Tag Archives: Tudor era novels

The Queen’s Exiles Explodes on the High Seas and Across the Page in Unique Tudor Era Novel

The Queen's Exiles

The Queen’s Exiles, by author Barbara Kyle and published by Kensington, is the sixth book in her Thornleigh Saga, which though can be read as stand-alone novels also follow the Thornleigh family through several Tudor monarchies in England.  This novel, set in 1572, takes to the high seas and Kyle asks readers to put on their sea-faring legs.

For those readers and Tudor reading dissenters, let me quell your concerns about there being yet another Tudor era novel. There is enough intrigue and war and political concocting, let alone the world playing the game of Risk, that there are so many stories to tell. As with many of the new Tudor novels that are taking an outside approach to Tudor reign, and really telling new and exciting stories that abound from the surrounding areas of England during Tudor rule, Kyle brings to us the important, less told, and thrilling story of the Spanish empire, and the fate of the Netherlands, during the time of Elizabeth I.

Not only does Kyle’s book allude to us just how amazing Elizabeth I was for holding down England during a time when Spain pretty much ruled everyone and had all the riches to be found, she also told the story of Spanish control of the Netherlands, the resilient William of Orange who led the Dutch resistance, with support from Elizabeth, and the Sea Beggars, those Dutch who defied Spain on the seas and ended up part of a pawn in Elizabeth I plan to stay apart from Spain.

I was thrilled when I really learned that her book brought this to light, as some of my ancestors were Dutch. My Protestant forefather left his British roots in England for the Netherlands, to Haarlem and then Amsterdam, and married a Dutch woman having children, living there after the Netherlands declared their own independence from Spain  in 1581 (being “official” after 1648 long after they accomplished so much on their own, like setting up the Dutch India Trading Co. in 1602, a fortification in 1620, and heading to the New World to create New Amsterdam, which was an official Dutch settlement by 1664, later becoming Manhattan. My ancestor, born to the English immigrant and the Dutch woman in 1610 in Amsterdam, was part of the handful of men sent to the New World accomplish this task of setting up New Amsterdam and created a life there, in Harlem, where he is buried today).

I digress, but I was excited as it’s rare to find a mainstream historical read that tells the story of the Dutch resistance and conflict with the Spanish. I applaud Kyle for her research and her passion for this cause and appreciate her historical research and fervor in bringing this part of the era to readers!

However, the book that Kyle writes was not only a history lesson about this part of the past, though the story surrounds it, but more about her ambitious and riveting female character, the Scottish-born Fenella Doorn, who again runs into Baron Adam Thornleigh (of whom she met in a previous book) while she’s living on the Isle of Sark and repairing ships.  However, though a minor character before in the series, she all but takes the strong lead in The Queen’s Exiles. If you read the first chapter of Kyle’s book, you’ll see that Fenella’s character begins with a bang! She bold, ambitious, strong, and assertive! She is courageous, passionate, and loyal! Immediately, I know that Fenella is a woman who takes no flack from men like the arrogant and vile Spanish seamen. She demands respect and she gets it. Makes me jump with joy to see such a strong female character.

Kyle’s plot and the prose kicks into overdrive from the first chapter and never lets up. Kyle’s sea-faring descriptions, dialogue, and details made me feel as if I was riding on the waves myself. When Adam convinces Fenella to join his pursuit of his wife and children in Brussels, more unfolds in the plot, sending intrigue, turmoil, and adventure rippling throughout the book. I despised the Spanish Duke of Alba, who is in control of overseeing the Low Countries (which is the lower part of the Netherlands, then Belgium and Flanders).  I appreciated the manner in which Kyle penned this conflicting side and showed us how the Spanish ruined the lives of these independent Dutch people for their trading, goods, and ports. He slaughtered so many Dutchman.

Though this alarming history was woven into her tale of adventure and action, her book was foremost about Fenella and Adam, creating a bond between them in which they leaned on each other for survival. It’s a well-rounded novel offering the best of most everything a reader would want out of a book!

