The Plantagenets discussion

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Books > Read any good Plantagenet books lately?

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message 1: by Susan (new)

Susan (boswellbaxter) I'm reading Josephine Wilkinson's Richard III: The Young King to Be, which covers his life from his childhood until 1475. It's very good so far.


message 2: by Ikonopeiston (last edited Jan 18, 2009 04:26AM) (new)

Ikonopeiston (Ikon) | 4 comments I have just finished Jeremy Potter's Good King Richard?. It is a valuable text, written in 1985, to commemorate the five hundredth anniversary of Richard's death. In it, Potter brings together the writers and thinkers who have contributed to the Great Debate (was Richard a villain or not?) and presents the various interpretations with a commendably even hand. It is an excellent place to get an overview of the scholarship and speculation which has accumulated around the last English king, the last warrior king of England.


message 3: by Misfit (new)

Misfit | 54 comments Mod
Not since Devil's Brood last October. I don't count The King's Daughter as its not a "good" book IMO. Here's a list I did on Amazon, http://www.amazon.com/gp/richpub/list...

Which BTW Goodreads has Listopia and anyone can vote on a book to add to it. I may have to play with that today if I can get my nose out of my book :)


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 75 comments They're probably dreadfully old-fashioned these days, but has anyone else read the Thomas Chastain books about the Plantagenets? That was my introduction to the family, I think when I was about 12 or 13. I don't think I read all of them, but I recall reading The Three Edwards and The Last Plantagenets.


message 5: by Ikonopeiston (new)

Ikonopeiston (Ikon) | 4 comments Just today, I read his final, personal postscript to the last book. It was an impressive and sincere note for which I salute him.

What a wonderful way for you to meet the family.


message 6: by Susan (new)

Susan (boswellbaxter) I enjoyed The Three Edwards. I have the others, but haven't done more than thumb through them.

I have a novel by Thomas Costain with a wonderful author photo--Thomas Costain sitting at a formal dining table, joined by a very regal looking Persian cat.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 75 comments I think I read The Magnificent Century as well, that summer.

The books were literally falling apart then (they were held together with rubber bands), but I wish I still had them. They collapsed altogether about 25 years ago.


message 8: by Misfit (new)

Misfit | 54 comments Mod
Susanna wrote: "They're probably dreadfully old-fashioned these days, but has anyone else read the Thomas Chastain books about the Plantagenets? That was my introduction to the family, I think when I was about 12..."

Those sound interesting I'll have to search them out.



message 9: by Ikonopeiston (new)

Ikonopeiston (Ikon) | 4 comments They cost the earth these days. Even the used vendors are charging like whoa for them.


message 10: by Misfit (new)

Misfit | 54 comments Mod
Well well well, do I have a good library system or not,

http://catalog.kcls.org/search/?searc...-

Where should I start when I'm ready?


message 11: by Susan (new)

Susan (boswellbaxter) Melika wrote: "Hi Everyone,

I came across this group through your profile, Susan, and thought "Whoa! That's very uncanny!" because I have been wanting to get into Plantagenet history and was even on AmazonUK ..."


Hi, Melika! I've read some of the Plaidy Plantagenet series. They're fairly accurate, historically, by the standards of what was known when she wrote them, but they're a little on the plodding side, especially when compared to her Tudor fiction. Still, I think they're worth reading, especially because Plaidy concentrates not only on the kings but on their family members, so you get to know a bit about the lesser known Plantagenets, particularly the women.




message 12: by Misfit (new)

Misfit | 54 comments Mod
Eight members already, how about that?

The only one of Plaidy's Plantagenets that I've tried so far was Vow on the Heron. I bailed around page 150, it was dry as dirt unfortunately.

Penman's books on the family are very very good, I can't recommend them highly enough.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 75 comments Misfit - I think the series is four volumes.

The Conquering Family (the only one I haven't read, I think)
The Magnificent Century
The Three Edwards
The Last Plantagenets


message 14: by Misfit (new)

Misfit | 54 comments Mod
Thanks Susanna, looking forward to it, especially if I don't have to pay for them at Ikon's "whoa" price :)


message 15: by Susan (new)

Susan (boswellbaxter) You should be able to find some older paperbacks of the Costain series pretty cheaply. Amazon has The Last Plantagenets for 98 cents.


message 16: by Misfit (new)

Misfit | 54 comments Mod
Penman's in order

The Henry/Eleanor series,
When Christ and His Saints Slept
Time and Chance
Devil's Brood
Plus she's planning one more tentatively called Lionheart

The Welsh Trilogy,
Here be Dragons
Falls the Shadow
The Reckoning

There are several medieval mysteries that I've not yet read.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 75 comments I've read one of the medieval mysteries - The Queen's Man - and liked it. The "queen" of the title being Eleanor of Aquitaine.


message 18: by Susan (new)

Susan (boswellbaxter) Melika wrote: "Hi Susan,

Thank you for the info! :D I had read they were a bit on the dry side. Also, do you know if I have to read them in order? Or if I can read, say, number 10 without having to go thro..."


