Need some more Tudor info during the festive season? Listen to Siobhan Clarke chat about Tudor celebrations and traditions with Natalie Grueninger.
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Have a safe & happy Holiday season!
Need some more Tudor info during the festive season? Listen to Siobhan Clarke chat about Tudor celebrations and traditions with Natalie Grueninger.
Have a safe & happy Holiday season!
By Bonny G Smith
The fourth book of The Tudor Chronicles, This Mighty Realm, was published on December 1, 2020. Two years in the writing, this brilliant novel tells the exciting story of the stormy relationship between Queen Elizabeth I of England and the young Earl of Essex, in the twilight years of Gloriana’s reign.
What is The Tudor Chronicles, and what inspired you to write it?
The Tudor Chronicles is a set of three complete Tudor novels in four volumes. It currently consists of The Nymph From Heaven, The Baker’s Daughter, and In High Places. These three novels span the years of the reigns of four Tudor monarchs; King Henry VIII, King Edward VI, Queen Mary Tudor, and Queen Elizabeth I.
I grew up reading historical fiction novels, and watching movies about past times. I soon discovered that the vast tapestry that is “history” was a disjointed jumble in my mind. As I got older, I sought to bring a semblance of order to the chaos; I developed an overwhelming desire to understand what happened, when, and most importantly, why, in the long march of human history. I studied Ancient and Medieval History. But out of all the sweeping saga of time, the one fragment that most captured my imagination was the Tudor Era.
I became fascinated by, one might say positively obsessed with, possibly the most famous love triangle that has ever been. I read, I watched, everything I could find about Henry VIII, Katharine of Aragon, and Anne Boleyn.
When I delved deeper into Tudor history, and I discovered that King Henry VIII had two sisters, I was off and running like a hound on the scent. Margaret and Mary both had very interesting lives, but I found absolutely captivating the tale of Henry’s younger sister, Mary, and her romance with Charles Brandon. However, compared to the overwhelming abundance of information on Henry, Anne, and Katharine, I found very little source material about Mary and Brandon. I had a mission now; Mary’s story was too wonderful to leave it languishing on the edges of her brother’s more popular tale. I must remedy this lack.
Up to that point, I had never thought about writing my own book. My career as a telecommunications consultant involved many aspects of writing; I wrote project briefs, training manuals, sales proposals, and reports of all sorts. I could write. But write a book…? Why not?
The Nymph From Heaven:
The first book of The Tudor Chronicles
I started out as many aspiring writers do; I wrote a book about myself, Only the Heart Knows Why.Then I wrote two contemporary detective novels, The Heart of the Dragon and The Seven Diamonds. With that writing experience behind me, I was ready for the complicated task of writing history. I felt that Mary Tudor deserved the limelight after having been relegated to relative obscurity by her mega-famous brother and his Six Wives. I started Time Traveling back to the Tudor Era (read: daily research!). I finally gathered enough information about Mary and Brandon to weave a tale, and I embarked upon the labor of love that was writing The Nymph From Heaven, the first book of The Tudor Chronicles.
As I researched and wrote The Nymph, I quickly came to the conclusion that one could not tell Mary’s story without telling Henry’s, and so I took the approach of making Mary and Brandon’s tale the main plot, with Henry, Katharine and Anne’s story as the subplot. This methodology worked beautifully!
But as I wrote, I developed a fascination with Elizabeth Tudor. After all, how can one study the story of Henry Tudor and Anne Boleyn, and not be drawn to their famous daughter? But there was a problem… what about the veritable chasm of time between when Henry dies in 1547, and when Elizabeth finally takes the throne in 1558?
The Baker’s Daughter:
The second book of The Tudor Chronicles
It was at this point that I realized that what I was engaged in was not just the writing of one book, but a sweeping saga that had both an alpha and an omega. But did I really want to write a book about Bloody Mary? Who would read it, since Queen Mary Tudor is reviled by so many people? But I soon found that Elizabeth’s young life was very much bound up with Mary’s, who was seventeen years older; and I also discovered that Mary Tudor’s life was such that she inspired more pity than revulsion for her acts. I grew to understand Mary as I wrote her life story. I was, in the end, very glad that I had chosen to write Mary’s heart-rending tale. Ironically, The Baker’s Daughter, a book I wasn’t even sure I wanted to write, soon became my best-selling book.
