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Monday, February 28, 2011

Winner of Creation of Eve

Happy Monday night everyone. Hope you all made it through the day without too bad of a case of the Monday's!

Random.org helped me select to winner for the copy of The Creation of Eve by Lynn Cullen. And the winner is...

Linda B!

Congrats! I am sending an email for your information. If I don't hear back in 5 days I will select a new winner. Thank to everyone for entering!

Copyright © 2011 by The Maiden’s Court

Mailbox Monday #65

Mailbox Monday was created by Marcia at The Printed Page but is currently on a monthly tour. The month of February is hosted by the Library of Clean Reads. Stop by and check them out!

One book arrived in my mailbox this week from my lovely friend Ms. Lucy at Enchanted by Josephine! This was one of the prizes for participating in the French Historicals Ooh La La! challenge in 2010. I selected Duchess of Aquitaine by Margaret Ball. Here is the blurb:
"Beautiful and brilliant, Eleanor is the daughter of the duke of Aquitaine, whose glittering court is the twelfth-century birthplace of courtly love. For all of the duke’s boasts that Eleanor has the brains of a man and the soul of a warrior, everyone knows that a girl of fifteen cannot possibly hold the richest dukedom in France. Everyone, that is, except her dying father, who insists on leaving Eleanor his most valuable provinces---and making her prey to the first baron who rides in to kidnap her.

Eleanor, though, is not content to sit idly by and let herself become a victim, and devises a plan to marry the heir to the throne of France. While her alliance to Louis VII may be a dazzling one, her husband is a cautious man whose wit and courage do not always match Eleanor’s own, and she ultimately finds herself seeking an even greater match with Henry II of England. Sweeping from the courts of Paris to the perils of the Crusades, Duchess of Aquitaine gloriously illuminates the life of one of the most powerful, resourceful, and fascinating women in all of history."

Thanks Lucy!

What came in your mailbox this week?

Copyright © 2011 by The Maiden’s Court

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Suddenly Sunday - Just a Quick One

Good {Late}Afternoon Everyone

I just wanted to drop a quick reminder today that a new episode of the American Experience series will be airing tomorrow, February 28th at 9PM EST. This episode, Triangle Fire, tells the story of the 1911 fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in NYC and some of the developments that came out of it. I will have my review up on Tuesday but I thought it was very well done.

For further information about the episode visit the American Experience website.

Also, don't forget - today is the last day to enter the giveaway for a copy of the new paperback release of The Creation of Eve by Lynn Cullen. The winner will be announced tomorrow.

Suddenly Sunday is hosted by Svea at Confessions and Ramblings of a Muse in the Fog.

Copyright © 2011 by The Maiden’s Court

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Winner of The Tudor Secret

Good Morning!

I have the winner selected for the copy of The Tudor Secret and the beautiful Elizabeth I pendant. And Random.com says the winner is...

Allison Macias!

Congrats! I am sending an email for your information. If I don't hear back in 5 days I will select a new winner. Thank to everyone for entering!

Copyright © 2011 by The Maiden’s Court

Friday, February 25, 2011

Triangle Shirtwaist Fire: READ IT!

Major disasters, national events and stories of hardship are prime fodder for writers - and the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire is no exception. While there have been a couple non-fiction books and a plethora of magazine/journal articles that have been out for many years, most of the fiction has been written in the last decade, and mostly young adult. Here are some of the books you can read (or suggest to those young adults that you know) that focus primarily on the Triangle disaster. I have read the non-fiction by von Drehle and it was pretty good and I really want to read Threads and Flames.

Threads and Flames by Esther Friesner (YA)
Ashes of Roses by Mary Jane Auch (YA)
Triangle: A Novel by Katharine Weber
Uprising: Three Young Women Caught in the Fire That Changed America by Margaret Peterson Haddix (YA)
East Side Story by Bonnie Bader (YA)
Fragments from the Fire by Chris Llewellyn (poems)

Triangle: The Fire That Changed America by David von Drehle
The Triangle Fire by Leon Stein

Copyright © 2011 by The Maiden’s Court

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Triangle Shirtwaist Fire: LEARN IT!

The Triangle Shirtwaist Fire of March 25, 1911 was the worst industrial disaster in NYC prior to the World Trade Center disaster. 146 people died in this accident – mostly young immigrant women. Because of the lack of workplace safety standards (as well as a couple uncontrollable accidents) these women died – exit doors were locked, there was no sprinkler systems or hoses available, the fire department ladders were not tall enough, there was no warning system in place. These people burned to death, fell to their deaths from windows and down elevator shafts, or were trampled. As a direct result of this disaster many workplace reforms happened.

