<i>Foster Justice</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Foster Justice: Exclusive Excerpt Colleen Shannon "His mind might find her repulsive but his body sure as heck didn’t." Now Win This!: <i>Fifty Shades</i> Poster Now Win This!: Fifty Shades Poster Team H & H You've seen the poster, now here's a chance to have your own! <i>Marked</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Marked: Exclusive Excerpt Rebecca Zanetti "Heat pooled at the apex of her legs, stunning her with need..." Quiz: Who Is Your Ideal Romance Hero? Quiz: Who Is Your Ideal Romance Hero? Team H & H Forget cocoa and eggnog, we want a hero for Christmas!
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Showing posts tagged: History click to see more stuff tagged with History
Sun
Aug 10 2014 2:00pm

Can Family Feuds Work in Romance Novels?

Rogue in Red Velvet by Lynne ConnollyToday we welcome author Lynne Connolly to Heroes and Heartbreakers. Lynne's Rogue in Red Velvet is the first book in the new Georgian-set series the Emperors of London. Rogue in Red Velvet has a country widow ending up in a brothel, of all places, and the man whose heart she broke is the only one who can save her reputation. Lynne's research into history reveals some intriguing scandals, including a few family feuds, which she discusses today. Thanks, Lynne!

Recently there haven’t been as many family feud stories in the romance novel. I read a lot of category romance—devour them, in fact, and while the marriage of convenience and the reignited romance have proved continually popular, the family feud has somewhat faded.

But when the muse strikes, it strikes and there wasn’t much I could do about it. That, and the resurgence of the more angsty historical romance, gave me a chance to write about something that’s fascinated me for most of my life. Along with writing about passion, tempestuous relationships and people falling in love, that is.

[Family Matters...]

Mon
Jul 7 2014 1:00pm

We Are Family: Sisters in History from the Brontes, the Jeromes, and More!

Mercy by Deneane ClarkToday we're joined by author Deneane Clark, whose Mercy has just been released. Mercy is the most recent release in Deneane's historical romance series about sisters, the youngest of whom just happens to be named Mercy. Mercy wants to find love, as her sisters have, and knows just who she wants—because she's wanted him since she was thirteen years old. In basing her series on sisters, Deneane is calling upon real-life sisters from history who found success in love and marriage, and she's here to talk about those sisters today. Thanks, Deneane!

There is something oddly fascinating about sisters. All familial relationships are special and have their distinct characteristics, but the ones between sisters stand out. Your sister can be both your closest friend and your greatest rival—often at the same time.

The six sisters in my Virtue Series grow up motherless yet somehow manage to burst onto the social scene of Regency London and make a clean sweep of the very best men England has to offer. All the men are titled, good-looking, dauntingly intelligent and provokingly charming. Such is the stuff of romantic fiction, right? That would never happen in real life, would it?

[Never say never...]

Fri
Apr 18 2014 2:00pm

Bloodied Relations: Lucrezia, Scarlett, Cersei and More Ruthless Ladies!

Today is Lucrezia Borgia's birthday, born in Italy way back in 1480. Happy Birthday, Lucrezia!

Lucrezia has become notorious in history as a woman who will do anything for her family, including poisoning, sexual favors, and incest. The men of her family were worse in their actions, but it's Lucrezia who is the most notorious.*

Perhaps, if she were a man, Lucrezia would have been modestly infamous for being so ruthless and Machiavellian, but it seems to be even more outrageous that she did those things and was a female. Of course, if she were male, she wouldn't have had to resort to sneakier methods of getting her way such as using sex or a poison ring to guarantee the outcome she wanted; she would just have straight-out murdered the person in question, or perhaps gone ahead and led an army against them. But being a woman, she didn't have those methods at her disposal, so she used what she did have—her femininity and the misguided thought that women were the weaker sex, and wouldn't dare to act as she did.

[Hence the poison ring thing...]

