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, May 31, 2010

This Day in History...

May 31, 1443 - Margaret Beaufort, mother of the future Henry VII, is born at Bletsoe Castle, Bedfordshire. Margaret was a great granddaughter of John of Gaunt through the line descended from his children by Katheryn Swynford.

May 31, 1495 – Cecily Neville, mother of Edward IV and Richard III, dies.

May 31, 1911 - The Titanic was launched at Belfast. It was claimed that 'Not even God himself could sink this ship.'

Sunday, May 30, 2010

This Day in History...

May 30, 1431 - Joan of Arc is burned at the stake for heresy.

May 30, 1536 - Henry VIII marries Jane Seymour eleven days after having Anne Boleyn beheaded.

Looking for Suggestions and Opinions!

I have been tossing the idea around lately to change the name of my blog. It has crossed my mind that the name may not really represent what I include on my blog. I like the name but have wondered if it just doesn'

That being said, I have found my creativity streak sadly lacking of late and have had no luck coming up with a possible new name. So, I ask those of you who follow my blog two questions:

1. Should I consider changing the name of my blog?


2. If I change it can you give me some suggestions? :)

Friday, May 28, 2010

This Day in History...

May 28, 1503 - James IV of Scotland marries Margaret Tudor, daughter of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York. A Treaty of Everlasting Peace is signed between the two countries; it lasted ten years.

May 28, 1533 - Thomas Cramner, Archbishop of Canterbury, declares Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn's marriage valid.

May 28, 1588 - The Spanish Armada leaves Lisbon and heads for the English Channel.

May 28, 1660 - The future King George I was born.

May 28, 1774 - The first Continental Congress convenes in Philadelphia.

May 28, 1908 - Ian Fleming, the English author of the James Bond novels was born.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

This Day in History...

May 27, 1199 - King John, son of Eleanor of Aquitaine and Henry II, is crowned King of England.

May 27, 1541 - Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury is executed on the orders of Henry VIII (probably for the fact that she had Plantagenet blood in her veins). The execution was botched and it took several swings of the axe to take off her head.

May 27, 1703 - Peter the Great founds the city of St. Petersburg.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

This Day in History...

May 26, 604 - St Augustine, the first archbishop of Canterbury died.

May 26, 1670 - Charles II and Louis XIV of France sign the Secret Treaty of Dover, ending hostilities between England and France.

May 26, 1896 - Nicholas II becomes Tsar of Russia.

May 26, 1940 - Allied forces began a massive evacuation from Dunkirk, France.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

This Day in History...

May 25, 1521 - Martin Luther is declared an outlaw by the Edict of Worms issued by Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor.

May 25, 1659 - The Lord Protector Richard Cromwell, son of Oliver, resigned his position. This lead to the restoration of the monarchy and Charles II was crowned in 1660.

Monday, May 24, 2010

"Facts of Life" - British Monarchs

I thought it would be interesting to look up various statistics of the monarchs who sat on the coveted throne of England. We all know Queen Victoria is the longest reigning monarch to date but who had the shortest reign? Where does the present Queen fit into this list? How long did some of our most favorite (or infamous) monarchs reign? Who was the oldest monarch? The youngest? The tallest? You need look no further!

Longest Reigning

Queen Victoria: 63 years, 216 days (June 20, 1837 - January 22, 1901)
King George III: 59 years, 96 days (October 25, 1760 - January 29, 1820)
Elizabeth II: 58 years, 107 days (February 6, 1952 - present)
Henry III: 56 years, 29 or 30 days (October 18 or 19, 1216 - November 16, 1272)
Edward III: 50 years, 147 days (January 25, 1327 - June 21, 1377)
Elizabeth I: 44 years, 127 days (November 17, 1558 - March 24, 1603)
Henry VI: 38 years, 185 days (Aug 31, 1422 - Mar 4, 1461) 162 days (Oct 31, 1470 - Apr 11, 1471)
Henry VIII: 37 years, 281 days (April 22, 1509 - January 28, 1547)
Henry I: 35 years, 120 days (August 3, 1100 - December 1, 1135)
Henry II: 34 years, 254 days (October 25, 1154 - July 6, 1189)
Edward I: 34 years, 229 days (November 20, 1272 - July 7, 1307)

