#FridayBookShare Changeling by Philippa Gregory #YA #Historical

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I created the Friday Book Share Game to help search for that ideal novel/author.

Anyone can have a go – all you need to do is answer the following questions based on a book you enjoyed reading (old or new) and use the hashtag #FridayBookShare – Simples!

First line of the book.

Recruit fans by adding the book blurb.

Introduce the main character using only three words.

Delightful design (add the cover image of the book).

Audience appeal (who would enjoy reading this book?)

Your favourite line/scene.

Here’s mine:

I recently started reading Philippa Gregory’s Tudor Court novels and loved them, but I first discovered this incredible author on the YA shelves with Changeling, the first in her Order of Darkness Series. Continue reading “#FridayBookShare Changeling by Philippa Gregory #YA #Historical”

#BookReview The Taming of the Queen by Philippa Gregory #Tudor #HistFic

 

The Taming of the Queen
Amazon UK | Amazon US

 

Author: Philippa Gregory

Category: Historical Fiction

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

My Review:

As I was getting to the end of this book, I began to worry about writing the review, not because I wasn’t enjoying it, but because it was so good I didn’t think I could do it justice!

Historical fiction is a relatively new genre for me to read. However, I’m no stranger to Philippa Gregory as I loved her Order of Darkness series.

The Tudor history has always fascinated me, and I have some non-fiction books on this era but, until now, I hadn’t read any historical fiction from this time. I probably should have started with The Constant Princess which is the first in The Tudor Court series, but fortunately, each book can be read as a standalone title.

Kateryn Parr is probably the least well known of all Henry VIII’s wives, and yet she was the only one to survive him. Philippa Gregory paints a beautiful picture of this young, intelligent woman as she is joined in wedlock with a man old enough to be her father; a king who has killed or abandoned all of his previous wives.

As a young widow, without children of her own, Kateryn Parr took it upon herself to bring Henry VIII’s children together under one roof and unite them as a family. This action saw Princesses Mary and Elizabeth reinstated into the line of succession, giving us our future queens. Apart from her devotion to family, Kateryn was well known for her studies and religious writing. (The original copies of the three books she wrote during her four years as queen of England can be seen at Studeley Castle in Gloucestershire.) As Kateryn becomes more studious, she unwittingly puts herself in danger. Gregory expertly weaves this storyline by showing us the sheer love of Reform and the English language Kateryn held and the fine line she walked by repressing her intelligence and bending to the king’s wishes.

The Taming of the Queen portrays Henry as a psychotic monster, who ruled his court with terror and mind games. You can’t help but feel for Kateryn as she becomes part of this world and lives in constant fear for her life.

Compared to her predecessors, Kateryn Parr could be classed as boring, but Gregory brings her character to life beautifully. There was quite a lot of religious aspects to this book which may slow the storyline for some people. I am not a religious person but I enjoyed reading about the studies Kateryn Parr undertook, and there is an emotional thread about the friendship between Kateryn and Anne Askew. If you are a fan of Philippa Gregory or the Tudors, then you will enjoy this book.

Blurb:

Why would a woman marry a serial killer?

Because she cannot refuse…

Kateryn Parr, a thirty-year-old widow in a secret affair with a new lover, has no choice when a man old enough to be her father who has buried four wives – King Henry VIII – commands her to marry him.

Kateryn has no doubt about the danger she faces: the previous queen lasted sixteen months, the one before barely half a year. But Henry adores his new bride and Kateryn’s trust in him grows as she unites the royal family, creates a radical study circle at the heart of the court, and rules the kingdom as Regent.

But is this enough to keep her safe? A leader of religious reform and the first woman to publish in English, Kateryn stands out as an independent woman with a mind of her own. But she cannot save the Protestants, under threat for their faith, and Henry’s dangerous gaze turns on her.The traditional churchmen and rivals for power accuse her of heresy – the punishment is death by fire and the king’s name is on the warrant…

#FridayBookShare The Taming of the Queen by Philippa Gregory #Tudor #HistoricalFiction

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I created the Friday Book Share Game to help search for that ideal novel/author.

Anyone can have a go – all you need to do is answer the following questions based on a book you enjoyed reading and use the hashtag #FridayBookShare

First line of the book.

Recruit fans by adding the book blurb.

Introduce the main character using only three words.

Delightful design (add the cover image of the book).

Audience appeal (who would enjoy reading this book?)

Your favourite line/scene.

