admitted it had all been a big hoax.

So this is what the little creatures
from outer space look like!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Reviews and Movies

We're getting near the end of the month and I'm looking forward to doing my monthly book review. I've read several good ones this month and I'm still trying to decide which I want to post a review about...of course, I could just do two again like I did last month! Keep on the lookout as I'll post my August book review(s) next week.

I have seen questions on other forums about movies that tell the story of some specific historical character, folks wondering if there are good movies out there that portray these characters. Why yes! Of course there are! And there are some that are not really that great either. Below is a short run down of some notable movies that are about various people in British history.

Anne of the Thousand Days - 1969
This is probably one of the better movies about Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII.

Henry VIII - 2003
I think this is probably my favorite movies about Henry. Ray Winstone does an absolutely wonderful job as Henry. It also stars Helena Bonham Carter as Anne Boleyn.

Mary, Queen of Scots - 1971
Obviously, a movie about Mary, starring Vanessa Redgrave as Mary and Glenda Jackson as Queen Elizabeth.

Elizabeth - 1998
Probably my favorite movie about the Queen. Cate Blanchett does an AMAZING job as Elizabeth. While there are quite a few historical inaccuracies, overall it is a decent portrayal of the struggles at the beginning of her reign.

Elizabeth, the Golden Age - 2007
The "sequal" to the first movie, though the events portrayed in the two movies are separated by many years, and focusing on the threat from Spain and the Spanish ArmadaThis one wasn't as good as the first but still a good movie.

The Lion in Winter - 1968
A decent movie about Henry II and his wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine. Katherine Hepburn plays the role of Eleanor. Timothy Dalton even shows up as France's King Phillip.

Lady Jane - 1986
This is probably the only movie about Lady Jane Grey and it stars a young Helena Bonham Carter in the title role. The producers pretty much rewrote history in order to make it a love story but still an interesting one to watch.

Henry V - 1989
Kenneth Branagh's version of Shakespeare's play. Just a warning, the actors are all speaking the lines of the play so if you're not fluent in Shakespeare's English you might have some trouble. Otherwise, its a fair representation of the English King's battles in France. Emma Thompson stars as Katherine of Valois, Princess of France and Henry's future wife. Christian Bale also has a small role.

This Day in History...

August 24, 79 - Mount Vesuvius in the Bay of Naples erupts, burying the towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum killing thousands. The cities, buried under a thick layer of volcanic material and mud, were pretty much forgotten. In the 1700s, they were rediscovered and excavated, providing an unprecedented record of the everyday life of an ancient civilization.

At noon, the mountain exploded sending a 10-mile mushroom cloud of ash and pumice into the stratosphere. For the next 12 hours, ash and pumice stones showered Pompeii and some of the residents decided to flee. About 2,000 people stayed, holed up in cellars or stone structures, hoping to wait out the eruption. Everyone who remained were killed the next morning when a cloud of toxic gas poured into the city and suffocated those in hiding. A flow of rock and ash followed, collapsing buildings and burying the dead.

Wind protected Herculaneum from the initial eruption, but then a giant cloud of hot ash and gas raced down the western flank of Vesuvius (pyroclastic flow most likely), filling the city and burning or asphyxiating all who remained. This was followed by a flood of volcanic mud and rock which buried the city.

Pompeii was buried under 14 to 17 feet of ash and pumice. Herculaneum was buried under more than 60 feet of mud and volcanic material.

The remains of 2,000 were found at Pompeii. After they died their bodies were covered with ash that hardened and preserved the outline of their bodies. As the bodies decomposed they left a kind of mold behind in the shape of the bodies that had once laid there. Archaeologists who found these molds filled them with plaster, revealing the death pose of the victims. The whole city is frozen in time. The first human remains weren't found until 1982 and were found at Herculaneum. These skeletons found in a cave near the coast bear horrible burn marks that are evidence of a horrible death.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

This Day in History...