Thu
Apr 3 2014 11:00am

Extra Virgin: Historical Virginity Tests

The Red Lily Crown by Elizabeth LoupasToday we're pleased to welcome author Elizabeth Loupas, whose The Red Lily Crown is out this week! Elizabeth's book is set in 1574 Florence, when the Grand Duke de Medici was dying. So of course there are intrigues, and secrets, and romances, and all sorts of delicious things. Elizabeth is here to talk about the various tests for virginity women have had to endure, just to prove their purity. Thanks, Elizabeth!

Throughout most of history, men have been a little irrational on the subject of virgins. What with patrilineal succession and all, they seemed to think that marrying a virgin would assure them that their children would be their own. The trouble was—how to be sure a girl really was a virgin? Naturally they couldn’t just take her word for it.

Enter virginity tests.

There were four basic types. One was the blood-on-the-sheets-on-the-wedding-night sort of test, which was much beloved of European royalty. For as long as the test existed, of course, girls figured out ways to get around it (chicken’s blood, anyone?), and we’ve all read many scenes in novels in which shy or slightly-too-experienced brides have faked this supposedly infallible test. Sometimes even with the encouragement of their new husbands!

[Sure, how could that not be foolproof?...]

Tue
Jan 7 2014 9:30am

19th-Century Jersey Shore: The Royals

Secrets for Seducing a Royal Bodyguard by Vanessa KellyToday we're joined by author Vanessa Kelly, whose Secrets for Seducing a Royal Bodyguard is out this week. The book launches the Renegade Royals series,  which tells the exploits of the royal princes' illegitimate sons. Vanessa is here to talk about the real-life shenanigans of the British Royals, from Harry back to George. Thanks, Vanessa!

Outrageous parties, gambling and drinking, scandalous affairs, and lots of bad publicity—sounds like one of Prince Harry’s wild weekends in Las Vegas, doesn’t it?  The poor lad has largely redeemed himself since those nude pictures hit the tabloids a few years ago, but he’s had to walk the straight and narrow to get there.

Not that Harry is the only Windsor to engage in famously bad behavior.  After all, it wasn’t all that long ago that Prince Charles and his brothers were kicking over the traces and giving the poor Queen more than a few gray hairs.  Remember all those salacious phone calls between Charles and Camilla when Charles was still married to Diana? For those of us who do remember, we’ll never look at tampons the same way again.

Queen Elizabeth’s children and grandchildren (with a few exceptions) displayed a knack for creating scandal in their younger years, although most have finally settled down (age will do that to you).  In fact, compared to some of their royal ancestors they seem quite staid—particularly when put side by side with the notorious sons and daughters of King George III. The historical lifestyle of that particular set of royals reads like a Regency version of The Jersey Shore, but with better clothing, parties, and accents (and no tans).

[First up, the Prince Regent...]

Thu
Jan 2 2014 4:30pm

Loving Lymond: Dorothy Dunnett’s Lymond Chronicles

The Game of Kings by Dorothy DunnettNews about the upcoming TV series based on Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series inspired some thought about potentially filming a series based on Dorothy Dunnett’s six-book Lymond Chronicles. Dunnett’s series is also set in Scotland, though it takes place a couple of hundred years before Gabaldon’s series. If I had all the money in the world, I'd hire Tom Stoppard to adapt these novels and Tom Hiddleston in his Prince Hal mode—smug, arrogant, conflicted and charismatic—to play Lymond, but alas, I haven't the cash, so the best I can do is get other people to read this incredible series.

What are the Lymond Chronicles? Think of them as the Scottish love-child of Alexandre Dumas and Dorothy L. Sayers, with an added layer of psychological complexity and political maneuvering that is reminiscent of Game of Thrones. Most of all, this compelling historical romance (in which no one, thankfully, has historically accurate pox scars and missing teeth) is the story of Francis Crawford of Lymond, and his long journey to find love, save his country, and live up to his great potential.

[Historical romance fans, this one's for you...]

Tue
Dec 3 2013 2:30pm

Did the Victorians Ruin Everything?: The Importance of Accuracy in British Historicals

Today we're joined by author Kate Pearce, whose most recent release “My Heart's Desire” is an erotic historical story in the Gift of Desire anthology. Kate's next release, The Sinners Club, begins the start of a new series. Kate writes erotic romance set in many time periods, and while she writes hot, she also takes pains to write accurately. She's here to talk about historical accuracy in British historical romances. Thanks, Kate!

