Above painting: Louis Jean Francois - Mars and Venus an Allegory of Peace
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Friday, April 15, 2011

Book Review and Author Giveaway! D. L. Bogdan's RIVALS IN THE TUDOR COURT

I found myself once again blown away by D. L. Bogdan's take on characters within Henry VIII's court in her newest release, Rivals in the Tudor Court. (Releases April 26, 2011).  And guess what? History Undressed readers, if you leave a comment today, you will be entered in a chance to win an autographed copy of the book! (Two winners).

To read my review of her first book, Secrets of the Tudor Court, as well as her interivew, click HERE.

Book Info:

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
ISBN-13: 978-0758242006

My Review:

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.


Renee Vincent said...

I am very intrigued with this book. I love the whole Tudor concept and the many who were involved. And can you believe, I even had my picture taken with Sir Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk, at the renaissance festival in Ohio! I looked for Henry, but he was nowhere to be found...imagine that. Here's the pic if anyone is interested (scroll down)

Eliza Knight said...

Awesome pic Renee! I love the Rennaissance Festival we have here every year. Last year we went twice! And the kids loved it too! Thanks for stopping by :)

Michele said...

The Tudor period is one of my favorite...I would love to read about someone other than kings and queens
rlawrence110 at yahoo dot com

Michelle Diener said...

Great review, Eliza! Norfolk is a villain in my Tudor-set historical, IN A TREACHEROUS COURT, so it was a lot of fun for me to read about a book focusing on him as the main protagonist. I love how many wonderful characters there are to explore in this period, and how diverse our fictional accounts can be.

Chicks of Characterization said...

Wow, what a great review, Eliza! I LOVE the Tudor period! Everything about them! This book looks awesome!

Thanks so much for sharing!!!


Alexandriaweb said...

Ooooh sounds like a great read.

Jena Lang said...

I love the Tudor period! This book sounds fabulous. Thanks for the giveaway.


Laura said...

Hi, Eliza,

If D.L. Bogdan's book is as thrilling as your review, it'll be great! Gotta read it now :D

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

I'd love to read this book as I've always been interested in this part of history. What tragic lives some of those women endured.

KimberlySue said...

I love anything to do with the Tudors! Looks like a great book!


Rachel said...

Thank you for the giveaway!


J. Coleman said...

I love anything related to the Tudor period with the wiley King Henry. I'm so glad someone has ventured outside of the castle and presented us with an intriguing love story of one of the other players and victims of his reign. Undoubtedly, there are countless "other sides of the story" to enlighten this dark, but captivating time period. Definitely adding these books (and author) to my collection. Thank you Eliza for shining the spotlight on her.

Kris Kennedy said...

I can't wait for this book! Thanks so much for discussing it and putting it back on my radar. :-) I love when an author succeeds at telling a dramatic story that is well-researched.

Kiki said...

I've had a lifelong love affair with English history and the Tudor era. Lately, I have been researching my family's history, and discovered that 19th century records give women little attention, even though women were the backbone of society. I'm sure that attitude had its roots in the medieval period.

I loved Ms. Bogodan's first book, with its' compassion, delicacy and strength of characterization.

Maeve said...

Excellent post and sounds like an intriguing read!

farmbrough said...

Sounds like an intelligent and exciting book. But then that is what I would expect from this author!

She said...

I always like to see books on an alternate view of history. We read or see so much from Henry VIII's view we forget there are other views. Rivals in the Tudor Court sounds good.


DeAnn said...

What an enthralling review! I hope the book is half as good as the review.

I've done quite a bit of research on the House of Howard so I'm quite eager to see how accurate the author is while still using her own creative license as a historical fiction writer. A fabulous combination always makes for great writing.

I would love to know if you could please, Eliza, how much of Anne Howard, the daughter of Edward IV, is in the book and when the author has her dying (history is unclear on whether it's 1512 or 1513). I'm also eager to know what cause of death she writes for their son because again history is unclear and plenty of room for a historical fiction writer to mine!

Eliza Knight said...

@DeAnn, she is the book for about the first 1/4. She dies in winter of 1512. He and Anne have 2 sons (and 2 daughters). In the book, one dies as an infant in his bed--cause unknown. The older boy dies from a mysterious illness--headaches, and lies abed for awhile. I think the author did a great job filling in the blanks so to speak where history has left events unclear.

Eliza Knight said...

And the winners (according to Random.org) are Paisley and Rachel.

Congrats ladies!