I don't think you need to read them in order. You might want to read The Vow on the Heron after The Follies of the King, though, because Follies has an abrupt ending, and the story picks up again in Heron. I do think Follies is one of her better Plantagenet books, but it could be just because I have a weakness for all things Edward II.

I've never read The Courts of Love, but I think it probably is a reprise of the Plantagenet novels.



message 19: by Joy H. (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) This week I went to a meeting at which I heard the author, Anne Easter Smith, speak about her writing. Anne writes historical fiction about early England.

At her website, Anne states: "I spent my childhood in England, Germany and Egypt as the daughter of a British Army colonel." Although she is now a permanent resident of the U.S., she says "my love for English history remains." As she speaks about her writing, that love of English history comes through.

To learn more about her writing and to see an interesting video of Anne speaking about her writing and her research methods, go to her website at the following webpage:
http://www.anneeastersmith.com/defaul...
Also see:
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/...

Anne Easter Smith has written the following books:

A Rose for the Crown A Novel by Anne Easter Smith A Rose for the Crown A Novel

Daughter of York A Novel by Anne Easter Smith Daughter of York A Novel

The King's Grace A Novel by Anne Easter Smith The King's Grace A Novel

About her books, Ann says:
=====================================================
"In my novels, I strive to serve those readers who are looking for accuracy in historical fact and yet also engage those who are looking for a good story with strong characters, a little romance and lots of period detail."
=====================================================

BTW, Anne is just as nice as she looks in her picture and on the video. I enjoyed meeting her and hearing her informative talk.

I am currently listening to an audio version of _A Rose for the Crown_. Through her characters, Anne draws you in to the period atmosphere of old England.


message 20: by Susan (new)

Susan (boswellbaxter) Let us know how you enjoy them! Of the three, I prefer Daughter of York to the other two.


message 21: by Joy H. (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) Susan wrote: "Let us know how you enjoy them! Of the three, I prefer Daughter of York to the other two."

Hi Susan.
What makes you prefer _Daughter of York_?


message 22: by Susan (new)

Susan (boswellbaxter) Well, in all honesty, I didn't much care for A Rose for the Crown--the heroine was too flawless for my taste, and I got very tired of everyone standing stock still in admiration and awe whenever she walked into a room. I thought Daughter of York was better put together, though I wish it had explored the later part of Margaret's life instead of ending when and how it did. With the last book, I thought that her choice of a viewpoint character--Grace--was too limiting and meant that a lot of the most interesting events were happening offstage, though I thought that the characters were much more three-dimensional than in other novels dealing with this era that I've read. I am looking forward to her book about Cecily of York, though.


message 23: by Misfit (new)

Misfit | 54 comments Mod
I got about 100 pages into The King's Grace and gave it up, the writing just wasn't grabbing me. Too little books, too little time.


message 24: by Margaret (new)

Margaret | 1 comments I really enjoyed Rosemary Hawley Jarman's The King's Grey Mare, about Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville, and its partner novel We Speak No Treason, which I still think may be the best novel about Richard III I've ever read. Australian author Posie Graeme-Evans tackles the same period in a lustier, more beach-appropriate manner, in her trilogy The Innocent, The Exiled, and The Uncrowned Queen, whose lively heroine is Edward's fictional mistress and great love. I also remember loving Anya Seton's Katherine, about John of Gaunt's mistress and later wife Katherine Swynford - I read it in my teens and I think it was one of the books that really turned me on to historical fiction.


message 25: by Joy H. (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) Susan wrote: "Well, in all honesty, I didn't much care for A Rose for the Crown--the heroine was too flawless for my taste, and I got very tired of everyone standing stock still in admiration and awe whenever sh..."

Thanks for the reply, Susan. So far, I'm enjoying the audio of _A Rose for the Crown_. The audio book is read by Rosalyn Landor who does an excellent job of presenting the story, the characters, and the mood of the novel. I find her voice quality and English accent very appealing.


message 26: by Joyce (new)

Joyce | 18 comments Susanna wrote: "Misfit - I think the series is four volumes.

The Conquering Family (the only one I haven't read, I think)
The Magnificent Century
The Three Edwards
[boo..."


I just joined this group, thanks to an invitation from Susan Higginbotham. Henry II is my hero, and The Conquering Family by Thomas B Costain began my long-term love affair with the Plantagenets. I've published two historical romances set during the reign of Henry II:

[book:Loyalty's Web|4893543]
Illuminations of the Heart

They're with a small publisher and are set in Poitou (now part of France, at the time ruled by Henry II).