After the eight years it took to write The Baker’s Daughter, I found that I simply was not ready to say goodbye, neither to novel writing, nor to the Tudors.
In High Places:
The third book of The Tudor Chronicles
When I began writing In High Places, I quickly discovered that in order to tell Elizabeth’s tale properly, one really must include the lifelong rivalry between her and her fellow queen and cousin, Mary, Queen of Scots. I had read Mary’s Stuart’s story before, but it seemed that most books told either one queen’s story or the other. Intertwining the fascinating tale of these two rival queens was challenging, but very rewarding. I came to an in-depth understanding of both women and what drove them by researching the juxtaposition with each other in which they both lived their lives. That Elizabeth and Mary’s fates were inextricably linked is undeniable. But by the time I reached the heartbreaking end of Mary’s life on the executioner’s block in 1587, I realized that In High Places had reached its natural end. But what about the rest of Elizabeth’s life and reign?
This Mighty Realm:
The fourth book of The Tudor Chronicles
I definitely wanted to write the rest of Elizabeth’s story, but many of the biographies and other sources I had used to write the first three books of The Tudor Chronicles did not contain much information on the last fifteen years of her life. After further research, I found some books that focused on Elizabeth’s relationship with Robert Devereux, the Earl of Essex.
Essex was Robert Dudley’s stepson; he became the second of Elizabeth’s defining relationships. There is much speculation about the nature of their relationship; the aging queen was more than thirty years Essex’s senior. We simply do not know if they were romantically involved or not. Many novelists choose to speculate that they were, but I think their relationship was much more complicated than that.
As the writing of This Mighty Realm progressed to its conclusion, I began to realize that I was not just faced with the end of my journey in telling the story of the Tudors; I was facing having to write Elizabeth’s death. That was jarring; my books take years to write because I strive to make them as historically accurate as possible, and that means an extensive research effort. I had been writing about Elizabeth literally since before she was born! And I was still not ready to say goodbye to the Tudors.
To Thine Own Self:
The prequel to The Tudor Chronicles
I had long since had it in my mind that I was actually writing a chronicle. But what exactly is a chronicle? What does it mean? A chronicle is “a detailed factual written account of important or historical events in the order of their occurrence.” While I applaud the efforts of fan fiction and alternative history writers, my own great desire is writing true Historical Fiction. In The Tudor Chronicles, I have strived to ensure that my facts are research-based and as true to what really happened…what we know as “history”…as possible. It is where we have gaps in the facts that the writer of fiction comes into his or her own; we must use our talents and abilities to decide what might have happened as we fill in the blanks of history with plausible assumptions, based on our knowledge of our characters, who were, after all, real people.
So in order to complete my chronicle of the Tudor Dynasty, a fifth and final book is needed. To Thine Own Self is actually many stories; it is the story of The Wars of the Roses; it is the story of the end of the Plantagenet Dynasty and the dawning of the Tudor Dynasty; it is the story of many fascinating people, including Henry VI, and his queen, Margaret of Anjou; Margaret Beaufort, and her son, Henry Tudor; Cecily Neville and Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York; Richard Neville, the Earl of Warwick, the “Kingmaker”; Edward IV, Elizabeth Woodville, Jaquetta of Luxembourg, and many, many others.
My books take years to write because of the meticulous research involved in writing a true chronicle of accurate historical fiction; I have estimated that To Thine Own Self will take about three years to write, and will hopefully be published in 2023.
And with that, what started out as a desire to write Mary Tudor Brandon’s wonderful love story will end with five very long novels, written with love, and with great respect for my characters, over eighteen years of my life.
What’s next for you? Do you have any plans to write more novels?
Yes! I have for years been enthralled by the Borgias. Their story overlays the time period of the late Plantagenet Dynasty and early Tudor Dynasty, so should I write their story, I will not have to leave the time period in which I have Time Traveled for almost twenty years.
