Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
June 29, 1613 - The original Globe Theatre burned down after a spark from a cannon fired during a performance of Shakespeare's Henry VIII set fire to the thatched roof. The theatre was totally destroyed but was rebuilt in June 1614, this time with a tiled roof.
Monday, June 28, 2010
June 28, 1491 - The future Henry VIII is born to Henry VII and Elizabeth of York at Greenwich Palace. He was a second son and was never meant to be king.
June 28, 1838 - Queen Victoria is crowned at Westminster Abbey. She was 18 years old.
June 28, 1914 - The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie started World War I.
Saturday, June 26, 2010
Friday, June 25, 2010
June 25, 1533 - Mary Tudor, daughter of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York, sister of Henry VIII, and wife of Charles Brandon died at her home in Suffolk.
June 25, 1646 - The surrender of the city of Oxford to the Roundheads virtually signified the end of the English Civil War.
June 25, 1876 - The famous Battle of Little Bighorn began in Montana. It would end the next day in a horrible defeat for the US cavalry and with the death of Gen. Custer.
Thursday, June 24, 2010
- 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
Secrets of the Tudor Court, D.L. Bogdan
From the back cover: When young Mary Howard receives the news that she will be leaving her home for the grand court of King Henry VIII, to attend his mistress Anne Boleyn, she is ecstatic. Everything Anne touches seems to turn to gold, and Mary is certain Anne will one day become Queen. But Mary has also seen the King's fickle nature and how easily he discards those who were once close to him...
Discovering that she is a pawn in a carefully orchestrated plot devised by her father, the duke of Norfolk, Mary dare not disobey him. Yet despite all of her efforts to please him, she too falls prey to his cold wrath. Noth until she becomes betrothed to Harry Fitzroy, the Duke of Richmond and son to King Henry VIII, does Mary find the love and approval she's been seeking. But just when Mary believes she is finally free of her father, the tides turn. Now Mary must learn to play her part well in a dangerous chess game that could change her life -- and the course of history.
As I am always up for a good Tudor read I was looking forward to this novel about a little known figure from history. Mary Howard was the daughter of the Duke of Norfolk and she was married to Henry VIII's illegitimate son Henry Fitzroy but that is usually all you see of her in any Tudor era novels - if she is even mentioned at all. This novel focuses in on her life from childhood, through her turbulent years at the Tudor court, and ends with her father's death a year before her own. While a subject of this sort has a wide range of potential I personally felt there was something lacking. I do not think this was a bad book but something about it just missed the mark with me, though I did enjoy getting a peek at someone I had never read about before. It is a novel about a very obscure person from history (a line at the end of the novel says it all: No one will remember her) and in cases such as this there is going to be very little historical information for an author to pull from, leaving a wide scope for the author's interpretation and thoughts. So while I can't say the author's interpretation of Mary's story is inaccurate I can't say it is accurate either. I found Mary Howard a bit too much of a goody-goody and her dogged determination to love her father no matter what was a bit irritating, especially considering the horrible way he treated her and her mother (and when I say horrible I really do mean horrible). Her constant quest to find approval in her father's eyes made me want to throw up my hands in frustration as he repeatedly showed that he really didn't care. I did feel incredibly sorry for Mary since she was cheated out of the love she so desperately wanted from a husband thanks to her father's constant scheming and the scenes between Mary and Harry Fitzroy were really touching. And speaking of her father, I could never decide if he hated Mary or was in love with her. Between the horrible beatings (and if a reader out there has been the victim of domestic violence I would recommend they steer clear of this book) he gave her and then the odd "making up" scenes, I was really scratching my head and feeling that there was just something not quite right there. Besides the oddness of the relationship between Mary and the Duke, there were some parts of the plot that just seemed stuck in there but really served no purpose (one example being the fate of Mary's lover Cedric). I really thought the book had potential, and there were parts of it that I really enjoyed, but there were just too many odd things that left me scratching my head in the end. The epilogue by Mary's mother was really good and did strike a cord with me and seemed like a good ending to Mary's story. One thing I would have really liked would have been an author's note discussing where she got some of her information on the subject of Mary and the Howards (especially the Duke's personality). All in all I would say it was a good book, even though there were things I didn't personally like. It was an easy read and it would be a great book for someone who isn't into the really "heavy on the detail" historical fiction on the Tudors. I will certainly read another by this author as her writing was entertaining enough.