August 23, 1305 - The Scottish patriot/rebel William Wallace is hanged, drawn, and quartered on orders from the English king, Edward I, at Smithfield, London. His body parts are sent to different cities around the country as a warning to would be traitors. His death came as a result of his effort to free Scotland from the occupying English forces.

We'd better win something because I've got
my face painted this snazzy blue.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Can't Believe it!!

My little boy is going to be 2 next month!! Where oh where did the time go? It seems like only a few days ago he was just this cheerful little baby who just sat in his bouncy seat laughing at Mickey Mouse. Now he's running all over the house with the Swiffer duster, pulling the bag of Fritos out of the pantry, getting his fingers stuck in the laundry room door, trying to press all the keys on my keyboard, and learning some words and body parts (the picture of the scrapbook page I made about his new words is posted here). He even follows directions pretty well (for a 2 year old of course).

He is such a little blessing! I couldn't have asked for a better little boy to have running around the house. Nothing compares to the feeling I get when I see that little smile peeking at me between his blanket and the mattress in his crib or when he lifts those little arms up to me to be picked up. I can't imagine life without him now. I love seeing how much he's learning and growing even though its sad to know that he's not a little baby anymore.

I look at him and wonder about the world I've brought him in to and what he'll have to grow up in and it worries me. I'm concerned because, besides for a small handful of words, he's really not talking and I know the doctor is going to want to put him in some stupid speech program. I hope the surgery he's just had on his eyes has corrected the problem and we won't have to go through that ever again. I worry that he's not going to have health care because some are trying to take it away from him at the moment (because he's a child you see and can't contribute to the community). I worry about his safety because this country certainly isn't safe at the moment. All I can do is pray that things will work out okay.

Giveaway for a great book!

Peeking between the pages is giving away 2 copies of Susan Higginbotham's book Hugh and Bess. Check it out at the link below!

PBTP Hugh and Bess Giveaway!

This Day in History...

August 22, 1485 -Richard III is defeated and killed at The Battle of Bosworth Field by Henry Tudor, Earl of Richmond (and to become Henry VII), thus ending the "Wars of the Roses" or "Cousins War" between the Houses of Lancaster and York. He was the last English king to die in battle.

The battle was mainly a hand-to-hand encounter(which was typical of the times), with the Stanley family (who had promised Tudor that they would desert Richard) keeping away from the fight until, at a critical moment when it was obvious which way the victory was headed, they joined Tudor. Richard, realizing that he was betrayed, cried out, "Treason, treason!" He knew he'd either leave as the King of England or dead and refused to leave the field until, overpowered by numbers, he fell dead in the middle of his enemies. He came very close to dispatching with his enemy, Henry Tudor, killing his standard barer, William Brandon (the father of Henry VIII's close friend, Charles Brandon). The crown was picked up on the field of battle and placed by Sir William Stanley on the head of Tudor, who was at once proclaimed king by the whole army. After the battle Richard's body was carried to Leicester, trussed across a horse's back, and buried without honor in the church of the Greyfriars.

Richard was not the villain that his enemies made him out to appear. He had good qualities, both as a man and a ruler, and seemed to have a sound judgment of political needs (he had been able to keep the North of England in peace for his brother). However, it is impossible to clear him of the crime, the popular belief that was mostly likely the chief cause of his ruin - the death of his nephews, Edward V and Richard, Duke of York, in the Tower of London. He was not a monster but a typical man in an age of strange contradictions of character, an age of refined (for the day) culture mixed with horrible cruelty, and he possessed an emotional temper that was capable of anything (he was a Plantagenet after all). Tradition represents Richard as deformed but this has never been proven. After his defeat at Bosworth, Tudor and his supporters needed to solidify his claim to the throne and what better way to do that than to make the English people think that the King he replaced was a deformed, evil monster who killed his own nephews? No one did more to cement that belief than William Shakespeare with his play Richard III (who was undoubtedly writing to please the Tudors). They were hugely successful in their endeavors and, unfortunately, this view of Richard stuck until probably the 20th century when scholars really began to study him.

Friday, August 21, 2009

This Day in History...

