Giveaway of New Audiobook: Mary – Tudor Princess, narrated by Ruth Redman

From the author of the international best-selling Tudor Trilogy, the true story of the Tudor dynasty continues with the daughter of King Henry VII, sister to King Henry VIII. Mary Tudor watches her elder brother become King of England and wonders what the future holds for her. Born into great privilege, Mary has beauty and intelligence beyond her years and is the most marriageable princess in Europe. Henry plans to use her marriage to build a powerful alliance against his enemies. Will she dare risk his anger by marrying for love? Meticulously researched and based on actual events, this ‘sequel’ follows Mary’s story from book three of the Tudor Trilogy and is set during the reign of King Henry VIII.

This book was released in February in print and eBook and is now available in an audiobook. This, in my opinion is a fantastic book – see my review as evidence. Book Review: Mary Tudor by Tony Riches. This is your chance to win one of five audiobooks that the author was kind enough to offer for this giveaway.



This audiobook is new on Amazon UK and Amazon US
Audible and iTunes

Mary Tudor watches her elder brother become King of England and wonders what the future holds for her. Born into great privilege, Mary has beauty and intelligence beyond her years and is the most marriageable princess in Europe.

Henry plans to use her marriage to build a powerful alliance against his enemies. Will she dare risk his anger by marrying for love? Meticulously researched and based on actual events, this ‘sequel’ follows Mary’s story from book three of the Tudor Trilogy and is set during the reign of King Henry VIII.

Actress Ruth Redman’s wonderful narration brings Mary Tudor to life with compelling warmth and sensitivity.

Would you like to win this audiobook? You need to complete two steps:

Step #1 – In the comments below, answer this question: What year did Mary go to France to wed King Louis XII?

Step #2 – Go back to my Facebook page (where you just clicked on the link or image) and tell me why you’d love this audiobook in the comment thread of the post.

Winners will be announced on Monday.



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Book Review: “La Reine Blanche” by Sarah Bryson

Of the two surviving sisters of Henry VIII, his younger sister Mary was by far his favorite. Nothing shows that more than when he forgave her for secretly marrying Charles Brandon before returning from France after the death of her first husband, King Louis XII of France.

When I heard that author Sarah Bryson was releasing a book about Mary Tudor I was excited to learn more about the Tudor princess and French queen. She has fascinated me since her amalgamation in Showtime’s “The Tudors”. I say amalgamation because the character on the series was a combination of both Mary and Margaret Tudor. If you’re not familiar with the actual history of Mary Tudor the show’s story line will utterly confuse you. The biggest fictionalization (in my opinion) was when Mary, at eighteen years old married the King of Portugal. I’m really not sure why the writers of the series chose Portugal and not the King of France. In all the reading I do on the Tudor dynasty I have never come across any mention of Manuel I of Portugal. What we didn’t learn from that series is what an amazing person Mary Tudor was.

With all this in mind I was eager to learn more facts about the life of Mary Tudor, Queen of France.

Description of book:

Mary Tudor’s childhood was overshadowed by the men in her life: her father, Henry VII, and her brothers Arthur, heir to the Tudor throne, and Henry VIII. These men and the beliefs held about women at the time helped to shape Mary’s life. She was trained to be a dutiful wife and at the age of eighteen Mary married the French king, Louis XII, thirty-four years her senior. When her husband died three months after the marriage, Mary took charge of her life and shaped her own destiny. As a young widow, Mary blossomed. This was the opportunity to show the world the strong, self-willed, determined woman she always had been. She remarried for love and at great personal risk to herself. She loved and respected Katherine of Aragon and despised Anne Boleyn – again, a dangerous position to take. Author Sarah Bryson has returned to primary sources, state papers and letters, to unearth the truth about this intelligent and passionate woman. This is the story of Mary Tudor, told through her own words for the first time.

I ordered this book directly through Amberley Publishing in England because it is not released in the U.S. until June 2018.

Review:

Sarah Bryson did a phenomenal job bringing to life one of the lesser written about women of Tudor court, Mary Tudor.  While many of us are aware of who Mary Tudor was we might not know very much about her life. Mary was beautiful, well-liked and smart.