Shortest Reigning

Jane Grey: 9 days (July 10, 1553 - July 19, 1553)
Edgar the Ætheling: 1 month, 25 days (October 15, 1066 - December 10, 1066)
Edward V: 2 months, 16 days (April 9, 1483 - June 25, 1483)
Matilda: 5-9 months (Spring 1141 - Autumn 1141)
Harold II: 9 months, 9 days (January 5, 1066 - October 14, 1066)
Edward VIII: 10 months, 22 days (January 20, 1936 - December 11, 1936)

Longest Serving Prince of Wales: Prince Edward (Edward VII) - 59 years, 2 months, 13 days

Longest Lived British Monarch: Queen Elizabeth II

Youngest British Monarch to Die: Edward V

Oldest King to Begin Reign: William IV - 64 years, 10 months old

Oldest Queen to Begin Reign: Mary I - 37 years, 5 months old

Youngest King to Begin Reign: Henry VI - 8 months, 25 days old

Youngest Queen to Begin Reign: Mary, Queen of Scots - 6 days old

Youngest Queen Consort: Isabella of Valois (2nd wife of Richard II) - 6 years, 11 months, 25 days old

Monarch with the Most Children: Henry I - 29 (5 legitimate)

Monarch with the Most Legitimate Children: James II - 20

Youngest Queen Consort to Give Birth: Mary de Bohun (wife of Henry IV) - 12 years old

Youngest Queen Regnant to Give Birth: Mary II - 16 years old

Oldest Father: Edward I fathered his last child when he was 66 years old

Oldest Mother: Eleanor of Aquitaine gave birth to John when she was 44 years old

Tallest Monarch: Edward IV - 6'4 1/2"

Shortest Monarch: Victoria - 5'

This Day in History...

May 24, 1141 – Malcolm IV of Scotland is born.

May 24, 1153 – David I of Scotland dies at Carlisle, Cumbria.

May 24, 1487 - Lambert Simnel is crowned Edward VI, King of England in Dublin, Ireland. He was an imposter set up to threaten Henry VII's new and unstable reign.

May 24, 1819 - Princess Alexandrina Victoria was born at Kensington Palace , the only daughter of the Duke of Kent. She is the longest reigning British monarch to date; she reigned for 63 years, from 1837 until her death in 1901.

Mailbox Monday

Mailbox Monday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by Marcia 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). Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists!

I got some good ones this week!

Harold the King, Helen Hollick

After waiting ages to get this from, I finally broke down and purchased it from the Book Depository (yay for free shipping worldwide!). It finally arrived at my front door and I am so excited to get into this one!

The Brothers of Gwynedd, Edith Pargeter

I picked this up at Books-A-Million while enjoying a day at the mall with the family. Reading Sharon Kay Penman's Welsh trilogy made me want to read more about Llewelyn so I was anxious to get this re-issue. I am curious as to why there is a picture of an 18th century woman on the top and a picture of Richard III headed to battle on the bottom!

Eleanor the Queen, Norah Lofts

It is certainly the year of Eleanor; Henry must be rolling in his grave! I have enjoyed this author's other novels and I love reading about Eleanor so I picked this up at Books-A-Million as well.

Emma, Jane Austen

In my quest to read more Austen this year (fits nicely into one of my challenges, hehe) I got this at Books-A-Million. I believe this is the novel that the 90s movie "Clueless" is based on.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

This Day in History...

May 23, 1430 - Burgundian troops captured Joan of Arc and delivered her to English forces. She was tried as a witch.

May 23, 1533 - Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, declared Henry VIII's marriage to Catherine of Aragon null and void and his marriage to Anne Boleyn legal. The result was a break with the church in Rome.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

This Day in History...