This year is the 100th anniversary of this disaster and there are many commemorative events taking place around the event date. If you are interested, here are some of the events and links to additional information:
"Fabric, Flames, and Fervor: Girls of the Triangle" – performance piece at the Shelby County Community Theatre (Kentucky). Runs Feb 24-Mar 5.
Join Adelphi University in Remembering the Triangle Factory Fire – There will be a reception, premiere of original music inspired by the victims, a preview screening of HBO’s Triangle: Remembering the Fire and a discussion panel. Adelphi University, NY. Runs Mar 3.
Lower East Side Tenement Museum Tour “Piecing it Together” – a 60 minute tour of Levine family garment shop. The month of March features the reactions of the Jewish community to the disaster (many of the people that died were Jewish). Tenement Museum, NYC. Mar 1-7.
“Triangle” – a play by actress Elaine Ocasio. Check website for performance dates. San Francisco, CA. Mar 5.
“Soliloquy for a Seamstress: The Triangle Factory Fire” – a three character drama portraying two girls who would perish in the fire, their immigrant mother, and a report/witness to the event and subsequent trial. Presented by Widener University, Chester PA. Mar 7.
Joyce Gold Walking Tours – Notorious Women of Washington Square and Triangle Shirtwaist Fire Centennial. Walking tour, NY. Mar 19.
“The Waistmaker’s Opera” – original musical theatre performance telling the story of the labor movement just prior to Triangle. Outdoor and indoor performances. NY. Mar 20.
Centennial Procession of 146 Shirtwaists and Sashes – A procession in honor of those who died featuring shirtwaists, historical photos, etc. NY, Mar 25.

There are many, many other events across the country besides those that I highlighted. To see a complete listing visit the events page at Remember the Triangle Fire.org. If you attend any of these, please come back and share your experiences with us! I would love to hear about it.

Besides all of these centennial events, every year since 2004 there is a public art commemoration on the sidewalks of NYC on March 25th. Volunteers draw with sidewalk chalk commemoratives to the victims of the fire. They travel to where these people lived and draw on the sidewalk to spread the word. Below you will find a slideshow of some of the drawings that have been done. Below the slide show is a Google Map showing all of the locations where these victims lived. A very cool idea! You can find out more about the project and other street projects at StreetPictures.org.

Chalk! Slide Show

Google Map of Where the Victims Lived

There is also a great website from Cornell University featuring many different resources about the Triangle Fire – a timeline, original text documents, models, photographs and more. I used this website a lot in the research I did for my school project (which I have embedded below if you wish to read additional information on the actual fire itself).

Copyright © 2011 by The Maiden’s Court

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Book Review: A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin

A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin
Book 2 of A Song of Ice and Fire series
Mass Market Paperback, 1,009 pages
Bantam Spectra
September 5, 2000
goodreads button

Genre: Technically Fantasy, I’m going to classify it as Historical Fantasy as it has strong medieval elements and has frequently been compared to the Wars of the Roses.

Source: My boyfriend’s personal collection
“Transporting readers into a forgotten land of revelry and revenge, wizardry and warfare, A Clash of Kings is a tale in which maidens cavort with madmen, brother plots against brother, and the dead rise to walk in the night. Here a princess masquerades as an orphan boy; a knight of the mind prepares a poison for a treacherous sorceress; and wild men descend from the Mountains of the Moon to ravage the countryside. Set against a backdrop of incest and fratricide, alchemy and murder, the price of glory may be measured in blood. And the spoils of victory may just go to the men and women possessed of the coldest steel and the coldest hearts. For when rulers clash, all of the land feels the tremors.”
Last year, my boyfriend, Nick, and I read the first book in A Song of Ice & Fire series, A Game of Thrones, together over the course of several months. We wrote a two part review of the first book – you can find my portion here and Nick’s portion here. We started this second book back in early summer of 2010, but then with moving and everything I think it was November before we finished it. Plus it’s over 1,000 pages, so finding time to read that much together takes a little work. I thought it was only fitting that Nick have a little bit of say in this review as well, so there will be asides throughout from him.

In this book series, every chapter has an alternating narrator. You see the world from their perspective and from their place in the world. All of the characters are spread over the vast world of Westeros and beyond so it is quite helpful to have narrators in the different areas so you can more easily keep track of what is happening (although I would recommend you keep some notes, because there is often many, many pages before you will come across that character again and you will likely have forgotten what is happening anyway). Most of the main narrators from book 1 are back again – with the notable except of Robb Stark (whose exploits we hear a lot about but don’t have the opportunity to hear from – which I missed). We also meet some newer narrators – some are people we haven’t heard from before, but others were merely characters prior to being elevated to narrator status.
Nick says: My personal favorite is not related to the nobility at all - Davos Seaworth. He is a daring rogue who saved the denizens of a castle from starvation by smuggling onions in to them under the cover of night. He is now lovingly referred to as the Onion Knight, and gives us a fresh perspective on the goings-on of the court.
The very most basic premise of this volume in the series can be summed up like this – everyone wants to be, and proclaims himself to be, king. Each faction has a representative and they are all doing battle with one another (Renley for House Baratheon, Stanis for House Baratheon (the true Baratheon heir), Robb for House Stark, and Joffrey for House Lannister). And then you have Daenerys of House Targaeyen who is in the Free Cities and believes she is the true heir to the Iron Throne.

Let’s take a look at those vying for the throne since they really are what this central premise of the book is about – hence A Clash of Kings.
  • Renley is the pretty boy, youngest brother of the three Baratheons. His brother Robert was the king of Westeros and his seat being now open has left the region in turmoil.
  • Stanis is the middle Baratheon brother – believing he is the true heir to the throne because he is Robert’s next oldest sibling. He doesn’t support the reign of his nephew Joffrey. He has been living on the island of Dragonstone and the people of the main country do not really know him well.
  • Joffrey is the son of Robert and his wife Cersei Lannister – he is also only 13 years old and mostly rules how his Lannister relations instruct him to.
  • Robb is the son of Eddard and Catelyn Stark. The Stark family are the Lords of the North and were very close with King Robert. He is leading those from the North as an alternative to the Lannister rule (the Starks and Lannisters have been perpetual enemies).
  • Daenerys is the daughter of King Aerys who held the throne of Westeros prior to him being killed and his throne usurped by the eventual King Robert. She believes that she has the right to rule because she is a true heir.
Nick says: Throughout all of these battles, a bright red comet blazes across the sky. It is very interesting to read how each hopeful ruler believes that the comet is a heavenly sign of THEIR right to the throne.
There are some awesome battle scenes throughout the book. It is also filled with the requisite back-stabbing, intrigue, the best laid plans going awry, and just when you think you have it all figure out – the game changes.

