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

Saturday, December 31, 2011

My Best of 2011

Having a baby threw my reading time way off this year but I still managed to get plenty of books read (just not as many as I'd like and I wasn't able to get reviews posted for most of them). Here are some of my top picks from the year!

1. Lady of the English, Elizabeth Chadwick

Ms. Chadwick's latest novel is about Henry II's very strong mother, the Empress Matilda, and her struggle with King Stephen over the English Crown. This was a really good book (but of course, everything Ms. Chadwick writes is awesome!) and you can read my review here. If you like to read books "in order," this one will come before her phenomenal The Greatest Knight which is about William Marshall and his dealings with Henry II and his wife Eleanor of Aquitaine.

2. George Knightley, Esquire: Lend me Leave, Barbara Cornthwaite

I LOVED this novel!! It was book two in the author's retelling of Jane Austen's Emma through the hero George Knightley's eyes. You can see my review of book one here and of this book here. Ms. Cornthwaite really captured the spirit and language of Austen's world and added in some wonderful humor and character description and development. These were fantastically written versions of Austen's original and I highly recommend them to Austen fans!

3. Queen by Right, Anne Easter Smith

This was the author's fourth novel in her York family series though this one comes before the previously published novels. It deals with the life of Cecily Neville, Duchess of York, mother of Edward IV and Richard III. It was a really good book and I enjoyed reading more about Cecily, who usually only appears sporadically in novels about this turbulent time period. Check out my review here.

These are just my top 3 but I read many more great books this year! Here are a few others that deserve mention:

Queen of Last Hopes, Susan Higgianbotham
To Be Queen, Christy English
The King's Grey Mare, Rosemary H. Jarman
The Adventures of Alianore Audley, Brian Wainwright
Bath Tangle, Georgette Heyer
Vlad: The Last Confession, C. C. Humphries
Three Maids for the Crown, Ella March Chase

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Historical Fiction Reading Challenge 2012

I have participated in this challenge for two years and I love it. The first year I blew way, way past the level I was aiming for (the highest, 20 books and reviews in a year) and this year...well, having a baby can eat up A LOT of time! I certainly read enough books to reach my 20 but I couldn't get reviews written and posted.

So, I'm looking forward to a new year and a new set of books to work on and review! You can click the link below to take you to Historical Tapestry for all the details and to sign up!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!!

Merry Christmas!

Nadolig Llawen!

Frohe Weihnachten!!

I just wanted to pop in (take a quick break from finding homes for all the new toys!) and wish everyone a very Merry Christmas!! I hope everyone had a wonderful day; I know we did!

And for those wondering...that is Merry Christmas in the three languages that make up my heritage (English, Welsh, and German).

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Richard III Project

Readers of this blog will know my love and admiration for Richard III. I have longed for a new movie or TV show to be made about this King to "clear the air" and show him more like he might have been - instead of the monster Shakespeare and his Tudor contemporaries have made him.

British actor Richard Armitage has dreamed of making a film about Richard III and needs our help! He has a site set up and a petition to possible financiers to try to turn his dream into a reality. Please click the link below to go to the website and the link to the petition is near the top!

King Richard Armitage

You will find information about Richard Armitage and Richard III (who he is named for) at the site. You can also find information about Richard III here on my blog in several places.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Tudor Giveaway

The ladies over at Royal Reviews are hosting a Tudor giveaway this Christmas season. Click the badge below to take you to the site for all the info!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Next Philippa Gregory Release Announced!

Continuing in her "Cousins War" series, Philippa Gregory's next novel The Kingmaker's Daughter will be released August 7, 2012.

For those of you unfamiliar with this time period, the "Kingmaker" was Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick. He helped place Edward IV on the throne and then later rebelled against him. The novel will be about his daughters Isabella and Anne. Both sisters married younger brothers of Edward IV: Isabella to George, Duke of Clarance, and Anne to Richard, Duke of Gloucester (future Richard III).

Followers of this blog know my partiality for Richard III and so I will be looking forward to this book, though with a bit of caution. I am always nervous when I don't know how an author is going to portray my favorite King! Richard appeared in the first novel in this series The Winter Queen, which covered the life of Elizabeth Woodville, and she did not make him out to be a horrible monster so I have some hope for this novel!

If you are interested the other novels in this series (in order of release date) are:

The Winter Queen (Elizabeth Woodville, wife to Edward IV)
The Red Queen (Margaret Beaufort, mother of Henry VII)
Lady of the Rivers (Jaquetta Woodville, Elizabeth's mother)