Sunday, August 30, 2009

A Pretty Bess, and a Giveaway

Just stopping by to invite you to take a look at Historically Obsessed, where Lizzy J has produced a lovely drawing of Bess de Montacute! Pretty, isn't she?

Speaking of Hugh and Bess, there's a chance to win it over at Alaine's blog. If you haven't entered yet, now's your final chance to do so, since the drawing will be held on August 31. You have a choice of winning my book, The White Queen, or An Echo in the Bone. That's some impressive company!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Wars of the Roses and Zombies

Since SonjaMarie over at the Historical Fiction Online forum drew our attention to this upcoming novel, entitled Queen Victoria, Demon Hunter, it has occurred to me that there's a market out there begging to be filled: namely, the Wars of the Roses told as they never have been before.

This possibility is so exciting, I'm practically hopping off my typing chair. Think of how long Cecily, Duchess of York, lived. Yet how much do you hear of her in her later years? Clearly, she must have been a zombie--doing her son Richard III's bidding. And her sister Katherine lived well into her 80's, opening even more possibilities: The Zombie Neville Sisters. Either as a standalone or a series, this is a story that begs to be written.

Of course, if you're going to have zombies, you need to have zombie hunters, which could put a whole new spin on Buckingham's rebellion.

But, you may ask, if there's a place in the Wars of the Roses for zombies, surely there's one for vampires as well? Never fear. What do you think Edward IV and William Hastings were really up to when they were romping around London together? How delectable Eleanor Talbot's neck must have been! And did Richard III finally give way to his own vampiric nature when his brother died? Well, there is actually one source that claims that the unfortunate princes in the Tower were bled to death. Need I say more about how this could have been accomplished? And how better to explain all of those unaccounted-for years of Perkin Warbeck?

Unfortunately, I'm not terribly up on the lifestyles of the undead, so I'm going to need some help executing this series. Yup. I need a ghost writer.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Un-Real Estate, and Other Picky Stuff

As I promised myself, last week I got a copy of Philippa Gregory's The White Queen. I did worse than that, actually: I bought a copy. About halfway through, however, I began to realize that I had done my bank account a great disservice.

I didn't finish the book, so I won't review it per se, save to say that Gregory tells the reader that Melusine was the ancestor of Elizabeth Woodville. Then she tells the reader again that Melusine was the ancestor of Elizabeth Woodville. Then, in case the reader is not absolutely certain of this, she has the characters talk to each other about Melusine being the ancestor of Elizabeth Woodville. There are some good bits of dialogue in the book (Anthony in particular has some nice lines), but I got very tired of wading through rivers of Melusine to get to them.

But what stands out about this novel for me, unfortunately, is its inaccuracies. Now, I make mistakes in my historical fiction. Every author is bound to. But is it really excusable for an author who's been writing about the Tudors for years to have Elizabeth Woodville go to Nonsuch Palace, built by Henry VIII? (You know, the guy who had Mary Boleyn as a sister-in-law.) And the errors just kept on coming. In addition to visiting the then-nonexistent Nonsuch Palace, Elizabeth goes to what she describes as one of her favorite country houses, the manor of Wimbledon, which was actually the property of the Archbishop of Canterbury until Thomas Cranmer gave it to Henry VIII in an exchange. At least Gregory didn't have Elizabeth playing at the royal tennis courts there.

OK, maybe complaining about Wimbledon is a little on the picky side. But Whitehall Palace, where Elizabeth also goes? It was known as York Place in the 15th century, and was a residence of the Archbishop of York until it fell into Henry VIII's hands with the downfall of Cardinal Wolsey. It certainly wasn't a Plantagenet palace.

One mention of Whitehall Palace might have been forgivable. But Elizabeth keeps going back there, again and again. I kept expecting Will Somers to show up and start whistling "Greensleeves."

Then there's the unfortunate Countess of Warwick. Following the Battle of Barnet, she went into sanctuary at Beaulieu Abbey, a monastery. Irritatingly, Gregory keeps calling this a nunnery. Monks, nuns, they're both celibate, so what's the difference?

I've grumbled elsewhere about Gregory's claim in an interview that Jacquetta Woodville was tried and found guilty of witchcraft (a claim Gregory repeats in her author's note), when in fact she was acquitted, so I won't bore on about that again. But why must Gregory present the Woodvilles as being Lancastrians in 1464, when they had made the shift to York following the Battle of Towton? Elizabeth's father was a member of Edward IV's council in 1463!

