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


  1. The George Knightley book sounds wonderful. I love Emma and would love to read more about Mr. Knightley.

  2. Anne, her retelling of Emma through Knightley's eyes is absolutely spectacular. I've read many Austen retellings, spin offs, sequels, etc and this is by far the best. :)

  3. Lady of the English made my best of list as well for 2011.