Tag Archives: Tudor fiction

#BookReview ‘The Queen’s Lady’ by @joannahickson #historical #Tudor

The Queen’s Lady by Joanna Hickson is a delightful read about a key woman behind the scenes of the Tudor crown, trusted and loved by two queens. Second in the ‘Queens of the Tower’ series, it follows Lady Joan Guildford nee Vaux who we first met in The Lady of the Ravens. Joan is now lady-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth, wife of Henry VII and mother of Prince Arthur and Prince Henry. Joanna HicksonIt is 1502 and the story starts as Arthur, Prince of Wales, marries Princess Katherine of Aragon. There are worries for Arthur’s health and when a messenger knocks on the door late one night, he brings a request that ‘Mother Guildford’ should rush to the side of the Queen. Loyalties change overnight and friendships disappear. The storyline of the Tudors is well-known but this book shows the history from the point of view of courtiers, the way the court worked and the fragility of such positions in the gift of the king. After Arthur’s death, followed quickly by that of his queen, Henry VII becomes insular and paranoid, he listens to new advisors and fears those closest to him are treacherous. Joan’s husband Richard is accused of fraud and, despite Joan’s history as governess to countless princes and princesses, the family lose their position at court.
When reading some historical novels, I find myself questioning the history and noticing the heavy use of historical fact. Hickson’s writing is a delight, she conjures the period with a light touch. Joan is present at a series of critical events of the period – the meeting with the French king at the Field of the Cloth of Gold, the coronation of Henry VIII and marriage to Katherine of Aragon, Princess Mary’s journey to Scotland and marriage to King James, and the journey to France with Princess Margaret to marry Louis XII.
There is romance, hardship, fear, grief and new love. The ravens are still there but are not central to this story, as they were the first. It’s not clear if this is simply the sequel to the first Joan Vaux book, or whether Hickson will continue with a third.
Joan Guildford died in 1538 at the age of 75, eighteen years after the ending of this novel. So plenty more years for Hickson to imagine the life of this fascinating woman.
Don’t miss it.

Click the title to read my review of THE LADY OF THE RAVENS, first in the Queens of the Tower series.

If you like this, try:-
Winter Pilgrims’ by Toby Clements
The Forgotten Sister’ by Nicola Cornick
Cecily’ by Annie Garthwaite

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
THE QUEEN’S LADY by @joannahickson #bookreview https://wp.me/p2ZHJe-63w via @SandraDanby

Book review: The Lady of the Rivers

Philippa GregoryYet again, Philippa Gregory brings history alive. Her story of Jacquetta of Luxembourg, from her first encounter with Joan of Arc, kept me riveted. She is so attuned to the period and the language that her writing is seamless. At no point does the research show itself. And there is a lot of research, Gregory herself admits she does four months of solid research before starting to write. She also says that she often finds the idea for a different novel when she is researching another.

It may seem to the outsider that Gregory re-invents the same story – ‘what another Tudor woman?’ But this could not be further from the truth. Witchcraft is an intriguing story thread throughout this book, something introduced in The White Queen about Jacquetta’s daughter Elizabeth Woodville. Women are obliged to hide their knowledge and skills in order to survive, knowledge that today we would think of as alternative medicine and gardening by the phases of the moon. My knowledge of the period, the Wars of the Roses, the various kings and factions, is definitely improving though I was concerned that the reverse-telling of the Cousins’ War series would eliminate some of the tension. After all we know the fate of many of the characters, but her plotting and the scheming of the characters kept me reading.

I do think, though, that the titles and cover design is getting a little repetitive and lends confusion. I have been given duplicate copies as gifts, because of confusion between The Red Queen and The White Queen.

If you like this, try:-
‘Dark Aemilia’ by Sally O’Reilly
‘Wolf Hall’ by Hilary Mantel
‘Kings and Queens’ by Terry Tyler

‘The Lady of the Rivers’ by Philippa Gregory [UK: Simon & Schuster]

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
THE LADY OF THE RIVERS by @PhilippaGBooks #bookreview via @SandraDanby http://wp.me/p5gEM4-lT