June 24, 1314 - The Battle of Bannockburn concludes in a victory of the Scottish, lead by Robert the Bruce, over the English. England refused to recognize Scottish independence until 1328.
June 24, 1348 - William of Windsor, 6th son and 11th child of Edward III, was born. He only lived until September 1348.
June 24, 1441 - Henry VI founds Eton College.
June 24, 1509 - Henry VIII is crowned King of England with his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, crowned beside him. His second wife Anne Boleyn was crowned on June 1, 1533 but his four other wives were never crowned.
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
June 23, 1532 - Henry VIII and François I of France sign a secret treaty against Holy Roman Emperor Charles V.
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
June 22, 1377 - Richard II became King of England at the age of 10after the death of his grandfather Edward III. Richard's father was Edward, the Black Prince.
Only got one this past week.
Captive Queen, Alison Weir
I won this through LibraryThing. I am skeptical of what is between the covers after seeing other reviews but I'll read and review it and see what's there.
Monday, June 21, 2010
June 21, 1377 - Edward III died at Sheen Palace. He is buried at Westminster Abbey. Since his son Edward, the Black Prince, died before he did, his grandson Richard became king.
June 21, 1942 - The Battle of Okinawa finally ends.
June 21, 1982 - Princess Diana gives birth to Prince William.
Saturday, June 19, 2010
June 19, 1566 - James VI of Scotland (and 1st of England) was born to Mary, Queen of Scots.
June 19, 1979 - Robin (aka The Lady Gwyn) was born in Atlanta, Georgia. (hehehe)
Friday, June 18, 2010
The next personage from history who has been kind enough to reveal the tunes on his Ipod is none other than William of Normandy (and Conqueror of England). Will has also included a special video that he finds amusing, set to one of his favorite songs.
1. We Are the Champions - Queen
2. Eye of the Tiger - Survivor
3. We Will Rock You - Queen
4. Invincible - Pat Benatar
5. The Great Pretender - Freddie Mercury
6. Waltzing Matilda - Australian ballad
7. Ten Feet Tall and Bulletproof - Travis Tritt
8. I Am a Rock - Simon and Garfunkel
9. Immigrant Song - Led Zeppelin
10. I See England, I See France
June 18, 1269 - Eleanor of England, daughter of Edward I, is born at Windsor Castle.
June 18, 1318 - Eleanor of Woodstock, daughter of Edward II, is born at Woodstock Palace.
June 18, 1429 - Joan of Arc leads French forces to defeat the English (under Sir John Fastolf) at the Battle of Patay, turning the tide of the Hundred Years War.
June 18, 1536 - Henry Fitzroy, Henry VIII's illegitimate son by Bessie Blount, died at St. James’ Palace.
June 18, 1633 - Charles I was crowned King of Scotland.
June 18, 1815 - The Duke of Wellington defeats Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo.
June 18, 1901 - The Grand Duchess Anastasia of Russia, daughter of Tsar Nicholas II, is born.
Thursday, June 17, 2010
HISTORICAL FICTION CONNECTION is a site where members of the historical fiction community (and authors!) can all connect and contribute. There is just no telling what wonderful things you might find on the site! Please head on over and bookmark, follow, etc etc, so you won't miss anything as this new site gets on its feet!
2010 is the summer of Eleanor of Aquitaine with many books being published about this illustrious medieval queen. This novel is not new but a reissue of one published in the 1950s by this wonderful historical fiction author. Lofts' novels are always well researched and this is no exception, even though it is rather short.
Lofts begins her novel with Eleanor almost on the eve of her marriage to the French King in 1137 and follows her life up to the point where she is returning to England to keep a handle on things for her son Richard (who is leaving for his crusade) in 1190. The reader will catch glimpses of her marriage to King Louis, their disastrous crusade, and her tumultuous marriage to Henry II. I found this book a very easy and quick read - in fact, too quick. While Lofts' information is certainly good, in a book of this small size many events in Eleanor's life are glazed over. As eventful as Eleanor's life was, Lofts seems to focus more on the more mundane, everyday aspects of her life, which isn't a bad thing but as all the truly important events are mentioned only briefly the novel does seem to drag a bit and could be construed as "boring." This novel did seem to spend more time on Eleanor's years as Henry's captive which was rather interesting to read about. I do have my doubts about a few of the events that happened to her while she was a captive but I did enjoy getting more of a look at those years. There really was nothing "new" about Lofts' Eleanor and she portrays her in quite a favorable light. All the other major players in history (Henry, Richard, John, etc.) are there but they are just not focused on so the reader is not going to get much about their lives and feelings.