May 22, 1127 - Empress Maud, daughter of Henry I, and Count Geoffrey V of Anjou, married at Le Mans Cathedral. They were the parents of Henry II, the first Plantagenet king.

May 22, 1455 - Richard, Duke of York and the Nevilles attacked the English court at the First Battle of St Albans. They captured Henry VI and killed Edmund Beaufort, Duke of Somerset.

May 22, 1859 - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was born. He was the novelist who created the detective Sherlock Holmes.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Book Review: The Founding

The Founding, Cynthia Harrod-Eagles
3.5/4 roses

After seeing this series mentioned on several blogs I finally decided to give it a shot; the first novel in this mammoth series is, after all, covering the Wars of the Roses, one of my favorite time periods. The series, which has 33-34 novels to date, covers the Morland family and shows them involved in various events throughout British history. This first book, aptly called The Founding introduces us to the first members of the family and shows us how they became wealthy and successful.

This was a rather fast moving story that covered events in the lives of the early Morlands from the 1430s up to Richard III's defeat at the Battle of Bosworth. There were some rather large gaps of time in between some chapters and that could throw some readers off but as the author was trying to fit quite a bit of story into a specific time frame, it is understandable. The various members of this family are shown at home, involved with the family sheep business, and at the Court of the various reigning Kings of England and their plot line is tightly entwined with the fortunes of these various Kings. The family is fiercely loyal to the Yorkist cause (thanks to Eleanor) and this greatly influences many of their actions and decisions. The author also has her opinions on events and people of this turbulent time period and some of that certainly shows in her writing. This is a fairly lengthy novel with many characters but I really didn't get a feel for any of them; there didn't seem to be much depth to most of them. Most of the characters were likable enough and I could find some sympathy for them but their individual personalities, their various motives, weren't really delved into too deeply. Eleanor is the one exception.

Eleanor is appalled at being forced to marry a mere "sheep farmer"; she is, after all, secretly in love with Richard, Duke of York.

This blurb from the back cover of the novel really nails Eleanor's personality. She is an orphan and a ward of the Beaufort family but has a very high opinion of herself. I really was not that fond of her, though there were some times where she was a bit more endearing. Throughout at least half the novel she is wrapped in this "holier than thou" attitude towards her husband, his family, and their business. She does eventually embrace her new life and helps them become very successful. Her "holier than thou" attitude then focuses on her children and grandchildren, expecting them to make wonderful and socially acceptable marriages. Her overbearing, domineering (and sometimes snobbish) ways do cause quite a bit of friction through the story. You have to admire her because she is such a strong and determined person (which is mentioned over and over and over) but at the same time she gets incredibly annoying sometimes with her bossiness and snobbishness.

All in all I enjoyed this novel, though I was not blown away by it. I always enjoy a new look at one of my favorite time periods and the characters were engaging enough that I do plan on reading further into this historical saga. Some readers could probably be irked at some of her historical "facts" but this is historical fiction so there is always going to be tweaks by the author to suite the story they are telling. While I enjoyed the overall novel there were bits and pieces that frustrated me (Eleanor being one of them), hence my 3.5/4 rating. I believe most readers will enjoy this story but be warned that you will most likely be sucked into the lives of the Morlands and feel compelled to see how they fair throughout the reign of the Tudors and beyond. I know I am!

The Alphabet in Historical Fiction Challenge: L

Each fortnight the ladies at Historical Tapestry will post a new letter of the alphabet and you do a blog post about a work of historical fiction that has that letter:
  • as the first letter in the title
  • as the first letter of the author's first or last name
  • the first letter of a character's first or last name
  • the first letter of a place where an historical event took place
So here is my post for the next letter of this challenge: L

London, Edward Rutherfurd

From the back cover: In the tradition of his phenomenal bestseller Sarum, Edward Rutherfurd now gives us a sweeping novel of London, a glorious pageant spanning two thousand years. He brings this vibrant city's long and noble history alive through the ever-shifting fortunes, fates, and intrigues of half-a-dozen families, from the age of Julius Caesar to the twentieth century. Generation after generation, these families embody the passion, struggle, wealth, and verve of the greatest city in the world...