Anyway, I'm excited to have found this group!!! Thanks for inviting me, Susan!


message 27: by Susan C (new)

Susan C (somersetpurplegmailcom) | 12 comments Hi everyone, I joined awhile back but never took the chance to do an intro. I see a lot of familiar names here and I belong to a number of other groups with them.

If I'm correct my first and only plantagenet's book is Courts of Love by Plaidy. Eleanor of Aquitaine and Henry II and their sons who became kings.

I enjoy all Royal History from different eras to different places. Hope to find some good recommendations here.


message 28: by Susan (new)

Susan (boswellbaxter) Joyce, glad to have you here! I'm looking forward to reading your books. Susan C, I have a copy of Courts of Love but haven't read it yet. Mine's a used copy with excruciatingly small type. I see Alison Weir has a novel coming out about Eleanor of Aquitaine.


message 29: by Susan C (new)

Susan C (somersetpurplegmailcom) | 12 comments OOh I'm looking forward to that one. I loved Courts of Love!


message 30: by Viviane (new)

Viviane Crystal | 5 comments Thanks for the invitation, Susan. I've read all books by Sharon Kay Penman, Sandra Worth and Anne Easter Smith and love them all. Richard III fascinates me most for some unexplainable reason. I just read Shakespeare's Richard III - my word, what a villainous take on the man! Historical fiction is my favorite genre. White Queen is my next book, in between reading and reviewing other books waiting to be read. :) Is this just a general reading group or will there be discussions focused on one book on a regular basis? Either way is fine with me. So little time, so many books!


message 31: by Susan (new)

Susan (boswellbaxter) We can certainly have discussions of particular books if people want them! I tend not to participate in monthly reads, because it's seldom I manage to get my reading schedule coordinated with everyone else's, but if anyone wants to try to do a book a month or something, that's fine.


message 32: by Misfit (new)

Misfit | 54 comments Mod
A lot of us are members of several groups and I find I have group reads coming out of my ears, let alone being like Susan - I can't coordinate what I'm reading to those.

Buddy reads are always a good option if someone's ready to read the same book as you are.


message 33: by Joy (new)

Joy (thedragonlily) | 45 comments The Costain series is the way I met the Plantagenets, too. I had the books that were falling apart rebound, but the others are now falling apart as well, and the rebinding company has probably fallen apart too by this time.

The most recent Plantagenet book I had read was Sandra Worth's LADY OF THE ROSES, about the wife of Richard III's uncle John Neville. It's partly about a woman with ties to both the Lancasters & the Yorks, and partly it's purely romance.


message 34: by Susan C (new)

Susan C (somersetpurplegmailcom) | 12 comments Misfit wrote: "A lot of us are members of several groups and I find I have group reads coming out of my ears, let alone being like Susan - I can't coordinate what I'm reading to those.

Buddy reads are always a..."


I'm trying to do Royal Scandals and Memoirs of Cleopatra. It is hard to keep up with the other readers let alone other books you want to read. I really want to be reading When Christ and The Saints Slept but there's no room.

Question: who would you read first Penman or Easter Smith. I have the series from both?


message 35: by Joy (last edited Nov 08, 2009 10:54AM) (new)

Joy (thedragonlily) | 45 comments Penman, absolutely. She has a lot more respect for history. She's an excellent writer, too.


message 36: by Susan C (new)

Susan C (somersetpurplegmailcom) | 12 comments Joy wrote: "Penman, absolutely. She has a lot more respect for history. She's an excellent writer, too."

Thanks Joy!


message 37: by Misfit (new)

Misfit | 54 comments Mod
Penman is tops with me, with Chadwick coming a very very close second. I only made it to page 100 of one of Easter Smith's books and I don't plan on trying again.


message 38: by Susan C (new)

Susan C (somersetpurplegmailcom) | 12 comments Misfit wrote: "Penman is tops with me, with Chadwick coming a very very close second. I only made it to page 100 of one of Easter Smith's books and I don't plan on trying again."

Interesting. I have two of Chadwick's - The Secret Lion and The Greatest Knight. Misfit do recommend any others?


message 39: by Joy (new)

Joy (thedragonlily) | 45 comments I can recommend THE GREATEST KNIGHT. It was my favorite historical novel of 2008.


message 40: by Viviane (new)

Viviane Crystal | 5 comments Chadwick's books are fine reads as well!


message 41: by Misfit (new)

Misfit | 54 comments Mod
Interesting. I ..."

I'd stick with the two you have now Susan and make sure she's an author for you. Then come back and ask. Her older books are based on fictional characters and might have more of a *romance* feel to them - but I love a good historical romance. She's pretty much spoiled me for the medieval romance genre. I can't handle the heroines running around with free flowing hair anymore :)


message 42: by Susan C (new)

Susan C (somersetpurplegmailcom) | 12 comments Misfit wrote: "Interesting. I ..."