And they never let you forget…Winter is Coming…whatever that means – at this point we don’t really know. But it is certain foreshadowing for the books to come.
Nick says: I like to think it has to do with the evil lurking beyond The Wall to the North – an ancient force that is in the perfect position to strike while the rest of Westeros squabbles over titles and power.
A wonderfully written sequel that never has a dull moment. There is a lot of character development and we get to see some changes happen in some people, but I think there will be much more of that in book 3.

Besides the first book, A Game of Thrones, there are two others that have been currently released, book 3 –A Storm of Swords and book 4 – A Feast for Crows. The highly anticipated release of book 5 – A Dance with Dragons is still floating out there to be released at some point (although the date has been pushed back a million times). There is a television series being made from these books airing on HBO starting in April 2011. The first season looks to follow the first book very, very closely. You can follow the production on the following blog, Winter is Coming.

Here is an inside look at the upcoming show from HBO. Just watch this and I bet you will be sucked in. I will for sure be tuning in!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

TV Show Review: Tudors Season 3

The Tudors
Season 3
Rated: Mature Audiences

The third season of The Tudors moves through wives 3 and 4 (Jane Seymour and Anne of Cleves) of Henry VIII. The other primary focus of the season is the uprising against the reformation and the eventual downfall of Thomas Cromwell.

I thought that Annabelle Wallis was a very fitting Jane. She was the one that Henry would always call his “true wife”. She had the perfect mix of caution and a little risk. For those of you who haven’t yet seen Season 3, you might not know that Jane is portrayed by a different actress than she was in Season 2 (Anita Briem in S2), which I found unfortunate. It was a little shocking as I watched seasons 2 and 3 back to back – I hate when they change up who is a character. It is fine when they have to age the character but otherwise not ok in my book.

I was surprised by how much I liked Joss Stone as Anne of Cleves – I was a little hesitant when I heard she had been cast because she is a singer without much acting experience. She portrayed Anne very well as the newcomer to England. I was also a little disappointed that only one episode was used to chronicle his marriage to Anne of Cleves. I understand that it was a very short marriage, but they could have done more with it.

We also get a little taste of Katherine Howard in the last episode of the season. She seems exactly like I would have pictured. It was also refreshing to see more and more of Princess Mary – I very much like Sarah Bolger who portrays her. She has a fire and determination that was so like her mother.

This season was also two episodes less than the preceding 2 (and the subsequent season). With only 8 episodes more was compressed into fewer episodes. This season left me less excited about the season than the previous 2 seasons. For me, these were the least two exciting wives. Overall so far, this has been my least favorite of the 3 seasons I have seen. It was still pretty good, just not as phenomenal as Seasons 1 and 2.

Here is a trailer of this season (FYI: some nudity in the trailer)

Copyright © 2011 by The Maiden’s Court

Monday, February 21, 2011

Mailbox Monday #64

Mailbox Monday was created by Marcia at The Printed Page but it is now on a monthly tour. For the month of February it is being hosted by Library of Clean Reads.

This week my mailbox blessed me with two gifts. One I have had my eye on for awhile, the other is quite new to me.

From PaperBackSwap I received Hugh and Bess
by Susan Higginbotham. After reading and very much enjoying
Queen of Last Hopes I am very interested in checking out this book.

From Amazon Vine I selected Stalina by Emily Rubin. This book is a little different from what I normally read but there were a few things about it that pulled me in. First it is an immigrant story from Russia to the US. I haven't had the opportunity to read many immigrant stories but I find them very interesting. The main character settles in Connecticut (my home state) - there are not too many books set here, so that was an exciting prospect! This book is also loosely based on the true story of a woman the author knew. Here is the blurb:
After the fall of the Soviet Union, Stalina Folskaya’s homeland is little more than a bankrupt country of broken dreams. She flees St. Petersburg in search of a better life in America, leaving behind her elderly mother and the grief of the past. However, Stalina quickly realizes that her pursuit of happiness will be a hard road. A trained chemist in Russia, but disillusioned by her prospects in the US, she becomes a maid at The Liberty, a “short-stay” motel on the outskirts of Hartford. Able to envision beauty and profit even here, Stalina convinces her boss to let her transform the motel into a fantasy destination. Business skyrockets and puts the American dream within Stalina’s sights. A smart, fearless woman like Stalina can go far…if only she can reconcile the ghosts of her past. Obsessed with avenging her family while also longing for a new life, Stalina is a remarkable immigrant’s tale about a woman whose imagination—and force of personality—will let her stop at nothing.
What came in your mailbox this week?