Overall, Kyle creates her usual blend of historical authenticity with an imaginative story that propels the Thornleigh Saga on as a must-read series and brings to light some aspects of history not commonly told. If you’re looking for a good historical fiction read that takes you off dry land for the summer and to the adventurous high seas of history, head to the dock with The Queen’s Exiles!

Watch for a wonderful guest article here on my site from Barbara Kyle on Thursday, June 26, where she discusses Elizabeth I and the Sea Beggars!

The Queen’s Exiles, Synopsis~

The Queen's ExilesPublication Date: May 27, 2014
Kensington Publishing
Formats: Ebook, Paperback

Europe is in turmoil. A vengeful faction of exiled English Catholics is plotting to overthrow Queen Elizabeth and install her cousin Mary, Queen of Scots on the throne. And in the Netherlands the streets are red with the blood of those who dare to oppose the brutal Spanish occupation.

But amid the unrest, one resourceful young woman has made a lucrative enterprise. Scottish-born Fenella Doorn salvages crippled vessels. It is on one of these ships that she meets wealthy Baron Adam Thornleigh. Secretly drawn to him, Fenella can’t refuse when Adam enlists her to join him in war-torn Brussels to help find his traitorous wife, Frances—and the children she’s taken from him.

But Adam and Fenella will put their lives in peril as they attempt to rescue his young ones, defend the Crown, and restore a peace that few can remember. With eloquent and enthralling finesse, Barbara Kyle illuminates one of history’s grimmest chapters. The Queen’s Exiles breathes new life into an extraordinary age when love and freedom could only be won with unmitigated courage.

READ THE FIRST CHAPTER.

Praise for The Queen’s Exiles~

“Riveting Tudor drama in the bestselling vein of Philippa Gregory” – USA Today

“A bold and original take on the Tudors that dares to be different. Enjoy the adventure!” – Susanna Kearsley, New York Times bestselling author

“This moving adventure pulses with Shakespearean passions: love and heartbreak, risk and valour, and loyalties challenged in a savage time. Fenella Doorn, savvy and brave, is an unforgettable heroine.” – Antoni Cimolino, Artistic Director of the Stratford Festival

“Brilliant. A page-turner of love and loyalty in treacherous Tudor times. A truly unforgettable adventure.” – Deborah Swift, author of A Divided Inheritance

“A vivid and compelling novel by an author at the very top of her craft.” – Diane Haeger, author of I, Jane

Praise for Barbara Kyle’s Books

“Kyle knows what historical fiction readers crave.” – RT Book Reviews on Blood Between Queens

“A complex and fast-paced plot mixing history with vibrant characters” – Publishers Weekly on The King’s Daughter

“An all-action thriller, bringing to life the passion and perils of the Tudor period.” – Lancashire Evening Post on The King’s Daughter

“Riveting…adventurous…superb!” – The Historical Novels Review on The Queen’s Gamble

“An exciting tale of the intrigue and political manoeuvring in the Tudor court.” – Booklist on The Queen’s Captive

“Boldly strides into Philippa Gregory territory…sweeping, gritty and realistic.” – The Historical Novels Review on The Queen’s Lady

Buy the Book~

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Amazon UK
Amazon US
Barnes & Noble
Book Depository
Chapters
IndieBound

Author Barbara Kyle~

Mikhail PetgraveBarbara Kyle is the author of the acclaimed, internationally published Thornleigh Saga novels which follow a middle-class English family’s rise through three tumultuous Tudor reigns:

The Queen’s Exiles
Blood Between Queens
The Queen’s Gamble
The Queen’s Captive
The King’s Daughter
The Queen’s Lady

Barbara was a speaker in 2013 at the world-renowned Stratford Festival with her talk Elizabeth and Mary, Rival Queens and is known for her dynamic workshops for many writers’ organizations and conferences. Before becoming an author Barbara enjoyed a twenty-year acting career in television, film, and stage productions in Canada and the U.S.

For more information, visit www.barbarakyle.com. You can also connect with Barbara at Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Tour Schedule: http://hfvirtualbooktours.com/thequeensexilestour
Tour Hashtag: #QueensExilesTour

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Talking with Anne Barnhill about Queen Elizabeth’s Daughter and What Intrigues Her About the Tudor Era

Today we have an interview with Anne Clinard Barnhill, author of Queen Elizabeth’s Daughter. You can see that review from yesterday, HERE. Enjoy!