Historical accuracy is important to me. I grew up just outside London, and spent my childhood being taken around some of the most amazing historical sites in the world. I have a keen appreciation of my country’s history, which I try to get across in my books. Some details are easy for every writer to access on the Internet, but others, particularly those of ‘class and status’ are harder to pin down.

I can’t explain how the moment someone from the U.K. opens their mouth I will instantly catalogue their accent to the nth degree—where they came from, what social class they belong to, and where they fit in relation to me in society. It’s so automatic I don’t even think about it. So when I read historical romances set in the U.K., I do the same thing and I notice when things aren’t quite right.

[And really, can't we all relate?...]

Sat
Nov 30 2013 1:30pm

First Look: Lena Dowling’s His Convict Wife (December 1, 2013)

His Convict Wife by Lena DowlingLena Dowling
His Convict Wife
Escape / December 1, 2013 / $.99 digital

For Irish convict Colleen Malone, being framed, transported to Australia and forced into prostitution seemed like the worst that life could throw at her. Then she fell pregnant to a client and was sent back to prison by her cruel owner. Now, her only hope of a decent life for her and her baby is to find someone to marry.



Widower and former London businessman Samuel Biggs arrived in Australia hoping to put his grief behind him. When James Hunter offers him a job on his Parramatta farm, he accepts eagerly. He’ll put his back into his new work, and bury any thoughts of new love and marriage in the rich earth of his new home. 



However, all plans are compromised when Samuel is manipulated into visiting a workhouse to choose a new housekeeper, and Colleen seizes her chance — literally grabbing Samuel and begging for her life. The only way Samuel can oblige is by marrying her, but on one thing he stands firm — there is no way he will fall in love...

A meaty angsty marriage of convenience historical is right up my alley but never have I written a First Look that cuts so close to the bone, because of my family of origin. Nor do I usually read historical romances that have so many strikes against an ultimate HEA from the git-go. My great-grandmother, Rebecca Alexander, was born in what is now Northern Ireland. She immigrated to the United States and became a nursery maid for the Von Stade household in New York City, the Von Stades being a “socially prominent New Jersey family which included generations of yachtsmen, bankers, polo players and other Establishmentarians” and in our generation, opera singer Frederica Von Stade (New York Observer, 2010). My mother said that try as she might to get her grandmother to speak of her past, she was never successful. People came to the New World to get a new life, better than the one they left behind.

[How do His Convict Wife's characters fare?...]

Thu
Nov 21 2013 6:11pm

Don’t Mess With This New Bonnie & Clyde Trailer

Guess who got a special sneak peek at the upcoming A&E networks miniseries Bonnie & Clyde? We did, and we are sharing it with you!

Bonnie & Clyde, starring Emile Hirsch and Holliday Grainger (seen previously as one half of the scandalous Cesare/Lucrezia pairing in The Borgias), follows the short, tragic lives of the infamous couple Bonnie and Clyde, notorious bank robbers and criminals. It premieres December 8, 2013. Will you be watching?

Sat
Nov 2 2013 10:30am

Dancing on the Edge: Love in Black and White

Dancing on the Edge posterIn the BBC/Starz period drama, Dancing on the Edge, screenwriter and director Stephen Poliakoff chronicles the rapid ascent of a black jazz band in early 1930s British society, and the thorny issues of race and class. Romance and passion play a prominent part in this exploration, of course, and as each episode progresses, we watch how it breaks down barriers—and keeps them intact.

The Outsiders

Louis Lester, leader of the Louis Lester Band, is immediately marked as “different” by circle of aristocrats and jazz fans who boost the Louis Lester Band—he is the only British citizen in his band (thereby exempt from needing to file with the immigration offices each week). Yet, his blackness separates him from his countrymen and women. Sarah, a society photographer who is friend/companion to the aristocratic Pamela Luscombe, is also an outsider—though this is less apparent on first meeting. She is the daughter of a Russian Jewish immigrant who escaped the pogroms and is determined not to rock the boat in his new country.