Here’s mine: Continue reading “#FridayBookShare The Taming of the Queen by Philippa Gregory #Tudor #HistoricalFiction”

#TuesdayBookBlog Author Interview – Catherine Hokin (@cathokin) #Historicalfiction

I am delighted to be joined today by historical fiction author, Catherine Hokin, as she chats about funny Northerners, a coffee addiction, and her novel Blood and Roses, available in paperback and eBook from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Catherine Hokin

The Fun Stuff:

What part of the world do you come from?

Keswick in the Lake District although my family were all scousers from Liverpool – I was always cursing them for leaving as I am a total urbanite! I now live in Glasgow and love it.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

A fashion designer, a ballerina and lots of things I was way too short and uncoordinated for.

List three words to describe yourself.

Gobby. Northern. Funny (and I’ll get gobby and Northern if you don’t agree to the last one). We totally agree, Catherine 🙂

Who would play you in a film about your life?

Helena Bonham-Carter on the grounds that I’ve been dressing like her for years, on an ebay budget. I’m hoping she’d get Vivienne Westwood as the costume designer then give me the clothes.

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What’s your favourite snack food when writing?

Coffee, followed by coffee and more coffee. There are only snacks in the house when the kids are home and then I have to wrestle for them.

If you had a super power, what would it be?

Time travelling – it would make research way quicker.

Where is one place you’d like to visit that you haven’t been before?

New York – I’m married to a Chicago boy so have done some great trips to the States but not managed to get to New York yet. And everywhere in Game of Thrones.

The Sensible Side:

Tell us a little about yourself. (How did you get started writing?  What do you do when you’re not writing?)

I love history – I studied it at university – and I love stories, I’ve devoured books since I was a child. Having dabbled at writing on and off in between work and kids, I started researching my first novel about 4 years ago and also writing short stories and my blog. They all have the same theme which is strong, challenging women. When I’m not writing I listen to a lot of music (indie), watch a lot of films and travel – our youngest is currently living in Berlin so that’s a bit of a favourite destination!

Where did the inspiration to write Blood and Roses come from?

I’ve always been interested in women whose voices have been silenced/misheard – Margaret of Anjou, the protagonist in the novel, is a great example of what happens when history is written by the victors. Most people know her from Shakespeare’s demonised version, there was so much more to her than that.

Catherine Hokin Book Cover

What do you like the most about writing historical fiction?

Finding the ‘golden nuggets’ – the questions that lurk under the facts that you can then weave into a story. We often know what someone did, we frequently don’t know why – that’s when I get to play detective.

Can you give us a brief excerpt? This is the opening…

Chateau du Dampierre, France: 1481

The fog when it comes falls across the land like a shroud: thick and grey and cold. It settles on the skin like the fading breath of a dying dragon, a tainted folk-memory. It seeps through the chinks of the chateau walls, through her bones and taunts her with the promise of death coming too close until she paces and shakes with…with what? With fury? With fear? With an old woman’s fancies?

Is that why I write? If I wield the pen like a sword, can I make the past hold the future at bay?

It’s a question she asks herself often enough, too often aloud nowadays. The few servants she has left think she has become quite mad in her obsession; they think she has too much concern for herself, too much conceit. She knows that some of them, the few who can turn her scratchings into words, have picked up the scattered pages and mocked their self-importance. So now she locks her papers away each night to be found only after her death when others’ amusement will be no concern of hers.

Silence.

She suffocates under it. Every day the fog falls around the castle and wipes away the world. What if all her words are silenced? What if her story dies with her? What if the name Margaret of Anjou has no more substance to it than the grey mist that veils the windows? There are days when only her pride saves her: she is not ready for silence, she is not ready to disappear. There are days when she refuses to believe the evidence of her own eyes.

Which is more important to you – plot or characters, and why?

I can’t separate them out. I write about real people so, in a sense, a lot of the plot is already in place – their actions and the timeline. What is fascinating is why they acted in the way they did. To me characters and characteristics shape the plot.

What’s your favourite genre to read?

I love historical fiction although I avoid anything medieval when I’m writing as I don’t want to hear anyone else’s voice so I tend to read books set in the Victorian period or early twentieth century. I also love magical realism and am a huge Angela Carter fan.

What is the best thing about being a writer?

People reading what I write! I just had a wonderful session with a book group who had read Blood and Roses and had loads of questions. And people liking what I write helps a lot.

How much research did you need to do before writing Blood and Roses?

Eighteen months of reading every primary and secondary source I could lay my hands on and then ongoing research as I wrote. It’s a massive part of historical fiction and you have to get the facts and the balance with the story-telling right. I get really side-tracked though…

What can we expect from you in the future? 

