author’s note: Madonna of the Seven Hills

Madonna of the Seven Hills by Jean Plaidy BOOK DESCRIPTION The most beautiful woman in Rome, Lucrezia Borgia, was born into a family—and a destiny—she could not hope to escape . . . Fifteenth-century Rome: The Borgia family is on the rise. Lucrezia’s father, Pope Alexander VI, places his illegitimate daughter and her only 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

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The Time of the Hunter’s Moon

From the Doubleday 1983 hardcover edition: THE TIME OF THE HUNTER’S MOON by Victoria Holt Legend beckons a romantic schoolgirl to await her future husband in a forest at the time of the hunter’s moon. When a handsome stranger appears, Cordelia Grant wonders if she is dreaming. But time will prove this fateful encounter to be all too real and far beyond the reaches of a young girl’s imagination. Haunted by the memory of her mystery man, Cordelia begins a

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review: The Queen’s Devotion (William’s Wife)

The Queen’s Devotion originally titled William’s Wife by Jean Plaidy BOOK DESCRIPTION: A daughter’s love. A monarch’s duty. On the road to greatness, one young woman must make an unthinkable choice. For Princess Mary, life has never been simple, but through it all the love of her father, the Duke of York, has been a constant and reliable comfort. Despite his own loyalty to the Catholic Church, the Duke and his brother, King Charles II, raised Mary as a Protestant

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review: Sweet Lass of Richmond Hill

Sweet Lass of Richmond Hill Georgian Saga #7 by Jean Plaidy Those looking for a romantic love story will not find it with this Georgian royalty novel. Maria Smythe Fitzherbert was a twice-widowed Catholic, planning to spend the remainder of her life living simply on her stipend. When she met the Prince (future King of England, George IV) she pointedly evaded his company. His persistence lead her to leave the country for a year, traveling through Europe as a lady

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review: The Star of Lancaster

The Star of Lancaster #11 in the Plantagenet Saga by Jean Plaidy One of the idiosyncrasies of Jean Plaidy’s writing is her style of encompassing mini-stories within the main story, weaving them all together. This she has done with The Star of Lancaster, covering an aging John of Gaunt, his rising son, Henry IV of England, and the short lifetime of the great soldier-king, Henry V. As usual the story covers a handful of women close to male protagonists: Mary

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108th Birthday: Eleanor Alice Burford Hibbert

Each year on September 1st I endeavor to write a post, a review or some other type of remembrance for Eleanor Alice Burford Hibbert’s day of birth, September 1st, however this year–though I’ve had some ideas rolling around–I’ve not had the time to execute a well-written piece. Since joining the Historical Novel Society editing team in June, I’ve had to spend most of my free time learning the ropes and committing to a schedule, which is not an easy feat

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review: Rochester, the Mad Earl

Rochester, the Mad Earl by Kathleen Kellow The adventures and exploits of John Wilmot, 2nd Earl of Rochester, are resurrected in this 1957 novel by Jean Plaidy, under one of her lesser-known pseudonyms—Kathleen Kellow. Rochester’s father, Henry Wilmot, was responsible for cutting the Roundhead-pursued Charles II’s curls, helping him escape the country incognito during Cromwell’s rule. The 1st Earl of Rochester was steadfast by his side, while his wife ran a Puritan household in order to hang on to some

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review: Louis the Well Beloved

Louis the Well-Beloved by Jean Plaidy First in the French Revolution trilogy, followed by The Road to Compiegne and Flaunting Extravagant Queen Louis XV, the Well-Beloved, became the King of France at the age of five, upon the death of his great-grandfather, The Sun King, Louis XIV. Raised by a set of serious-minded tutors, Louis started as a solemn child with much promise, but developed a fierce revulsion to uneasy situations, and so allowed his ministers to rule while he

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Mistress of Mellyn in Ladies Home Journal, April 1960

Before the age of the internet, how did a new author market his or her novel? One popular method was to publish segments in women’s magazines (called “serials”), and it happens that the very first Victoria Holt novel was published in the April 1960 issue of Ladies Home Journal. The magazine, pictured here beside my paperback version for size comparison, is much larger than today’s magazines. Other than a vague few lines on the index page, it is entirely story

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Myself My Enemy or Loyal in Love

When Jean Plaidy’s novel on Henrietta Maria, wife of England’s Charles I, was republished by Three Rivers Press/Crown in 2007, they chose to omit the author’s foreword. I’m posting it here for those of you who have this edition and are interested in Plaidy’s thoughts on the subject. It reads more like a personalized jacket description than her opinion on a controversial topic, as is usual when she includes an author’s note. But I do see where they found their

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