[Will they find a sense of belonging in each other?...]

Mon
Aug 19 2013 1:58pm

The White Queen Season 1, Episode 10 Recap: With Both a Bang and a Whimper

Elizabeth and Cecily in The White Queen episode 10****SPOILERS FOR THE WHITE QUEEN EPISODE 10****

Are you freaking kidding me, The White Queen? You are, right? You are joking, and jesting, and making with the japes. That is the only explanation I have for the final 45 seconds of this, your very last episode. Or your very last episode of Season 1, at any rate; I suppose it’s possible we’ll see The White Queen 2: This Time it’s Personal at some date in the future, perhaps depending on how well the series performs on its new US cable home. But regardless: man, did you anti-climax the hell out of this thing. Honestly, I have no words.

But, back to the beginning!

(Need to catch up? Don't miss Rachel Hyland's recaps of The White Queen episode 1episode 2episode 3episode 4episode 5episode 6episode 7, episode 8, and episode 9. The series is currently airing in the UK on BBC and on Starz in the United States, so beware of SPOILERS; episode 2 just aired on Starz on Saturday.)

We kick off this time around seeing our good Queen Elizabeth (Rebecca Ferguson) returned to her beloved Rivers manor, where all of this wackiness began so very long ago. For us, it has been a mere ten weeks since she waylaid a King by the roadside and magicked her way into his fickle heart, but for her it is twenty years, ten kids, five uprisings and a bunch of dead relatives ago that she last made this place her home. Ferguson gives us a Lizzie smiling and at peace, away from the tumult of political chicanery and just happy to be living in comfort with most of her remaining children.

[How will the season end?...]

Mon
Aug 12 2013 3:30pm

The White Queen Season 1, Episode 9 Recap: Who Framed Richard III?

Queen Anne in The White Queen episode 9****SPOILERS FOR THE WHITE QUEEN EPISODE 9****

Seriously, who would ever want to be a king? Or a queen? Or the mother, sibling, child or spouse of either? Horrible jobs, the lot of them, taking the worst parts of working with family and mixing them together with cutthroat Wall Street–style office politics and the constant threat of imminent imprisonment or beheading.

I honestly cannot think of anything worse.

You know, I think Lord Robert Stanley (Rupert Graves) has the right idea here. Oh, not in that anything he does is right at all—he’s a bad, bad, sneaky and duplicitous scoundrel who makes dead serial traitor Lord Warwick look like Pollyanna—but in that he is perfectly happy being the power behind the throne, raking in the titles and the riches and the accolades without aspiring to have his face on the money. Either of his two faces.

(Need to catch up? The White Queen originally aired in the UK and is now airing in the U.S. on Starz. Don't miss Rachel Hyland's recaps of The White Queen episode 1episode 2episode 3episode 4episode 5episode 6episode 7, and episode 8.)

You may perhaps recall that Lady Margaret Beaufort (Amanda Hale) married Lord Stanley three episodes back, and since then they have been colluding together to bring about an end to the reign of York and usher in another Lancastrian era, with Maggie B’s son Henry Tudor (Michael Marcus) on the throne. Still exiled in Brittany, Henry awaits only his mother’s machinations to set sail across the Channel and defeat the king-in-residence’s army, whether that army be loyal to Richard III (Anuerin Barnard) or the nephew he callously disinherited last time around, Edward V.

[May the forces be with you...]

Mon
Aug 5 2013 10:47am

The White Queen Season 1, Episode 8 Recap: Trust is a Four-Letter Word

Richard and Anne in The White Queen episode 8***SPOILERS***

Dread. That is the overwhelming feeling that seizes me as this episode runs through its Previouslies... First, we are reminded that our Queen Elizabeth (Rebecca Ferguson) already had two sons prior to marrying King Edward IV (Max Irons)—oh yeah; where have they been?—and then we are bombarded with a flurry of disquieting recollection: doubts as to the legality of the royal marriage; the King’s favorite mistress, Jane Shore (Emily Berrington); the King’s brother Richard (Aneurin Barnard) looking sinister; the departure of the young heir to the throne for Wales, under the care of Elizabeth’s brother Anthony (Ben Lamb); and Lady Margaret Beaufort (Amanda Hale) scheming to rid the world of all Yorks in order that her Lancastrian son might become King.