La Reine Blanche: Mary Tudor, A Life in Letters is just that, a book about the life of Mary Tudor (sister of Henry VIII) supplemented by letters. Bryson did a lot of research to be able to show us the most comprehensive look at the beautiful English princess to date.

Katherine of Aragon, Henry VIII, Francis I, Cardinal Wolsey, Charles Brandon and a plethora of other Tudor figures make an appearance in this book. It’s interesting to see how they all interacted with Mary throughout her life. It’s also interesting to see how close Mary had become with the children of her husband’s from his marriage with Anne Browne – she was indeed a kind stepmother.

Mary’s life wasn’t without adversity and Bryson did a brilliant job bringing it all to life for the reader. I was moved at the loss of her son with Brandon. As a mother, my heart breaks every time a parent loses a child.

I was pleasantly surprised by Mary’s relationship with her first husband, King Louis XII of France. I had previously known that she went into the marriage with an open mind but had no idea of her feelings for the King until reading this book.

If you’re as obsessed with the Tudor period as I am then you’ll love this book. It’s also a great book to read if you’re interested in French traditions.

Interested in learning more? Here is Sarah Bryson’s guest post for my site: The Princess and the Knight

Buy This Book

Amazon.com (available June 1, 2018 – Pre-order today!)

Amazon.co.uk (available now)

Book Depository (available now)

Author Bio:

Sarah Bryson is a researcher, writer and educator who has a Bachelor of Early Childhood
Education with Honours. She currently works with children with disabilities. She is
passionate about Tudor history and has a deep interest in Mary Tudor, Charles Brandon,
Duke of Suffolk and the reign of Henry VIII and the people of his court. She has run a
website dedicated to Tudor history for many years and has written for various websites
including ‘On the Tudor Trail’ and ‘QueenAnneBoleyn’. She has been studying primary
sources to tell the story of Mary Tudor for a decade. Sarah lives in Australia, enjoys reading,
writing and Tudor costume enactment.

Links:

Website: https://sarah-bryson.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SarahBryson44/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SarahBryson44

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The Princess and the Knight (Guest Post)

 

The Princess and the Knight

Guest post by Sarah Bryson

The story of Charles Brandon and Mary Tudor reads like a fairy tale. Born in 1496 she was the youngest surviving child of King Henry VII and his beautiful wife Queen Elizabeth. Mary was raised to be the perfect image of a princess. Mary was educated in all the necessities for royal women of the time including singing, dancing, embroidery, and playing a musical instrument. In fact Mary was an excellent player of the lute and clavichord (a type of stringed instrument). In addition, she received training in social etiquette including table manners, polite conversation and the importance of dressing and presenting herself as a daughter of the new Tudor king.

Mary was renowned throughout Europe for her great beauty. Philippe Sieur de Bergilies, ambassador to the Court of Margaret of Austria, Regent of the Netherlands, stated that ‘never man saw a more beautiful creature, nor one having so much grace and sweetness, in public or private.’ Less than three months later Derard de Pleine wrote to Margaret of Austria stating that ‘Madame the Princess [Mary], until I had seen her several times. I can assure you that she is one of the most beautiful girls that one would wish to see; it does not seem to me that I have ever seen one so beautiful. She has a good manner, and her deportment is perfect in conversation, dancing or anything else.’

Mary was in essence the perfect princess. The fairy tale of her life continued until when she was just eighteen years old, she was married to the fifty two year old King of France, Louis XII. Louis was an old man riddled with gout and the marriage was a condition of a peace treaty negotiated between England and France.

However, just three months after her marriage, Louis XII died on 1 January 1515. Mary, now the Dowager Queen of France as well as being an English princess, was trapped in a foreign country, her servants dismissed and she was sent to the Hotel de Cluny for forty days of mourning.

At eighteen years of age Mary was young, beautiful and as a widow she was once more a useful political tool. While she remained in France, Francis I could easily use her as a bargaining tool for his own purposes. He could organise a marriage between Mary and a French nobleman or even arrange a marriage with a member of the aristocracy from another country in order to secure a political alliance against England.

Francis I may have also been concerned that should Mary return to England the her brother, Henry VIII, would renege on the original treaty with France and seek a renewal of the English treaty with the Holy Roman Empire, seeking to revive the planned marriage between Mary and Prince Charles of Castile, to whom she had been betrothed to before her marriage to Louis XII. In addition, while Mary remained in France Francis I could retain Mary’s jewels and would not have to pay for her travelling expenses back to England.