Copyright © 2011 by The Maiden’s Court

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Suddenly Sunday - A Winner and A Request for Your Help

Happy Sunday everyone! I hope you are all enjoying your weekend and maybe have tomorrow of for President's Day. I know I do and am very happy about it. Yesterday I accomplished little - had to go do the taxes in the morning and then prep and go out to a banquet and some dancing in the evening - where unfortunately my dress ripped (but at least it was on the way home - right down a seam). But had a great time anyway.

This week there will be a couple reviews as well as a spotlight on the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire. The 100th anniversary is coming up next month and there are lots of celebrations and events and such that are going on. I also wanted to share some further reading on the subject and get you in the mindset for the new episode of American Experience that will be on the 28th of February.

Alright, so I'm sure you're all dying to know who the winner is of Madame Tussaud by Michelle Moran and the wonderful pair of Marie Antoinette earrings. Well, wait no longer! The winner is....


Congratulations! I hope you love the book and that the earrings look even better in person! I am sending out an email for your mailing info to pass on to the author. If I don't receive a response in 7 days I will select a different winner.

And now onto my request for some assistance. A couple weeks ago I premiered a new idea on the blog - Two Sides to Every Story. I have decided that I would like to keep this feature going - but I would like to solicit ideas from you guys. So I am looking for some suggestions for the subjects of the feature. It should be something that either has two sides to it (like York v. Lancaster for example) or something where their are differing opinions on a subject (such as Perkin Warbeck v. Richard, Duke of York). If you have any suggestions, just drop them in the form below - it will be easiest for me to collect the answers and access them. Thanks so much for your help in advance. Who knows, your idea could make it into the feature!

Copyright © 2011 by The Maiden’s Court

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Winner of Pale Rose of England...

Good Morning, Good Morning!

Today I have the pleasure of announcing the winner of a copy of Pale Rose of England by Sandra Worth. And that winner is...

Tired w/ Kids!!!

Congrats! You are going to love this book I am sure. I am sending out an email now for your mailing info to send to the publisher. If I don't hear from the winner within a week, I will select a new winner.

I want to thank all of you that entered! If you haven't checked out the other giveaways currently going on here, there is still the chance to win: a signed copy of The Tudor Secret by C. W. Gortner and the Elizabeth necklace (ends Feb 25); a signed copy of Madame Tussaud by Michelle Moran and an adorable pair of Marie Antoinette earrings (ends TODAY!!!); and the newest giveaway - a copy of the new paperback The Creation of Eve by Lynn Cullen (ends Feb 27).

There is also still a giveaway going on for Pale Rose of England over at Hist-Fic Chick. But you have to hurry because it ends TODAY!

Copyright © 2011 by The Maiden’s Court

Friday, February 18, 2011

New Release Feature & Giveaway

The Creation of Eve by Lynn Cullen was released to paperback on February 1, 2011. In honor of the release, I am re-featuring my earlier review of the book (previously posted in August 2010 and there is a giveaway of the book below.

The Creation of Eve by Lynn Cullen
Paperback, 480 pages
Berkley Trade Paperback
ISBN: 978-0425238707
February 1, 2011

“A lush and compelling tale of royal intrigue and artistic longing, set in the sixteenth–century Spanish court.

The Creation of Eve is based on the true but little-known story of Sofonisba Anguissola, the first renowned female portraitist of the Renaissance. After a scandal in Michelangelo’s workshop, Sofonisba flees Italy and joins the Spanish court of King Felipe II to be a lady-in-waiting to his young bride. Sofonisba befriends the queen, only to become embroiled in a love triangle involving the queen, the king, and the king’s illegitimate half brother, Don Juan. The Creation of Eve combines art, romance, and history from the golden age in Spain in a story that asks the question: Can you ever truly know another person’s heart?”

My Review:

When I heard about this book, months before it was to be released, I knew that I just had to read it. See, I had to do a senior project on Sofonisba Anguissola about a year ago and fell in love with her story. I just had to see if it turned out to be everything that I loved about her story.

One of the things that I loved about the style of this book was the way that each segment of the story started with an “item”. These items related to what was going to happen in the chapter and were related to social commentary, art tips, quotes from famous people, etc. These were always enlightening to me about the period and the people. I also really loved the relationship between Sofie and Queen Elizabeth. It was known that they were very close and I could believe that this was how their relationship was.

On the other side of things, I was a little disappointed with the lack of descriptions of her paintings or her even painting at all. She is most known for the fabulous paintings of the Spanish court members, and the only paintings that were described were at the very beginning of the story – before she ever went to the Spanish court! She spent most of her time talking about how she would “like” to paint or how she was “going to” teach the Queen how to draw – but it was much more talk than action. I was also a little disappointed in Sofie’s demeanor. Right from the start when she meets Tiberio, she longs for him, and wishes for him, and all she thinks about is him. I just found her to be too whiny (to be realistic or believable).

Without going into detail about the ending, I will say that it was action packed right up until the very end. It was very enjoyable and exciting – and to anyone who doesn’t know about her, they would probably very much like this ending. I on the other hand, having studied her and her work in depth, found it a little too farfetched and fictional to be believable at all.

I’m going to say that overall I was more disappointed with this book than I was excited. I think if more of her artwork was included and had went a little more into her life after the Spanish court (which was where all of her real romance and love of her life occurred) I would have enjoyed it SO much more. While I enjoyed the story, it just didn’t hit it out of the park for me – but I will say that it could partially because I have researched a lot about her life.