(Need to catch up? Don't miss Rachel Hyland's recaps of The White Queen episode 1episode 2episode 3episode 4episode 5episode 6, and episode 7. The series is currently airing in the UK; it premieres on Starz in the U.S. on August 10, at which time we'll repost the recaps weekly.)

Then: reading! For the first time in the series we get expository text that goes beyond a mere date and place, establishing for us that it is now 1483 (roughly a decade after the last episode’s events) and the realm is at peace. The young Prince Edward (Sonny Ashbourne Serkis) is still immured in Wales under the guardianship of his Uncle Anthony, along with his half-brother Richard (Dean Charles Chapman)—oh, there you are, one of Elizabeth’s other sons! The other aspiring heir to the throne, Henry Tudor (Michael Marcus), has grown into a man in exile, but has now been invited back to England by an Edward clearly weakening in his hirsute and rotund old age. Elizabeth looks barely a week older than when the series began, but Edward has here been given the full fat suit and glued-on beard treatment; throw on a red hat and he’s pretty much Santa at this point. (He’s not the only one for whom beard=old, by the by; Anthony and Jasper Tudor both get bushy growths to signify their advancing years, as well. It’s not attractive.)

[Where's all this headed? Nowhere good...]

Mon
Jul 29 2013 1:03pm

The White Queen Season 1, Episode 7 Recap: Sex, Lies, and Drowning in Wine (But What a Way to Go)

Elizabeth and Edward in The White QueenDamn it, History, why must you be so upsetting? You know what it is? Everything has gone to hell since Lady Jacquetta (Janet McTeer) died last episode. Missing you already, awesome witchy mother of Queen Elizabeth (Rebecca Ferguson)! Her life really sucks without you.

Now, the “Previously on...” here gives us Lizzie’s hopeful “Death to George” spell of lo, these many episodes ago, so – and I’m just taking a stab here – perhaps she is finally going to be rid of that pesky brother-in-law of hers this episode? Also, we flashback on Richard (Aneurin Barnard) and Anne (Faye Marsay) marrying for love, as well as see Lady Margaret (Amanda Hale) tie herself to Lord Stanley (Rupert Graves) entirely for convenience, vowing to make her fanatical Lancastrian self agreeable to the House of York. Oh, where will this all lead? Let us find out!

(Need to catch up? Don't miss Rachel Hyland's recaps of The White Queen episode 1episode 2episode 3episode 4episode 5, and episode 6. The series is currently airing in the UK; it premieres on Starz in the U.S. on August 10, at which time we'll repost the recaps.)

It’s 1473, and there is an orgy a’happening in the royal chamber. Edward fools around with two young court beauties (one is the bewitching Jane Shore [Emily Berrington], of last episode’s unfaithfulness) while a sulky George (David Oakes), an impassive Richard and a titillated Lord Stanley look on. Indeed, if there has been anything creepier in this show than the look on Lord Stanley’s face as he enjoys this live sex show it is... well, the look on George’s face as he watches this live sex show and strokes his dog at the same time. (That is not a euphemism; he actually brought along a dog!) Richard’s face is unfathomable, but likewise creepy. It’s just a very uncomfortable situation all around.

[Okay, yeah, AWKWARD...]

Fri
Sep 27 2013 9:15am

First Look: Amanda Carmack’s Murder at Hatfield House (October 1, 2013)

Murder at Hatfield House by Amanda CarmackAmanda Carmack
Murder at Hatfield House
Signet / October 1, 2013 / $7.99 print & digital

1558. Kate Haywood, a simple musician in the employ of a princess, will find herself involved in games of crowns as she sets out to solve the murder of the queen’s envoy....
 