Hi Anne! Welcome to Oh, for the Hook of a Book! We are celebrating Women’s History Month here, so there is no better time to talk to a woman author about the women she writes about! Your second book, Queen Elizabeth’s Daughter: A Novel of Elizabeth I, just released last week. How has the book launch excitement been going for you?

Anne: Thank you for having me. The launch thus far has been quite exciting. On the actual launch day, DU JOUR magazine name Queen Elizabeth’s Daughter as one of the best new historical fiction books of 2014. That was quite thrilling!

Erin: Let’s put on some tea, I like Earl Grey quite a bit, though I go in phases. What would you like?

Anne: Oh, I love apple cinnamon or anything with a little spice.

Erin: Let’s have a sit, drink our tea, and get talking about books. Make yourself at home.

Queen Elizabeths Daughter

Q: Your first book of the Tudor era was At the Mercy of the Queen, and now, Queen Elizabeth’s Daughter. Where did you find the inspiration for your books and are they connected?

A: I’ve found inspiration from both books from my family tree. The two Shelton women I’ve written about so far are my ancestors. That, plus my love of the Tudor era is the inspiration for both books. They are not really connected except via the Shelton connection.

Q: What intrigues you most about the Tudor era? What keeps you from being intimidated in your writing by the fact that so many historical fiction author write about this era?

A: I love all the court intrigue, the dress, the politics and the challenge of trying to humanize these larger-than-life people, such as Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. There are oodles of books out there of all kinds; I try to focus on my own story and try not to worry about what other writers are doing. Though I love to read their stuff, I try to separate my work from my reading pleasure.

Q: What makes your books different from the other Tudor-type novels? Some have more romance, some more mystery, some more politics…where do your books lie and who would you target to read them?

A: Excellent question. As a writer, I think my strengths lie in characterization and creating a rich world that makes the reader feel at home. I try to connect with the universal, though we are separated from the Tudors by over 500 years. They were still human beings and I hope my books are good at portraying that. There is a romance in each book, but I wouldn’t characterize them as romances only. There is also intrigue and danger.

Q: What is the most amazing thing about Elizabeth I in relation to her ladies-in-waiting? How did she treat them and why did she do so? Besides your main character of Mary Shelton, one of Elizabeth’s ladies-in-waiting, who were some other famous women who served the Queen?

A: Other ladies included Kat Ashley, Blanche Parry, Eleanor Brydges and Catherine Carey, to name just a few. Elizabeth must have been a difficult mistress in many ways. She occasionally slapped her ladies if they displeased her. I think she had a temper, just as her mother had had. On the other hand, she could be quite kind and understanding. There are instances when she allowed them to return home to care for sick relatives. They were her friends, at least some of them were intimates. She depended on them to be loyal and to take care of her personal needs. I’m sure she must have confided in a select few.

Q: I’ve always felt so bad for the ladies-in-waiting in regards to marrying. They seem almost married to the Queen, never being out from under her need or watching eye. How does real romance, not the arranged kind, even happen for them?

A: Romance was almost bound to happen. In comparison with the number of men at court, the ladies were few. There were lots of fish in that sea. More than one couple fell in love and married without the queen’s permission—Sir Walter Raleigh and Beth Throckmorton to name a more famous couple. Elizabeth could control a great deal and she encouraged her ladies not to marry. But such power can only go so far—the human heart carries even greater power.

Q: What was the most thought-provoking part of your research for either of these two novels?

A: Learning about how the court of wards worked was quite interesting. It made me realize just how many children lost parents or fathers at this time when the average lifespan for men was 48. And I was once again amazed at how money and power played into that system, when it should have been about caring for the children. It was also extremely complex.

Q: Have you written any other books or works? If so, what are they?

A: Yes, I’ve written a memoir, AT HOME IN THE LAND OF OZ: Autism, My Sister and Me which is about what it was like growing up with an autistic sister before anyone had heard the word and what my family went through trying to get help for my sister. I’ve also written a short story collection, WHAT YOU LONG FOR, and a poetry chapbook, COAL, BABY.

