Queen Isabella

From Pat Rice:Hornofplenty

That’s a horn of plenty in celebration of Thanksgiving and in hopes I come up with plenty to rattle on about.

I would love to present you with a scholarly treatise on the French Revolution today since that’s what I’m currently researching, but I’m in a bit of a time crunch.  (Translation:  I put it off until I forgot about it entirely and now I’ve run out of time to pull anything intelligent together.)  Did you know, for instance, that before the Bloody Terror that we’ve seen depicted in films and books, there was a bloodless revolution?  Essentially, the wealthy middle class shoved the debt-ridden aristocrats aside and said we’re going to balance this budget without the fiscally irresponsible policy of taxing the poor.  And they proceeded to sell off the church and make themselves the nobility.  Sort of ticked off a lot of people, I think.  <G> History Lesson, primary version—don’t anger the nobility, the church, and the poor all at the same time.

Another thing I would dearly love to see us start here is a book discussion.  Except this is a blog by historical authors, and since I’m currently working on an historical, I’m trying to only read contemporaries. The brain is a very strange sponge, and it’s quite capable of squeezing out someone else’s words onto my page if they are in any way applicable to the passage at hand.  That wouldn’t be so bad if I recognized the words as coming from someone else so I could delete them, but I never recognize the source of the words that spew from my subconscious when I’m in full creative mode.  So it’s best not to go there.

Still, I have to admit I’m sneaking peeks into our Lady Layton’s–sometimes known as Edith Felber–latest release, QUEEN OF SHADOWS.  Since it’s set in the fourteenth century and I’m writing eighteenth, I figure I’m pretty safe.  The book is about Isabella, wife of King Edward II.  Now, admittedly, my knowledge of English history from this period is pretty scanty.  Over the years I’ve read tons of history books, and I have a very general impression of Tudors and Lancasters and those foreign imports, the Georges.  I am less than impressed by most kings in most countries because they’re much too human, and I prefer my fairy tales.  But Edith has portrayed this fair couple with all their humanity exposed, making them real people you might meet on the street today. 

What strikes me most in reading this book is that civilized people believed for so long that one man could make decisions that affect thousands, maybe millions, in an unbiased manner.  I’m not sure I know a man who could choose his meal for the evening without resorting to prejudice.  It’s just not in human nature to be completely impartial and without self-interest.  I suppose we could argue that civilization is debatable in fourteenth century England, and really, few had the power to topple a monarchy.  I’m just amazed that even today we trust men in power to be our good fathers who will take care of us and see to our best interests because that’s the power we’ve invested in them. Are we nuts?

Leaders are flawed.  They’re human.  And people who crave power tend to be even more flawed than most.  Even the altruists who believe they’re running for office for the good of the people must have egoes the width of the Pacific to believe they have all the answers.  And those are the good guys. 

So I’m kind of afraid to finish this book.  I want a fourteenth century queen– raised to be obedient and brood heirs—to pick up a royal scepter and bash in her husband’s skull before he does any more real damage.  So far, I have to admire Isabella’s ability to overcome her upbringing and make her opinions known when she has any hope of influencing the outcome.  Maybe I’ll get lucky and she’ll poison the handsome idiot.  Pity that we can’t rewrite history!

So, who’s had a chance to read QUEEN OF SHADOWS?  I think I know the ending, so go ahead and give it away if you must. <G>  What do you think of Isabella?  Do you like this new trend toward writing historical fiction?

And what books would you like to see discussed here?

36 thoughts on “Queen Isabella”

  1. I haven’t finished it yet – so I can’t comment. Ironically, I was reading a book from the Uk (England’s Greatest Traitor) this month so I was totally ready for QoS. I am digging it hugely tho.
    Book talk would be lovely, but it would be tricky. Y’can’t really open up on a book the same way when it’s public and you might know the author. (Well, I can, but I’m not in the biz). I’m up for anything y’all are comfy with.
    Historical fiction trend – I just read the 3 Susan Carroll books and reviewed them in my blog. I think with the rise of erotica and the death or short from and gothic there are a lot of great authors with not a lot of places to go. I hate the large format – because I am just NOT going to drop $14 unless it’s a Felber or equal known quantity. And the library rarely stocks the trade papers. I’m ok with the concept, as I like the books when they have sub plots going on and are not just rigid interpretations of known events. (Look! Dudley marries someone else AGAIN!) Or boring. Hate boring. Also, it gives the freedom to step outside the moneyed class with the main characters because they can be the fly on the wall pov for the story.
    But the expectations are different. In the aforementioned Dark Queen series – I would have been just fine with The Silver Rose as a five buck read. As a 14 buck read I was poking at all the holes in it like a sore tooth – y’know?