Take this opportunity to read the first chapter and get a taste as to whether this book is for you. Lynn has also written, I Am Rembrandt’s Daughter – a YA book about, who else?, Rembrandt’s daughter. You can visit Lynn’s website to find out more about her and her works.

3 out of 5 stars.


The giveaway is for one copy of the newly released paperback. Open to the USA only. The giveaway ends on February 27th and the winner will be announced the next day. Just fill out the form to enter.

Copyright © 2011 by The Maiden’s Court

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Movie Review: The Reagans

The Reagans
Sony Pictures Television
180 mins

I originally decided to watch this movie because I had recently read that the new mini-series about the Kennedy family was causing a frenzy in the media and subsequently found out that this movie had the same scenario happen when it was pulled from mainstream TV. It eventually found a home on Showtime. I decided that I wanted to see the movie for myself and see what all of the fuss was about.

The controversy surrounding this film was based primarily on the characterization of Ronald Reagan. Conservatives believed it was an unfair portrayal of the former President; CBS (who was going to air the film originally) claimed that they got a political film instead of a love story with political elements. People, including Regan’s surviving children, were up in arms about words that were being put in the president’s mouth.

This movie is not about the entire life of Ronald Reagan – it covers from just before he met Nancy to just as he is leaving the White House. We really learn very little about their backgrounds. I found that it really focuses on their relationship and how the political atmosphere affected their relationship. It is less of a story about his political decisions – although that is covered to some extent (how could it not?). The political part that most stood out to me was that they seemed to constantly be point out that he was a Democrat but they wanted him to be a Republican.

Now mind you, I was only just born during the very end of Reagan’s presidency and I really don’t know much about it at all, as it was only vaguely touched upon in school. There were points in the film that I was a little confused as to what was going on. They seemed to jump into events without giving too much (if any) preface – it was as if you should already be familiar with these things. I think that this was a weak point for this show because it puts a wall up for the younger generation (like me) that didn’t really live through this time. I also cannot comment on how accurate the portrayal of the president is because of my limited knowledge.

While I think the movie did a good job of showing the devotion to each other that these two people had, I think they may have missed their mark with the portrayal of Nancy Reagan (please correct me if I’m wrong!). I didn’t find her likeable, as a character, versus what I know of her as a person. They made her out to seem overreaching, controlling, and basically a little shrewish. She was made out to be all about her image. I just didn’t find this to be that believable. The film did touch on the idea that the President began suffering from early Alzheimer’s while he was in the White House. While I certainly don’t know if that is true or not, I think it was portrayed very believably. I think in the casting department they did a great job – the characters looked fantastic.

There was some great classic television clips included in the film: Nixon resigning, the JFK funeral, some Johnny Carson clips. I thought that those events were integrated very well into the show. There was also some incredible dramatization – and I mean that to be “very dramatized” not, “absolutely awesome”. Case in point – the assassination attempt on President Reagan.

While I wouldn’t say this was my favorite film of this type, this was certainly valuable to me. Even if the portrayal of the people was off, I learned something about the events that took place in the US history at that time. I would recommend this to others to watch, but with the caveat that you do some historical research to supplement it as well.

Copyright © 2011 by The Maiden’s Court

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Caught on Tape: Elizabeth I

In this episode of Caught on Tape we follow the Virgin Queen, Gloriana, Elizabeth I, take your pick of names. I haven’t read a lot of the historical novels on Elizabeth, as she isn’t one of my favorite historical people, and I haven’t seen any of these films either – although after putting together this list there are several I would love to see. I really think my historical movie quota is lacking – after looking at how many movies I have featured in this series of posts, and how many of them I have not seen. Here we will take a look at some of the early movies as well as some of the most recent – it is weird how I didn’t really find any between the 1950’s and 1990’s/2000’s.

The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939)

“Tempers flared between stars Bette Davis and Errol Flynn on the set of Michael Curtiz's lavish production about the tumultuous love affair of Elizabeth I (Davis) and the ambitious young Earl of Essex (Flynn). Elizabeth mistrusts Essex's intentions with good reason -- his desire for power is stronger than his love for England. Olivia de Havilland and Vincent Price costar.” (from Netflix)

The wonderful Bette Davis and Errol Flynn (post Robin Hood) take the lead in this very early historical romance. This was the earliest clip that I could find, although there appear to have been some silent films made about the life of Glorianna. The film is based on a play by Maxwell Anderson called Elizabeth the Queen. From what little I know about the reign of Elizabeth, this romance is not realistic. Flynn is absolute eye candy while Davis makes a striking Elizabeth (not necessarily a pretty one as we will see portrayed next). Davis would go on to play Elizabeth again in 1955 in The Virgin Queen. I found it interesting that the trailer says filmed in Technicolor, but the trailer was in black and white! I guess you would have been excited to see the film after the trailer because of the color. The film received 5 Academy Award nominations, including one for Best Color Cinematography.

