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

Friday, October 29, 2010

This Week in History...

October 24, 1537 - Jane Seymour, Henry VIII's third wife, died from complications from childbirth at Hampton Court Palace. She is buried in St. George's Chapel.

October 25, 1154 - England's King Stephen died at Dover Castle. Henry II, son of the Empress Matilda, became the first of the Angevin kings.

October 25, 1400 - Geoffrey Chaucer, famous for his Canterbury Tales, died.

October 25, 1415 - Henry V's English army defeated a vastly superior French army at the Battle of Agincourt.

October 26, 899 - Alfred the Great is believed to have died on this day. He was a Saxon King of Wessex (south west England).

October 26, 1760 - George III was crowned. His is one of the longest reigns in history (60 years).

October 26, 1989 - The Globe Theatre reopened for the first time in 350 years.

October 27, 1401 – Catherine of Valois, future wife of Henry V, was born.

October 28, 1216 - Henry III was crowned King of England.

October 29, 1618 - Sir Walter Raleigh, English seafarer, courtier, writer and once a favorite of Elizabeth I was beheaded at Whitehall. Having been falsely accused of treason and sentenced to death under James I, he was released after 13 years to try and find the legendary gold of El Dorado. He failed and returned to an undeserved fate.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Recent Search Terms!

I know I'm horribly behind in posting but things are really crazy at home these days. Here are some of the recent search terms used to find my blog...some of them have me scratching my head!

gwyn's cancer fight

Wow...I guess I should have taken that call from the doc...

reading books

No, I really don't. I just like the way they look lined up on my bookshelf.

johnny kingdom talking about lady who died

Oh yes, THAT lady.

find a mistress in kalispell, montana

What? I don't know whether to laugh or be worried that this searcher was directed to my site...

Roger Bigod time of singing virgin?

I don't think he'd appreciate it if we asked.

Susan Kay Penman scottish history

I must have missed this book?

Friday, October 22, 2010

This Day in History...

October 22, 1071 - William IX, Duke of Aquitaine and Eleanor of Aquitaine's grandfather, was born.
He is sometimes considered to be the first troubadour.

October 22, 1734 - Famous American pioneer Daniel Boone was born.

* TDIH is going to become This Week in History starting next week. There are so many things going on in my life at the moment that I have a hard time getting to the computer each day. I haven't decided if I'll post at the beginning of the week or at the end so keep an eye out! *

Thursday, October 21, 2010

This Day in History...

October 21, 1449 - George, Duke of Clarence, son of Richard, Duke of York and brother of Edward IV and Richard III, was born in Dublin, Ireland.

October 21, 1772 - English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge was born.

October 21, 1805 - The British fleet defeats the combined French and Spanish fleet at the Battle of Trafalgar. Admiral Nelson was killed in the battle.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

This Day in History...

October 20, 1632 - English architect Christopher Wren is born. He was responsible for rebuilding St. Paul's Cathedral after the Great Fire of London.

October 20, 1714 - George I is crowned King of England.

October 20, 1803 - The US government ratified the Louisiana Purchase, doubling the size of the country.

October 20, 1910 - The hull of the RMS Olympic (sister ship to the Titanic) was launched at the shipyard in Belfast, Ireland.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

This Day in History...

October 19. 1216 - King John died of dysentery at Newark Castle in the midst of a rebellion which was the result of his refusal to recognize the Magna Carta signed the previous year.His nine year old son Henry succeeded him as King of England.

October 19, 1745 - Irish author Jonathan Swift, best known for his tale Gulliver's Travels, died in Dublin.

Monday, October 18, 2010

This Day in History...

October 18, 1469 - Ferdinand II of Aragon married Isabella I of Castile.

October 18, 1541 - Margaret Tudor, daughter of Henry VII, wife of James IV of Scotland, and sister of Henry VIII, died in Scotland.

October 18, 1851 - Herman Melville's novel Moby Dick is first published (under the name The Whale) in London.

Friday, October 15, 2010

This Day in History...

October 15, 1582 - After the Pope implemented the Gregorian calendar, this day followed October 4 in Europe.

October 15, 1793 - Marie-Antoinette is tried and condemned to death in a swift, pre-determined trial.

October 15, 1815 - Napoleon begins his exile on Saint Helena.

October 15, 1959 - Sarah Ferguson, one time Duchess of York, was born in London.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

This Day in History...

October 14, 1066 - Harold, the last Saxon king of England, is defeated and killed by William the Conqueror at the Battle of Hastings.

October 14, 1217 – Isabella of Gloucester, the first wife of King John (their marriage was annulled) died and is buried at Canterbury Cathedral.

October 14, 1586 - Mary, Queen of Scots goes on trial for her part in the plot against Elizabeth I.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

This Day in History...

October 13, 54 - Nero becomes the Emperor of Rome.