I could grouse at length about Elizabeth and Hastings being strangers to each other when Elizabeth meets Edward IV, when in fact Hastings and Elizabeth had business dealings with each other before that time, but you get the idea.

Now, all of this may sound overly picky. But if a writer's going to praise herself as a meticulous researcher, as Gregory has done, she needs to actually do meticulous research, and that means getting the little facts right as well as the big ones. Giving Tudor-era residences to Plantagenet queens, confusing monks with nuns, and claiming that people were convicted of serious crimes when they were acquitted of them simply doesn't cut it.

Quiz time: Who was Elizabeth Woodville descended from?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Parentage of Edward of Lancaster

No historical novel set during the Wars of the Roses is quite complete unless it contains a passage where the parentage of Henry VI and Margaret of Anjou's son, Edward of Lancaster, is called into question. Philippa Gregory's latest effort duly follows this rule by having Jacquetta Woodville tell her daughter that Henry was "struck deaf and dumb nearly for the whole year that the child was conceived and born" and that Margaret took a lover during this time. (In fact, Henry did not go mad until early August 1453, just a couple of months before his son was born on October 13, 1453.) Another recent novel set during the same period has a rustic propose William de la Pole, Duke of Suffolk, as one of several possible fathers for the child--quite a feat on the duke's part, considering that he was murdered in 1450 and Edward was born in 1453.

While there's no doubt that rumors circulated about the parentage of young Edward, especially in the late 1450's as Yorkist propaganda heated up, there is no evidence, other than gossip, that Edward of Lancaster was the son of anyone other than Henry VI. As both R.A. Griffiths and Helen Maurer have pointed out, the Parliament Rolls for 1455 indicate that Richard Tunstall, an esquire of the body, had previously received a handsome annuity for bringing the king the news of the queen's pregnancy:

Provided also that this petition and act of resumption shall not extend or be prejudicial to our letters patent and grant made by us to Richard Tunstall, knight, by the name of Richard Tunstall, esquire for our body, of 50 marks a year for term of his life, part of an annuity of £40 a year, granted by us for term of his life, to be taken from the issues, profits and revenues of our manors, lands and tenements, and from our other possessions within our county of Lancaster, by the hands of our receivers there at the time: because, among other things, the said Richard gave us the first comforting report and news that our most entirely beloved wife the queen was with child, to our most singular consolation, and a great joy and comfort to all our true liege people.

Maurer also notes that Henry bought a jewel called a "demy ceynt" for Margaret while she was pregnant and that Margaret received generous grants in July 1453, which she suggests were made by Henry as a reward for her pregnancy. It certainly seems unlikely that they would have been made had the king suspected that Margaret was carrying another man's child.

Once Henry recovered from his first episode of mental illness, his reaction to his son was one of pleasure. As the Paston Letters indicate:

Edmund Clere to John Paston.

January 9, 1455.

Right welbeloved cosyn,—I recomaund me to you, latyng you wite such tidings as we have.

Blessed be God, the King is wel amended, and hath ben syn Cristemesday, and on Seint Jones day comaunded his awmener to ride to Caunterbury with his offryng, and comaunded the secretarie to offre at Seint Edwards.

And on the Moneday after noon the Queen came to him, and brought my Lord Prynce with her. And then he askid what the Princes name was, and the Queen told him Edward; and then he hild up his hands and thankid God therof. And he seid he never knew til that tyme, nor wist not what was seid to him, nor wist not where he had be, whils he hath be seke til now. And he askid who was godfaders, and the Queen told him, and he was well apaid.

. . .

And my Lord of Wynchestr and my Lord of Seint Jones were with him on the morrow after Tweltheday, and he speke to hem as well as ever he did; and when thei come out thei wept for joye. And he seith he is in charitee with all the world, and so he wold all tho Lords were. And now he seith matyns of Our Lady and evesong, and herith his Masse devoutly . . .