Young Bess (1953)

“Chronicles the life of queen Elizabeth I, before she became the queen of England. Apart from taking part in the court intrigues, she has an unhappy love for Admiral Thomas Seymour, and dreams of building a navy to match the Portuguese and the Spanish.” (from IMDB)

This movie looks like your typical 1950’s costume romantic drama. This movie stars Jean Simmons as Young Bess, Charles Laughton reprises his role as Henry VIII, Stewart Granger as Thomas Seymour and Deborah Kerr as Catherine Parr. Simmons almost didn’t get this role because she was considered to be too pretty for the role of Elizabeth. Charles Laughton looks great as Henry. I love the scene around 1:40 between Elizabeth and Henry – I don’t think that would have ever happened. I also am pretty sure that this story of love between Thomas and Elizabeth did not happen either. The movie was nominated for two Academy Awards – for Art Design and Costume. Jean makes a beautiful Elizabeth and she starred in several other historically based films (such as Desiree).

Elizabeth (1998)

Shekhar Kapur's Oscar-winning treatise on absolute power and its human toll sees fledgling queen Elizabeth I (Cate Blanchett) sacrificing happiness with her lover (Joseph Fiennes) for her own safety and placing her trust in her stealthy "spymaster," Sir Francis Walsingham (Geoffrey Rush). The so-called "Virgin Queen" took the throne of a Roman Catholic country, declared the nation Protestant and ruled for 45 years -- but at great personal cost.” (from Netflix)

Cate Blanchett plays another pretty (but more realistic) version of Elizabeth. This movie also has a great cast – co starring Joseph Fiennes as Robert Dudley (the first movie we have seen the character appear in thus far) and Geoffrey Rush as Francis Walsingham. This is a Hollywood version of Elizabeth’s life, you can find a whole long list of historical inaccuracies online. None-the-less, this movie has won a slew of awards.

Elizabeth I: Red Rose of the House of Tudor (2000)

“Adapted from the beloved Scholastic Book Series, Dear America, The Royal Diaries focuses on the diaries of three real princesses in three separate adventures. Each story is an accurate depiction about what life would have been like in the era covered by each story and as seen through the eyes of teenage girls. The Royal Diaries mixes the magic of storytelling with historical events, bringing these unique girls to life. Let these teen princesses surround you with the adventures, struggles and responsibilities of being part of a royal family while still being true to themselves.

Includes 3 Stories:
Elizabeth I: Red Rose of the House of Tudor
Isabel: Jewel of Castilla
Cleopatra VII: Daughter of the Nile”
(from Amazon)

This is one part of a three part TV series based on three of the Royal Diaries YA books. One segment is on Elizabeth and the other two that are also on the DVD are Cleopatra and Isabella of Castille. These episodes originally aired on HBO. It is presented in diary format like the book and told from the pre-teen/teenaged perspective. The scene with King Henry trying to mount his house is hilarious. Tamara Hope is the young Elizabeth. This is not the most indepth of movies, but this would be appealing to a YA audience, paired with the books of course!

Elizabeth I Mini-series (2005)

Helen Mirren earned a pair of Emmy and Golden Globe awards for her impassioned portrayal of Queen Elizabeth I in this HBO miniseries that explores the effect of the monarch's public role on her private life. Unable to wed the man she loves (Jeremy Irons, in an Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning role), Elizabeth flirts with the idea of marrying a French prince and later sets her sights on the earl's stepson.” (from Netflix)

This miniseries featured on HBO focuses on the last 25 years of Elizabeth’s reign. There are two, two-hour segments. The first part focuses primarily on her relationship with Robert Dudley while the second part focuses on the problems during the end of her reign, including the issue of Mary, Queen of Scots. The fabulous Helen Mirren plays Elizabeth in a role that earned her much acclaim. Jeremy Irons (as Robert Dudley) and Hugh Dancy (as her later man of interest, the Earl of Essex) are the male co-stars here. This mini-series comes to me highly recommended.

Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007)

“Cate Blanchett earned another nod from the Academy as the Virgin Queen -- reprising her Oscar-nominated role from 1998's Elizabeth -- in this lushly costumed but historically muddy sequel from director Shekhar Kapur. Focusing on the queen's tempestuous relationship with the adventurer Sir Walter Raleigh (Clive Owen), the film also stars Geoffrey Rush as the queen's adviser, Sir Francis Walsingham, and Samantha Morton as Mary, Queen of Scots.” (from Netflix)

Cate Blachette reprises her role as Elizabeth in her second film on the Queen – this time focusing on the later aspects on her reign. It seems the focus of late is on her later life while in earlier decades it was on the romances of her early life. Geoffrey Rush also reprises his role as Francis Walsingham, while Clive Owen takes over the hunk factor from Joseph Fiennes as Sir Walter Raleigh. As with the first, this movie is full of creative license when it comes to historical fact; an issue that Cate Blanchett addressed in an interview, “It's terrifying that we are growing up with this very illiterate bunch of children, who are somehow being taught that film is fact, when in fact it's invention. Hopefully, though, a historical film will inspire people to go and read about the history. But in the end it is a work of history and selection". This movie receive less stellar reviews that the 1998 outing.

What films have you seen where Elizabeth I is present? If you have seen any of the above, what did you think?