I'd stick with the two you have now Susan and make sure she's an author for you. Then come back and ask. Her older books are based on fictional characters and might have more..."


Thanks,I will get back to you!


message 43: by Tanzanite (new)

Tanzanite | 3 comments I really enjoyed The King's Mistress by Emma Campion (about Edward III's mistress Alice Perrers). I got it from the UK but is supposed to be released in the US next year.

I also liked The Love Knot by Vanessa Alexander - Edward I's daughter Joanna (out of print but as Misfit would say, check your library!!)


message 44: by Susan (new)

Susan (boswellbaxter) I have The King's Mistress but haven't started it yet. I really need to get to it, as it looks good!

I thought that The Love Knot by Vanessa Alexander (Paul Doherty) was fun too (though Alexander shorted Gilbert de Clare and Joanna by one child).


message 45: by Lucy (new)

Lucy (mslucy) | 1 comments I read the Plantagenet Prelude by Plaidy a couple of months ago- I've yet to write my review of it because I was so disappointed by Eleanor. I love Plaidy, her style, the story, the history-everything- but in this one I hated Eleanor.


message 46: by Erin (last edited Nov 17, 2009 06:46AM) (new)

Erin Germain (demiguise) | 15 comments I just finished reading Daughter of York and A Rose for the Crown. Of the two, I think I liked A Rose for the Crown better. Yes, Katherine was a bit too perfect (as stated above), but I have a bit of a weakness for Richard III and prefer him to Margaret. :) I'm just starting The King's Grace and not sure how that one will grab me.

Oh, and I just rediscovered another book from my childhood - Daughter of Timeby Josephine Tey. This is one of the reasons why I love my Kindle! I'd forgotten how much I'd liked that book as a young teen.

I wasn't aware that there was a sequel to The King's Grey Mare. I read that years ago as a teen, and it was one of my first introductions to the Plantagenets. I'll have to see if I can find a copy.

I also recently finished The White Queen. Can't say it was a favorite of mine, but I've never really been a huge fan of Philippa Gregory. The only one of her books that I truly loved was The Constant Princess. Still debating whether or not I'll read the rest of the books in the series as they are published.


message 47: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan (sycamore) | 3 comments Hi Susan
Glad you like Jo Wilkinson's book on Richard, I commissioned and published it at Amberley. The second volume is due in about 9 months. I also spotted some readers who enjoyed the Rosemary Hawley Jarman books which I commissioned at Torq (the reissues not the originals). Books on Richard III are always good sellers, I think I've published about 1 a year for a decade including Prof Michael Hicks's biographies of Richard III (not liked by Ricardians!) and Anne Neville.
Jonathan


message 48: by Susan (new)

Susan (boswellbaxter) I'm looking forward to the second Wilkinson volume! Anything else of Plantagenet interest in the works?


message 49: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan (sycamore) | 3 comments Hi Susan, Actually have recently re-published Margaret of York by Christine Weightman.
May commission a new book on the Princes in the Tower, believe it or not, there is still more to say on this subject!
Details on the Marge of York book:
'A pioneering biography of the Tudor dynasty's most dangerous enemy' PROFESSOR MICHAEL HICKS, author of Richard III 'A fine and sympathetic biography - brings us impressively close to one of the most interesting - and important - women of the 15th century' ANN WROE author of Perkin 'A fascinating account of a remarkable woman' THE BIRMINGHAM POST 'Christine Weightman brings Margaret alive once more' THE YORKSHIRE POST

The amazing life of Margaret of York, the woman who tried to overthrow the Tudors. Reared in a dangerous and unpredictable world Margaret of York, sister of Richard III, would become the standard bearer of the House of York and 'The menace of the Tudors'. This alluring and resourceful woman was Henry VII's 'diabolical duchess'. Safe across the Channel in modern-day Belgium and supported by the Emperor she sent Lambert Simnel and Perkin Warbeck with thousands of troops to England to avenge the destruction of her brother and of the House of York. Both rebellions shook the new Tudor dynasty to the core. As the duchess and wife of the wealthiest ruler in Western Europe, Margaret was at the centre of a glittering court and became the patron of William Caxton. It was at her command that he printed the first book in English. Her marriage to Charles, the dour, war-mad Duke of Burgundy, had been the talk of Europe. John Paston, who was among the awe struck guests, reported in the famous Paston Letters that there had been nothing like it since King Arthur' court. Yet within a decade Charles was dead, his corpse frozen on the battlefield and within another decade her own family had been destroyed in England. Childless and in a foreign land Margaret showed the same energetic and cautious spirit as her great-grand-niece Elizabeth I, surviving riots, rebellions and plots. In spite of all her efforts, the Tudors were still on the throne but Margaret, unlike the Yorkist kings, was a great survivor.



message 50: by Susan (new)

Susan (boswellbaxter) Cool! I have the original Weightman book. Has there been revisions?


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