Monday, April 29, 2013

New This Week - April 29, 2013

Elizabeth Woodville by David MacGibbon.  Non-fiction.  This originally had a UK release date of April 28, 2013 but it looks like they moved it up a few days to late last week.

Elizabeth Woodville, wife of Edward IV, mother of Elizabeth of York and the Princes in the Tower, and grandmother of Henry VIII, has been vilified and defended in turn. Was she a cunning enchantress, an ambitious advancer of her family's fortunes, or a courageous and tragic figure who lost husbands, brothers and sons during this turbulent period? Discover the real story of the 'White Queen'. Born into a family of Lancastrian supporters, the exceptionally beautiful Elizabeth captured the heart of the young Yorkist king, Edward IV, and found herself caught in the complex web of rivalries, loves and conspiracies that lay at the heart of the Wars of the Roses. She would wield immense influence as queen, watch her brother-in-law confine her sons to the Tower of London to face an unknown fate, and ultimately unite the Houses of Lancaster and York through the marriage of her daughter to Henry Tudor.

Royal Exiles:  From Richard the Lionheart to Charles II by Iain Soden. Non-fiction.  US release April 2013 (will be released in the UK in July 2013.

The experience of exile and captivity, usually in war, was not uncommon for medieval kings and princes. Many knew the joy of survival followed by the frustration of being caged; some tried to govern from exile; others adapted and took advantage of a temporary release from duty; most canvassed allies and very few gave up hope. This book chronicles the experiences of capture, flight, captivity or exile as they languished far from home and the highs and lows of their attempts to regain a life to which they could relate. From Richard the Lionheart in 1192 to Charles II in 1651, a succession of England's kings and princes were forced to flee into exile or endure captivity at home or abroad, as were foreign royalty in English hands. Even kings can be pawns in the great game of international diplomacy. Royal lineage brought privilege but also great danger. Those who suffered in this way lived periods of great frustration and of edge-of-the-seat uncertainty, surrounded by spies and guards, governing or simply relating to the outside world in secret or by smuggled letter. Negotiations for their release, when possible, were often half-hearted and subject to conflicting agendas. Returns could be torrid affairs and often involved force of arms. Some were broken by their experiences. Others came back with tales of adventure and derring-do. Most were forgotten or wrapped in layers of propaganda, put in the shade by their subsequent successful reigns or their ignominious end. It is a story of privileged lives rendered helpless, and of keeping a flame of hope alive.

Blood Between Queens by Barbara Kyle.  US and UK release April 30, 2013.

Following her perilous fall from a throne she’d scarcely owned to begin with, Mary, Queen of Scots, has fled to England, hoping her cousin, Queen Elizabeth, will grant her asylum. But now Mary has her sights on the English crown, and Elizabeth enlists her most trusted subjects to protect it.

Justine Thornleigh is delighting in the thrill of Queen Elizabeth’s visit to her family’s estate when the festivities are cut short by Mary’s arrival. To Justine’s surprise, the Thornleighs appoint her to serve as a spy in Mary’s court. But bearing the guise of a lady-in-waiting is not Justine’s only secret. The weight of her task is doubled by fears of revealing to her fiancĂ© that she is in truth the daughter of his family’s greatest rival. Duty-bound, Justine must sacrifice love as she navigates a deadly labyrinth of betrayal that could lead to the end of Elizabeth’s fledgling reign…

Compelling and inventive, Blood Between Queens artfully blends history’s most intriguing figures with unforgettable characters, bringing to dazzling life the fascinating Tudor era.

The Tudor Rose:  Princess Mary, Henry VIII's Sister by Jennifer Kewley Draskau.  Non-fiction.  UK release may 1, 2013; will be released in the US September 1, 2013.

The beautiful sister of Henry VIII, the spoiled darling of the court, Princess Mary Tudor was married off to the ailing King of France against her will and, after his death, had to fight for the right to marry Henry s favourite companion, Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk. After bearing him four children, Mary Rose died in the full flower of her beauty. Her adored husband soon married the 14-year-old fiancée of their only surviving son, who shortly thereafter died of tuberculosis. Her older daughter, Frances, was the mother of the ill-fated Jane Grey, the Nine Days Queen . Her second daughter, Eleanor, was the grandmother of Fernando, 5th Earl of Derby, intended by Henry VIII to inherit the throne after Elizabeth. The Tudor Rose is the tragic story of Mary Tudor, and the role she and her descendants played in Tudor England.

Reign:  The Chronicles of Jezebel by Ginger Garrett.  US and UK release May 1, 2013.

Beyond the Drama, Her Heart Was Real

From the moment her marriage to prince Ahab thrusts her into the intrigues of palace life, Jezebel’s exotic beauty opens doors and her will breaks down walls. Torn from her homeland and wed to power in a strange country, Jezebel vows to create a legacy and power all her own. Some might call her a manipulative schemer, bent on having her way. But they don’t know the whole story, and she was much, much worse.

As she moves through the halls of power, her heart struggles between devotion to the gods she worships, the prince who loves her, and her thirst for revenge. She sparks a battle between her strangely powerless gods and the God of palace administrator Obadiah—a God who confronts her with surprising might. She will fight, though victory may cost her everything.

Blood and Beauty by Sarah Dunant.  UK release May 2, 2013 (will be released in the US in July 2013).

Acclaimed novelist of the Italian Renaissance Sarah Dunant now takes on the era's most infamous family: the Borgias.

By the end of the fifteenth century, the beauty and creativity of Italy is matched by its brutality and corruption, nowhere more than in Rome and in the Church. When Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia buys his way into the papacy as Alexander VI, he is defined not just by his wealth or his passionate love for his illegitimate children, but by his blood: he is a Spanish Pope in a city run by Italians. If the Borgias are to triumph, this charismatic, consummate politician with a huge appetite for life, women and power must use papacy and family to succeed.

His eldest son Cesare, a dazzlingly cold intelligence and an even colder soul, is his greatest - though increasingly unstable - weapon. Later immortalised in Machiavelli's The Prince, he provides the energy and the muscle. His daughter Lucrezia, beloved by both men, is the prime dynastic tool. Twelve years old when the novel opens, hers is a journey through three marriages: from childish innocence to painful experience, from pawn to political player.

Stripping away the myths around the Borgias, Blood & Beauty is a majestic novel that breathes life into this astonishing family and celebrates the raw power of history itself: compelling, complex and relentless.

1 comment:

Melissa @ Confessions of an Avid Reader said...

The new Dunant book sounds intriguing. It will be interesting to see what she does with the Borgias.