The King's Secret Matter (Tudor Saga #4) by Jean Plaidy
After twelve years of marriage, the once fortuitous union of Henry VIII and Katherine of Aragon has declined into a loveless stalemate.Their only child, Mary, is disregarded as a suitable heir, and Henry's need for a legitimate son to protect the Tudor throne has turned him into a callous and greatly feared ruler.
The Mysterious Mistress
The Life and Legend of Jane Shore by Margaret Crosland
Jane Shore has been mentioned by Shakespeare in Richard III and fictionalised by Jean Plaidy. But little is known of her beyond her name and the fact that she was mistress to Edward IV. In the first complete biography of Jane Shore, acclaimed author Margaret Crosland looks at the woman behind the myth, examining how she has been transformed in legend and history. Who was she? Where did she come from? And, having been mistress to the most powerful man in the land, why did she end up in prison and poverty?
Jane was middle class, which was very unusual for a medieval royal mistress. The daughter of a successful merchant in Cheapside, her arranged marriage to younger merchant William Shore was annulled on the grounds of his importance. With her 'pleasant behaviour' and 'proper wit' she managed to hold the interest of notorious womaniser Edward IV for twelve years. Sir Thomas More claimed that she stood out among the king's mistresses for one simple reason. 'For many he had, but her he loved ...'
When the king died unexpectedly, Jane's social status meant that she was an easy target for Edward's successor Richard III. Richard had Jane arrested for treason, accused of sorcery twice imprisoned, and forced her to do penance for her 'sinful' life by walking barefoot and half naked through London. She was rescued by a second marriage to the King's Solicitor Thomas Lynam, which did not please Richard.
After her death, Jane Shore became the subject and target of literature: Thomas More vindicated her; Nicholas Rowe wrote a popular drama about her and even the adolescent Jane Austen mentioned her a early writings.
Margaret Crosland sheds new light on the woman who had an incredible rise and fall through the strict hierarchy of medieval society and whose life became the subject of art and literature through the centuries.
The White Queen (The Cousins' War #1) by Philippa Gregory
Philippa Gregory presents the first of a new series set amid the deadly feuds of England known as the Wars of the Roses.
Brother turns on brother to win the ultimate prize, the throne of England, in this dazzling account of the wars of the Plantagenets. They are the claimants and kings who ruled England before the Tudors, and now Philippa Gregory brings them to life through the dramatic and intimate stories of the secret players: the indomitable women, starting with Elizabeth Woodville, the White Queen.
The White Queen tells the story of a woman of extraordinary beauty and ambition who, catching the eye of the newly crowned boy king, marries him in secret and ascends to royalty. While Elizabeth rises to the demands of her exalted position and fights for the success of her family, her two sons become central figures in a mystery that has confounded historians for centuries: the missing princes in the Tower of London whose fate is still unknown. From her uniquely qualified perspective, Philippa Gregory explores this most famous unsolved mystery of English history, informed by impeccable research and framed by her inimitable storytelling skills.
With The White Queen, Philippa Gregory brings the artistry and intellect of a master writer and storyteller to a new era in history and begins what is sure to be another bestselling classic series from this beloved author.
Rival to the Queen by Carolly Erickson
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Last Wife of Henry VIII comes a novel about the bitter rivalry between Queen Elizabeth I and her fascinating cousin, Lettice Knollys, for the love of one extraordinary man.
Powerful, dramatic and full of the rich history that has made Carolly Erickson’s novels perennial bestsellers, this is the story of the only woman to ever stand up to the Virgin Queen— her own cousin, Lettie Knollys. Far more attractive than the queen, Lettie soon won the attention of the handsome and ambitious Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, a man so enamored of the queen and determined to share her throne that it was rumored he had murdered his own wife in order to become her royal consort. The enigmatic Elizabeth allowed Dudley into her heart, and relied on his devoted service, but shied away from the personal and political risks of marriage.
When Elizabeth discovered that he had married her cousin Lettie in secret, Lettie would pay a terrible price, fighting to keep her husband’s love and ultimately losing her beloved son, the Earl of Essex, to the queen’s headsman.
This is the unforgettable story of two women related by blood, yet destined to clash over one of Tudor England’s most charismatic men.
The Nine Day Queen by Ella March Chase
Lady Jane Grey is the eldest of the Grey sisters. Shy and scholarly she is happier in the company of her sisters, than with the intrigues of court.
But as fourth in line to Henry's throne, Jane is too valuable a pawn not to be played. When her parents' scheme to wed her to Prince Edward fails, they plan a far more ambitious -and dangerous - move to make Jane Queen.