I am also fascinated by the many stories of the Plantagenets; in particular, King John has always been a favorite of mine. King John, as with his distant relative, Queen Mary Tudor, has an evil reputation. After the Borgias, it is likely that I will turn my attention to him.
What is the meaning of the intriguing titles of your books? Do they have special significance?
I often get this question about my book titles! In the publishing world, book titles are very important. Just as with the cover of the book, people will often be drawn to a book because of its title. Here is the genesis of my titles:
The Nymph From Heaven comes from the words of Lorenzo Pasqualigo, court jeweler to Henry VIII. Lorenzo, an Italian, was standing next to the Venetian ambassador at Mary’s proxy wedding to Charles of Castile when he saw Mary Tudor for the first time. He was so astounded by her legendary beauty that he said, “She is a paradise! A nymph from Heaven!” Lorenzo’s words found their way into the ambassador’s dispatch to the Doge of Venice, and hence onto the cover of my book!
The Baker’s Daughter comes from a broadsheet (newspapers had not been invented yet) that was circulating London at the time of Queen Mary’s proposed match with Philip of Spain. The marriage was extremely unpopular in England; the rhyme from which the title is derived is a cruel taunt, and an apt metaphor for Mary’s unfortunate life: “The baker’s daughter in her russet gown; better than Queen Mary without her crown.”
In High Places has significance only for myself. It was a phrase I seemed to encounter constantly as I read histories and biographies about royalty; those who lived their lives “in high places”. And who among us is higher than a monarch?
Finding This Mighty Realm as a title was serendipitous; it comes from the speech in Parliament given by Nicholas Heath, the Lord Chancellor of England, as he proclaimed Elizabeth “queen of this mighty realm of England…” upon the death of her sister, Queen Mary.
To Thine Own Self is a line from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, and seemed to me to describe perfectly Henry VII’s character, and his struggle to gain the throne of England. This excellent advice is spoken from a father to his son, as he departs over the sea: “This above all: to thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.”
I have remained true to my purpose of lovingly crafting my Tudor Chronicles, through the many vicissitudes and distractions of my own life; and I am glad I did, because my readers seem to enjoy reading my books as much as I enjoy writing them!
Bonny G Smith is the author of eight novels in five literary genre. She lives in Fairfax, Virginia, in the United States of America. All books are available on Amazon, and other reading venues.
I want to let you know about an exciting new podcast, presented by Dr Nicola Tallis and called History Gems.
The first episode went live this week and features Tracy Borman speaking about Elizabeth I and the Chequers and Essex rings. The podcast is called History Gems. You can find it on Twitter and Instagram pages at @historygemspod
Monday! FREE event! Hear about the new book, A Tudor Christmas from best selling authors Alison Weir & Siobhan Clarke! Hosted by Linda Hugo & Beyond Curated.
Monday Nov 23rd at 7pm UK time.
One attendee will win a copy of the book.
Email to register: firstname.lastname@example.org
Kathryn Holeman is back with her 2020 edition of the Ultimate Tudor Christmas Package! Maybe it’s the year or her product line but this gift box is so full that she could barely fit all of the items into one photo. This limited edition package includes $175 worth of Tudor treasures for only $100 USD. It’s gift wrapped with care using Kathryn’s illustrated Tudor pattern paper and ships for free within the United States. She also offers low international flat rate shipping.
Visit KathrynHoleman.Etsy.com to order.
The 2020 Ultimate Tudor Christmas Package includes:
• 1 limited edition Anne Boleyn or Elizabeth I ornament.
• 1 Tudor mug (choose from 3)
• 1 copy of Colouring History: Tudor Queens and Consorts with a set of 12 color pencils
• 1 Tudor 285-piece puzzle
• 2 Tudor Queen bookmarks
• 2 Tudor notepads with illustrations based on a book of hours once owned by Anne Boleyn
• 1 Tudors coaster set (6 in a set)
• 2 notecards: Winter at Hampton Court and Autumn at Hever Castle
• A beautifully gift-wrapped box including all items. Gift wrap will be as shown with Tudor wrap and red ribbon. The two notecards will be packed in the same box but separate from the wrapped gift package.