Q: Are you interested in writing books about another historical time, place, or person? If so, who?

A: Yes, of course! I’d love to write about Moll Cutpurse, who lived in the latter part of Elizabeth’s reign and was quite a lively character. I have mystery series in mind with her as the major detective. And I have two novels in mind set in West Virginia, one I the 1880’s and the other in 1960.

Q: Where can readers connect with you?

A: I’m on facebook, Anne Clinard Barnhill-Writer, and I also have a website, http://www.anneclinardbarnhill.com. I’m on twitter but I run that mainly from the facebook page. We have a lot of fun—I put up stuff about the Tudors and we play piggly-wiggly. Sometimes I tell jokes! One person sent in all these great bands from the Tudor era—like New Kids on the Chopping Block and Three Dog Knight. It’s fun!

Q: Where can they purchase your books?

A: At any independent bookstore, online at Amazon and B & N.

Erin: Thank you very much, Anne, for taking time from your schedule to appear here and talk about your new book, Queen Elizabeth’s Daughter. I wish you much success with all your books. Please feel free to come by again anytime!

Anne: Thanks, Erin, for having me! It was great fun!

Queen Elizabeth’s Daughter, Synopsis~

Queen Elizabeths DaughterPublication Date: March 18, 2014
St. Martin’s Griffin
Paperback; 320p
ISBN-10: 0312662122

Mistress Mary Shelton is Queen Elizabeth’s favorite ward, enjoying every privilege the position affords. The queen loves Mary like a daughter, and, like any good mother, she wants her to make a powerful match. The most likely prospect: Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford. But while Oxford seems to be everything the queen admires: clever, polished and wealthy, Mary knows him to be lecherous, cruel, and full of treachery. No matter how hard the queen tries to push her into his arms, Mary refuses.

Instead, Mary falls in love with a man who is completely unsuitable. Sir John Skydemore is a minor knight with little money, a widower with five children. Worst of all, he’s a Catholic at a time when Catholic plots against Elizabeth are rampant. The queen forbids Mary to wed the man she loves. When the young woman, who is the queen’s own flesh and blood, defies her, the couple finds their very lives in danger as Elizabeth’s wrath knows no bounds.

Author Anne Clinard Barnhill, Biography~

Anne Clinard BarnhillAnne Clinard Barnhill has been writing or dreaming of writing for most of her life. For the past twenty years, she has published articles, book and theater reviews, poetry, and short stories. Her first book, AT HOME IN THE LAND OF OZ, recalls what it was like growing up with an autistic sister. Her work has won various awards and grants.

Barnhill holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Besides writing, Barnhill also enjoys teaching, conducting writing workshops, and facilitating seminars to enhance creativity. She loves spending time with her three grown sons and their families. For fun, she and her husband of thirty years, Frank, take long walks and play bridge. In rare moments, they dance.

For more information, view Anne Barnhill’s website at: www.anneclinardbarnhill.com

Tour Schedule: http://hfvirtualbooktours.com/queenelizabethsdaughtertour
Tour Hashtag: #QueenElizabethsDaughterTour

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Queen Elizabeth’s Daughter by Anne Clinard Barnhill is Entertaining Tudor Novel

Queen Elizabeths DaughterI took a little road trip this weekend, and as I was the passenger I had the perk of getting a lot of reading done. A book I dove into on this trip, and a little late into the night at the hotel when I should have been resting, was Anne Clinard Barnhill’s Queen Elizabeth’s Daughter. It’s a novel of Queen Elizabeth I, but actually it’s mostly a novel of Mary Shelton, her lady-in-waiting, second cousin, and ward.

I immediately got lost in the easy ebb and flow of Anne’s words across the page and her story of Mary. Juxtaposed with a story line told from the Queen’s point of view, it gives us a look into the thoughts of the two women in relation to how Mary is treated and the goings on of the time period. Elizabeth took Mary on as her ward, as was the law, when her two parents died. However, Elizabeth doted on Mary, sometimes much to Mary’s chagrin as she barely was able to have any life of her own, let alone date or marry who she wanted.