England is in tumult under the rule of Queen Mary and her Spanish husband. Confined to house arrest at Hatfield House, young Princess Elizabeth is the country’s greatest hope. Far from court intrigues, Elizabeth finds solace in simple things: the quiet countryside and peaceful recreation, including the melodies of her chief musician and his daughter, Kate Haywood.
 
But Kate will prove herself most valuable when an envoy of the queen—sent to flush out heretics in the princess’s household—is found dead on the grounds of Hatfield. Acting as Elizabeth’s eyes and ears, Kate is sent out on the trail of a killer whose mission could destroy her family, friends - and the future of England.

The back cover blurb above does an excellent job of conveying the gist of Amanda Carmack's Murder at Hatfield House. I want to talk about the period in which the mystery is set: the Elizabethan Period and, in particular, Elizabeth herself.

Elizabeth is 24 years old, and her short life has been one of danger and tumult, buffeted by politics and her capricious sister, Queen Mary. Carmack's portrayal reflects her many sides and moods.

[She was as complex as anyone...]

Mon
Jul 22 2013 3:06pm

The White Queen Season 1, Episode 6: Kill All the Mothers

King Edward and Queen Elizabeth in The White Queen(Need to catch up? Don't miss Rachel Hyland's recaps of The White Queen episode 1episode 2episode 3, episode 4, and episode 5.)

As last week’s installment of The White Queen concluded, our Queen Elizabeth (Rebecca Ferguson) watched in shock and horror as her husband, King Edward IV (Max Irons), along with his royal brothers George (David Oakes) and Richard (Aneurin Barnard), smothered the old, ailing and utterly deposed King Henry VI in his sleep. This episode opens with no mention of this heinous, if perhaps sensible, act, and instead we see Elizabeth beset by several other trials to her grace and temper.

For example, the reappearance of Anne Neville (Faye Marsay) at Court has the Queen still full to the brim of vengeful spirit. Despite the death of their treacherous father, Lord Warwick (James Frain)—oh, how we shan’t miss his snide chicanery—Elizabeth still hates unto the next generation, and longs to forestall Anne’s happy reunion with her sister, Isabel (Eleanor Tomlinson), wishing them only misery. Had she known that Anne was going to find no kind welcome in the calculating Izzy’s company, nor enjoy her treatment under the iron-fisted tyranny of her new guardian, Izzy’s petty husband George, then perhaps she would have been better disposed to this development—none of which shows Lizzie in any kind of charitable light. Surely she, of all people, would know how Warwick utterly manipulated his daughters, and that they had no power over him, nor their own marriages? Izzy no more wanted a loveless marriage to George than did Anne want to wed the now-deceased, super-creepy Edward of Lancaster. Give them a break, Lizzie! We can’t all marry the men of our dreams.

[Unless you live in a romance novel, anyway...]

Fri
Sep 20 2013 8:30am

What More Could You Want? The Hollow Crown Has Shakespeare, Hiddleston, and History

Ben Whishaw, Jeremy Irons, and Tom Hiddleston in The Hollow CrownThis week, PBS will begin showing The Hollow Crown miniseries as part of their Great Performances series. The Hollow Crown premiered on the BBC in Britain last summer but this will be the first television airing in the United States. Per the PBS press release:

GREAT PERFORMANCES “The Hollow Crown: Shakespeare’s History Plays”

This ambitious four-part miniseries assembles four of Shakespeare’s history plays — Richard II, Henry IV Parts I & II, and Henry V — into a single chronological narrative. The original “Game of Thrones” has inspired bold film adaptations with a cast of leading British and Hollywood talent including Jeremy Irons, Tom Hiddleston, Ben Whishaw, Rory Kinnear, Patrick Stewart, John Hurt, Julie Walters, David Suchet, Michelle Dockery and David Morrissey.

[The cast alone makes this must-see, y/y?...]

Mon
Jun 24 2013 3:24pm

The White Queen Season 1, Episode 2 Recap: The Brothers’ War, and Kids Getting Married

Elizabeth in The White QueenEarlier today we presented you with a recap of the first episode of The White Queen, a new historical show based on the novel by Philippa Gregory, and now we're following that up with a recap of episode 2, which debuted last night on BBC One. Please let us know what you think of both! 