After reading Rutherfurd's novel about Sarum (Salisbury) I couldn't wait to see what he did with the families in London. I was not disappointed. Starting at the banks of the Thames with the druids right before the Roman conquest of England and stopping on the banks of the Thames in 1997, Rutherfurd paints an absolutely amazing picture of London. He includes several different maps at the beginning which show London in different periods in its history and I found it fascinating to see how the city changed and expanded throughout the years. He also includes, thankfully, a very helpful family tree which really comes in handy when you're trying to keep up with all the families and their intertwining story lines throughout the novel. Of course there is going to be the usual embellishment that you're going to find in any fictional novel but it is mixed so well with history that nothing is going to see really out of place (or time). The novel is about several families that live in London, though thankfully all of these families do not show up in each chapter (which are divided pretty much according to a major event in each historical period [Roman, Anglo-Saxon, Norman Conquest, etc]) so you will only have to keep up with around three to four of the families per time period. It is really fascinating to follow these families and their relationships with each other. It really shows us how families in these distant days would pass on their feuds and friendships down through the generations.

Now that I am much more familiar with many of the periods and events covered here I will probably go back and re-read it. This is a long novel (prepare yourself for some flipping back and forth between your reading and the maps and family tree at the front) and some parts will drag a bit but I do not think you'll be disappointed. I thoroughly enjoyed this adventure through London's history and I would recommend it to anyone, especially those interested in London's very colorful history.

Please read my entire review on this novel here.

This Day in History...

May 21, 1471 - Henry VI died (or was murdered) in the Tower of London. He had been imprisoned there by Edward IV who had reclaimed the throne.

May 21, 1553 - Lady Jane Grey and Lord Guildford Dudley married at Durham House in London. This was part of John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland's plan to get control of the throne when Edward VI died.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

This Day in History...

May 20, 1191 - Richard I conquered Cyprus on his way to join the Crusaders in north west Israel.

May 20, 1217 - The Second Battle of Lincoln is fought. Prince Louis of France (who thought to become King of England) is defeated by William Marshal, 1st Earl of Pembroke.

May 20, 1364 - Sir Henry Percy is born. He is better known as Hotspur and was a big supporter of Henry IV. He did eventually rebel against the King and died at Shrewsbury.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

This Day in History...

May 19, 1359 - Margaret of Windsor, daughter of Edward III, married John Hastings, 2nd Earl of Pembroke.

May 19, 1499 - Katherine of Aragon and Prince Arthur, Prince of Wales, are married by proxy; she was 13, he was 12.

May 19, 1536 - Anne Boleyn is executed on Tower Green at the Tower of London. Her body is buried at St. Peter ad Vincula in the Tower in an arrow chest (as Henry didn't see the need to provide his ex-wife with a coffin).

May 19, 1568 - Elizabeth I orders the arrest of her cousin Mary, Queen of Scots.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

This Day in History...

May 18, 1152 - Eleanor, Duchess of Aquitaine, married Henry Plantagenet (soon to be Henry II of England). She had been divorced only two months earlier from Louis VII of France.

May 18, 1868 - The future Tsar Nicholas II was born at Tsarskoe Selo. His reign would not end happily - he abdicated his throne and he and his family were eventually murdered.

May 18, 1804 - Napoleon Bonaparte is proclaimed Emperor of the French.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Mailbox Monday

Mailbox Monday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by Marcia 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). Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists!

For the King's Favor, Elizabeth Chadwick

Received this in the mail today to review. Thank you Sourcebooks!!

This Day in History...

May 17, 1215 - England was in a state of Civil War and the barons, in revolt against King John and his reign, took possession of London.