Anne’s offers exquisite detail and always sets her scenes visually so that as you read it feels as if you were transported in time and are viewing the novel through the eyes of the protagonist, Mary. She had good and authentic character development as she takes on Mary’s need to please and respect Elizabeth amid her own desires to rebel and live an independent life and as well writes Elizabeth’s character in a way that shows her struggle between being kind and and loving, as a mother, and strong-willed with an iron fist. Elizabeth’s paranoia and desire to keep only those loyal around her is much understood due to her upbringing, yet we see in this novel how that impacts others.

Though there are a lot of Tudor era novels on the market, I particularly enjoy those that utilize sub-family members, friends, court, and staff in order to tell us more about how the Tudor rule impacted all the people around them. In that regard, this book on Mary was unique to me and I enjoyed reading of what her life might have been like. Full of emotion and with easy to read dialogue and plot, this book was entertaining and a breeze to finish.

Anyone who likes Tudor era books with light prose that isn’t heavy or dreary, this book is definitely for you. I bet it will be one of the best books of that sub-genre to publish this year. I know it will be one of my favorite Tudor-era historical novels for its excellent writing, flowing style, intricate and visual detail, and strong character development and emotional connections.

Queen Elizabeth’s Daughter, Synopsis~

Queen Elizabeths DaughterPublication Date: March 18, 2014
St. Martin’s Griffin
Paperback; 320p
ISBN-10: 0312662122

Mistress Mary Shelton is Queen Elizabeth’s favorite ward, enjoying every privilege the position affords. The queen loves Mary like a daughter, and, like any good mother, she wants her to make a powerful match. The most likely prospect: Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford. But while Oxford seems to be everything the queen admires: clever, polished and wealthy, Mary knows him to be lecherous, cruel, and full of treachery. No matter how hard the queen tries to push her into his arms, Mary refuses.

Instead, Mary falls in love with a man who is completely unsuitable. Sir John Skydemore is a minor knight with little money, a widower with five children. Worst of all, he’s a Catholic at a time when Catholic plots against Elizabeth are rampant. The queen forbids Mary to wed the man she loves. When the young woman, who is the queen’s own flesh and blood, defies her, the couple finds their very lives in danger as Elizabeth’s wrath knows no bounds.

Buy the Book~

Amazon UK
Amazon US
Barnes & Noble
Book Depository
Books-a-million
Author Anne Clinard Barnhill, Biography~

Anne Clinard BarnhillAnne Clinard Barnhill has been writing or dreaming of writing for most of her life. For the past twenty years, she has published articles, book and theater reviews, poetry, and short stories. Her first book, AT HOME IN THE LAND OF OZ, recalls what it was like growing up with an autistic sister. Her work has won various awards and grants.

Barnhill holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Besides writing, Barnhill also enjoys teaching, conducting writing workshops, and facilitating seminars to enhance creativity.

She loves spending time with her three grown sons and their families. For fun, she and her husband of thirty years, Frank, take long walks and play bridge. In rare moments, they dance.

For more information, please visit Anne Clinard Barnhill’s website. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.

Tour Schedule: http://hfvirtualbooktours.com/queenelizabethsdaughtertour
Tour Hashtag: #QueenElizabethsDaughterTour

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Her Majesty’s Will by David Blixt is a Pun-filled Period Adventure

Her Majesty's WillHer Majesty’s Will, by David Blixt, was an unexpected breath of fresh ink on a stage flooded with a sea of books that is today’s publishing world. Blixt’s novel stands out as a unique and original prose that will have you laughing so hard you’ll spit out your drink. 

About Her Majesty’s Will~(Review continued after synopsis)

Publication Date: April 23, 2012 | Sordelet Ink | 247p

SYNOPSIS:

Before he was famous, he was a fugitive.
Before he wrote of humanity, he lived it.
Before he was the Bard of Avon, he was a spy.

A very poor spy.