As far as historical fiction goes, this novel is about average. It is not an in depth or difficult read and I would highly recommend it to anyone who is just starting out in their discovery of Eleanor; you will get the basics of her life in a very easy to read format. Those who are well versed in Eleanor's life might find it lacking. I would still recommend Sharon Kay Penman's wonderful trilogy on Eleanor and Henry as the best to read on this turbulent and impassioned couple and family.
June 17, 1497 - Henry VII defeated Cornish rebels at the Battle of Deptford Bridge.
June 17, 1579 - Francis Drake, famed English sailor, anchored his ship the Golden Hind just north of what would one day be San Francisco Bay. He proclaimed England's sovereignty over an area he named New Albion.
June 17, 1885 - The Statue of Liberty arrives in New York Harbor.
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
June 16, 1487 - The Battle of Stoke, the last major battle in the Wars of the Roses, was fought, with the Lancastrians victorious.
June 16, 1586 - Mary, Queen of Scots, recognizes Phillip II of Spain as her heir.
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Our next volunteer is Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII's second wife (this should be interesting...)
1. I'm the One that You Want - John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John
2. Kerosene - Miranda Lambert
3. B***h - Meredith Brooks (I'm sure there are some who would agree!)
4. Pretty Woman - Roy Orbison
5. Witchy Woman - Eagles (hmm...is she suggesting something here?)
6. Wild Thing - The Troggs
7. It's Raining Men - The Weather Girls (I laughed over this one)
8. Material Girl - Madonna
9. He Wasn't Man Enough for Me - Toni Braxton (I imagine her telling Jane this...)
10. Dancing Queen - Abba
11. I'm Here for the Party - Gretchen Wilson
13. Over It - Katherine McPhee
14. Better Than Her - Matisse
15. One Is A Lonely Number - Three Dog Night
16. I'm Every Woman - Whitney Houston
June 15, 1330 - Edward, the Black Prince, son of Edward III and father of Richard II, is born at Woodstock Palace.
June 15, 1519 - Henry Fitzroy, Henry VIII's illegitimate son by his mistress Bessie Blount, is born.
June 15, 1752 - Benjamin Franklin proves that lightning is electricity.
June 15, 1934 - The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is created.
Monday, June 14, 2010
Friday, June 11, 2010
June 11, 1183 - Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine's oldest son, Henry, died. This made Richard the heir to the English throne.
June 11, 1381 - Wat Tyler led the peasants of Southern England in a march to London. This was the first popular rebellion in English history.
June 11, 1456 - Anne Neville, daughter of the Earl of Warwick, is born. She would later become the wife of Richard III.
June 11, 1488 - James III of Scotland was murdered by rebellious Scottish nobles. He was succeeded by his 15 year old son, James IV.
June 11, 1509 - An eighteen year old Henry VIII married Catherine of Aragon, his brother Arthur's widow. He would regret this decision 20 years later when she had failed to produce a male heir and he wanted to marry Anne Boleyn.
Thursday, June 10, 2010
June 10, 1692 - Bridget Bishop is hanged at Gallow's Hill for witchcraft during the Salem Witch Trials.
June 10, 1897 - Grand Duchess Tatiana Nikolaevna, daughter of Nicholas II and Alexandria, is born.
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
June 9, 1549 - The Book of Common Prayer is adopted by The Church of England. It was compiled by Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Cranmer.
June 9, 1672 - Future Russian Tsar Peter "the Great" is born.
Next up is Henry VIII's first wife, Katherine of Aragon!
1. What Hurts the Most - Rascal Flatts
2. Amazing Grace
3. Every Light in the House is On - Trace Adkins (I can see her telling Henry this...)
4. You Were Always on My Mind - Willie Nelson
5. Stand by Your Man - Tammy Wynette
6. My Heart Will Go On - Celine Dion
7. Keep Holding On - Avril Lavigne
8. Breakin' Up Is Hard to Do - The Carpenters
9. Ave Maria
10. Think of Me - from Phantom of the Opera
11. I Will Survive - Gloria Gaynor (perfect for her)
12. How Do I Live Without You - LeeAnn Rimes
13. I Will Remember You - Sarah McLachlan
14. Broken Vow - Josh Grobon
15. O Fortuna - Carl Orff
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Busy day today...and not a good one for royalty apparently!
June 8, 1042 - Harthacnut, King of England, died. He was succeeded his half-brother, Edward the Confessor.