    Reply
  2. I haven’t finished it yet – so I can’t comment. Ironically, I was reading a book from the Uk (England’s Greatest Traitor) this month so I was totally ready for QoS. I am digging it hugely tho.
    Book talk would be lovely, but it would be tricky. Y’can’t really open up on a book the same way when it’s public and you might know the author. (Well, I can, but I’m not in the biz). I’m up for anything y’all are comfy with.
    Historical fiction trend – I just read the 3 Susan Carroll books and reviewed them in my blog. I think with the rise of erotica and the death or short from and gothic there are a lot of great authors with not a lot of places to go. I hate the large format – because I am just NOT going to drop $14 unless it’s a Felber or equal known quantity. And the library rarely stocks the trade papers. I’m ok with the concept, as I like the books when they have sub plots going on and are not just rigid interpretations of known events. (Look! Dudley marries someone else AGAIN!) Or boring. Hate boring. Also, it gives the freedom to step outside the moneyed class with the main characters because they can be the fly on the wall pov for the story.
    But the expectations are different. In the aforementioned Dark Queen series – I would have been just fine with The Silver Rose as a five buck read. As a 14 buck read I was poking at all the holes in it like a sore tooth – y’know?

    Reply
  3. I haven’t finished it yet – so I can’t comment. Ironically, I was reading a book from the Uk (England’s Greatest Traitor) this month so I was totally ready for QoS. I am digging it hugely tho.
    Book talk would be lovely, but it would be tricky. Y’can’t really open up on a book the same way when it’s public and you might know the author. (Well, I can, but I’m not in the biz). I’m up for anything y’all are comfy with.
    Historical fiction trend – I just read the 3 Susan Carroll books and reviewed them in my blog. I think with the rise of erotica and the death or short from and gothic there are a lot of great authors with not a lot of places to go. I hate the large format – because I am just NOT going to drop $14 unless it’s a Felber or equal known quantity. And the library rarely stocks the trade papers. I’m ok with the concept, as I like the books when they have sub plots going on and are not just rigid interpretations of known events. (Look! Dudley marries someone else AGAIN!) Or boring. Hate boring. Also, it gives the freedom to step outside the moneyed class with the main characters because they can be the fly on the wall pov for the story.
    But the expectations are different. In the aforementioned Dark Queen series – I would have been just fine with The Silver Rose as a five buck read. As a 14 buck read I was poking at all the holes in it like a sore tooth – y’know?

    Reply
  4. Pat, this is great timing! I too am reading Edith’s book and loving it, just fascinated by the story, and what she’s done with a remarkable bunch of people and a remarkable time in history.
    We’ll soon post an interview with Edith about QUEEN OF SHADOWS on Word Wenches — be sure to check next Sunday for that. 🙂
    ~Susan Sarah

    Reply
  5. Pat, this is great timing! I too am reading Edith’s book and loving it, just fascinated by the story, and what she’s done with a remarkable bunch of people and a remarkable time in history.
    We’ll soon post an interview with Edith about QUEEN OF SHADOWS on Word Wenches — be sure to check next Sunday for that. 🙂
    ~Susan Sarah

    Reply
  6. Pat, this is great timing! I too am reading Edith’s book and loving it, just fascinated by the story, and what she’s done with a remarkable bunch of people and a remarkable time in history.
    We’ll soon post an interview with Edith about QUEEN OF SHADOWS on Word Wenches — be sure to check next Sunday for that. 🙂
    ~Susan Sarah

    Reply
  7. Agreed, a book discussion would have to be on a book the wenches enjoy so we don’t have to diss anyone. But readers could be free to disagree with us. We just need to get organized enough to pull it together.
    Trade size is problematic, also agreed. Even I need to trust the author before shelling out big bucks for a softcover, unless it’s a topic I really want to read.
    Without going into an hour-long discussion on why publishers are moving to trade, let me just say that they’re trying to save their industry in any manner they can, and this particular experiment is currently working for certain venues. Not all. Until someone invents the perfect e-book reader, and even for some time afterward, I predict a lot of market turmoil.
    Which is totally off the subject.
    Really, Edith is hilarious to talk with, so I hope all the wenchlings stop by to say hi!

