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Friday, April 15, 2011
Book Review and Author Giveaway! D. L. Bogdan's RIVALS IN THE TUDOR COURT
To read my review of her first book, Secrets of the Tudor Court, as well as her interivew, click HERE.
The death toll in Henry VIII's England can be counted in the thousands. No one was more aware of this than Thomas Howard, third duke of Norfolk. Relying on his indomitable force of will, cleverness, and sheer good fortune, Thomas Howard manages to be one of the king's only intimates to survive an unforgettable reign of terror. This impeccably researched companion piece to "Secrets of the Tudor Court" chronicles the ambitious duke's life, loves, and remarkable capacity to endure. Before he was the king's uncle, before he was his nieces' ultimate betrayer, Thomas Howard was a hostage at the court of Henry VII while his father was imprisoned in the dreaded Tower of London. There he would marry the queen's sister, his forever princess Anne Plantagenet. While he founded a dynasty, his career as soldier and sailor brought him acclaim and the trust of the Tudors. But when unspeakable tragedy robs him of family and fortune, Thomas must begin again. Abandoning notions of love, Thomas seeks out an advantageous match with the fiery Elizabeth Stafford, daughter of the duke of Buckingham. Clever, willful, and uncompromising in principle, the young duchess falls victim to a love she cannot deny. When Thomas takes on a mistress, the vulnerable Bess Holland, Duchess Elizabeth prepares to fight for all she holds dear. Only then does she learn she faces a force darker than anything she could ever have imagined, an obsessive love that neither she nor Bess can rival.
Available now for Pre-Order at Amazon and Barnes and Noble
Published by Kensington Books in Trade Paperback and Ebook
The infamous Duke of Norfolk, is a character within Henry VIII's court who has been regalled as heartless, cruel and horrifyingly intelligent. He had a network of spies that kept him informed of every single thing that happened in court, and when enemies met him on the battlefield, they were almost always vanquished. This was the man who saw his own niece--Queen Anne Boleyn--executed. This was the man who several years later, saw another niece of his--Queen Katherine Howard--executed.
From all outward appearances, he was a vicious man in constant search for more power, more favor, and above all things seeing that his name was clear and favorable in the king's eyes.
But how does a man get to be so cruel? How can he personally see his family members executed--and for things that are either false, or out of their control (for really how much control does a flighty teenager have over her own destiny?)
D.L. Bogdan's, Rivals in the Tudor Court, explores this very question, and within the first few pages had me gasping in horror, and tears streaming down my face. You come to love Thomas Howard, before he is Duke of Norfolk, to empathize for him, his own pain gripping your heart--and just as swiftly, the author rips your empathy away, and you find yourself snarling at the book--or at least I did.
But it wasn't only Thomas Howard we learned about, but his wives, most notably, Elizabeth Howard, and his mistress Bess Holland. This book truly explores and covers what it was like to be a woman born in that era--one of noble blood and one without a drop. How easily both are controlled, manipulated, cast aside, and disrespected. One thing you find in historical fiction these days, is that the women are portrayed as most modern women are today. And while yes, women in the 15th/16th century did have many of the same thoughts, morals and values that women today have, the truth is, they weren't allowed to live that way. Rivals in the Tudor Court stays true to history, and what life was really like for these two women--these two rivals.
This is a book I would highly recommend reading, as I did her first book which was about Thomas Howard's daughter, Mary Howard.
One of the things I've enjoyed about Ms. Bogdan's work is that the characters, while mentioned often in other Tudor books, are not explored as they are within her books. I came to learn things about Thomas that I never knew before. The writing is vivid, evocative, and emotionally jarring. Be warned, you will need a box of tissues and maybe a glass of wine or two while reading.
Don't forget to leave a comment for your chance (two winners) to win an autographed copy of RIVALS IN THE TUDOR COURT.