England, 1586. Swept up in the skirts of a mysterious stranger, Will Shakespeare becomes entangled in a deadly and hilarious misadventure as he accidentally uncovers the Babington Plot, an attempt to murder Queen Elizabeth herself. Aided by the mercurial wit of Kit Marlowe, Will enters London for the first time, chased by rebels, spies, his own government, his past, and a bear.

Through it all he demonstrates his loyalty and genius, proving himself to be – HER MAJESTY’S WILL.

My Review Continued~

Though I knew the book was historical in nature, a period novel with a main character like William Shakespeare, I was pleasantly surprised by Blixt’s writing style. Being a playwright himself, and commanding the stage and festivals that surround the works and times of Shakespeare, I found this influence in Blixt’s books as well. From starting chapters proposed as  “Acts” to writing to make the audience (this time the reader) laugh, with a good mix of action as well, this book was fantastic and extremely fun! It really came to life off the page and I found a new love for Shakespeare and Kit Marlowe as unlikely (and sometimes bumbling) detectives. Pure genius!

Blixt’s vocabulary and precision in his workmanship is literary gold. The way his words seemed to flow and move around on the page, it’s as if my eyes were deceiving me.  They seemed to dance and joust on the iPad as if I was watching a real live production. The words were so seeped in detail and the choices so extravagant that they seemed to roll around on my tongue as I savored and swallowed the plot.

I love to read novels set in the time period of the Elizabethan Age. And certainly there is alot that deal with the extravagance of court life, romance, and political intrigue. While this one deals with intrigue too, of course it was everywhere during this time period (the start of the intelligence agencies as we know them even now), it was presented through characters (commoners) that people sometimes forget were from the same jeweled era as the Tudors.  An era of society transition under Queen Elizabeth, no one knew who they could trust. Blixt takes this familiar scenario and shows it to the reader from a separate angle, from the life of simple playwrights, and takes on imaginative versions of the lives of Shakespeare and Marlowe, filling all the inconsistencies and holes in their history with “what ifs” and exciting adventures. Full of puns and slapstick harmony between the two friends, Blixt spins a truly hilarious yarn that you won’t want to put down.

Blixt has several other books out that I can’t wait to read now. His Majesty’s Will was a riot, as well as a good mystery, and should be a hit with period novel readers who have a funny bone or are looking for some light-hearted entertainment.

Stay tuned tomorrow (Dec. 14) for an EXCLUSIVE guest post brought to us by David Blixt! It’s one you won’t want to miss reading so schedule it on your calendar now!

GIVEAWAY~

One (1) e-book copy of His Majesty’s Will to a lucky reader!

Details:

–Open everywhere (it’s an e-book in .pdf or .mobi file)

–Leave a comment with your email (or email your email to hookofabook(at)hotmail(dot)com

–Open until 11:59 p.m. Dec. 19, 2012. Winner randomly drawn and notified by email on Dec. 20.

–Extra entries:  +1 additional entry each for following David Blixt on Twitter, his Facebook Fan Page, or Clicking Like on Amazon book page.  Please inform me which you did in comments or by email.

About the Author: David Blixt~

David BlixtAuthor and playwright David Blixt’s work is consistently described as “intricate,” “taut,” and “breathtaking.” A writer of Historical Fiction, his novels span the early Roman Empire (the COLOSSUS series, his play EVE OF IDES) to early Renaissance Italy (the STAR-CROSS’D series, including THE MASTER OF VERONA, VOICE OF THE FALCONER, and FORTUNE’S FOOL) up through the Elizabethan era (his delightful espionage comedy HER MAJESTY’S WILL, starring Will Shakespeare and Kit Marlowe as inept spies). His novels combine a love of the theatre with a deep respect for the quirks and passions of history. As the Historical Novel Society said, “Be prepared to burn the midnight oil. It’s well worth it.”

Living in Chicago with his wife and two children, David describes himself as “actor, author, father, husband. In reverse order.”

For more about David and his novels, visit www.davidblixt.com.

Link to Tour Schedule for other reviews, interviews and guest posts on David, and all his other books, by clicking on tour button below.  Follow the Tour on Twitter with Hashtag: #DavidBlixtVirtualTour.

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I was given this complimentary copy in return for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

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