    Reply
  8. Agreed, a book discussion would have to be on a book the wenches enjoy so we don’t have to diss anyone. But readers could be free to disagree with us. We just need to get organized enough to pull it together.
    Trade size is problematic, also agreed. Even I need to trust the author before shelling out big bucks for a softcover, unless it’s a topic I really want to read.
    Without going into an hour-long discussion on why publishers are moving to trade, let me just say that they’re trying to save their industry in any manner they can, and this particular experiment is currently working for certain venues. Not all. Until someone invents the perfect e-book reader, and even for some time afterward, I predict a lot of market turmoil.
    Which is totally off the subject.
    Really, Edith is hilarious to talk with, so I hope all the wenchlings stop by to say hi!

    Reply
  9. Agreed, a book discussion would have to be on a book the wenches enjoy so we don’t have to diss anyone. But readers could be free to disagree with us. We just need to get organized enough to pull it together.
    Trade size is problematic, also agreed. Even I need to trust the author before shelling out big bucks for a softcover, unless it’s a topic I really want to read.
    Without going into an hour-long discussion on why publishers are moving to trade, let me just say that they’re trying to save their industry in any manner they can, and this particular experiment is currently working for certain venues. Not all. Until someone invents the perfect e-book reader, and even for some time afterward, I predict a lot of market turmoil.
    Which is totally off the subject.
    Really, Edith is hilarious to talk with, so I hope all the wenchlings stop by to say hi!

    Reply
  10. I’m one that likes my historicals quite far removed from major characters and I’m actually not a big fan of history per se anyways ~ especially, as you say Patricia, that so many of those in power, and capable of affecting history were flawed, sometimes extremely flawed. I really don’t enjoy reading about extremely flawed people…especially people that were real. Same reason I’m not a big fan of the news I guess. I need something that is more uplifting for entertainment. Villains in a story are different ~ they’re evil for a good reason! They make a good foil for the hero and heroine. ^.~
    Kathy

    Reply
  11. I’m one that likes my historicals quite far removed from major characters and I’m actually not a big fan of history per se anyways ~ especially, as you say Patricia, that so many of those in power, and capable of affecting history were flawed, sometimes extremely flawed. I really don’t enjoy reading about extremely flawed people…especially people that were real. Same reason I’m not a big fan of the news I guess. I need something that is more uplifting for entertainment. Villains in a story are different ~ they’re evil for a good reason! They make a good foil for the hero and heroine. ^.~
    Kathy

    Reply
  12. I’m one that likes my historicals quite far removed from major characters and I’m actually not a big fan of history per se anyways ~ especially, as you say Patricia, that so many of those in power, and capable of affecting history were flawed, sometimes extremely flawed. I really don’t enjoy reading about extremely flawed people…especially people that were real. Same reason I’m not a big fan of the news I guess. I need something that is more uplifting for entertainment. Villains in a story are different ~ they’re evil for a good reason! They make a good foil for the hero and heroine. ^.~
    Kathy

    Reply
  13. QUEEN OF SHADOWS… couldn’t put it down. Read it cover to cover on Saturday. What a marvelous piece of work. Highly relatable.
    I cried. Got angry. Laughed. Wanted to scream… “You bloody idiot! Listen to her.”
    I’ve been in a very similar place as Isabella (minus the wealth and the crown), ‘Hugh Despenser’ and all. The story really made me think and I feel less lonely now.
    Edith, fabulous job! Loved very minute of it.
    Pat, love the idea of a book discussion, even a work of non-fiction. If there is concern around possibly offending an author, perhaps a topic discussion like ‘What I would miss if I lived in the XX century’ might be fun.

    Reply
  14. QUEEN OF SHADOWS… couldn’t put it down. Read it cover to cover on Saturday. What a marvelous piece of work. Highly relatable.
    I cried. Got angry. Laughed. Wanted to scream… “You bloody idiot! Listen to her.”
    I’ve been in a very similar place as Isabella (minus the wealth and the crown), ‘Hugh Despenser’ and all. The story really made me think and I feel less lonely now.
    Edith, fabulous job! Loved very minute of it.
    Pat, love the idea of a book discussion, even a work of non-fiction. If there is concern around possibly offending an author, perhaps a topic discussion like ‘What I would miss if I lived in the XX century’ might be fun.