October 13, 1362 - For the first time, Parliament is opened with a speech in English.

October 13, 1399 - The House of Lancaster was begun when Henry IV was crowned King of England.

October 13, 1453 - Edward, Prince of Wales, son of Henry VI, was born at Westminster Palace.

October 13, 1884 - Greenwich is established as the Universal Time Meridian of longitude.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Book Review: The Princeling

The Princeling, Cynthia Harrod-Eagles
3 roses

In the third book of the epic Morland family saga, Elizabeth I is on the throne and the very Catholic Morlands are having to adapt to the Protestant wave sweeping over England. Having not read the second book yet (oops) I was afraid I might be missing some vital points in the family story but I found I had no problem understanding where the family was at this point. That being said there were a few family issues that I think I would have understood better if I had read the second book in the series but I can still say that its not completely necessary to read all the books to keep up with the family.

The novel covers many years, starting at the beginning of Elizabeth I's reign. Being Catholic, many of the Morlands have issues with the New Religion that has come to England and that ends up causing some problems as some family members are more open to the new ideas. As in the first book, the issue of continuing the Morland name, power, and estate is the main thread that flows through the story and you see various matches and marriages made (or attempted) in order to secure the family fortune. Throughout all the dynasty issues the Morlands have various interactions with the English and Scottish courts, thus throwing them into the dangerous politics of the time.

This was a good read but I have to be honest when I say I enjoyed the first novel much better. To me, the characters here just were not as interesting or engaging as the original Morlands and I found that I really didn't care what happened to most of them. I liked the "matriarch" in this novel, Nanette, even though her own storyline wasn't really all that exciting. The entire situation involving the heir, John, and his time in Northumberland just seemed a bit far fetched and a bit unbelievable to me. Then there is the big mystery surrounding the birth of Nanette's adopted son, Jan, which is never entirely made clear for the reader (though you can pretty much figure it out by the end of the story). I actually liked Jan throughout most of the story, until he let his greedy wife Mary talk him into trying to steal the Morland inheritance. As for the rest of the family, they all kind of blend together (with a couple of exceptions), nothing really setting them apart or making their individual story lines that interesting. There is also more than one storyline that just seems way too far fetched for me. The surrounding historical parts of the story were not very attention grabbing either (though compared to the highly volatile Wars of the Roses that is the backdrop of the first novel, most will pale in comparison!). In the first novel the family's fortune and success was intimately tied with the monarch and so the historical part of the story and the fictional, family part of the story were closely entwined. You don't get that feeling in this novel. While the family is concerned what a new Protestant Queen will mean for their business and future, you just don't get the feeling that the two are closely connected. Perhaps if we had seen more of the family involved with the Queen and the interesting events at court there would have been more excitement to the story. One thing I did enjoy about this novel was how uncertain the family's future was; at some points it looked like the family dynasty was going to end. Of course we know it doesn't end (or there wouldn't be over thirty more books in the family series!) but it does add some nice tension to the story which keeps it from being somewhat boring.

It may sound like I didn't like this novel but I did enjoy my read and if I hadn't read the first novel (which I think was really wonderful) I most likely would not have had any issues with anything in this story. It was an easy and fast read and I am certainly still interested in reading on about this family and seeing how they evolve as England evolves and changes around them. I would recommend this novel to any readers but be warned: you will most likely not be able to just read one book about this family!

*Thank you to Sourcebooks for the advanced readers copy to review.

This Day in History...

October 12, 1459 – The Lancastrians score a victory over the Yorkist at the Battle of Ludford Bridge.

October 12, 1537 - Jane Seymour gives birth to the future Edward VI, Henry VIII's only son. Jane died 13 days later from complications.

October 12, 1692 - A letter from Massachusetts Governor Williams Phips ends the Salem Witch Trials.

October 12, 1989 - The remains of Shakespeare's original Globe Theatre were found on London's Bankside.

Monday, October 11, 2010

This Day in History...

October 11, 1216 - While crossing 'The Wash' King John lost his crown and jewels and most of his possessions.

October 11, 1521 - The Pope gave Henry VIII the title of 'Defender of the Faith' for his book supporting Catholic principles.

October 11, 1727 - George II was crowned King of England.

October 11, 1982 - Henry VIII's flag ship, the Mary Rose, is raised near Portsmouth, England.

Saturday, October 9, 2010


Hello all!

Sorry for the lack of posts the last few days. Besides being overwhelmed with personal issues our internet connection randomly disconnects itself many, many times during an online session thus preventing me from being able to do anything online.

I'm hoping to have the connection fixed by Monday so hopefully I'll be able to start my daily posts again and get some reviews up that are DUE!!

Happy weekend!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

This Day in History... far not much seems to be happening in October!