Copyright © 2011 by The Maiden’s Court

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Audiobook Review: The Fifth of March by Ann Rinaldi

The Fifth of March: A Story of the Boston Massacre by Ann Rinaldi
Great Episodes Series
Unabridged, 7 hr. 30 min.
Audio Bookshelf
Melissa Hughes (narrator)
April 28, 2004
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Genre: Historical Fiction

Source: Downloaded the audio from my library
“Rachel Marsh, an indentured servant in the household of John Adams, believes she is well treated, and greatly admires Abigail and John Adams. Although not political herself, she worries about friends who support rebellion and have told her that a time will come when she will have to take a stand. It is only when she meets Matthew Kilroy, a young, argumentative British soldier who has been sent to Boston as part of a peacekeeping force, that Rachel begins to question British domination of the colonies and to see herself as an American.”
Growing up my favorite author was hands down Ann Rinaldi. I owned probably about a dozen or so of them and I would frequently borrow those that I didn’t own from the school library. After about age 15 I got distracted by other books and really forgot all about this author until a few weeks ago. I was exploring the author’s website for a feature I was doing on YA Historical Fiction and realized that she has still been releasing books, almost every year, and still is. This made me want to take some time to get back to reading those books I loved – this time on audio book.

The Fifth of March is a story of the events in Boston that lead up to the Boston Massacre, the event itself, the trial of those British soldiers, and some of the outcomes of this conflagration. But it is also the story of Rachel dealing with figuring out who she is – does she still see herself as a British American or just a plain American (to use her own words)? It is a really interesting question – when do you start to see yourself as something different? You get to see Rachel really starting to open her eyes to what is happening around her and see how it affects her. I also really loved the sweet, little romance that developed. You really were able to see how this put added stress on a young girl too.

The author does an awesome job at giving the reader a visual layout of Boston. She also has a great ability to convey the drama, hysteria, tension, panic and drive to choose sides that enveloped Boston during that time.

Although this book is written for a primarily high school audience, I enjoyed it immensely. The historical facts and events were not brought down a level and would still be very enjoyable for an adult reader. This is a coming of age story with a teenage narrator – but also consider, people had to grow up a lot faster back then and were encountering situations that many teens wouldn’t be today.


I have to say that I didn’t love this narrator. The way she read for the main character of Rachel made the character seem dumb. Having read this in paperback several years ago I had never gotten that impression – a little naïve, yes, but not the way this narrator made me feel about the character. The narrator did do a good job at evoking the feelings of the story and the world the characters were living in – the fear and panic. I think it would have been a more enjoyable listening experience with a different narrator.

You can check out a preview of the book from Google Preview to get a taste of the writing style – even with some pages omitted.  You can listen to a sample of the book as well (links to Audible).
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Reviews of this book by other bloggers:

Buy the Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | RJ Julia 

Also by Ann Rinaldi
Author Ann Rinaldi has written dozens of YA historical fiction books. You can check out my post Books by Ann Rinaldi for a detailed listing of many of her books.

a break with charity
A Break with Charity
[My Review]

Find Ann Rinaldi: Website 

Copyright © 2011 by The Maiden’s Court

Available Today...

Madame Tussaud: A Novel of the French Revolution
Hardcover, 464 pages
Crown Publishing
ISBN: 0307588653
February 15, 2011

"The world knows Madame Tussaud as a wax artist extraordinaire…but who was this woman and how did she become one of the most famous sculptresses of all time? In these pages, her tumultuous story comes to life as only Michelle Moran could tell it. The year is 1788, and a revolution is about to begin…

Marie Tussaud has learned the secrets of wax sculpting by working alongside her uncle in their celebrated wax museum, the Salon de Cire. From her popular model of the American Ambassador, Thomas Jefferson, to her tableau of the royal family at dinner, Marie’s museum provides Parisians with the very latest news on fashion, gossip, even politics. Her customers hail from every walk of life, and when word arrives that the royals themselves are coming to see their likenesses, Marie never dreams that the king’s sister will request her presence at Versailles as a royal tutor in wax sculpting. Yet when a letter with a gold seal is delivered to her home, Marie knows she cannot refuse—even if it means time away from her beloved Salon and her increasingly dear friend, Henri Charles.

As Marie becomes acquainted with her pupil, Princess Élisabeth, she is taken to meet both Marie Antoinette and King Louis XVI, who introduce her to the glamorous life at court. From lavish parties with more delicacies than she’s ever seen, to rooms filled with candles lit only once before being discarded, Marie steps into to a world entirely different from her home on the Boulevard du Temple, where people are selling their teeth in order to put food on the table.

Meanwhile, many resent the vast separation between rich and poor. In salons and cafés across Paris, people like Camille Desmoulins, Jean-Paul Marat, and Maximilien Robespierre are lashing out against the monarchy. Soon, there’s whispered talk of revolution…Will Marie be able to hold on to both the love of her life and her friendship with the royal family as France approaches civil war? And more importantly, will she be able to fulfill the demands of powerful revolutionaries who ask that she make the death masks of beheaded aristocrats, some of whom she knows?

Spanning five years from the budding revolution to the Reign of Terror, Madame Tussaud brings us into the world of an incredible heroine whose talent for wax modeling saved her life and preserved the faces of a vanished kingdom."

Don't forget to enter the giveaway for a signed copy of the book and amazing Marie Antoinette earrings. Ends February 19th.

Copyright © 2011 by The Maiden’s Court

Monday, February 14, 2011

Mailbox Monday #63

Mailbox Monday was created by Marcia at The Printed Page but it has since went on tour. For the month of February it is being hosted by Library of Clean Reads.

I received two books this week that I have been wanting to get my hands on for awhile. Both were received for review. The Christy English title will be featured in the next HFBRT event.

