The Italian Woman, Author’s Note

The middle book of Jean Plaidy’s Catherine de’ Medici trilogy, The Italian Woman was first published in 1953. Below is the author’s note on the subject: “In The Italian Woman I have endeavoured to portray Catherine de’ Medici in the middle stages of her career, when she was no longer the neglected wife and the read more »

From Historical Fiction to Suspense: Victoria Holt’s Mistress of Mellyn

Today is the 20th anniversary of Eleanor Hibbert’s passing on January 18, 1993 and in honor of her memory I have taken on her first suspense novel, published in 1960 under the pseudonym Victoria Holt—Mistress of Mellyn. While I have previously read The Queen’s Confession and My Enemy, the Queen, both biographical historical novels have read more »

A Triptych of Poisoners

A Triptych of Poisoners by Jean Plaidy What makes men and women commit murder? Is it environment and upbringing? Or is it some characteristic unaffected by surroundings and contacts? In this triptych, the author has sought to answer these questions by an analysis of the lives of three notorious poisoners, each guilty of more than read more »

review: The King’s Confidante

The King’s Confidante by Jean Plaidy St. Thomas’s Eve, republished as The King’s Confidante, is a story of the life of Sir Thomas More – scholar, lawyer, councilor to the King and ultimately Chancellor, after the fall of Wosley. But most importantly to More, he was a loving husband and father, as well as father-figure read more »

review: The Queen of Diamonds

The Queen of Diamonds By Jean Plaidy The affair of the diamond necklace rocked the monarchy of France and precipitated the French Revolution. The insanely gaudy and expensive diamond necklace was originally intended for Madame du Barry, mistress of Louis XV, but his death came before the completion of the necklace. At almost 2,000,000 livres, read more »

review: Indiscretions of the Queen

Indiscretions of the Queen by Jean Plaidy I began this book slightly biased against Caroline of Brunswick, as I’ve read of her in other books and articles. Leave it to Jean Plaidy to turn one’s opinions around completely, and simply by telling the facts in an amusing and straightforward manner. I had a similar experience read more »

review: My Enemy, the Queen

My Enemy, the Queen by Victoria Holt Lettice Knollys, the Countess of Leicester, because of her beauty and attractiveness, was a constant rival to Queen Elizabeth I. A Boleyn relation, she was summoned to court to attend the queen at an early age, and the Queen recognized her right away as one of those young read more »

review: The Goldsmith’s Wife

The Goldsmith’s Wife by Jean Plaidy Jane Shore, notorious mistress of King Edward IV, is a refreshingly honest person. She is a beauty and knows her charms, but she is also very moral, but not overly religious. She always wants to do what she feels is right and stands by her convictions even at her read more »

review: The Plantagenet Prelude

The Plantagenet Prelude by Jean Plaidy The Plantagenet Prelude was published 11 years before her autobiographical novel on Eleanor of Aquitaine, The Courts of Love, and focuses on the men in Eleanor’s life rather than Eleanor herself. I wasn’t expecting this proud, selfish woman that Plaidy portrays, as she was so much more likable in read more »

review: Revolt of the Eaglets

Revolt of the Eaglets by Jean Plaidy This novel begins exactly where The Plantagenet Prelude left off. The aftermath of Thomas a Becket’s murder was still plaguing Henry II, while Eleanor was planning to urge her sons into revolt. Kings die, sons die, Eleanor is imprisoned for many years, but still she lives and is read more »