That is when her knight in shining armour came to rescue her. Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk was one of Henry VIII’s closest friends. He was twenty nine years old, tall, athletic and known as one of the best jousters in England, but he was also a rogue. Already having two marriages under his belt, Brandon had a reputation as a ladies man, not just English women, but he even dared to steal a ring from Margaret of Austria, Duchess of Savoy and daughter of Maximillian I, the Holy Roman Emperor!

The fairy tale continues, and Brandon, under orders from King Henry VIII, was sent to France in order to bring Mary safely back to her homeland. Brandon scooped Mary up and falling for her great beauty and charm married her instantly – and without the English king’s permission. Fearing Henry VIII’s wrath both Mary and Charles threw themselves on the king’s mercy and because of his great love for the pair they were forgiven and allowed to return home.

On the face of it, this is a superb example of the chivalric romantic tale of a beautiful, helpless princess saved by her handsome knight. Yet the story is just that… a story. The truth about Mary Tudor and her marriage to Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk is far more than a helpless woman seeking to be saved. In fact it was Mary who proposed marriage to Brandon and it was Mary who manoeuvred her way through a male dominated world to pave her own future.

Faced with such uncertainty, Mary Tudor did not sit back as the helpless, weak princess needing to be rescued. Instead she took matters into her own hands. Shortly after Brandon’s arrival in Paris Mary proposed marriage and the duke accepted. The couple were married in secret, without Henry VIII’s permission and also without the knowledge of the king of France.

While the exact date of the marriage is unknown it is probable that the couple married before ten witnesses in the Chapel in Cluny, between 31 January, when Brandon arrived in Paris, and 3rd February.

Mary boldly wrote to her brother reminding him of the promise that he had made at Dover before she boarded the ship that took her to France, which was that should Louis die before her and there was no progeny of that marriage, she could take a second husband of her own choosing.

‘Sir, I beseech your grace that you will keep all the promises that you promised me when I took my leave of you by the w[ater s]ide. Sir, your grace knoweth well that I did marry for your pl[easure a]t this time, and now I trust that you will suffer me to [marry as] me l[iketh fo]r to do ; for, sir, I k[now that yo]u shall have . . . s that they . . . for I assure your grace that [my mi]nd is not there where they would have me, and I trust [your grace] will not do so to me that has always been so glad to fulfil your mind as I have been : wherefore I beseech your grace for to be good lord and brother to me; for, sir, an if your grace will have gran me married in any place, [sav]ing whereas my mind is, I will be there, whereas your grace nor no other shall have any joy of me : for, I promise your grace, you shall hear that I will be in some religious house, the which I think your grace would be very sorry of, and all your realm. Also, sir, I know well that the King, that is [my so]n, will send to your grace by his uncle the duke of . . . for to ma[rry me here, but I tru]st you[r grace … I sha]ll never be merry at my heart, (for an ever that I d[o marrjy while I live). I trow your grace knoweth as well as I do, and did before I came’ hither, and so I trust your grace will be contented, unless I would never marry while I live, but be there where never [no] man nor woman shall have joy of me ; wherefore I beseech your grace to be good lord to him and to me both, for I know well that he hath m[et ma]ny hindrances to your grace of him and me both. Wherefore, an your grace be good lord to us both, I will not care for all the world else, but beseech your grace to be good lord and brother to me, as you have been here aforetime, f[or in you] is all the trust that I have in this world after God. No m[ore from m]e at this [time].

God send your grace [long life an]d your heart’sde[sires].

By your humble and loving sister, Mary Queen of France.

To the King my brother this be delivered, in haste.’

Brandon’s letter to Henry VIII shows Mary’s determination not to be remarried to a foreign prince, but to take a husband of her own choosing.