    Reply
  15. QUEEN OF SHADOWS… couldn’t put it down. Read it cover to cover on Saturday. What a marvelous piece of work. Highly relatable.
    I cried. Got angry. Laughed. Wanted to scream… “You bloody idiot! Listen to her.”
    I’ve been in a very similar place as Isabella (minus the wealth and the crown), ‘Hugh Despenser’ and all. The story really made me think and I feel less lonely now.
    Edith, fabulous job! Loved very minute of it.
    Pat, love the idea of a book discussion, even a work of non-fiction. If there is concern around possibly offending an author, perhaps a topic discussion like ‘What I would miss if I lived in the XX century’ might be fun.

    Reply
  16. Oh, and as for book discussions… yeah! Books are such a wonderful thing and it’s great to be able to discuss them with people who share a common interest. Unfortunately my sister, with whom I’d love to discuss books, is in a book club that reads more esoteric, critically acclaimed books and less entertaining books; I’m such a plebian reader in comparison. But it works for me!
    Kathy ^.^

    Reply
  17. Oh, and as for book discussions… yeah! Books are such a wonderful thing and it’s great to be able to discuss them with people who share a common interest. Unfortunately my sister, with whom I’d love to discuss books, is in a book club that reads more esoteric, critically acclaimed books and less entertaining books; I’m such a plebian reader in comparison. But it works for me!
    Kathy ^.^

    Reply
  18. Oh, and as for book discussions… yeah! Books are such a wonderful thing and it’s great to be able to discuss them with people who share a common interest. Unfortunately my sister, with whom I’d love to discuss books, is in a book club that reads more esoteric, critically acclaimed books and less entertaining books; I’m such a plebian reader in comparison. But it works for me!
    Kathy ^.^

    Reply
  19. Oh, you Pat Rice, you! Thank you for mentioning the QOS.
    And thank you, Liz and thank you Niina and Susan… and anyone else who picked up my Queen and dug her.
    What a thoughty entry though, Pat.
    But I can’t se a huge difference between the one man= ruler of a country from the old days and now, sometimes. Except for the fact that we the people choose them now…
    HA! When was the last time you really truly-o chose a leader? Most of the time we take what we can get, and that’s usually someone with enough bucks and influence to get to the top…mmm…not unlike centuries ago, either.
    Biggest difference: they only get four years to be ruler, and sometimes they get a quarrelsome senate/congress so they can’t do too much before we catch on.
    Cynical? Me?
    Nah.
    Just a student of history.
    (And glad to be an American, btw – because that 4 years matters!)

    Reply
  20. Oh, you Pat Rice, you! Thank you for mentioning the QOS.
    And thank you, Liz and thank you Niina and Susan… and anyone else who picked up my Queen and dug her.
    What a thoughty entry though, Pat.
    But I can’t se a huge difference between the one man= ruler of a country from the old days and now, sometimes. Except for the fact that we the people choose them now…
    HA! When was the last time you really truly-o chose a leader? Most of the time we take what we can get, and that’s usually someone with enough bucks and influence to get to the top…mmm…not unlike centuries ago, either.
    Biggest difference: they only get four years to be ruler, and sometimes they get a quarrelsome senate/congress so they can’t do too much before we catch on.
    Cynical? Me?
    Nah.
    Just a student of history.
    (And glad to be an American, btw – because that 4 years matters!)

    Reply
  21. Oh, you Pat Rice, you! Thank you for mentioning the QOS.
    And thank you, Liz and thank you Niina and Susan… and anyone else who picked up my Queen and dug her.
    What a thoughty entry though, Pat.
    But I can’t se a huge difference between the one man= ruler of a country from the old days and now, sometimes. Except for the fact that we the people choose them now…
    HA! When was the last time you really truly-o chose a leader? Most of the time we take what we can get, and that’s usually someone with enough bucks and influence to get to the top…mmm…not unlike centuries ago, either.
    Biggest difference: they only get four years to be ruler, and sometimes they get a quarrelsome senate/congress so they can’t do too much before we catch on.
    Cynical? Me?
    Nah.
    Just a student of history.
    (And glad to be an American, btw – because that 4 years matters!)