May 17, 1220 - Henry III is re-crowned at Westminster Abbey. He had been crowned at Gloucester Cathedral, aged 9, in October of 1216 after the death of his father, King John. However, the Pope didn't consider that coronation legal or carried out according to the customs of the church.

May 17, 1521 -Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham, is executed for treason against Henry VIII. He boasted having a better claim to the throne.

May 17, 1527 - A secret inquiry into Henry VIII's marriage with Catherine of Aragon began at Greenwich, headed by Archbishop Warham.

May 17, 1536 - George Boleyn and 4 other men are executed at the Tower, accused of treason against Henry VIII. They were convicted on trumped up charges of adultery with the Queen, Anne Boleyn.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

This Day in History...

May 16, 1220 - Henry III laid the foundation stone of a new Lady Chapel at Westminster Abbey. This was the beginning the new abbey-church which was eventually completed in 1245.

May 16, 1568 - Mary Queen of Scots fled to England disguised as an ordinary woman. This began her almost 20 years of captivity by Elizabeth.

May 16, 1770 - Marie Antoinette of Austria married Louis XVI of France.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

This Day in History...

May 15, 1464 – Yorkists led by John Neville win a decisive victory over the Lancastrians at the Battle of Hexham. The Duke of Somerset was captured and executed.

May 15, 1536 - Anne Boleyn's trial for treason began. She was accused on trumped up charges of adultery and incest, sleeping with 4 men (including her brother George), and an assassination plot against her husband, Henry VIII. She was found guilty and executed four days later.Her brother George's trial took place immediately after her's and he was found guilty as well.

May 15, 1567 - Mary Queen of Scots married the Earl of Bothwell at Holyrood Palace. Her husband, Lord Darnley, had been assassinated only three months earlier and many thought she and Bothwell were involved.

Friday, May 14, 2010

This Day in History...

May 14, 1080 - Walcher, Bishop of Durham and Earl of Northumberland, was murdered. In revenge, William the Conqueror ravaged the area. He also used this as an opportunity to invade Scotland and build the castle at Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

May 14, 1264 - Simon de Montfort defeated Henry III at the Battle of Lewes. Montfort is known as the founder of parliamentary representative government (and thus not a favorite of the King!).

Thursday, May 13, 2010

This Day in History...

May 13, 1515 - Mary Tudor, younger sister of Henry VIII, was officially married to Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk at Greenwich. The first ceremony had taken place in France not long after the death of Mary's first husband, the King of France.

May 13, 1607 - John Smith landed on the coast of Virginia and established the first permanent English settlement in the New World. He named it Jamestown (after the King of England).

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Yay for Robins!!

Or...I'm really looking forward to the new Robin Hood movie starring Russell Crowe. It opens on May 14th and my hubby has said he wouldn't mind seeing it. Yay! I don't have to go by myself!

There have been so many versions of this legend (and legend it is, though there probably is some basis for it in the lives of real people) and so many of them have landed on the big screen. There is a BBC TV series about it as well.

Who can forget the oh-so-manly green outfit of Errol Flynn?

Why, yes, it is a lovely shade of kelly green; makes me feel manly. I can give you the number of my dyer.

My personal favorite (really, it is) is the Kevin Costner version which came out in 1991. Yes, cheesy acting (though I do so love Alan Rickman) and an almost equally cheesy plot but I still loved it. The scenery was beautiful.

As a matter of fact I do use Garnier Fructis.

This newest version, starring Russell Crowe as a much more realistic Robin and Cate Blanchette as a very warrior like Marion, is going to give viewers a (supposedly) much more realistic look at the way life was in the 1200s - gritty, dirty, and violent. I am really looking forward to this, especially since I have read so much about this time period (via Sharon Kay Penman's wonderful Here Be Dragons and Elizabeth Chadwick's novels about William Marshal). I am sure there are going to be issues with historical inaccuracies but is Hollywood. Would we expect them to actually portray something correctly? :) vewry, vewry qwiet...I'm hunting wabbits.