‘Sir, so it is that when I came to Paris the Queen was in hand with me the first day I [came], and said she must be short with me and [open] to me her pleasure and mind; and so she b[egan] and show how good lady [she] was to me, and if I would be ordered by her she would never have none but me. … She showed me she had wyerelle und[erstood] as well by Friar Langglay and Friar Fr … dar that and yewar sche cam in Ynggyll[and she sho]uld newar have me; and ther for sche … wr that and I wold not marre her … have me nor never come to [England] When I heard her say so I showed … plied that but to prove me with, and she … would not you knew well that my coming … it was showed her … and I axsed her wat [it] was; and she said that the best in France had [said] unto her that, and she went into England, she should go into Flanders. To the which she said that she had rather to be torn in pieces than ever she should come there, and with that wept. Sir, I never saw woman so weep; and when I saw [that] I showed unto her grace that there was none such thing [upon] my faith, with the best words J could: but in none ways I could make her to believe it. And when I saw that, I showed her grace that, and her grace would be content to write unto your grace and to obtain your good will, I would be content; or else I durst not, because I had made unto your grace such a promise. Whereunto, in conclusion, she said, ‘If the King my brother is content and the French King both, the tone by his letters and the todar by his words, that I should have [y]ou, I will have the time after my desire, or else I may well think that the words of … in these parts and of them in England [be] true and that is that you are come to tyes me home (?) [to the in]tent that I may be married into Fland[ers], which I will never, to die for it; and so [I posse]ssed the French King ar you cam (?); and th[at if] you will not be content to follow [my] end, look never after this d[ay to have] the proffer again.’ And, Sir, I …  in that case and I thought … but rather to put me … than to lyes all, and so I gra … an too; and so she and I was ma[rried] … and but ten persons, of the which [neither Sir Richard] Wyngfyld nor Master Dyne (Dean) was not [present] on my faith; for she would that I should [not take] them on council, for she said and I did [so] … she thought they would give mo couns[el] to the contrary; and therefore they know not of it, nor that the writing of this letter, on my faith and truth.”’

Brandon’s frantic letter to Henry VIII show’s that Mary took possession of the situation and was prepared to act in order to have what she wanted – her freedom of choice. She was determined to have her brother’s best friend for her second husband, rather than be used again as a bargaining tool for another political alliance with a foreign country.

Mary was not a helpless, meek princess needing to be rescued by a knight in shining armour. Instead she was a cunning woman who took her life into her own hands and forged her own destiny. Mary’s marriage to Brandon was calculated.  It stopped any chance that Francis I might have had of using her for his own political ends. It also stopped any potential marriages that Henry VIII may have planned for his sister. She gambled her brother’s love and ultimately came up winning. Mary was married to the handsome, greatly respected and beloved Duke of Suffolk, one of the most powerful men in England, as well as retaining her brother’s love and affection. If Mary’s marriage to Charles Brandon is written as a fairy tale then it must be regarded as the story that Mary wrote for herself.

You can find her book on Amazon:

Amazon – US

Amazon – UK

Sources:

Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, of the Reign of Henry VIII, 1509–47, ed. J. S. Brewer, James Gairdner and R. H. Brodie, (His Majesty’s Stationery Office, 1862–1932).

Loades, David, Mary Rose (Gloucestershire: Amberley Publishing, 2012).

Mumby, F, The Youth of Henry VIII: A Narrative in Contemporary Letters (Boston New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1913).

Richardson, Walter C., Mary Tudor The White Queen (Great Britain: University of Washington Press, 1970).

Author Bio:

Sarah Bryson is a researcher, writer and educator who has a Bachelor of Early Childhood
Education with Honours. She currently works with children with disabilities. She is
passionate about Tudor history and has a deep interest in Mary Tudor, Charles Brandon,
Duke of Suffolk and the reign of Henry VIII and the people of his court. She has run a
website dedicated to Tudor history for many years and has written for various websites
including ‘On the Tudor Trail’ and ‘QueenAnneBoleyn’. She has been studying primary
sources to tell the story of Mary Tudor for a decade. Sarah lives in Australia, enjoys reading,
writing and Tudor costume enactment.

Links:

Website: https://sarah-bryson.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SarahBryson44/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SarahBryson44

Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Reine-Blanche-Mary-Tudor-Letters/dp/1445673886/ref=sr_1_19?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1503666367&sr=1-19&cn=bWVzc2FnZQ%3D%3D&refsrc=email

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Book Review: “Mary Tudor” by Tony Riches

Jane Seymour (10)

Last year I read all three books in the trilogy by author Tony Riches about the Tudor dynasty. Book One was about a Owen Tudor, second husband of Catherine of Valois and stepfather to King Henry VI. Book Two was about Jasper Tudor, half-brother of King Henry VI and uncle of the future Henry VII. The final book, Book Three was about Henry Tudor and his struggle to become King of England. After finishing the trilogy on the Tudor dynasty Riches decided to try his hand at Mary Tudor, Queen of France and sister to King Henry VIII.