June 8, 1191 - Richard the Lionheart arrives at Acre, finally beginning his crusade.
June 8, 1376 - Edward, Prince of Wales (the Black Prince), son and heir of Edward III, died at the Palace of Westminster. He is buried at Canterbury Cathedral where you can still visit his tomb.
June 8, 1405 - Henry IV has Richard le Scrope, Archbishop of York, and Thomas Mowbray, Earl of Norfolk, executed at York.
June 8, 1492 – Elizabeth Woodville, wife of Edward IV, died at Bermondsey. She was buried next to her husband at St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, with hardly any fanfare.
June 8, 1536 - English Parliament settled the succession on the future children of Henry VIII and Jane Seymour. Princesses Mary and Elizabeth were declared illegitimate.
Monday, June 7, 2010
First up is Henry VIII! What would this infamous English King have on his Ipod?
1. Ain't No Mountain High Enough - Diana Ross (could fit any wife he's after)
2. It's My Life - Jon Bon Jovi
3. I Got You Babe - Sonny and Cher (again...all wives fit)
4. I'll Make Love to You - Boys II Men (and again, except Anne of Cleves lol!)
5. Anymore - Travis Tritt (yet again, all of them)
6. Don't Take the Girl - Tim McGraw (fits with Jane Seymour)
7. You Can't Always Get What You Want - Rolling Stones
8. I'm Too Sexy - Right Said Fred (too obvious I think hehe)
9. Heartbreak Hotel - Elvis Presley
10. The Bad Touch - Bloodhound Gang
11. You Give Love a Bad Name - Jon Bon Jovi
13. You're the One that I Want - John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John
14. Bad - Michael Jackson
15. (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction - Rolling Stones (understatement...)
16. Another One Bites the Dust - Queen
17. Henry the Eight - Herman's Hermits
Only got one this week and it came today!
Here be Dragons, Sharon Kay Penman
I have read this entire series but don't own them. This came today from Paperbackswap.com. I do so love Sharon Kay Penman!
This is the second of Helen Hollick's books I have read. The first, The Hollow Crown, is set in the years preceding this story and tells of the life of Queen Emma, wife to two English kings. In this novel, Hollick continues the story of an England just prior to the Norman Conquest, focusing on Harold Godwineson, son of the Earl of Wessex and Earl of East Anglia in his own right. I found this novel absolutely fantastic and completely enthralling; I had a hard time putting it down. Everything that I have read about the Norman Conquest to this point had been only from the Norman point of view and it was eye-opening to see things from the English side.
Hollick begins the tale not long after the coronation of Edward (the Confessor). Harold has been made Earl of East Anglia and his family is in high favor with the King. The novel then follows Harold's life as he struggles with various family members and the moodiness of an unprepared King, spanning the years from the beginning of Edward's reign all the way through the Battle of Hastings in 1066. We see Harold rise, through his intelligence and honor, from Earl of East Anglia to Earl of Wessex (after the death of his father) and ultimately to King of England. The story is mainly told from Harold's view point but there are some chapters, especially later in the novel, that give us a look at events from different characters' perspectives. As the story moves towards it conclusion we see more chapters from William of Normandy's point of view, giving the reader a look at both sides of the conflict.
This was an amazing novel. Most people are familiar with the Norman Conquest but there is little that brings to life the politics and people leading up to that infamous battle in 1066, especially from the English perspective. This novel does that. The writing was superb, making these distant times and people come alive and almost leap off the pages. Hollick's descriptions of everyday life and duties, the Court, and people make it easy to picture in my mind. I feel the real strength in this novel, even more so than the wonderful descriptions and fantastic story, are the characters themselves. All the characters are wonderfully developed and each possess a very different personality - you can't help but hate or love them. Harold himself is a character like Sharon Kay Penman's Llewelyn or Richard III - he is quite aware of his human frailties, is ambitious but not overly so, is a man of honor, and is touching in his devotion to his hand-fast wife, Edyth Swannhaels, and his desire to simply be a husband and father. You can't help but love the man and constantly pull for his victory (though you know what happens in the end). It was hard for me to read the closer I got to the Battle of Hastings as I know my history and it broke my heart to see the path that would lead Harold to his destiny. As easy as it is to love Harold it is equally as easy to dislike his sister, Edith, his brothers Swegn and Tostig, and William of Normandy. His siblings are ambitious and greedy and will do whatever it takes to achieve wealth and power and Harold is constantly wondering how in the world he ended up with siblings such as these . I thoroughly despised his sister for her arrogance and selfishness throughout the story. Equally unlikeable is William of Normandy. He comes across as extremely ambitious, vicious and determined, and quite stubborn; I did not like him at all. Once he sets his mind on having the throne of England he won't let anything or anyone stand in his way. Edward is a wonderfully drawn character with many layers to his personality, making it easy to hate him for his weakness one moment, pity him for the fact that he is completely unsuited to be King the next, and then like him for a moment of kindness. Hollick's depiction of this king (who acquired the title "the Confessor" long after his death) is dead on - a man who should have been a monk or priest and is completely out of his element on the throne of England. I could write pages on all the wonderful characters that populate this story - Queen Emma, Edyth Swannhaels, Harold's younger brothers, Harold's parents, etc - but I just don't have that much time! Each one has their own special story and they all fit together so beautifully in the overall narrative. One character that I must mention is Waltheof, son of Siward. Fans of Elizabeth Chadwick will recognize this young man from her novel The Winter Mantle and I found it interesting to get a glimpse of him as a boy.