Royal Pains: A Rogues Gallery of Brats, Brutes, and Bad Seeds by Leslie Carroll

"The bad seeds on the family trees of the most powerful royal houses of Europe often became the most rotten of apples: über-violent autocrats Vlad the Impaler and Ivan the Terrible literally reigned in blood. Lettice Knollys strove to mimic the appearance of her cousin Elizabeth I and even stole her man. And Pauline Bonaparte scandalized her brother Napoleon by having a golden goblet fashioned in the shape of her breast.

Chock-full of shocking scenes, titillating tales, and wildly wicked nobles, Royal Pains is a rollicking compendium of the most infamous, capricious, and insatiable bluebloods of Europe."

To Be Queen: A Novel of the Early Life of Eleanor of Aquitaine by Christy English

"Her father murdered, a young girl sits trapped behind the walls of a fortress. At the mercy of men who would lay claim to her body to conquer her lands, she waits for her betrothed, the King of France , to set her free. But this fifteen year old girl does not need rescuing; she is stronger than any man she will ever meet.

She is Eleanor of Aquitaine."

What wonderful surprises were in your mailbox?

Copyright © 2011 by The Maiden’s Court

Friday, February 11, 2011

Giveaway - The Tudor Secret & Elizabeth I Pendant

Happy Friday everyone - what would be a better way to kick off the weekend than with an awesome giveaway?! This one is courtesy of the wonderful author, C.W. Gortner and his newest release, The Tudor Secret.

Up for grabs...prepare yourself...a SIGNED copy of The Tudor Secret and an awesome Elizabeth I pendant! How cool is that?!
All you have to do is fill out the form below or by clicking on the link. The giveaway is open to those in the USA and Canada and the winner will be announced on February 26th! Best of Luck!

Copyright © 2011 by The Maiden’s Court

Book Review: The Tudor Secret by C. W. Gortner

The Tudor Secret by C. W. Gortner
Book 1 of The Spymaster Chronicles
Previously published as The Secret Lion
Paperback, 336 pages
St. Martin's Griffin
February 1, 2011
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Genre: Historical Fiction, Thriller

Source: Received from publisher for review
Summer, 1553: Brendan Prescott, an orphan reared in the household of the powerful Dudley family, is brought to court, where he finds himself sent on an illicit mission to King Edward VI’s brilliant, enigmatic sister, Princess Elizabeth.

But soon Brendan is compelled to work as a double agent by Elizabeth’s protector, William Cecil—who promises in exchange to help him unravel the secret of his own mysterious past.

A dark plot swirls around Elizabeth's quest to unravel the truth about the ominous disappearance of her seriously ill brother, King Edward VI. With only a bold stable boy and audacious lady-in-waiting at his side, Brendan plunges into a ruthless gambit of half-truths, lies, and murder.

Filled with the intrigue and pageantry of Tudor England, The Tudor Secret brings this world to life from a new perspective, telling the story of a spy who becomes the protector of England's future queen.

I know it is early in the year to say this and have it carry much weight but…Best…Book…of 2011! I am calling it now. I have never been a fan of the Princess/Queen Elizabeth I but anything that C. W. Gortner writes I will read. This book was amazingly well written – I am so pleased that he was allowed the opportunity to re-release this book (previously self-published under the title The Secret Lion) and thus allow a wider audience to enjoy it. Gortner seamlessly weaves Tudor lore with a mastery of suspense – even with all of the twists and turns you don’t lose anything in this novel.

This novel was a breath of fresh air for me in regards to Elizabeth. She is an important character, certainly, but the central focus of the book is Squire Brendan Prescott. We see him quickly develop from a slightly naïve squire to a dashingly handsome spy. It was so refreshing to have a male central character when the genre is typically filled with the other. We get to know all of the characters a little bit, but I felt the Dudley’s were a little underdeveloped for me. But, with this being the first in a series of books, I expect that there will be a lot more character growth throughout, so this doesn’t bother me too much. It was interesting that the majority of the characters were either fictional or lesser written about which added a new spin to the story being told.

The premise of this story is set mostly in the fictional setting with historical characters and real events weaving in and out. It is amazing to me how well the author was able to blend the historical with the fictional and nothing seemed out of place. Very quickly you are swept up in the intrigue and mystery of what is happening at court. Seeing everything from the viewpoint of Prescott keeps you in the dark more often than not, but that is one of the things that keeps you hanging on to every word. This novel is very fast paced and before you know it you will be closing the cover and be unable to let out your breath. There are some crazy revelations in this novel and it was an absolute joy to read. I cannot wait for book 2!

I have to share with you this one quote that seemed to speak directly to why many of us read:

“But for me, learning became a passion. In those musty tomes I found a limitless world, where I could be whomever I wanted” (Gortner 8).

If you would like to preview the story before reading it, why not try out this excerpt of the book or watch the below book trailer?

Reviews of this book by other bloggers

Buy the Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | RJ Julia 

Also by C.W. Gortner

tudor conspiracy
The Tudor Conspiracy (Book 2)
[My Review]

tudor vendetta
The Tudor Vendetta
(Book 3)
[My Review]

confessions of catherine de medici
The Confessions of Catherine de Medici
[My Review]

queens vow
The Queen’s Vow
[My Review]

mademoiselle chanel
Mademoiselle Chanel
[My Review]

the vatican princess
The Vatican Princess
[My Review]

the last queen
The Last Queen


Find C.W. Gortner: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Copyright © 2011 by The Maiden’s Court