The love story of Mary and Charles Brandon has always intrigued me. A man whose family had been mostly servants and who was raised to Duke of Suffolk married the sister of the King in a secret ceremony in France. This unauthorized act would by a subject of Henry would usually end with the participants locked in the Tower of London, or worse yet, executed. Luckily for Mary and Charles they were both favorites of Henry and he merely fined them.

When the couple were finally allowed to return to England, Henry VIII insisted that they have a public ceremony at Greenwich Palace. He did not wish for his favorite sister’s future children to be declared illegitimate – they would be, after all, in the line of succession.

This story is wonderfully told by Riches as the life of an English princess who only wished to do what was right. Mary was loyal to those close to her, none more than to Katherine of Aragon during the King’s Great Matter. Mary despised her former maid of honor, Anne Boleyn and wanted nothing more than to see her good friend regain her position.

Unfortunately for Mary her life wasn’t always rainbows and butterflies. She lost a son after a freak accident and then she herself became extremely ill and would be unable to see her daughters Frances and ELeanor give her grandchildren.

If you love to read about the women of the Tudor dynasty I highly recommend you buy this book. I thoroughly enjoyed it and cannot wait for the author’s next book about Charles Brandon.

If you’d like to pick up a copy of the book it is available on Amazon.

Amazon – US

Amazon – UK

Book Cover of Mary ~ Tudor Princess

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The Last Days of Katherine of Aragon (Guest Post)

Guest Post by Sarah Clement

In 1531 Henry VIII formally separated from his wife of over twenty years, Katherine of Aragon. For some time, he had been bringing pressure upon her to accept a divorce or take holy orders so that he may marry someone else. In this case, Anne Boleyn. Katherine’s refusal to do so and her insistence that they were man and wife even after their marriage had been annulled and Henry had married Anne Boleyn would cause her no end of problems. The annulment centred on Katherine’s first marriage to Henry’s brother, Arthur which Katherine claimed had not been consummated. Unfortunately for her, Henry needed the opposite to be true and so it was somewhat inconvenient that the only person who had been privy to these events insisted that it was not. Upon the annulment, Katherine was stripped of the title Queen of England and would henceforth be referred to as the Dowager Princess of Wales. Her daughter by Henry, Princess Mary was now Lady Mary, and their households reduced to reflect this. Katherine had been assured from the earliest days of the process that if she accepted the King’s judgement then she would be well cared and provided for, her refusal to do so saw the exact opposite. The longer she remained defiant the worse her treatment became, being moved between uncomfortable residences until she found herself in 1534 at Kimbolton Castle.

The state of Kimbolton when Katherine arrived is something of a debate. Some report that the castle was decaying and its poor state contributed to her ailing health. Others note that it was in fair condition, though no fit home for one who was used to the grand halls of Hampton Court or Greenwich. There were far worse places she could have been lodged; Henry often threatened her with them and ostensibly Kimbolton was chosen to benefit Katherine’s health. Previously she had resided at Buckdon but had complained about the detriment the nearby fenland was having on her health. Thus, she came to Kimbolton, a smaller castle but it was at least a little further from the marshes. Under the care of Sir Edmund Bedingfield and Sir Edward Chamberlain, gentlemen loyal to Henry, Katherine’s household was further reduced and she was forbidden visitors unless they had the express written permission of the king. These additional sanctions were no doubt in response to Katherine’s continued insistence of the validity of her marriage to Henry even after an Act of Parliament had made it treasonable to do so.