This novel that is a must read! I highly recommend it to any lover of historical fiction and especially to those interested in stories dealing with pre-Conquest England. It is a very large book but once you loose yourself in Hollick's exceptional writing you will wish the story was longer. If you enjoy Harold's story you will probably enjoy Hollick's "prequel" The Hollow Crown which is the story of Edward's mother, Queen Emma.
June 7, 1394 – Anne of Bohemia, beloved first wife of Richard II, died of the plague at Sheen Palace. Richard burned the palace down.
June 7, 1520 - Henry VIII and Francis I of France meet at the Field of Cloth of Gold, each trying to outdo the other in splendor.
June 7, 1535 - John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester, was tried for treason by Henry VIII because of his support of Katherine of Aragon. He was executed on the 22nd.
June 7, 1906 - The Cunard Line launched the Lusitania, at the time the world's fastest and largest liner. She would be torpedoed by the Germans in WWI and her sinking would be one of the factors bringing the USA into the war.
Saturday, June 5, 2010
June 5, 1341 - Edmund of Langley, 1st Duke of York, son of Edward III, is born in Hertfordshire.
Friday, June 4, 2010
June 4, 1394 – Mary de Bohun, first wife of Henry IV, died at Peterborough Castle while giving birth to her daughter Philippa.
June 4, 1584 - Sir Walter Raleigh establishes the first English colony in America on Roanoke Island, North Carolina. This colony's fate still remains a mystery.
Thursday, June 3, 2010
June 3, 1692 - Bridget Bishop is the first person to go to trial during the Salem Witch trials. Of course she was found guilty and hanged 8 days later.
June 3, 1937 - Edward, Duke of Windsor, and Wallis Simpson married in France. He abdicated the English throne to have her.
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
June 2, 1840 - English novelist and poet Thomas Hardy was born.
June 2, 1953 - The coronation of Queen Elizabeth II was held in Westminster Abbey and was the first major international event ever to be televised.
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
jean beaufort queen consort portrait (I missed this queen somewhere in my reading)
Prince Charles miss gwyn (I must have made quite an impression at tea)
There were also about 8 that had to do with the movie Ironclad.
But I must say thank you to everyone who ambles on by my blog here!
* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title & author, too, so that other participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
Harold the King, Helen Hollick
A restlessness that had been consuming Harold since his success in Wales spread and took root in him like a black canker.
The new-awakened lure of adventure, action and excitement bucked within him. He was bored by the routine inactivity of Edward's court.
So I started my blog here at Blogspot. I was just blogging about random things for the first month or so as I had no real direction for it at that point. Then, and I don't remember how, I began to stumble across some of the lovely blogs I now follow that talk about historical fiction (my favorite thing!). Hmmm....this looked interesting. In July of last year I posted a review about two books I had recently read (Katherine and Queen of Shadows) with the intent of posting one review a month. After that everything just started to come together as I began posting my "This Day in History" bit and found I really loved doing book review.
And here I am today (a bit behind in my reviews at the moment but I have a 2 1/2 year old running around so please forgive me!), thoroughly enjoying this blog I have created and really enjoying the folks I have met through it!
Thanks to everyone who follows my blog!
June 1, 1943 - The Germans shot down British Overseas Airways Corporation Flight 777 over the Bay of Biscay, killing actor Leslie Howard (he played Ashley in Gone With the Wind) .