But what of the old story, that crops up in many historical novels and even in some nonfiction, that Henry VI, unable to comprehend how he could have been the father of Margaret's child, declared that it must be the work of the Holy Spirit? This story comes from a dispatch on March 27, 1461, from Prospero di Camulio, Milanese Ambassador in France, to Francesco Sforza, Duke of Milan. Writing from Brussels about the latest English news, Camulio reported that it was being "said that the King of England had resigned his crown in favour of his son, although they say his Majesty remarked at another time, that he must be the son of the Holy Spirit, etc." What writers who latch onto this tasty morsel of a statement almost never quote is the rest of Camulio's sentence: "but these may only be the words of common fanatics, such as they have at present in that island." Certainly the timing of this gossip, current just a few weeks after Edward IV had taken the throne, should make us suspicious, as it did Camulio.

Those who maintain that Henry VI was not Edward's father often point to the eight-year delay between the couple's marriage in 1445 and the birth of Edward in 1453; they suggest that a desperate or simply wanton Margaret, having given up on Henry's capabilities, recruited another man to beget a child upon her. But the gap between marriage and pregnancy could be explained by other factors, such as subfertility, and is hardly indicative in itself that Margaret resorted to adultery to produce a child. Notably, Cecily of York, who seems to have married her husband no later than 1429 when she was 14 and he was 18, did not have her first child, Anne, until 1439. Despite this lengthy delay, no one has suggested that Anne was anyone other than the Duke of York's child. It seems only fair to give the Red Rose the same benefit of the doubt as the White Rose.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Isn't It Pretty?

Got the cover art for The Stolen Crown today:

It's from Monna Pomona by Dante Gabriel Rossetti.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Dumb Stuff I Am Looking Forward To This Week

Yesterday being a beautiful, sunny August day, I went to my library of choice. To my delight, a book I wasn't expecting to be there (it was supposed to be at another branch, which was closed) was on the shelf! I consider this to be a harbinger of the week to come, which promises to be full of all sorts of dumb stuff to look forward to, as follows:

Monday: CiCi's Pizza opens its local branch! I love CiCi's Pizza. It's tasty, and it's cheap. With the new branch, instead of having to drive 30 minutes to satisfy my pizza lust, I will have only a ten-minute drive. So for dinner Monday, I will be treating myself to a medium sausage. The Son and maybe the Husband will probably also have some. The Daughter does not appreciate CiCi's Pizza. (A demon seed?)

Tuesday: Philippa Gregory's The White Queen goes on sale! If what I've heard and read from various sources is true, this will not be a model of historical accuracy, but as a diehard Woodvillian, I'm looking forward to it nonetheless. For one thing, Elizabeth Woodville seems to be portrayed reasonably sympathetically, which is a plus, though I could do without what appears to be her ability to influence the weather.

Wednesday: "Top Chef" starts its new season. (For those who aren't familiar with it, this is a show where chefs compete for a prize, with one being eliminated from competition each week.) I hate to cook, and everyone on this show would probably be appalled by my fast-food tastes. I nonetheless thoroughly enjoy "Top Chef." Go figure.

Thursday: "Project Runway" starts its new season. (This is a show where fashion designers compete for a prize, with one being eliminated from competition each week.) I can't sew, but I do like to wear clothes, though the very stylish host, Tim Gunn, would probably have a coronary if he saw the bathrobe that I am wearing as I type this blog post.

Friday: Finishing up The White Queen while munching on my second CiCi's Pizza of the week. Or maybe my third. It's important to help the local economy, you know.

Saturday: Birthday dinner for my grown niece. I am expected to bring dinner for the kiddies. Guess what I'll be bringing?

Sunday: Probably a trip to the gym to work out all of that CiCi's Pizza.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Blog Award, Squidoo Lens, and a Question About Characters

First, the lovely Anne Whitfield has nominated me for the One Lovely Blog Award! Thanks, Anne! I'll soon be nominating some blogs myself (if I don't soon, give me a virtual conk on the head). This leads me naturally to:

Second, for a while I've had a Squidoo Lens on Reading Historical Fiction, which I've just got around to updating. My question is, do you know of any historical fiction blogs that I've missed? I'm not looking for blogs dedicated to a particular author, or author blogs where the author focuses mainly on his or her own writing, or writing-oriented blogs, or blogs that only occasionally discuss historical fiction, but blogs that review primarily historical fiction or post interviews with a variety of historical novelists. If you have one that I've left out, just let me know!

Third, Sharon Penman has been answering reader questions over at Library Thing, and she made a comment that intrigued me, "I don't feel comfortable reading how another writer has treated historical figures I think of as 'mine.'" Now, I know many other authors feel the same way as Penman, but I'm the polar opposite: I love seeing how other authors treat historical people I'm writing about or have written about. This is just sheer compulsiveness on my part: once I become interested in a historical figure, I want to read everything about him or her, and I haven't the strength of character to resist simply because he or she's a person I happen to be writing about.