    Reply
  22. Jo here,
    I agree, Edith. The limited term for American presidents was a very wise decision. The inevitable actions and reactions of all democracies usually get rid of leaders in the British type systems within 8-10 years, but we can never be sure of it.
    But yes, times haven’t changed that much. The sweeping powers have, but that, to me, is a change in societies not in systems of government. And progress can roll back.I’ve just realized that I can’t entirely ignore suspension of Habeus Corpus in the MIP. (1817, fear leads to oppression. Same old, same old.)
    I don’t see most monarchs as supremely powerful, though. In England, at least. They’d have loved it, but if it wasn’t the barons it was the bishops. They’d no sooner dealt with those than the plebs decided they should have more say.
    History, ya gotta love it.
    I haven’t started Queen of Shadows yet, Edith, and I fear it will probably have to be a Christmas treat.
    You know that line in the sand beyond which lies death?
    Jo 🙂

    Reply
  23. Jo here,
    I agree, Edith. The limited term for American presidents was a very wise decision. The inevitable actions and reactions of all democracies usually get rid of leaders in the British type systems within 8-10 years, but we can never be sure of it.
    But yes, times haven’t changed that much. The sweeping powers have, but that, to me, is a change in societies not in systems of government. And progress can roll back.I’ve just realized that I can’t entirely ignore suspension of Habeus Corpus in the MIP. (1817, fear leads to oppression. Same old, same old.)
    I don’t see most monarchs as supremely powerful, though. In England, at least. They’d have loved it, but if it wasn’t the barons it was the bishops. They’d no sooner dealt with those than the plebs decided they should have more say.
    History, ya gotta love it.
    I haven’t started Queen of Shadows yet, Edith, and I fear it will probably have to be a Christmas treat.
    You know that line in the sand beyond which lies death?
    Jo 🙂

    Reply
  24. Jo here,
    I agree, Edith. The limited term for American presidents was a very wise decision. The inevitable actions and reactions of all democracies usually get rid of leaders in the British type systems within 8-10 years, but we can never be sure of it.
    But yes, times haven’t changed that much. The sweeping powers have, but that, to me, is a change in societies not in systems of government. And progress can roll back.I’ve just realized that I can’t entirely ignore suspension of Habeus Corpus in the MIP. (1817, fear leads to oppression. Same old, same old.)
    I don’t see most monarchs as supremely powerful, though. In England, at least. They’d have loved it, but if it wasn’t the barons it was the bishops. They’d no sooner dealt with those than the plebs decided they should have more say.
    History, ya gotta love it.
    I haven’t started Queen of Shadows yet, Edith, and I fear it will probably have to be a Christmas treat.
    You know that line in the sand beyond which lies death?
    Jo 🙂

    Reply
  25. I haven’t read Queen of Shadows yet, but all of the comments here have convinced me to take it diving with me in the Caymans in January. I expect that it will remain topside since paper doesn’t do so well underwater, but I’m looking forward to reading it.

    Reply
  26. I haven’t read Queen of Shadows yet, but all of the comments here have convinced me to take it diving with me in the Caymans in January. I expect that it will remain topside since paper doesn’t do so well underwater, but I’m looking forward to reading it.

    Reply
  27. I haven’t read Queen of Shadows yet, but all of the comments here have convinced me to take it diving with me in the Caymans in January. I expect that it will remain topside since paper doesn’t do so well underwater, but I’m looking forward to reading it.

    Reply
  28. Of course I shall read QoS–I’ve known since I did that gasp of pleasure on seeing it was coming that I would. I’ve had a soft spot for Isabella since my dad told me he used to drive past Castle Rising on his way to work. (He was in the US Air Force, stationed in England; I spent the first two years of my life in King’s Lynn.)

    Reply
  29. Of course I shall read QoS–I’ve known since I did that gasp of pleasure on seeing it was coming that I would. I’ve had a soft spot for Isabella since my dad told me he used to drive past Castle Rising on his way to work. (He was in the US Air Force, stationed in England; I spent the first two years of my life in King’s Lynn.)

    Reply
  30. Of course I shall read QoS–I’ve known since I did that gasp of pleasure on seeing it was coming that I would. I’ve had a soft spot for Isabella since my dad told me he used to drive past Castle Rising on his way to work. (He was in the US Air Force, stationed in England; I spent the first two years of my life in King’s Lynn.)

    Reply
  31. I haven’t read QoS yet either. Will have to add it to my Christmas list. BUT I do know the ending and am of mixed feelings, feeling Isabella and what she did really wasn’t much better than Edward. Now her son, until the final years of his reign, was much better 🙂

    Reply
  32. I haven’t read QoS yet either. Will have to add it to my Christmas list. BUT I do know the ending and am of mixed feelings, feeling Isabella and what she did really wasn’t much better than Edward. Now her son, until the final years of his reign, was much better 🙂

    Reply
  33. I haven’t read QoS yet either. Will have to add it to my Christmas list. BUT I do know the ending and am of mixed feelings, feeling Isabella and what she did really wasn’t much better than Edward. Now her son, until the final years of his reign, was much better 🙂

    Reply

Leave a Comment