Value of $175 for $100 with USPS Priority 3-day shipping included. International flat rate of $15 shipping.
Plan ahead! This package is prepared by hand for each order. See the estimated shipping times below.
Int’l orders: Please allow 3-4 weeks for arrival. The last day to order this package for guaranteed December 24th arrival is Wednesday, November 25thth. Contact Kathryn directly through Etsy if you would like to upgrade to Priority International Mail if you end up ordering after this date.
King Henry V’s only son and eldest daughter grab fewer headlines than King Henry VIII or Queen Elizabeth I, but their actions helped shape the religious and political history of England and Europe. Edward VI was a zealous reformer dedicated to establishing strong Protestant doctrine in England. His first Book of Common Prayer promoted uniform worship throughout the country, and his second prayer book provided a model used in the Church of England for 400 years. His dedication to religious reform lasted until the end of his life when he tried to upend the law to prevent a Catholic from taking the throne.
But his Catholic half-sister Mary acted quickly and gathered supporters, staging the only successful revolt against central government in the 16th century. As the first crowned regnant Queen of England, she overcame centuries of preference for male rule. Her Parliament passed the Act for Regal Power, enshrining the power of queens and creating precedence for all the Queens to follow. She exerted every effort to undo Edward’s reform and return England to Catholicism. Join Royal Oak and historian and educator Carol Ann Lloyd to explore the lives of the often overlooked Tudor monarchs.
Thank you to our co-sponsor: The Union League Legacy Foundation
Thank you to our cultural co-sponsors: The Oxford & Cambridge Society of New England; The American Scottish Foundation
Carol Ann Lloyd is a popular speaker who shares the stories of Shakespeare and English history. She is the former Manager of Visitor Education at Folger Shakespeare Library, where she gave workshops and tours about Shakespeare and Early Modern England. Carol Ann has presented programs at the Smithsonian, Folger Shakespeare Library, Agecroft Hall, and TEDx, among other venues. Ms. Lloyd is a member of the National Speakers Association
$15, members*; $20 non-members
Free to Heritage Circle members
After registering, you will receive an email with a link to the webinar.
Suzannah Lipscomb exclaims, “What a fun and beautiful gift for Anne Boleyn fans! But what is unexpectedly joyful about it is how elegantly and intelligently the commentaries are written, how scholarly the research that underpins them, and what empathy and imagination they show. This can be given to any true history lover, knowing that their hands, hearts, and minds will be fully engaged.”
The incentive for writing the Queen Anne Boleyn Paper Doll Book was born from a deep desire to lend agency to a woman who lived nearly 500 years ago: Anne Boleyn. What the creator Rebecca Monet eventually discovered in research was both maddening and fascinating.
In fact, when shelooked up the timeline of Anne Boleyn’s life, the primary source did not include the apparently little known of — yet highly formative — years Anne spent away from England on “the continent.” Yet, it was there — at both the “Low Countries” and in France — where Anne was “finished,” and eventually became not only the vibrant and intelligent young lady-in-waiting who entered Henry VIII’s court, but the woman who is still capable of captivating us today. I wanted to write and illustrate a book which — quite literally — gave a full picture of Anne. She was not the most beautiful woman at court, but her mind, spirit and elegance combined to form an impervious force — something entirely untouchable and enigmatic. I find that utterly fascinating.
Rebecca is a writer and illustrator who grew up in the state of Maryland in the U.S. She received a BFA in illustration, cum laude, from Georgia State University. She successfully created custom murals in private homes in Atlanta, Georgia for nearly twenty years; after which, she has spent the last fifteen years as a mother and writer. Because of it’s similar sound to her surname, her mural clients used to jokingly call her “Rebecca Monet”. It wasn’t until her last year of painting murals when her father discovered, through a genealogy-fascinated cousin, her clients were not off the mark. She has since adopted “Rebecca Monet” as her pen name. A perennial student at heart, she loves history, flamenco and going really fast on carting tracks.