I have just completed my second manuscript as part of the Scottish Book Trust Author Mentoring Programme and it is about to go off to a couple of interested agents. It is also medieval historical fiction and tells the story of Katherine Swynford and John of Gaunt, partly through the eyes of Swynford’s brother-in-law Chaucer.

How can we contact you or find out more about your books?

Blood and Roses is available from Amazon in paperback and Kindle plus a number of other outlets, full details at my website: https://www.catherinehokin.com/

You can find my blog Heroine Chic at http://catherinehokin.blogspot.co.uk/

And I’m also at https://www.facebook.com/cathokin/ and Twitter @cathokin

 

Meet Author @DebbieRix #historicalfiction #wwwblogs

I am delighted to invite author, Debbie Rix to join me for a chat. We discuss her new release, Daughters of the Silk Road, feeling Scottish, and her love for Italy. Over to you Debbie:

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The Fun Stuff:

What part of the world do you come from?

I was born and brought up in Kent – about an hour by train from London. I spent my free time playing in the woods opposite our house, and my school life in a London girls’ school. So I had an interesting combination growing up of rural/urban.   My parents are from Scotland and the North East of England.  So I have a big connection with those parts of the UK.  Although born and brought up in the South East of England, I feel ‘Scottish’. Most of my parents’ friends were Scottish, so the accents, the philosophy of life etc were part of my DNA – I was even taught how to Scottish dance… it comes in handy on Burns Night! I’ve traced my mother’s family back to the twelfth century in Scotland – to a Norwegian called Robert Henryson.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

I’m slightly ashamed of this answer.  I was asked this when I was about three by one of my mother’s friends and apparently I replied ‘I want to be famous’.  It’s so embarrassing.  I have no memory of saying it and don’t actually recall feeling that as a child, although I did love to perform for the family and used to make them laugh telling stories and impersonating people over dinner each evening.  It was odd, because I was bullied badly as a little girl at school, so spent much of my time just trying to survive playtime.  But at home I was far more extrovert.    Then I went to a new school at eleven and everything got much better. I came out my shell and began to act and sing in school performances, and did seriously consider being an actress growing up. But by about seventeen I had worked out that unless I was unbelievably lucky the chances of ‘making it’ were slim.  Instead I went to work at the BBC and loved it. I was behind the scenes for several years, learning the ropes of documentary making.  When I became a presenter I knew that I had found the thing that I was meant to do.  It was the perfect combination of journalism and performance.

List three words to describe yourself.

Resourceful, creative, maternal

Who would play you in a film about your life? Continue reading “Meet Author @DebbieRix #historicalfiction #wwwblogs”

Would You BUY or PASS? The Other Queen #FridayFiveChallenge #Historical Fiction

Welcome to the ‘Friday Five Challenge.’

Would you BUY or PASS if you had only a thumbnail image and five minutes to decide?

Here is my contribution for this week:

I’ve recently embarked on a Netflix marathon where I was totally hooked with ‘Reign’, an American historical romance series based on Mary, Queen of Scots.  It’s a highly fictional series (bending the historical facts to meet the needs of a modern young audience), but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it.  So, with Kings and Queens on my mind, I decided to search for Mary, Queen of Scots and this is what I found:

The Other Queen (The Tudor Court Series Book 6) by Philippa Gregory

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Blurb:

A dramatic novel of passion, politics and betrayal from the author of The Other Boleyn Girl. Mary, Queen of Scots, fights to regain her kingdom whilst under the guard of Queen Elizabeth’s trusted accomplice, Bess of Hardwick. Continue reading “Would You BUY or PASS? The Other Queen #FridayFiveChallenge #Historical Fiction”

Would You BUY or PASS? #FridayFiveChallenge March: A Love Story in a Time of War by Geraldine Brooks #Historical

 

Welcome to the ‘Friday Five Challenge.’

Would you BUY or PASS if you had only a thumbnail image and five minutes to decide?

Here is my contribution for this week:

With my mind on other things I failed to come up with an interesting search term for this weeks Friday Five Challenge, so I opted to use the word ‘March’ – influenced by the calendar I was absentmindedly staring at for ten minutes!  This is the first book I spotted:

March: A Love Story in a Time of War by Geraldine Brooks

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Blurb:

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and Richard and Judy pick.

From the author of the acclaimed ‘Year of Wonders’ and ‘People of the Book’, a historical novel and love story set during a time of catastrophe on the front lines of the American Civil War. Continue reading “Would You BUY or PASS? #FridayFiveChallenge March: A Love Story in a Time of War by Geraldine Brooks #Historical”