August 21, 1996 - The new Globe Theatre in Southwark, London, opened with a production of Two Gentlemen of Verona.

The original "Globe" was built in 1598-99 by Shakespeare and his company with the timbers from their previous theatre, "The Theatre." It burned down in 1613 after a production of Henry VIII and was rebuilt in 1614 on the original foundations (just with a tile roof and not a thatched one!). In 1642 the Puritan Parliament issued an ordinance suppressing all stage plays (they thought they were evil and from the devil). The landowner demolished the "Globe" in 1644 and built tenement houses on the site.

In the 1970s Sam Wanamaker decided he wanted to rebuild the "Globe" and set up an educational charity to raise the money. Southwark provides a 1.2 acre site for the project...about 200 yards from the original site. The foundations of the original were found about 200 meters from the reconstruction site, along with the foundations of the "Rose" theatre. Construction on the actual building finally begins in 1993 and was completed in 96. It even has a thatched roof - the first in London since the Great Fire in 1666.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

This Day in History...

Couldn't really find anything too interesting for today.

August 20, 1942 - Searchlights crossing the sky cease to be a fixture of Hollywood premieres on this day. In an attempt to avoid attack and surveillance by enemy forces in World War II, the entire West Coast was required to dim its lights at night. During the war, movie studies were also limited in the amount of cloth they could use in costumes, the quantity of new construction they could devote to sets, and the amount of film stock they could purchase.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

This Day in History...

August 19, 480 BC - Spartan soldiers make an heroic last stand against the Persians at the pass at Thermopylae.!! At least I hope so cuz they got
a horrible picture of me sreaming here.

August 19, 1274 - The coronation of Edward I (this is the King that beat William Wallace).

August 19, 1561 Mary Queen of Scots arrived in Scotland to assume the throne after spending 13 years in France.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Teaser Tuesday

Here are two teaser lines from the book I am currently working on (Plaidy's Red Rose of Anjou):

The Cardinal was thoughtful. He was getting near to the end of a full and very satisfying life. Born bastard son of John of Gaunt and Catherine Swynford he had been legitimized by his father and had enjoyed many honours.

Gloucester did not want peace in France. He still dreamed that he was going to win spectacular battles like Agincourt. He really believed he was a military genius like his brother. Even Bedford had not been that, great soldier though he had been and wise administator too. There was none to compare with Henry the Fifth.

If I Were Producing a Movie - Richard III

Since there have been no recent versions of his story told, I think its high time someone took the project on! I would prefer it if they didn't follow Shakespeare's play either (no offense to my man, Will S here, but I happen to like Richard). I also would NOT want it set in any other time period than when it actually happened; I really don't like it when producers do that with stories that are supposed to be set in an older time (though I LOVED K. Branagh's Hamlet!).

I thought I would submit my recommendations as to who I'd pick to play various parts in this extremely interesting story! Feel free to comment and let me know if you think there's someone better for a role...I'm not to "up" on my stars! Lol! There are a couple of major players that I just could not think of anyone to fill their shoes! :)

EDITED AUG 21 - Thank you to some of the folks at for giving me some better suggestions for some of these roles!

Richard, Duke of Gloucester - Daniel Day-Lewis Jason Isaacs

Edward IV - Gerard Butler (he's so dreamy and I'd love to drool over him for a while)

Anne Neville - Moira Kelly

Elizabeth Woodville - Joan Allen Gwynneth Paltrow

Cecily Neville, Duchess of York - Glenn Close

Warwick - Mel Gibson (come on, you know you'd like to see him in another part like this...too bad he can't wear a kilt)

George, Duke of Clarence - Billy Zane (can't you just see him playing this arrogant part??)

Henry Stafford, Duke of Buckingham - Paul Bettany

Elizabeth of York -

Henry Tudor -

Margaret Beaufort - Meryl Streep

Jacquetta, Duchess of Bedford - Jacqueline Bisset

Margaret of Anjou - Juliette Binoche

Henry VI - Jake Weber