Many novelists, of course, avoid reading other fictional treatments of their characters because they don't want to risk unconsciously plagiarizing someone else's work. That's the most compelling argument to me in favor of abstinence, though in my completed novels, this wasn't a great risk for me because my main characters figured into other novels only as supporting characters or as villains. With my novel in progress this is more of a concern, because my heroine is the heroine of other published novels. It's not a great concern, because the authors of the books in question differ from me greatly in style, and I will be taking a different slant on some events and giving prominent roles to certain supporting characters who play more background roles in the other novels I've seen.

I'm curious to hear others' thoughts on this, though: if you're a writer, do you avoid reading other fictional treatments of your characters? And if you're a reader, once you've read and liked a fictional portrayal of a historical character, do you prefer to keep that picture unsullied by other portrayals? Or are you a character junkie like me, who will keep on reading everything you can about that character?

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Elizabeth le Despenser, Daughter of Hugh and Eleanor

Elizabeth le Despenser (who appears a couple of times in Hugh and Bess) was the youngest surviving daughter born to Hugh le Despenser and Eleanor de Clare. Her birth date is unknown, but either she or her brother John might have been the child born to Eleanor in December 1325, as all of the other Despenser children can be accounted for before that date. It is also possible, in light of the fact that she was not forcibly veiled as a nun like the three middle Despenser daughters, that she was Hugh the younger’s posthumous child, though this is pure conjecture.

Nothing is heard out of Elizabeth until August 1338, when the prioress of Wix sent her to the care of her aunt, Eleanor’s younger sister Elizabeth de Burgh. Eleanor had died the previous year, and Elizabeth’s oldest brother, Hugh, had probably sent his young sister to board at Wix in Essex following their mother’s death. (The manor of Wix had been part of the inheritance of Elizabeth's grandfather, Hugh le Despenser the elder, though it was no longer in Despenser hands in the 1330's.) That same year, Elizabeth was married to young Maurice Berkeley, born in 1330. The marriage was probably an effort by Maurice’s father, Thomas Berkeley, and the Despenser family to mend old grudges: Thomas Berkeley had fought against the Despensers in the 1320’s and had been the keeper of the imprisoned Edward II at Berkeley Castle in 1327. Maurice’s mother, Margaret, was a daughter of the Roger Mortimer who had ordered the death of Elizabeth’s father and grandfather, Hugh the elder Despenser and Hugh the younger Despenser. Elizabeth never got to exchange pleasantries with Margaret about this, though, because Margaret died in 1337, before Elizabeth joined the Berkeley family.

Elizabeth’s brother Hugh gave his sister a marriage portion of 1,000 marks, 200 marks of which were payable each half year. Meanwhile, Thomas Berkeley settled the manor of Hurst in jointure on the young couple.

Elizabeth de Burgh sent little Elizabeth to Tewkesbury around 1340; Frances Underhill suggests that she was sent at this time to join the Berkeleys. Elizabeth again visited her aunt in the summer of 1348, in company with some of her relations. Meanwhile, according to Smyth, Maurice went to Granada in 1344 and stayed there two years; Smyth theorizes that he was sent there to prevent cohabitation with Elizabeth. (Was the girl such a siren?) When the couple finally did get together, though, it was with the usual effect: On January 5, 1353, Elizabeth gave birth to their first son, Thomas. The couple eventually had three more boys, James, John, and Maurice, and three girls, Catherine, Agnes, and Elizabeth. It’s notable that there is not a “Hugh” in the bunch; Maurice and his father must have been the ones picking the children’s names.

Maurice fought at Poitiers in 1356. Unfortunately, he was wounded there and taken captive; he was not released until 1360, when he was ransomed. His wounds had apparently left him an invalid, for he took little part in national affairs even after his father died in 1361. Because of his inability to travel, he was unable to attend his son’s wedding in 1368, but he had himself made a suit of cloth of gold for the occasion.

The abstracts of the Berkeley accounts contain few glimpses of Elizabeth’s married life. She received 20 shillings each quarter for expenses in her chamber, and she is recorded as having a new gown furred with coney skins from the kitchen “during the year of her husband’s sickness,” whatever year that might be. One suspects that Elizabeth’s father might have turned up his nose at the coney skins.

