I am welcoming to the show today, USA Today Bestselling author, Kristin Gleeson, author of the Rise of the Celtic Gods Series, The Highland Ballad Series, and The Renaissance Sojourner Series of historical novels.
Today’s episode is with Jean Gill, the historical fiction and historical fantasy author of the six-book series, The Troubadour series. This group of books is hailed as the Game of Thrones with actual history.
This is an interesting question for any writer, no matter what century he or she lives/lived in, and merits a post about Shakespeare’s thinking as he wrote his plays, as well as how modern day writing is influenced by religion, or if it is at all anymore!
This section of Craig’s Shakespeare follows: “After Elizabeth came to the throne there was a bitter reaction against the Catholics. Those Protestants who fled abroad to avoid persecution under Queen Mary brought back with them continental ideas of theology and a new and stiffer type of Protestantism. The Church of England assumed a middle position between this extreme Protestantism and Catholicism; this was the position of Burghley and of Queen Elizabeth (as I expound in my novel “Blood and Ink”). By the middle of her reign extreme Protestantism, commonly called Puritanism, was expressing itself either in Presbyterianism or Independency, and the time came when it offered a violent attack on the middle position held by the Church of England. Shakespeare hardly shows himself aware of this powerful and pregnant force. His allusions to the Puritans are few and indefinite, but they have been thought to be scornful. His position on religious matters was probably that of the Queen. He is equally noncommital as regards the Church of Rome, although he shows a sympathetic understanding of the institutions of the Catholic church in Hamlet, King John, and elsewhere.”
This is very interesting, as the whole “non-commital” stance that Craig points out. I do believe that as a playwright, one who had the ear of the Queen (and possibly an entirely different writer as “Blood and Ink” alludes), this goes hand in hand with my thoughts on his possible compromise to promote his works. Keep quiet so the higher powers will continue to patron his works.
I think it is interesting to what extent many artists, and writers, and so on, will go to in an attempt to promote their works. Some compromise their beliefs, their morals, and their own integrity to make money, to commercialize instead of maintaining their love for their own artistry. I am not saying this is what Shakespeare did, for as we are well aware, his works speak for themselves; but at what cost? We may never know, well, for sure we don’t have the present opportunity to speak with the man himself and ask him what he sacrificed in order to see his works come to fruition. He may have sacrificed his beliefs and stayed quiet in order to appease the Queen, he may have sacrificed his life in Stratford-upon-Avon with his wife and children to see his works upon the stage. Who knows?
But the idea makes us, as modern writers, sit back and peruse these thoughts in relation to our own writing. What are we willing to sacrifice to see our works in print? To see them become best sellers? Our time? Our beliefs? Our family? Our name?
For my part, I will gladly sacrifice the words on a page, my writing, if it meant losing any of those things; but that is just me…. what about you?
I am privileged to host today’s guest, Antoine Vanner, the historical fiction author of nine books in the “Dawlish Chronicles” – Antoine Vanner found himself flattered when nautical novelist Joan Druett described him as the “The Tom Clancy of historic naval fiction”, and I must say, I was quite humbled with this interview.
I am thrilled to welcome to the blog today, Anne O’Brien, the historical fiction author of the newly released “The Queen’s Rival”, as well a vast catalogue of books ranging in settings, from the War of the Roses all the way to the Regency era.
I had the privilege of reviewing Anne’s book, which is later on in this post. If you want to jump ahead, click HERE.
Sunday Times Bestselling author Anne O’Brien was born in West Yorkshire. After gaining a BA Honours degree in History at Manchester University and a Master’s in Education at Hull, she lived in East Yorkshire for many years as a teacher of history.
Today she has sold over 700,000 copies of her books medieval history novels in the UK and internationally. She lives with her husband in an eighteenth-century timber-framed cottage in the depths of the Welsh Marches in Herefordshire. The area provides endless inspiration for her novels which breathe life into the forgotten women of medieval history.
Publication Date: 15th April 2021(paperback) September 2020 (Hardback and ebook)
Page Length: 531 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
One family united by blood. Torn apart by war…
The Wars of the Roses storm through the country, and Cecily Neville, Duchess of York, plots to topple the weak-minded King Henry VI from the throne.
But when the Yorkists are defeated at the battle of Ludford Bridge, Cecily’s family flee and abandon her to face a marauding Lancastrian army on her own.
Stripped of her lands and imprisoned in Tonbridge Castle, the Duchess begins to spin a web of deceit. One that will eventually lead to treason, to the fall of King Henry VI, and to her eldest son being crowned King Edward IV.
I received a copy of The Queen’s Rival on Netgalley for an honest review.
First and foremost, I applaud Anne O’Brien for tackling this topic, that of the War of the Roses, from the unique viewpoint of Cecily Neville, the Duchess of York, and I give her even more credit for presenting this book in the format that she chose. I must say, I have never read a historical novel done in this way and I was astounded at the perfection in which we are offered an insight into the minds of so many involved in this history. To be honest, I wasn’t sure at first that I was going to like reading letter entries from one character to another, a story being told this way, but after the first few, I was hooked. I think this is a remarkable way to get into a character’s mind, after all, what can be more intimate than a letter from one person to another. And then, with the smattering of news reports from the England’s Chronicle to round out the storyline and the personal messages of recipes betwixt sisters (Cecily, Anne, and Katharine), well, I think this was genius. The story starts from the Duke of York’s rebellion against Henry VI, and his fleeing to Ireland, leaving his wife, Cecily, and their three youngest children at Ludlow Castle to face the forces of Lancaster. All told in letter form as she writes to her sisters, Anne, Duchess of Buckingham, and Katherine, Dowager Duchess of Norfolk, as well as other letters dispersed throughout between many other characters (Marguerite, Queen of England; Richard, Duke of York; etc.) From that development, we learn a great deal about Cecily’s mind set as she maneuvers her children, her sons, in an attempt to bring her husband’s wishes about in securing the throne of England under their rightful Yorkist claim. Through this intimate way of communication, you truly delve deep into hearts and minds, and feel the passion of Cecily, not only for the royal blood she possesses but her love for her husband and her children, as well as her passionate dislikes. I think the only thing that confused me a bit about the book is the title – “The Queen’s Rival” – Although I understood, I suppose, that Cecily was the rival of Queen Marguerite, and then eventually, in some respect, the rival as Queen Mother to her son’s wife after he became King; however, the title did not imbue, to me, what the story was truly about, that is, this brave and strong woman, Cecily, Duchess of York. Again, perhaps it was just my thoughts but that being said, the title did not at all distract from the brilliance of the story. I loved the depth and incredible research and the daring approach that Anne O’Brien took in retelling this tale in a very unique form. I highly recommend this book and give it five stars!!
CONTINUE FOLLOWING THE BLOG TOUR
Thank you, Anne, for stopping by The Hist Fic Chickie today and congratulations on your book, I truly enjoyed the read!!
For more info on the blog tour, you can stop by THE COFFEE POT BOOK CLUB to check out the next stop on the tour…. or you can click here: