Based on the life of William the Conqueror, this book focuses on his troubled relationships with members of his family.
During the first half of the thirteenth century, two women dominated the scene. They were Isabella of Angouleme who had been Queen of England, and Blanche of Castile, who was Queen of France. Isabella -- one of the most sensually alluring women who ever lived and who was in her days compared with Helen of Troy -- became the wife of King John and the mother of Henry III. Blanche was the wife of Louis VIII and mother of Louis IX. After the death of John, Isabella took her daughter to Lusignan in order that she might be prepared for marriage with Count Hugh, Isabella's lover of long before; but when she saw him she decided to marry him herself. Thereafter he became her slave. Reckless, proud, vindictive, Isabella was determined to have her own way; and she and Blanche hated each other from the moment they first met. There could not have been two women less alike than the darkly flamboyant, passionate Isabella and the serenely virtuous blonde Blanche. Two qualities they shared though -- beauty and ambition.
Here is a moving and convincing story of England and Australia in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries which vividly portrays the ways in which the evils of their time affected the lives of three generations of women. Kitty Kennedy loses her lover before Carolan is born; Katharine, Carolan's child, chooses what must inevitably be a life of danger; but it is Carolan, sensitive and proud, bold and reckless, who must suffer most deeply and who is the central figure around whom events revolve. Her adventures in London's East End, in Newgate Jail, and in the foul women's quarters on the prison ship transporting her to Australia are told with terrible clarity and a powerful imagination
For the first time in one volume, Jean Plaidy's duet of Borgia novels brings to life the infamous, reckless, and passionate family in an unforgettable historical saga.Madonna of the Seven Hills: Fifteenth-century Rome: the Borgia family is on the rise. Lucrezia's father is named Pope Alexander VI, and he places his daughter and her brothers Cesare, Giovanni, and Goffredo in the jeweled splendor--and scandal--of his court. From the Pope's affairs with adolescent girls, to Cesare's dangerous jealousy of anyone who inspires Lucrezia's affections, to the ominous birth of a child conceived in secret, no Borgia can elude infamy.Light on Lucrezia: Some said she was an elegant seductress. Others swore she was an incestuous murderess. She was the most dangerous and sought after woman in all of Rome. Lucrezia Borgia's young life has been colored by violence and betrayal. Now, married for the second time at just eighteen she hopes for happiness with her handsome husband Alfonso. But faced with brutal murder, she's soon torn between her love for her husband and her devotion to her brother Cesare... And in the days when the Borgias ruled Italy, no one was safe from the long arm of their power. Not even Lucrezia.
"Burn the murderess!" So begins Jean Plaidy's The Captive Queen of Scots, the epic tale of the Scottish Queen Mary Stuart, cousin to Queen Elizabeth of England. After her husband, Lord Darnley, is murdered, suspicion falls on Mary and her lover, the Earl of Bothwell. A Catholic in a land of stern Protestants, Mary finds herself in the middle of a revolt, as her bloodthirsty subjects call for her arrest and execution. In disgrace, she flees her Scottish persecutors for England, where she appeals to Queen Elizabeth for mercy, but to no avail. Throughout Mary's long years as the Queen's prisoner, she conceives many bold plans for revenge and escaping to freedom--but the gallows of Fotheringhay Castle loom . . . Set against royal pageantry, religious strife, and bloody uprising--and filled with conspiracies, passion, heartbreak, and fascinating historical detail--The Captive Queen of Scotsis an unforgettable, page-turning tale of the intense rivalry between two powerful women of noble blood.
With fifteen-century Spain rent with intrigue and threatened by civil war, Isabella became the pawn of her ambitious, half-crazed mother and a virtual prisoner at the licentious court of her half-brother, Henry IV. Was she, at sixteen, fated to be the victim of the Queen's revenge, the Archbishop's ambition and the lust of Don Pedro Giron, one of the most notorious lechers in Castile? Numbed with grief and fear, Isabella yet remained steadfast in her determination to marry Ferdinand, the handsome young Prince of Aragon, her only true betrothed . . .
The nine Tudor novels by beloved novelist Jean Plaidy are now available as one complete series spanning sixteenth-century England. This exciting collection includes a brand-new character guide, along with reading group guides for seven books. Read all nine novels in order for the first time digitally and delve into the lives of this fascinating dynasty--full of intrigue, betrayal, marriages, and deaths, in a complete package, never before available. 1. To Hold the Crown In this sweeping tale of marriage and power, love and heartbreak, Henry VII and Elizabeth of York's troubled ascension to the throne of England ultimately launches the Tudor dynasty. 2. Katharine of Aragon Katharine of Aragon held her husband Henry VIII's affection--but only for so long. 3. Murder Most Royal One powerful king. Two tragic queens. Sophisticated Anne Boleyn and innocent Catherine Howard meet with the all-consuming--and fickle--passions of tempestuous King Henry VIII. 4. The King's Confidante The King's servant, but God's first. The English lawyer Sir Thomas More rises to become King Henry VIII's most trusted advisor, but his refusal to recognize Henry as the supreme head of the Church of England ends his political career . . . and leads to his trial for treason. 5. The Sixth Wife Dangerous court intrigue and affairs of the heart collide during the story of Katherine Parr, the last of Henry VIII's six queens. 6. The Thistle and the Rose The story of Princess Margaret Tudor, whose life of tragedy, bloodshed, and scandal would rival even that of her younger brother, Henry VIII. 7. Mary, Queen of France The story of Princess Mary Tudor, a celebrated beauty and born rebel who would defy the most powerful king in Europe--her older brother. 8. For a Queen's Love Power-hungry monarch, cold-blooded murderer, obsessive monster--who could love such a man? Set against the glittering courts of sixteenth-century Europe, the Spain of the dreaded Inquisition, and the tortured England of Bloody Mary, this is the story of Philip II of Spain--and of the women who loved him as a husband and father. 9. A Favorite of the Queen Torn between her heart's passion and duty to her kingdom, Elizabeth I must make a decision that will shape her country and place her name in history forever.
A private battle rages at court for the affections of a childless queen, who must soon name her successor--and thus determine the future of the British Empire. It is the beginning of the eighteenth century and William of Orange is dying. Soon Anne is crowned queen, but to court insiders, the name of the imminent sovereign is Sarah Churchill. Beautiful, outspoken Sarah has bewitched Anne and believes she is invincible--until she installs her poor cousin Abigail Hill into court as royal chambermaid. Plain Abigail seems the least likely challenger to Sarah's place in her highness's affections, but challenge it she does, in stealthy yet formidable ways. While Anne engages in her private tug-of-war, the nation is obsessed with another, more public battle: succession. Anne is sickly and childless, the last of the Stuart line. This novel of the Stuarts from Jean Plaidy weaves larger-than-life characters through a dark maze of intrigue, love, and destruction, with nothing less than the future of the British Empire at stake.
When I look back over my long and tempestuous life, I can see that much of what happened to me--my triumphs and most of my misfortunes--was due to my passionate relationships with men. I was a woman who considered herself their equal--and in many ways their superior--but it seemed that I depended on them, while seeking to be the dominant partner--an attitude which could hardly be expected to bring about a harmonious existence.Eleanor of Aquitaine was revered for her superior intellect, extraordinary courage, and fierce loyalty. She was equally famous for her turbulent relationships, which included marriages to the kings of both France and England. As a child, Eleanor reveled in her beloved grandfather's Courts of Love, where troubadours sang of romantic devotion and passion filled the air. In 1137, at the age of fifteen, Eleanor became Duchess of Aquitaine, the richest province in Europe. A union with Louis VII allowed her to ascend the French throne, yet he was a tepid and possessive man and no match for a young woman raised in the Courts of Love. When Eleanor met the magnetic Henry II, the first Plantagenet King of England, their stormy pairing set great change in motion--and produced many sons and daughters, two of whom would one day reign in their own right.In this majestic and sweeping story, set against a backdrop of medieval politics, intrigue, and strife, Jean Plaidy weaves a tapestry of love, passion, betrayal, and heartbreak--and reveals the life of a most remarkable woman whose iron will and political savvy enabled her to hold her own against the most powerful men of her time.From the Trade Paperback edition.
Tamar seemed doomed to violent death when the witch hunter came to Plymouth. Intelligent, though untutored, she attracted the attention of Bartle Cavill, the lusty gentleman-adventurer, home from the Spanish Main; moreover, the Puritan, Humility Brown, was not unaware of her. These two men attracted her as she attracted them, but for different reasons, representing as they did, the one passion, the other piety. Their story is set first in Plymouth, England; then the scene shifts to Plymouth, New England, where a few brave men and women are engaged in an adventure of a different kind-the founding of a nation in which men and women might be free.
With Spain now united, Ferdinand looked to his daughters to further his ambitions. All too often, Isabella found herself torn between his brilliant plans and her love for her children. During the last years of Isabella's reign it seemed there was a curse on the royal house which struck at the children of the sovereigns. Tragedy followed tragedy - the Infanta Isabella, a broken-hearted widow; Juana, driven to madness by her husband's philandering; and the sorrow of parting with young Catalina, destined to become Katharine of Aragon, wife to Henry VIII and Queen of England . . .
Henry III had died and his son Edward, called Longshanks on account of his long legs and fine physique, was on his way home from the Holy Land with his wife, Eleanor, who had saved his life--some said--when she had sucked poison from a wound he had received from a would-be assassin. Edward was the strong man the country needed and he was dedicated to its service. His weakness was his love for his children and in particular his daughters with whom he could not bear to part even in marriage. There was the eldest and his favourite, the Princess Eleanor, who, marrying late enjoyed but brief happiness before tragedy overtook her; wild Joanna, born in Acre, defied her father when she married secretly; Margaret was married to a libertine and forced to receive his bastards; Mary was destined by her forceful grandmother for a convent; and Elizabeth married first for state reasons and the second time insisted on choosing for herself. Edward was the devoted family man, with his docile wife whom he loved so much that on her death he caused crosses to be set up where her coffin came to rest on its journey from Lincoln to London. His second marriage with the sister of the King of France was equally felicitous. It was his son who caused him great anxiety, for young Edward had surrounded himself with companions of questionable morals, chief of them, Piers Gaveston, who had begun to dominate the young Prince. These were stirring times and Edward's ambition was to unite the kingdoms of England, Scotland and Wales under his rule. Llewellyn of Wales loved the Demoiselle, daughter of Simon de Montfort, but their love story ended in tragedy and the submission of Wales. In Scotland the great hero, William Wallace, had appeared, and Wallace's adventures had made him a legend, but his need of women was to result in his fearful end at the hands of Edward. Edward Longshanks dominated his age. He was the great ruler, strong, just, cruel when he considered it necessary, vunerable only where his family was concerned. He emerges as one of the greatest kings England has ever known. His tragedy was that he died knowing that his work was incomplete and that the crown must pass to his dissolute son.
('The twelfth in the Plantagenet Saga) Henry V had died leaving a nine-month-old son as King of England. Before his death he had married Katherine of Valois, daughter of the French King, and according to the peace terms he had made with France, on the death of poor, mad Charles VI, he was to have been crowned King of France. Ambitious men surrounded the baby King, chief of whom were the child's uncles, the Dukes of Bedford and Gloucester.Bedford, shrewd, clever, born to be a leader, had idolized his brother, the late King, and sought to hold together all he had won and to keep it for young Henry VI. Gloucester, man of letters though he was, had poor judgment; greedy for wealth and power, he was frequently engaged in lost causes and throughout his life kept a feud with his uncle the powerful Cardinal Beaufort. There were three women living at this time who were to have a marked effect on the future. One of these was Katherine de Valois who, haunted by memories of an unhappy childhood overshadowed by a mad father and a rapacious and lascivious mother, discovered romantic happiness in an unexpected quarter and founded the Tudor dynasty. Then in complete contrast there was the peasant girl from Domremy. When Joan of Arc tending her father's flocks heard heavenly voices commanding her to lead France to victory, she thought she was dreaming. But eventually, convinced that she must obey her voices, she was caught up in one of the most amazing experiences ever recorded which took her from the pastures of her village to fiery martyrdom in the square of Rouen. Eleanor of Gloucester's affairs were less spectacular but she, too, wielded a certain power. First the Duke's mistress she plotted to become his Duchess and her influence was considerable until she became involved in a plot to murder and was the centre of a cause celebre. Against a background of Lancastrian England and war- torn France, with ambitious men juggling for power, with feuds between Beaufort and Gloucester and the Duke of Burgundy and King Charles of France, the picture slowly changes. The defeated became the victorious in those turbulent times when murder, greed and ruthless ambition flourished side by side with courage, dedication and martyrdom.
Born heir to the small State of Navarre, it seemed unlikely that Henri would ever come to the throne of France; and his amatory adventures caused despair in those Huguenots who looked to him to lead them in the conflict which was dividing France. A father at fifteen, he was sent to become a soldier under the great Coligny, but still found time for love affairs. Yet when his mother died mysteriously, he began to change; and the man who rode to Paris to play the part of bridegroom in the "Blood-Red Wedding" was alert for treachery. Facing death nonchalantly, accepting the Mass in exchange for his life, amusing himself with the mistress whom he knew had been set to spy on him, he deluded even Catherine de' Medici. Life with the tempestuous Margot was like a succession of farcical incidents from the Decameron. Reputed to have had more mistresses than any King of France, he passed lightly from one to another. There were the spies of Catherine de' iledici, promiscuous Charlotte de Sauves and gentle Dayelle; Fosseuse who came into conflict with Margot; Corisande whom he loved as a wife; Gabrielle who had been sold to a King and others by her rapacious mother; Henriette, with the acid tongue; these, and others occupied him until the days of his death when he was pursuing the youthful Charlotte de lontmorency. In addition to his mistresses there were two wives to plague him: flamboyant Margot, whose adventures rivalled his own, and Marie de' Medici, who came to torment his later years. This was the man who, affectionately known as the Evergreen Gallant because all through his life he was in love with a woman, brought prosperity back to a war-scarred cuntry, declared Paris to be worth a Mass, and was recognized as the greatest King the French had ever known.
Torn between her heart's passion and duty to her kingdom, a young queen makes a dark choice... Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester was the most powerful man in England during the reign of Elizabeth I. Handsome and clever, he drew the interest of many women--but it was Elizabeth herself that loved him best of all. Their relationship could have culminated in marriage but for the existence of Amy Robsart, Robert's tragic young wife, who stood between them and refused to be swept away to satisfy a monarch's desire for a man that was not rightfully her own. But when Amy suddenly dies, under circumstances that many deem to be mysterious at best, the Queen and her lover are placed under a dark cloud of suspicion, and Elizabeth is forced to make a choice that will define her legacy. From the Trade Paperback edition.
Edward the Second's first act on coming to the throne was to recall Piers Gaveston whom his father had banished because he thought he was having an evil influence on his son, and the new King's devotion to the shrewd and avaricious Gaveston soon became a scandal. It was thought, however, that when Edward married the Princess who was reckoned to be one of the most beautiful in Europe, his inclinations would change. But nothing could make him swerve from his attachment to Gaveston, and Gaveston was clearly the man to make the most of royal favour. The new Queen Isabella, accustomed to adulation, was at first nonplussed by the King's attitude and then bitterly humiliated; and she was not a woman to forget or forgive. The country was in turmoil. The death of the first Edward had given the Scots the chance they had longed for and Robert the Bruce was the man to take advantage of it in such a way that he was finally able to defeat the English at Bannockburn. The influential barons rose in protest against the rule of Gaveston and led by the King's cousin, Lancaster, threatened civil war. Gaveston's arrogance and the King's folly in due course led to the murder on Blacklow Hill. But when the handsome Hugh le Despenser was brought to the King's notice there was another to take Gaveston's place in his affections. The King was making enemies throughout the country but he did not realize that the most deadly of these was the Queen. Cleverly biding her time Isabella waited until her schemes could mature, and when she met and fell in love with Roger de Mortimer, she knew the time had come; they worked together to overthrow the man who had humiliated her by showing his preference for handsome young men. Alluring, powerful and ruthless Isabella emerges as the triumphant conqueror while Edward plunges along that road on which his follies have set him and which ends in history's most horrific murder within the thick dark walls of Berkeley Castle.
Plaidy's next book in her Novels of the Tudors series offers the fascinating story of Philip II of Spain--and the three wives who loved him, one of which was Mary Tudor.
17th century London: King Charles Stuart is seen through the eyes of his shy wife and his sensual mistress, Lady Castlemaine.
Henry II was dead and his eldest son, Richard, had come to the throne. He was known as the greatest warrior of his times and because he had vowed to win back Jerusalem for the Christian world, he was ready to place his newly acquired kingdom in jeopardy to fulfil this vow in spite of the fact that his treacherous brother John was casting covetous eyes on his crown. Richard's life was spent in one fantastic adventure after another and his bravery in battle earned him the name of The Lion Heart by which he was known throughout the world. His enterprises in Sicily, his conquest of Cyprus, his successes in the Holy Land brought him renown. But he was to discover that he was not entirely invincible, for there was one who was his equal--the Sultan Saladin. This is not only an account of full-blooded adventures but the revelation of the strange nature of England's most romantic King. His relationship--half love, half hate-- with Philip of France, the mystic bond between himself and the Sultan Saladin, the devotion of the minstrel Blondel who travelled across Europe singing their song until he found the master he loved in the stronghold of Diirenstein--all these affinities throw a light on his nature. Here is the colour and splendour of an age when chivalry and cruelty went side by side. It is inhabited by the shrewd and wily King of France who was yet tormented by the emotions aroused in him by one who was his natural enemy; Berengaria, Richard's Queen who learned with bitterness that she could never hold the place in his life for which she longed; Joanna, his sister, who adored him yet defied him when he would force her into a distasteful marriage; Prince John, Richard's violent, cynical and treacherous brother; the aged Queen Eleanor living on as vital as ever. And dominating them all was that fearless, glittering romantic monarch who, the world said, had the heart of a lion.
As Henry VIII's only child, the future seemed golden for Princess Mary. She was the daughter of Henry's first queen, Katharine of Aragon, and was heir presumptive to the throne of England. Red-haired like her father, she was also intelligent and deeply religious like her staunchly Catholic mother. But her father's ill-fated love for Anne Boleyn would shatter Mary's life forever. The father who had once adored her was now intent on having a male heir at all costs. He divorced her mother and, at the age of twelve, Mary was banished from her father's presence, stripped of her royal title, and replaced by his other children--first Elizabeth, then Edward. Worst of all, she never saw her beloved mother again; Katharine was exiled too, and died soon after. Lonely and miserable, Mary turned for comfort to the religion that had sustained her mother.In a stroke of fate, however, Henry's much-longed-for son died in his teens, leaving Mary the legitimate heir to the throne. It was, she felt, a sign from God--proof that England should return to the Catholic Church. Swayed by fanatical advisors and her own religious fervor, Mary made horrific examples of those who failed to embrace the Church, earning her the immortal nickname "Bloody Mary." She was married only once, to her Spanish cousin Philip II--a loveless and childless marriage that brought her to the edge of madness.With In the Shadow of the Crown, Jean Plaidy brings to life the dark story of a queen whose road to the throne was paved with sorrow.From the Trade Paperback edition.
When Princess Mary ascends the throne--from which her father, Henry VIII, broke with the Pope--she is swayed by her fanatical advisors and her own religious fervor. The horrific examples she makes of those who fail to embrace the Church earn her the dark sobriquet "Bloody Mary. "
In the days when the word "Italian" was often synonymous with "poisoner," the French constantly referred to Catherine de Medici as "The Italian Woman." And now, no longer humiliated and neglected, Catherine was free to seek revenge on those who had slighted her for so long. Henry II of France was dead and she was Queen Regent. Mother of Kings--those three sickly boys who, through the excesses of their forebears, were tainted in body and mind--she stood in contrast to another queen, Jeanne of Navarre, a woman of an entirely different nature. Jeanne's forthright loyalty was pitted against the Italian's Machiavellian craft in a conflict which began when Catherine sent a member of her unholy band, her Escadron Volant, to seduce Jeanne's husband. Possessed of a love which bordered on idolatry for her son Henry, Catherine emerges as a most unnatural mother whose children were terrified of her--and with good reason. There was sickly Francis, pathetically devoted to Mary, the lovely Queen of Scots; Charles, subject to bouts of madness; Henry, handsome and perverted; and Margot, that wild and most fascinating of Princesses who would be known as the Messalina of her times. For them Catherine would scheme and kill. Among the colorful personalities of her court, which included the tragic Jeanne of Navarre, the vacillating Antoine de Bourbon, the ambitious Guises, Coligny and the amorous Margot, Catherine crept sinuously along her unholy road. Without conscience, without morality, she used now one, now another, as seemed to her most expedient, in order to keep the throne for Henry and rule France through him.
For the first time in paperback--all three of Jean Plaidy'sKatharine of Aragonnovels in one volume. Legendary historical novelist Jean Plaidy begins her tales of Henry VIII's queens with the story of his first wife, the Spanish princess Katharine of Aragon. As a teenager, Katharine leaves her beloved Spain, land of olive groves and soaring cathedrals, for the drab, rainy island of England. There she is married to the king's eldest son, Arthur, a sickly boy who dies six months after the wedding. Katharine is left a widow who was never truly a wife, lonely in a strange land, with a very bleak future. Her only hope of escape is to marry the king's second son, Prince Henry, now heir to the throne. Tall, athletic, handsome, a lover of poetry and music, Henry is all that Katharine could want in a husband. But their first son dies and, after many more pregnancies, only one child survives, a daughter. Disappointed by his lack of an heir, Henry's eye wanders, and he becomes enamored of another woman--a country nobleman's daughter named Anne Boleyn. When Henry begins searching for ways to put aside his loyal first wife, Katharine must fight to remain Queen of England and to keep the husband she once loved so dearly.
The inimitable Plaidy continues her Novels of the Tudors by taking readers into the life of Sir Thomas More, a man torn between devotion to religion and duty to state.
One of history's most complex and alluring women comes to life in this classic novel by the legendary Jean Plaidy.Young Anne Boleyn was not beautiful but she was irresistible, capturing the hearts of kings and commoners alike. Daughter of an ambitious country lord, Anne was sent to France to learn sophistication, and then to court to marry well and raise the family's fortunes. She soon surpassed even their greatest expectations. Although his queen was loving and loyal, King Henry VIII swore he would put her aside and make Anne his wife. And so he did, though the divorce would tear apart the English church and inflict religious turmoil and bloodshed on his people for generations to come.Loathed by the English people, who called her "the King's Great Whore," Anne Boleyn was soon caught in the trap of her own ambition. Political rivals surrounded her at court and, when she failed to produce a much-desired male heir, they closed in, preying on the king's well-known insecurity and volatile temper. Wrongfully accused of adultery and incest, Anne found herself imprisoned in the Tower of London, where she was at the mercy of her husband and of her enemies.From the Trade Paperback edition.