Maurice died at Berkeley Castle on June 8, 1368, aged only about 37, and was buried with his mother at St. Augustine’s in Bristol. As her dower, Elizabeth was granted Wenden in Essex, two-thirds of Portbury and Portishead and Uphill in Somersetshire, the small holding at Chicklade in Wiltshire, and the manors of Coaley, Upton and Awre, and the small holding at St. Chloe in Gloucestershire. Her jointure and dower was worth about £335 a year. She was at least 41 at the time, having been born no later than 1327.

By 1372, Elizabeth had married Sir Maurice Wyth, a knight in Somerset. In that year, the Earl of Pembroke wrote to the abbesses at Romsey and Wherwell requesting them to allow Elizabeth to stay in their houses while Wyth was away in the earl's service. As Elizabeth had no shortage of places to stay, perhaps she simply preferred the atmosphere of a nunnery to her own manors during her husband’s absence. In 1378, Maurice and Elizabeth dated a grant of land from Portbury.

Maurice Wyth made his will on July 11, 1383; it was proven on August 6, 1383. After requesting to be buried at St. Botolph without Aldersgate in London, he left Elizabeth “all my husbandry from the present date until the feast of Saint Michael to come, now growing in Portbury and Portishead with all necessaries pertaining to my chamber, wardrobe, hall and also to buttery and kitchen. To my said wife all my silver vessels of the better sort to the value of £40.” He ended his will with the request, “And it is my last wish that my said wife hold herself contented with all bequeathed to her.” Whether this was a boilerplate clause or whether he was genuinely worried that Elizabeth might covet the rest of his goods is anyone’s guess, but when Elizabeth herself died on July 13, 1389, aged at least sixty-two, she chose to be buried not with the Berkeleys, but at St. Botolph with her second husband.

(Wars of the Roses aficionados may be interested to know that Eleanor Talbot, claimed by Richard III to be the wife of Edward IV, is a descendant of Elizabeth and Maurice Berkeley. Now you know who to blame.)


The Complete Peerage.

Thomas Dudley Fosbroke, Abstracts and Extracts of Smyth’s Lives of the Berkeleys.

Roy Martin Haines, King Edward II.

National Archives, Berkeley Castle Muniments.

Eileen Power, Medieval English Nunneries.

Frances Underhill, For Her Good Estate: The Life of Elizabeth de Burgh.

F.W. Weaver, Somerset Medieval Wills.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Jacquetta Woodville and Witchcraft

As most people who have not been in a coma for the last few months know, Philippa Gregory is coming out with a new novel about Elizabeth Woodville, The White Queen. This morning, I noticed that the publisher has posted several videos to Youtube in which Gregory talks about her upcoming novel.

In this video, Gregory chats to an interviewer about witchcraft. About midway through, she states that Jacquetta Woodville was actually tried and found guilty of witchcraft, and would have been executed were it not for the intervention of someone (it appears to me that Gregory is saying "Margaret Bourchier," but I'm not sure). [Edit: As Trish has pointed out, Gregory claims that Margaret of Anjou" intervened.] At that point in the interview, only my enduring love for my flat-screen monitor prevented an encounter between said monitor and human fist.

Where in the world Gregory got this information from, I don't know, for the historical record indicates that Jacquetta was cleared of the charges against her. As for Margaret of Anjou intervening, she was in exile in France at the time! The document showing that Jacquetta was acquitted can be found on Google Books in the Calendar of Patent Rolls, 1467-77, pg. 190. Because I'm an obliging geek, I'll post the entry here (forgive the occasional typo; Google Books loses something in converting PDF to plain text for cut-and-pasting purposes):