Book Review: A Favorite of the Queen

A Favorite of the Queen, Jean Plaidy
3 roses

I love Jean Plaidy and I am a fan of Elizabeth I so I couldn't pass on this book when I saw it at the store. This is the last novel in Plaidy's Tudor series and rather than focusing on the Queen this novel focuses on the life of Elizabeth's love, Robert Dudley. While of course Elizabeth features in the story Plaidy really focuses the majority of the novel on Robert and his family and their thoughts and feelings. It was certainly an interesting look at this well known figure in history.

This is a short book and a very fast read; many episodes are lightly touched on or mentioned in passing after the fact. It starts with Robert's father, 9 year old John Dudley, watching the execution of his father at the beginning of Henry VIII's reign and continues until Robert's death in 1588. Plaidy really shows how his father's determination to rise to great heights at the Tudor court shaped Robert's outlook on life and on himself; he really saw himself as A Very Important Person. This feeling of superiority carried him throughout life and greatly influenced the choices he made. We watch him grow and mature and learn to maneuver through the politics of the day, including managing to survive his father's downfall in Mary's reign. Plaidy also gives the reader a closer look at Robert's various intimate relationships, including his volatile marriage to Amy Robsart. While Plaidy certainly portrays Robert as a man who is ambitious and believes himself to be destined for greatness (but how could he not think this when his family was always telling him how wonderful he was) he does not come across as an extremely sneaky, devious, and manipulative man, willing to go to any lengths to gain a crown; he is actually quite likable and you do have to feel a bit sorry for him at points. They way Plaidy presents the growth and evolution of Robert and Elizabeth's relationship is wonderful, showing how they change and mature from infatuated, passionate youngsters to adults whose love is deep and mature. It is rather sad that two people who obviously loved one another and were very well matched could not be together.

The story of Robert and Elizabeth's relationship has been written about many times in many novels but this would have to be one of my favorite portrayals. Plaidy writes historical fiction in the way it should be written - sticking to the facts (as much as possible for an author of fiction) and not throwing in things just for sensationalism. I would certainly recommend this book to any lovers of Tudor history and fans of Elizabeth. Plaidy's clear and easy to read writing style make this a great book for those not already familiar with the story. Please be aware that this is a reissue of Plaidy's book and they have changed the title. The original title was Gay Lord Robert so if you have read that, it is the same book.

This Day in History...

May 12, 1191 - Richard I married Berengaria of Navarre.

May 12, 1264 - The Battle of Lewes between Henry III and the Earl of Leicester, Simon de Montfort, begins.

May 12, 1536 - Sir Francis Weston, Mark Smeaton, William Brereton, and Henry Norris, all alleged lovers of Anne Boleyn, were tried for and convicted of treason. Only Smeaton confessed to the charges. George Boleyn was tried for the same crimes a few days later.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

This Day in History...

A few random events...

May 11, 973 - King Edgar was crowned at Bath Abbey. The service, which was written by the Archbishop of Canterbury St. Dunstan, forms the basis of the current coronation service.

May 11, 1310 - 54 members of the Knights Templar are burned at the stake as heretics in France.

May 11, 1942 - Go Down, Moses, a collection of short stories by William Faulkner, is published.

Monday, May 10, 2010

New Tudor Book I'm not a big fan of the current fad of taking classic stories and rewriting them to include zombies, sea monsters, vampires, etc. Its just not my thing and I really haven't found any of them interesting (to me anyway...I know others get a kick out of them). Authors have even taken to rewriting the history of some very famous people (Queen Victoria is one that comes to mind) and turning them into zombie hunters, etc.