October 7, 1363 - Lionel of Antwerp, Duke of Clarence and son of Edward III, died in Italy.

October 7, 1765 - Delegates from nine of the American colonies protested against the British Stamp Act.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

This Day in History...

October 6, 1536 - William Tyndale was strangled and burned at the stake for heresy. He translated the New Testament into English.

October 6, 1542 - English "poet" Thomas Wyatt died. He is sometimes rumored to have been one of Anne Boleyn's lovers.

October 6, 1847 - Charlotte Bronte's novel Jane Eyre was published.

October 6, 1892 - England's 'Poet Laureate' Alfred Tennyson died.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

This Day in History...

Can't find anything for today!

October 5, 1930 - The British Airship R101 crashed in France while en route to India on its maiden voyage. It is thought the crash was caused by overloading.

October 5, 1962 - The Beatles release their first hit record "Love Me Do."

October 5, 1962 - The first James Bond film "Dr. No" is released.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Book Review: Elizabeth, Captive Princess

Elizabeth, Captive Princess, Margaret Irwin
3 roses

After reading and reviewing the first novel in this trilogy, Young Bess, I was looking forward to the second. This is not a "new" trilogy but a wonderful reissue from Sourcebooks. This was a very easy and pleasant read.

Picking up at the very beginning of her half-sister Mary's reign, this novel follows Elizabeth through the first couple of years of Mary's dangerous time as England's Queen. We see her through Mary's triumphant entrance into London, her gradual slide from favor, and her time as Mary's prisoner in the Tower. The novel ends with Elizabeth's first meeting with her sister's new husband, Philip of Spain and that is where the last book in the series will pick up.

This novel was originally published by Ms. Irwin in the late 1940s and so many historical fiction readers today could be a bit surprised by some of the ideas put forth here but as the author was writing with what was known at the time that is completely acceptable to this reviewer. Even keeping that in mind, there really was nothing glaringly inaccurate that made me scratch my head and wonder "Did they actually believe that when this was written?" Ms. Irwin presents a very elegantly written story that is full of emotion and I feel that is the real draw to this book and this author. While there were no "new" ideas or information introduced here, the portrayal of Elizabeth and her way of dealing with the extremely dangerous and stressful years she lived through are brilliantly displayed. It is very easy to feel the stress, tension, and fear she probably suffered while Mary was on the throne. Ms. Irwin does a marvelous job of showing just how intelligent and quick witted Elizabeth was as she navigated the traps of Mary's reign and kept her head quite literally on her shoulders. The story shifts between Elizabeth and Mary's perspectives at points during the novel but I didn't feel that this interrupted the flow of the narrative and actually did a good job at showing the very powerful emotions and tensions that both sisters endured. Some novels focused on Elizabeth will portray Mary in such a way that you can't help but dislike her and feel that she should never have been Queen, but Ms. Irwin does a good job of showing Mary as very human. While she did make some wrong decisions, in this novel you can easily see the stress she was under and her reasoning behind her choices and she does come across more sympathetic. There are some lovely descriptions that make it easy for a reader to picture the scene they are reading about (especially the scene where Elizabeth is holding a dance in her rooms right across the courtyard from Mary's windows!) and this author is not going to overwhelm you with tons of facts and dates. The characters were all true to form and none of them really did anything that seemed unbelievable or "out of character." I felt the ending was wonderful and very full of suspense as Elizabeth meets her brother-in-law Philip for the first time and the instant attraction between the two is recognizable.

This was a good read and one I enjoyed. While I was not blown away it was certainly a nice Tudor historical fiction to pick up and loose one's self in for a few hours. I would recommend this to any reader interested in Elizabeth's earlier years. I am anxiously awaiting the next book in this series Elizabeth and the Prince of Spain.

*Thank you to Sourcebooks for the advanced reader copy and the opportunity to review this book!

This Day in History...

Catching up on a few days over the weekend!

October 2, 1452 - The future Richard III is born at Fotheringay Castle.

October 3, 1283 - Welsh prince (brother to Llywelyn the Last) Dafydd ap Gruffydd is executed by Edward I. He is probably the first person to be hanged, drawn, and quartered.

October 4, 1160 - Princess Alys of France, daughter of Louis VII, was born. She would be betrothed to Prince Richard (Richard the Lionheart) for almost twenty years and possibly was his father Henry II's mistress at one point.

October 4, 1535 - Miles Coverdale, a London printer, published his English version of the Bible.

October 4, 1582 - Pope Gregory XIII implements the Gregorian calendar. In several European countries this day is followed by October 15.

Friday, October 1, 2010

This Day in History...

October 1, 1207 - The future Henry III was born to King John and his wife Isabella.

October 1, 1935 - Actress and singer Julie Andrews was born.

October 1, 1947 - Nazi leaders are sentenced at the Nuremburg Trials.