 

Over a year later, in December 1535 Katherine’s already poor health declined rapidly. After a succession of illnesses, she was forced to her bed shortly after her fiftieth birthday. On the 29th December the Spanish ambassador, Eustace Chapuys, received two separate letters from Katherine’s physician and apothecary. Both intimated that the ambassador should come at once as Katherine was not expected to see out the winter. Chapuys could do no such thing without permission from the king, and so he dispatched his own messages requesting that very thing. Thomas Cromwell seemed willing, but first Chapuys must attend the king personally to discuss the matter. Chapuys after all had been denied permission in the past and still attempted to visit. On one occasion he had set forth with a company of Spanish gentlemen, ignoring the commands from Henry to return, turning back only when Katherine herself sent word that he should obey the King. When Chapuys met Henry he found him in a cheery mood but was unable to secure permission to visit. The ambassador was already leaving when Henry recalled him quickly, having just that moment received news himself that Katherine was thought close to death. With new evidence to hand, Henry allowed Chapuys a visit but refused to extend it to allow the Lady Mary to accompany him.

Elsewhere Maria de Salinas, Baroness Willoughby, also received the news that Katherine was failing. Maria had served as one of Katherine’s closest ladies since 1501 and had only left when the King ordered it in 1532 shortly before the marriage was annulled. Maria asked for permission to visit her royal mistress and friend, but as when she had asked previously, the answer was no. Maria left for Kimbolton anyway. The journey was one of over sixty miles, it was the height of winter and Maria was nearing fifty herself, but that did not stop her.

 

Chapuys arrived in the New Year on the 2nd January and was admitted to Katherine immediately. It was the first time he had seen her in some years, and indeed the first visitor she had received beyond the friars who took her households’ confessions. In case her illness was feigned their meeting was done in the presence of witnesses including Bedingfield and Chamberlain who hadn’t seen Katherine (at her command) since her arrival at Kimbolton over a year ago. Despite the gathered crowd, the ambassador’s presence comforted Katherine greatly and she told him how happy she was to not die alone. They conversed in Katherine’s native Spanish, talking for some hours, although Chapuys feared the strain such effort would have on her. Chapuys gave her cause to smile when he told her of the better household Henry would grant her upon her recovery and cheered her with the news that the king was greatly concerned by her illness. In fact the opposite was true, and Henry had already referred to the good Katherine’s death would do for Anglo-Spanish relations, but the lie brought her a smile and so Chapuys was probably justified. Katherine broke off their meeting so that she may rest for some time, but the ambassador returned that evening for more conversation, as he did at the same time in the days to come.

Three days later Maria de Salinas arrived at the castle and managed to get through the front door, playing upon her dishevelled condition to her advantage. To Bedingfield and Chamberlain, she claimed to have taken a fall from her horse during which she lost the papers granting her permission to visit Katherine. Once she had been admitted into the castle, she made for Katherine’s chambers and forced her way in, refusing to leave. She would remain with Katherine until the end.

In the company of her friends, Katherine seemed to recover slightly. On the 6th she managed to rouse herself to tie her own hair and dress. She did not take the improvement for granted, however, and set about making her final wishes known. As a foreigner living under the King’s charity she could not make a direct will, instead, she could only make requests of Henry and hope he honoured them. Given how reduced her household was, and how few possessions she had her will, such as it was, was a relatively simple affair. She asked that her servants be provided for, her three ladies to receive their marriage portions, and she left some personal effects to her daughter. With Katherine seeming to rally and appearing much improved within herself, Chapuys took his leave of her that evening.

That night Katherine woke in the early hours nauseous and in pain. She deteriorated quickly and it became apparent that the end was imminent. Her confessor was summoned and suggested that she receive mass, but Katherine, pious to the end, refused to do so until dawn, as per canon law. At first light, she received the sacrament and shortly afterwards made her confession and received Extreme Unction in the presence of Bedingfield and Chamberlain. The priest and Chapuys had agreed that at her confession Katherine would affirm that her first marriage was not consummated, but during the event the priest either forgot or did not press and neither did Katherine mention it. She managed to dictate a letter to her nephew, King Charles of Spain, and then a last letter to Henry who she addressed as, “my most dear lord, king and husband”, maintaining her Queenship to the end. She prayed aloud for as long as she was able, before at two o’clock, she committed her soul to God and passed away in the arms of her friend, Maria de Salinas.

About the Author

Shwmae! I’m Sarah. I pursued my interest in History to university where I specialised in Anne Boleyn, the role of mistresses and the hagiography of women. With a masters degree under my belt, I returned to my natural habitat to write about women in history. I can now be found somewhere in South Wales running a business, attempting to parent and when I can manage it, plonked in front of a games console to unwind.]