However, when I saw this post on a fellow blogger's blog, I did two things:

1. I almost spit the Coke I was drinking all over my computer screen.


2. Decided that this is one that I may just have to read.

From Amazon: HENRY VIII: WOLFMAN - DIVORCED. BEHEADED. DIED. MAULED. SAVAGED. SURVIVED? Henry VIII was the best and bloodiest King ever to have sat on the throne of England. This fast-paced, exciting, gory, inventive and just plain gross retelling of his reign will bring to light the real man behind the myth. When it came to his size, Henry VIII was known for being larger-than-life, with a fearsome temper and bloodthirsty reputation to match; more beast than human, some might say...Be dragged kicking and screaming back 500 years into Tudor England...

This will be released July 8, 2010 but I am not sure if it will be a UK only release at this time or not.

This Day in History...

May 10, 1291 - The Scottish nobles recognize the authority of Edward I.

May 10, 1863 - Confederate General Stonewall Jackson dies eight days after being accidentally shot by Confederate troops.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

This Day in History...

A few more random events...

May 8, 1429 - Joan of Arc led the Dauphin's troops to victory over the English army laying siege to Orleans.

May 8, 1559 - The Act of Supremacy was passed, naming Queen Elizabeth I "Supreme Governor" of the Church of England and a Common Prayer book (in English) was introduced.

May 8, 1660 - Charles II was proclaimed King of England. This was the restoration of the monarchy after the English Civil War and Oliver Cromwell's reign as Lord Protector.

Friday, May 7, 2010

This Day in History...

A bunch of random events scattered across the years...

May 7, 1429 - Joan of Arc ends the siege of Orleans after pulling an arrow from her shoulder and returning to the battle. This marked a turning point in the Hundred Years War.

May 7, 1812 - English poet Robert Browning was born.

May 7, 1915 - During World War I the Cunard liner Lusitania was torpedoed by a German u-boat off the coast of Ireland. Roughly 1,200 lives were lost. The death of 128 Americans brought the US to the verge of war with Germany.

May 7, 1945 - Germany signed an unconditional surrender, ending six years of war in Europe.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Book Review: The Scarlet Lion

The Scarlet Lion, Elizabeth Chadwick
5 roses

Yet another brilliant masterpiece by Elizabeth Chadwick! I absolutely could not put this book down. It kept me on the edge of my seat throughout and in tears at the end. Once again we are treated to the incredible talent of Ms. Chadwick; her weaving together of fiction and research are flawless. Here she continues the amazing story of William Marshal, taking him deep into the reign of King John and all the treachery of his court.

After the untimely death of Richard I, John comes to the throne, bringing with him a crazy and unearned distrust of Marshal. Through out the book John is constantly trying to entrap Marshal into committing treason so he can take away everything he (Marshal) has earned throughout his life. Not only does Marshal have to struggle with John's devious tactics in England, he also has to deal with holding and strengthening Isabelle's lands in Ireland. During all these travels and struggles, William and Isabelle nurture their large and growing family and we see their struggles as parents as well. Throughout John's turbulent reign, which includes the Baron's Revolt and Magna Carta, the Marshals manage (barely) to keep their heads above water and are able to find more security and stability in the early years of John's son Henry III's reign.

At the end of the previous novel about Marshal (The Greatest Knight) we get a glimpse of the beginning of his marriage to Isabelle de Clare. This novel covers their life together in fantastic detail, showing all the ups and downs of a noble marriage which just happens to be a love match. In a time when most women, even noble women, were looked on as mere possessions, Marshal truly loved his wife and listened to her opinions and ideas. The descriptions of their relationship are so touching and emotional. Not only do we see their life together with their children, we also see how the political struggles of the time affect the different members of the family. Ms. Chadwick is a master at taking people from a time very distant from our own and making them come alive for the reader. I absolutely loved William Marshal and his family and I hated King John for the constant grief he gave them. John really is a despicable and devious character and I hated him; he was truly evil. All the characters in the novel are very well developed and it really helps give you a better understanding of why a particular character behaved in a certain way (except of John of course). I actually enjoyed this novel better than its prequel (though I enjoyed that one immensely); I just felt that the plot here moved along a lot quicker and, in my opinion, contained quite a bit more action, though not in the form of numerous battles as you see in TGK. There was a lot more tension, suspense, and uncertainty in this part of Marshal's life so I am sure that plays a major part. I also really enjoyed how much of the story is told from Isabelle's perspective; it was fascinating to see how strong this lady was in the face of so much adversity.