Note: The White Queen is currently airing in the UK and will air weekly on Starz beginning August 10 in the U.S. We will re-run the recaps then, but until then, American readers, beware of SPOILERS.

And now, on to the recap of The White Queen episode 2:

Remember Lord Warwick (James Frain)? He of the saturnine face and uppity manner, the one everyone called “The Kingmaker” because it was he who set our good friend, his young cousin Edward IV (Max Irons), on the throne? Well, as we saw in Episode 1, he is none too pleased with his young puppet’s recent trend towards independent thought, especially as the new queen, Elizabeth (Rebecca Ferguson) has a large family—both immediate and extended—who have come to Court to take some of his influence for their own.

Danger, King Edward IV! Danger! (Not that you’ll take notice, in a terrifyingly Ned Stark kind of way. And we all know how that turned out...)

Anyway.

[Watch your back, Edward...]

Mon
Jun 24 2013 11:45am

The White Queen Season 1, Episode 1 Recap: Love is a Medieval Battlefield

Note: This recap originally ran in June following the show's debut in the U.K. We are re-posting it today after The White Queen's premiere in the U.S. on Starz. We hope you enjoy!

The White Queen bannerToday we present to you a recap of the first episode of The White Queen, a new historical show based on the novel by Philippa Gregory. Please let us know what you think! The White Queen is currently airing in the UK and will air weekly on Starz beginning August 10 in the U.S. We will re-run the recaps then, but until then, American readers, beware of SPOILERS.

Look for episode 2 later today for a special White Queen double feature, and then check back next Monday for a recap of episode 3!

For anyone to whom the title evokes visions of a show about the evil ruler of Narnia, the good ruler of Wonderland or the would-be ruler of Westeros, I should perhaps explain that The White Queen is in fact the first novel in historical author Philippa Gregory’s series The Cousins’ War, upon three of which this 10-episode season is based. The White Queen itself traces a humble commoner’s path to king’s consort and beyond during England’s tumultuous Wars of the Roses, in the latter part of the 15th Century.

Her name is Lady Elizabeth Grey (Rebecca Ferguson), and her Lancastrian husband is not long dead, her two young sons left paupers after their lands were confiscated by the rampaging Yorkist hordes. It behooves the viewer to know a little of this dynastic struggle at this juncture: two Royal Houses, represented by the red rose of Lancaster and the white rose of York, battle it out for the throne as assorted claimants base their fitness to rule on convoluted genealogy and general facility with a broadsword. The tensions go back a long way—Shakespeare deals with much of it in Henrys IV and V and Richards II and III— but for our purposes it is enough to know that in the Lancastrian corner we have another of the Bard’s subjects, the sporadically mad Henry VI (a.k.a King Not-appearing-in-this-episode), and on the other side of the fence we have the brash Edward IV (Max Irons) representing Team York.

[And now, onto the recap!...]

Thu
Jul 18 2013 1:30pm

Author C.W. Gortner on Mary and Elizabeth, Sisters and Rivals

Today we're pleased to welcome author C.W. Gortner to Heroes and Heartbreakers. C.W's latest novel, The Tudor Conspiracy, is a historical mystery set during the Renaissance, and features some real-life characters, including the fascinating daughters of Henry VIII, Mary and Elizabeth. Thanks, C.W.!

Mary and Elizabeth: Sisters and Rivals

There is something fascinating, and disturbing, about family members who turn on one another. The Tudor dynasty is no exception. Though Henry VIII did not sire many children, considering how often he wed, history has perhaps no sisters more famous for their rivalry than his two daughters, Mary and Elizabeth.

Born of the king’s marriages to his first and second wives, respectively, Mary and Elizabeth were both declared bastards in turn after Henry divorced Mary’s mother, Catherine of Aragon, and had Elizabeth’s mother, Anne Boleyn, beheaded. The rivalry between the two mothers, each determined to hold onto their crown and defend their child, set the stage for a legacy of mistrust between the daughters, who were as different in temperament as any sisters could be.

[I'm just her sister, not her keeper...]