Thursday, March 11, 2010

Recommendation for Kelly

I asked audience members from the GWU Women's Literature discussion to tell me the kinds of books they like to read, and I promised to give them personalized book recommendations on my blog.

This one is for Kelly. She said she likes biographies/suspence/drama/Jodi Piccoult). I like Jodi Piccoult too, Kelly. I would recommend one of her books to you, but I bet you've already read a bunch of them. As soon as I saw what kind of books you like, I thought of a recommendation straight-away.

Philippa Gregory is one of my favorite authors who writes historical fiction. I think I've read all of her books. My favorites are the ones centered around the English monarchs--just because their real life stories are so sensational/dramatic. I'm specifically recommending The Virgin's Lover. It's about Queen Elizabeth's suspected long-time lover, Sir Robert Dudley. All of Gregory's books take historical info and fill in the blanks that history is missing.

The year is 1558, an especially dangerous time for England: no bishop will coronate Henry VIII's Protestant daughter, the treasury is bankrupt, the army is unpaid and demoralized. Meanwhile, the French are occupying Scotland and threatening to install Mary, Queen of Scots—on the throne. Ignoring the matrimonial advice of pragmatic Secretary of State William Cecil, the 25-year-old Elizabeth persists in stringing along Europe's most eligible bachelors, including King Philip of Spain and the Hapsburg archduke Ferdinand. It's no secret why: she's fallen for her "dark, saturnine" master of horse, Sir Robert Dudley, whose traitorous family history and marriage to the privately Catholic Amy make him an unsuitable consort. Gregory deftly depicts this love triangle as both larger than life and all too familiar; all three characters are sympathetic without being likable, particularly the arch-mistress Elizabeth, who pouts, throws tantrums, connives and betrays.

Kelly, feel free to have your friends contact me for book recommendations. You/they can contact me through my website

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