Feb. 21. Exemplification, at the supplication of Jaquetta, duchess of Bedford, late the wife of Richard, earl of Rivers, of the tenour of an act in the great council, remaining in the office of the privy seal in the chamber of the great council called ' le Parlment chambre ' within the palace of Westminster, made on 10 February, 9 Edward IV. In the presence of the king and the cardinal archbishop of Canterbury, the archbishop of York, the bishops of Bath, chancellor, Ely, treasurer, Rochester, keeper of the privy seal, London, Durham and Carlisle, the earls of Warwick, Kssex, Northumberland, Shrewsbury and Kent, and the lords Hastinges, Mountjoye, Lyle, Cromwell, Scrope of Bollón, Saye and others a supplication addressed to the king on behalf of the said duchess and two schedules in paper annexed were openly read, and afterwards his highness by the advice of the said lords of the council accepting the declaration of the said lady commanded the same to be enacted of record and letters of exemplification to be made. The tenours of the supplication and schedules above mentioned ensue in this wise. The duchess complains that Thomas Wake, esquire, in the time of the late trouble caused her to be brought in a common noise and slander of witchcraft throughout a great part of the realm, insomuch as he caused to be brought to Warwick to divers of the lords present when the king was last there an image of lead made like a man of arms of the length of a man's finger broken in the middle and made fast with a wire, saying that it was made by her to use with witchcraft and sorcery, and for the performing of his malicious intent entreated one John Daunger, parish clerk of Stoke Brewerne, со. Northampton, to say that there weru two other images made by her, one for the king and one for the queen, whereunto the said John Daunger neither could nor would be entreated, and the king commanded the said Wake and John Daunger to attend upon the bishop of Carlisle, the earl of Northumberland, the lords Hastynges and Mountjoye and Master Roger Radcliff to be examined, and their examination is here annexed, and in the great council on 19 January last she was cleared of the said slander, wherefore she prays that the same may be enacted of record. Thomas Wake says that this image was shown and left in Stoke with an honest person who delivered it to the clerk of the church and so showed it to divers neighbours after to the parson in the church openly to men both oí Schytlanger and Stoîte and after it was shown in Scwriiley, a nunnery, and to many other persons, and of all this he heard or wist nothing till after it was sent him by Thomas Kymbell from the said clerk. John Daunger of Shctyllanger said that Thomas Wake sent to him one Thomas Kymbell, then his bailiff, and bad the said John send him the image of lead that he had and so he sent it, at which time he heard no witchcraft of the lady of Bedford, and that the image was delivered to him by one Harry Kyngeston of Stoke, who found it in his house after the departing of soldiers, and that the said Thomas Wake after he came from London from the king sent for him and said that he had excused himself and laid all the blame on John and bad him say that he durst not keep the image and for that cause sent it to Thomas and also bad him say that there were two other images, one for the king and one for the queen, but he refused to say so. English. [Rolls of Parliament, VI. ¡132.] By p.s. [3033.] 1470. Membranes 4 and 3.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Blog Tour and July Search Terms

Hugh and Bess is officially out today, so I'm going on another blog tour! Look at these sites for reviews, interviews, and a guest post:

Musings of a Bibliophile (7/28)

Passages to the Past (8/1)

My Friend Amy (8/1)

Reading Adventures (8/2)

Jennifer's Random Musings (8/2)

Peeking Between the Pages (8/3)

Historical (8/3)

Grace's Book Blog (8/4)

Historical Tapestry (8/5)

Mrs. Magoo Reads (8/5)

Historical Fiction (8/6)

Jenn's Bookshelf (8/6)

The Tome Traveller's Weblog (8/7)

Beatrice (8/8)

Book Addiction (8/9)

Steven Till (8/10)

Medieval Bookworm (8/11)

Carla Nayland (8/11)

The Literate Housewife Review (8/12)

Diary of an Eccentric (8/13)

Bookfoolery and Babble (8/14)

OK, we're done with the self-promotion! Now for what you've been waiting for--search terms!

what does a countess do

Countess stuff. maybe?

david starkey what do you think about jean plaidy?

Feel free to stop by, Dr. Starkey, and tell us!

is jean plaidy explicit

I'll let Dr. Starkey answer that one.

jean plaidy list of reissues

C'mon, Dr. Starkey, get cracking! Don't let us down.

george duke the ghost executed secretly

It's never a good idea to execute a ghost in public. Might get the wrong people upset.

relationship between edward ii and edward ii?

I'm no genealogist, but I'll hazard that it was a pretty close one.

well written steamy historical romance

"Give it to me!" she begged, trembling and tingling with lust. "Now! It is what I have always dreamed of."

"Woman," he whispered in the way that always turned her knees to jelly. "What have I told you? In our language, 'it' must have an antecedent, and you must never end a sentence with a preposition."

"Right," Margaret of Anjou moaned, her body arching madly. "Give yourself, your all, your everything to me. It is what I have always dreamed of, my darling King Henry."

Well, I tried.