You can find more of my work at www.thehistoricalnovel.com

 

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Heroines of Plantagenet Embers (Guest Post)

Heroines of Plantagenet Embers

By Samantha Wilcoxson for Tudors Dynasty

A writer puts a little bit of themselves into every character they create. Maybe we are not as adventurous, devout, or charismatic as our beloved characters, but we wish we were, and somewhere deep inside us the potential is there. Same goes for the darker sides of our characters. Both the best and worst of us gets poured into our characters. I find it to be a satisfying release of emotions to transfer my deepest feelings into the ladies on the page.

The heroines of Plantagenet Embers are each as unique in my books as the historical figures they are based on were in real life, but I have reasons to love each of them. People are so multidimensional that it is easy to connect with some aspect of a person’s personality, if we are only willing to try.

Historical figures cannot be divided into heroes and villains. Complex people who lived varied lives, loved, and fought for what they thought was right existed on all sides of any historical controversy or war. It is those deep emotions and intricate personalities that I strive to explore in my novels.

When I decided to write about Elizabeth of York, I did not intend on creating a trilogy. At the time, I was simply drawn to the Plantagenet princess who, through her unique blend of quiet strength, selflessness, and piety, became the first Tudor queen. I connected with Elizabeth through her love of her children and country and her willingness to sacrifice her own desires for the good of others. She was a center of peace in turbulent times. I wished I could be as devout and loyal as Elizabeth was, but I feel like writing about her helped make me a better person.

During the course of writing about Elizabeth, her cousin, Margaret Pole, captured my attention in a way she had not before. I knew the story of the little girl whose father had been executed by his brother, but I had never carefully thought of the roller coaster ride of emotions that Margaret’s life must have been. I am drawn to an emotive tale and could not resist Margaret’s. She did not share Elizabeth’s position or submissiveness. Losing her husband at a relatively young age, Margaret became the matriarch of her family and struggled to balance loyalty to the new Tudor regime with ensuring her children’s positions in life. Margaret is independent in a way that I am not, but she strived to do God’s will and protect her children no matter what the cost. Her life was defined by high points that most of us will never reach and low points that I hope never to experience. Writing about her created waves of emotions within me that I hope I effectively shared with my readers.

However, nothing could compare with the storm of emotions that I went through when writing about Queen Mary I. I understand that some readers will never be able to think of her as anything other than Bloody Mary, but I was surprised to find that I felt the strongest connection to Mary. Into Mary’s tragic life I could pour every disappointment and hurt I had ever experienced. When she expressed to Reginald Pole that she has never felt she was first in anyone’s life, I had tears streaming down my face. I longed for her to receive the love and affection that I knew was not coming. My heart hurt for her in a way it never had for Elizabeth or Margaret. Maybe it was that Mary never even had children to love, while Elizabeth and Margaret at least had their families to take comfort in regardless of what else came into their lives. There are several passages of Mary’s story that I cannot read without crying. She just captivated my heart. I admire her faith, even if that faith led to terrible things being done in her name, but most of all she moved me to sympathy in a way few other people or fictional characters ever have.

As you have probably discerned, I do not always look closely at the big historical events occurring during my heroines lives unless they were physically present when they happened. My goal is to expose the personal side of the story and put my reader through the same ups and downs that these women experienced. I want readers’ heart to flutter when Elizabeth first realizes she can love Henry Tudor. I want them to feel the air crushed out of their lungs when Margaret’s oldest son is executed, and I want them to feel their heart squeezed at Mary’s defeat and desperation when she realizes she is not pregnant.

History is about so much more than dates and battles, and these women have amazing stories to share. It is sometimes difficult to remember that the historical figures we admire and discuss with such passion were living, breathing people rather than storybook characters. If I can make these ladies who died long ago feel alive to my readers, I consider my job well done.

Author the Author:

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Samantha Wilcoxson is the author of the Plantagenet Embers Trilogy. An incurable bibliophile and sufferer of wanderlust, she lives in Michigan with her husband and three teenagers. She lives in Michigan with her husband and three children. You can connect with Samantha at SamanthaWilcoxson.BlogSpot.com or on Twitter @Carpe_Librum.

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