Started 5/20 Finished 5/30
The best part of this series – seeing a critical period of history through the eyes of three different queens. Katherine of Aragon begins as Henry’s first queen. Then Anne Boleyn enters when Katherine can’t give him the all-important son. I just started Jane Seymour, and I’m amazed how their fates intersect and intertwine.
Anne’s story begins at age 12. Her father sends her to serve in the royal court in the Netherlands, then later onto France. Follow her through the next 9 years, and you’ll see how the Protestant Reformation, early feminism, and a few forward-thinking women shaped Anne, the woman who changed English history.
You’ll also see how those same strengths led to her downfall, and to her death. Anne was brilliant and independent, but not always kind. I’ve always admired her, but now, I’m not sure I would have liked her.
In this second novel of Alison Weir’s epic Six Tudor Queens series, the acclaimed author and historian weaves exciting new research into the story of Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII’s most infamous wife, a woman ahead of her time whose very life—and death—forever changed a nation.
Born into a noble English family, Anne is barely a teenager when she is sent from her family’s Hever Castle to serve at the royal court of the Netherlands. This strategic move on the part of her opportunistic father also becomes a chance for the girl to grow and discover herself. There, and later in France, Anne thrives, preferring to absorb the works of progressive writers rather than participate in courtly flirtations. She also begins to understand the inequalities and indignities suffered by her gender.
Anne isn’t completely inured to the longings of the heart, but her powerful family has ambitious plans for her future that override any wishes of her own. When the King of England himself, Henry VIII, asks Anne to be his mistress, she spurns his advances—reminding him that he is a married man who has already conducted an affair with her sister, Mary. Anne’s rejection only intensifies Henry’s pursuit, but in the absence of a male heir—and given an aging Queen Katherine—the opportunity to elevate and protect the Boleyn family, and to exact vengeance on her envious detractors, is too tempting for Anne to resist, even as it proves to be her undoing.
While history tells of how Anne Boleyn died, this compelling new novel reveals how fully she lived.
Started 5/13 Finished 5/20
This is my 2nd time through this series. I started with Katherine both times, and I was amazed by what I didn’t know about her. I knew about all the children she lost. How she refused to give Henry VIII an annulment, and how terrible it got for her after she said no. Henry definitely wasn’t nice.
What I’d forgotten . . . was that Katherine was a princess of Spain. Her parents – Ferdinand and Isabella – the ones who drove the Moors out of Spain and reunited the country. Isabella funded Columbus’ trip to the New World.
I’d also forgotten how Katherine left Spain at age 15. Can you imagine leaving home for another country, knowing you’d never see your parents again? She married Prince Arthur at 15 and became a widow a year later. She was stuck in limbo for 7 years, with her father and father-in-law playing political games with her life.
During that time neither Spain or England had her back. I’m impressed by how Katharine held things together for herself and for her household. Henry finally married her at age 23. He was 18. She should have had a wonderful life, but Henry left her when she couldn’t give him a son. She’s a heroine in the best sense of the word, and I would have never known it, if I hadn’t read this book.
Bestselling author and acclaimed historian Alison Weir takes on what no fiction writer has done before: creating a dramatic six-book series in which each novel covers one of King Henry VIII’s wives. In this captivating opening volume, Weir brings to life the tumultuous tale of Katherine of Aragon, Henry’s first, devoted, and “true” queen.
A princess of Spain, Catalina is only sixteen years old when she sets foot on the shores of England. The youngest daughter of the powerful monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella, Catalina is a coveted prize for a royal marriage—and Arthur, Prince of Wales, and heir to the English throne, has won her hand. But tragedy strikes and Catalina, now Princess Katherine, is betrothed to the
future Henry VIII. She must wait for his coming-of-age, an ordeal that tests her resolve, casts doubt on her trusted confidantes, and turns her into a virtual prisoner.
Katherine’s patience is rewarded when she becomes Queen of England. The affection between Katherine and Henry is genuine, but forces beyond her control threaten to rend her marriage, and indeed the nation, apart. Henry has fallen under the spell of Katherine’s maid of honor, Anne Boleyn. Now Katherine must be prepared to fight, to the end if God wills it, for her faith, her legitimacy, and her heart.
Photos from Wikipedia.
Started 5/4 Finished 5/12
Wow! This book is timely, with war blowing up in the Ukraine, and Russia’s threat of nuclear war. I’m on my 2nd read. The Murrays are gathered to celebrate Thanksgiving. That’s when their dad gets a call from the president that Madog Branzillo has threatened to blow up the world.
That’s when Mom O’Keefe, Calvin’s Mom, pulls Patrick’s Rune from her memory. She recites it for Charles Wallace who sets off on a voyage through time. He never leaves his special star-watching rock as he moves within people and back out again.
The idea is to find pivotal moments when history can be changed by a single choice. Imagine if Hitler or Putin could be stopped by a few changes to their past.
PS – I found Patrick’s Rune and a bit about its history. The link: Poem: Patrick’s Rune (holyjoe.org)
In A Swiftly Tilting Planet by Madeleine L'Engle, a companion to the Newbery Award winner A Wrinkle in Time and A Wind in the Door, the Murry and O'Keefe Families enlist the help of the unicorn, Gaudior, to save the world from imminent nuclear war.
Fifteen-year-old Charles Wallace and the unicorn Gaudior undertake a perilous journey through time in a desperate attempt to stop the destruction of the world by the mad dictator Madog Branzillo. They are not alone in their quest.
Charles Wallace's sister, Meg--grown and expecting her first child, but still able to enter her brother's thoughts and emotions by "kything"--goes with him in spirit. Charles Wallace must face the ultimate test of his faith and his will as he is sent within four people from another time, there to search for a way to avert the tragedy threatening them all.
Started 4/29 Finished 5/4
I love reading a series! You know the characters and their personalities, but the author gets to spin a new plot. This time it starts with a car in the river and a ghost who believes her land was stolen. Bring in the regulars, Lexie, the reporter who sees and talks to ghosts, and Wes, the mind-reading policeman. Can you solve this mystery before they do?
I’m on my 2nd read, and it’s easier to see the plot develop this time. I love Shanna’s Enchanted Inc series more, but I like this series, a lot. I’m not into mysteries, but I love fantasy. I also think she’s building a relationship between Lexie and Wes, the same way she did in Enchanted Inc with Katie and Owen. I’ll have to read book 4 and 5 to see for sure.
Was It an Accident—or Vengeance?
When a fisherman spots a car in the river, it’s the most exciting news during a slow week in Stirling Mills, and newspaper editor Lexie Lincoln is there to cover it. The cops think it was an accident, but a ghost on the scene tells Lexie the drowned driver got what he deserved for cheating her out of her land. Lexie figures the ghost got vengeance.
There are just two problems: A ghost can’t be prosecuted for murder, and the person the ghost named isn’t one of the people found in the car. Still, Lexie thinks it’s worth digging into, and she discovers that someone has been taking advantage of elderly landowners.
She’d have thought the town would rally behind her investigation of a real estate scam, but she finds herself standing alone. Her suspect has an eerie hold over everyone he encounters. If she doesn’t find concrete proof that he committed a crime, she may get run out of town. That’s a real challenge when no one still alive will talk to her.
And then there’s still the case of the drowned driver and his passenger—was it an accident, or did the scheme lead to murder?
When I write, I can only have one voice in my head, mine. A little noise is fine. But too much, or worse yet, WORDS, and I must change rooms or pull out headphones. Then I can write on!