“I think Anne would have especially loved the latter and I enjoy the thought of seeing her, French hood flying, as she beats everyone else to the finish line” ~ RM
The in-person Tudorcon had to be postponed until next year. Instead of having nothing to do the first weekend of October, join your Tudor friends & fam online for a the first virtual Tudorcon!
Here are the ten reasons you should get onboard with Tudorcon 2020!…
10. Two days of live chats & lectures from leading historians, authors, and bloggers
9. A welcome evening online party with entertainment from Renaissance Faire performers & musicians from around the country
8. Recordings of the lectures so you watch live or catch them at your leisure
7. An exclusive online community with contests
6. Giveaways throughout the weekend
5. Tudor themed entertainment
4. A cooking demo
3. Virtual goody bag
2. More fun than another Zoom call for work
And the top reason is…the price for the entire weekend? Just $29.
Join the All Things Tudor FB group today for more fun & informative Tudor history!
Tudor History and Shakespearean expert, Carol Ann Lloyd has announce a new weekly podcast, British History: Royals, Rebels, and Romantics. It is available on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, or wherever you find your podcasts.
Meet famous and infamous characters, walk with playwrights and peasants, and wander through castles and cathedrals. New episodes every Wednesday.
Have a question about British history, something you’ve always wanted to know? Just ask! Let’s explore history together.
Look for a free Zoom meeting on June 16th with Carol Ann. Send your questions to me at Deb@AllThingsTudor.com. I’ll forward them to Carol Ann, who so looks forward to these! Get this fun & informative event on your calendar today!
Find the podcast at these sites:
Carol Ann Lloyd (or Lloyd-Stanger) is a speaker and writer who shares the stories of history and Shakespeare to illuminate what’s possible in our lives today. She presents in-person and online programs across the country for the Smithsonian, Royal Oak Foundation, Folger Shakespeare Library, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute/George Mason University, Agecroft Hall, and more. Carol Ann presented a TEDx talk about Shakespeare in October 2017. She also offers programs for business audiences that demonstrate how Shakespeare and history offer practical strategies to increase skills in leadership, public speaking, customer service, and interpersonal communication. Carol Ann earned Master of Education degree from the University of Virginia and a Master of Arts in Literature from the University of Utah. The former Manager of Visitor Education at the Folger Shakespeare Library, she is also an Instructor for Language at Work. She is a member of the National Speakers Association.
Follow her at these social media sites!
Book Review by Samantha Yorke
Henry VIII is one of the most famous monarchs to have ruled England.
Yet, what was life like for those that he ruled?
How were they impacted by the wars with France, his marital disasters and the religious Reformation that his chief ministers implemented?
The Age of Plunder does not dwell upon the lives of political and religious leaders such as Wolsey, Cromwell and Cranmer, but instead provides a vivid depiction of Tudor England from the perspective of those who tended the crops, sat at the looms and worked in the mines.
“The scholarship is as sound, the sympathy as warm and the judgments as pugnacious as ever.” New Statesman
“This is a provocative and stimulating book, packed with statistical information, but saved from indigestibility by well-chosen and unusual examples drawn from the author’s vast knowledge of local history.” The Agricultural History Review
In this book W. G. Hoskins reveals how inhabitants of early sixteenth century England were witnesses to the greatest act of plunder since the Norman Conquest, but this time by the native governing class.
The Age of Plunder by W.G. Hoskins is a look at the economic state of the Henrican world of Tudor England. Unlike most books written about this monarch, it focuses on the lives the people in his kingdom. The stories of how Henry’s decisions effected his realm will catch your attention. The divide between privilege and poverty was obscene. The book is somewhat long, dry and academic and is aimed for a scholarly reader. If you are looking for a book about his wives and his court, this is not for you. However, if you want a book centered upon day-to-day life in the world of Henry VIII, and how his economy set the stage for his daughter Elizabeth I, eventually Great Britain and the ascent of the British Empire – the sociology of the era – then this book is for you. It is a book that can be utilised for reference and scholastic purposes, and for that reasons I rate it four stars.
Special thanks to Net Galley and the publish for giving me a copy of this book in exchange for a fair review.
Available for purchase on Amazon: