Above painting: Louis Jean Francois - Mars and Venus an Allegory of Peace


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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Historical Book Review and Interview! D.L. Bogdan's SECRETS OF THE TUDOR COURT

Today on History Undressed I’m posting my review of a phenomenal book, Secrets of the Tudor Court, by D.L. Bogdan, AND an interview I did with the author.

Back cover blurb…

When young Mary Howard receives the news that she will be leaving her home for the grand court of King Henry VIII, to attend his mistress Anne Boleyn, she is ecstatic. Everything Anne touches seems to turn to gold, and Mary is certain Anne will one day become Queen. But Mary has also seen the King's fickle nature and how easily he discards those who were once close to him. . .

Discovering that she is a pawn in a carefully orchestrated plot devised by her father, the duke of Norfolk, Mary dare not disobey him. Yet despite all of her efforts to please him, she too falls prey to his cold wrath. Not until she becomes betrothed to Harry Fitzroy, the Duke of Richmond and son to King Henry VIII, does Mary finds the love and approval she's been seeking. But just when Mary believes she is finally free of her father, the tides turn. Now Mary must learn to play her part well in a dangerous chess game that could change her life--and the course of history.

Available now from Kensington Books!


Trade Paperback

List Price: $15.00

My Review…

From the very first sentence of SECRETS OF THE TUDOR COURT, I was hooked. And not your average hooked, I mean, eyes popped wide, mouth open, oblivious to my surroundings. My children had to pry the book away from my hands when it came time to make dinner.

Bogdan has a knack for writing vivid, realistic, intense scenes. Her research was impeccable, and the heroine a unique character in Tudor history I didn’t know much about--Mary Howard, daughter to the great Duke of Norfolk, the man behind Mary Boleyn and Anne Boleyn, their viciously proud and fortune seeking uncle. Henry VIII’s court came to life, and readers will feel like they’ve stepped back in time to endure the pain, commiserate the despair and rejoice in the character’s happiness.

I HEARTILY recommend you read this book! It is on my keeper shelf, and I plan on reading it again and again (and secretly hope they make a movie too!)

Interview with the author…

Eliza: LOVED the book! Wow! I haven't read one this good in a long time, I was very impressed!

D.L.: I am SO happy you enjoyed my book! This is such an intimidating process with a debut novel that hearing good news just tickles me pink!

Eliza: What made you decide to choose Mary Howard?

D.L.: I chose Mary Howard because I wanted to find a unique, little known view-point that provides a different window to the history of a familiar, fascinating story. I love the era and the personas therein. We'd already heard stories of the main cast (Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII, Princess Elizabeth, etc.) so I was hoping I could shed a new, or at least different light on it.

Eliza: You wrote Secrets of the Tudor Court in first person, which I first must say congratulations! Writing first person is by far the hardest thing to do, and you managed it brilliantly! At times this book is very intense and vivid, I actually winced, how did you feel when writing scenes like that? (Specifically the scenes where her father was beating her.) How connected were you with the character?

D.L.: Yes, certain scenes were quite vivid indeed! I really wanted to illustrate abuse and how it affects a family. I was hoping despite the difference in eras, I could make a connection between that and the contemporary audience.

Eliza: How did you conduct research for your novel? Anything particularly fascinating that you discovered? Do you have plans to write another book in this era? Based on historical figures?

D.L.: I researched the novel through reading, reading, and more reading! I also traveled to England when I was younger, and as odd as this sounds, I took a lot of notes, not knowing if I'd ever use them. The work that helped me best with the Norfolk family was Dr. David Head's THE EBBS AND FLOWS OF FORTUNE, the life of Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk. I contacted the author and we had a wonderful banter back and forth for the duration of writing this and the second novel that will follow it! . . .

. . . which leads me to your next question! Yes, there is another book that will be released 6-9 months after this one, which is about Norfolk, his wife, and mistress and is told from all 3 perspectives. It is actually my personal favorite of the two works. It is tentatively titled THE NORFOLK SIGNET, but that may change!

I just want to thank anyone who is interested in this era and hope everyone enjoys the book. It was the thrill of a lifetime in writing it; honestly, it flowed like magic and I am hoping to experience that again with a new work. So hopefully this won't be the last you've heard from me!

Eliza: I certainly hope it isn’t the last! You’re one of my new favorite authors, and I can’t WAIT to read the next one!

About the Author…

D.L Bogan is a history major, aiming for a master's so that she might lecture one day. She is also a musician with classical voice training who has been playing keyboards and singing in bands since she was 18. She also enjoys reading, traveling, summer activities, spending time with family and friends, and researching her next novel! She makes her home in central Wisconsin.


Elizabeth Kerri Mahon said...

Argh, yet another fabulous book that I'm going to have to add to my TBR pile.

camille said...

This book sounds absolutely awesome ! I am so going to buy it and read it :D

Unknown said...

You are the second person I know who absolutely loved this book - I really can't wait to read it. I like how it is about a lesser known of the Howard/Boleyn clan!

ZACL said...

The initial review on the cover...I assume it is the cover, reads like The Other Boleyn Girl, and other books by that other particular author. Her research of the Tudor's, and life around the Court, on the whole is good, but the secrets in and out of the bedroom are pretty well broadcast, even if they are woven into an historically based fiction.

The Tudors were an interesting lot and that is why so many writers delve into their life and times.

The Hypocrisy of the Victorians is less exciting a prospect at first glance. More could be made of it.

Eliza Knight said...

Such a good read!!!! I hope you all enjoy it as much as I did!

ZACL said...

No..I left half of the last chapter of the second book I read. I was bored with it.

Eliza Knight said...

Well that stinks... I hope you find something fun to read soon! I think what makes THE SECRETS OF THE TUDOR COURT so interesting to me was the good writing, the vibrancy of the characters, and also learning a lot more about Mary Howard and the Duke of Richmond (Henry's illegitimate son with Elizabeth Blount). I really felt like this one was different. There have been other Tudor books I've read and set aside not to pick up again, but this one I tore through.

ZACL said...

Glad you enjoyed it. There are many sources from which to gain this same knowledge and I have no need to retrace steps.

I have always found the Tudor period interesting, sources being plentiful and usually well written.

BurtonReview said...

I also loooved the book, it's definitely on my Keeper shelf as well! This is one I will continuously recommend to those inquiring on Tudor fiction.