I think one of the things that makes this book so outstanding is the wonderful blend of historical accuracy, amazing writing, love, honor, intrigue, and wonderful characters. I would recommend this to any reader as it is truly marvelous and one that shouldn't be missed. While this is a sequel to The Greatest Knight the two books can stand on their own...but really, who wouldn't want to read more about William Marshal?

Ms. Chadwick's next book To Defy a King is the story of William and Isabelle's daughter Mahelt.

This Day in History...

May 6, 1527 - Forces under Charles V sack Rome. Pope Clement VII manages to "escape" to Castel Sant'Angelo. This event caused major issues for Henry VIII.

May 6, 1536 - Henry VIII orders all churches to have a Bible printed in English.

May 6, 1861 - Richmond is named the new capital of the Confederate States of America.

May 6, 1937 - The Hindenburg, a German airship, catches fire and crashes while trying to dock at Lakehurst, New Jersey. 37 people were killed.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

This Day in History...

May 5, 1215 - Rebel barons renounce their allegiance to King John. This is part of a chain of events that lead to the signing of the Magna Carta.

May 5, 1821 - Napoleon dies in exile on the island of Saint Helena.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

This Day in History...

May 4, 1471 - The Yorkists, lead by Edward IV, defeat the Lancastrians at the Battle of Tewkesbury. This was the battle that effectively ended the Wars of the Roses (though most will say Henry VII did that by marrying Elizabeth of York). Edward, Prince of Wales, Henry VI and Margaret of Anjou's only child, was killed at the battle and is buried at Tewkesbury Abbey in Gloucester.

May 4, 1776 - Rhode Island becomes the first colony to renounce allegiance to King George III.

May 4, 1942 - The Battle of the Coral Sea began when the USS Yorktown attacked Japanese forces on the island of Tulagi.

Monday, May 3, 2010

This Day in History...

May 3, 1152 - Matilda of Boulogne, wife of King Stephen, died at Hedingham Castle in Essex.

May 3, 1257 - Katherine, third and youngest daughter of Henry III, died at Windsor Castle.

May 3, 1937 - Gone with the Wind wins the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

Mailbox Monday - May 3, 2010

Mailbox Monday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by Marcia 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). Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists!

Got a few this past week. Yay! I really need a new (and bigger) bookshelf!

Charlotte and Emily: A Novel of the Brontes, Jude Morgan

Picked this one up at Borders the day it was released. It came highly recommended so I am looking forward to delving into this one.

The Time Traveler's Guide to Medieval England, Ian Mortimer

How could you pass up a book like this??? I didn't want to spend that much on a hardcover book but really, I just HAD to have it! This should come in handy actually for one of my WIPs.

Royal Blood, Bertram Fields

I have been waiting anxiously for this one and it finally arrived from Paperbackswap! I am so excited to read this!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

This Day in History...

May 2, 1536 - Anne Boleyn, along with 4 men, were sent to the Tower of London on trumped up charges of adultery and incest. She was executed 17 days later.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

This Day in History...

May Day - In England, middle and lower classes would gather flowers - ‘go a maying’ - and the prettiest village maid was crowned Queen of the May, celebrated with dancing around the maypole. The "festival" was originally Roman marking the beginning of summer.

May 1, 1118 – Edith of Scotland, Henry I's first wife, died at the Palace of Westminster. She is buried at Westminster Abbey.

May 1, 1464 - Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville secretly marry at Grafton Regis, Northamptonshire. This marriage would have grave consequences once it was announced in September.

May 1, 1707 - The countries of England and Scotland were finally united.