Friday, November 6, 2009

Read-alike Guides - The Other Boleyn Girl

If you liked The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory, you might enjoy one of these books:

The Autobiography of Henry VIII: With Notes by His Fool, Will Somers by Margaret George
Will Somers, Henry VIII’s court jester, reveals the king’s journal 10 years after Henry’s death. George is a veteran writer of historical fiction biographies, and her 15 years of research for this engaging novel result in vivid period detail, lifelike characterization, and a Tudor England that leaps off the page.

The Firemaster’s Mistress by Christie Dickason
Francis, a fireworks artist, and Kate, an impoverished glove maker, are thrown together amid conspiracies involving Catholic persecution and Guy Fawkes's plot to blow up Parliament. Dickason deftly blends together a richly detailed historical setting, superbly nuanced characters, and a captivating plot rife with deception, danger, and a dash of romance.

I, Elizabeth by Rosalind Miles
The queen writes a diary in which she records court intrigues and the burdens of political power. Focusing more on Elizabeth’s emotional rather than intellectual life, Miles follows her from frightened girl to mature queen—scholarly, vain, shrewd, deeply attuned to such things as the language of dress, capable of great passion, but learning never to let her passions rule.

The Innocent by Posie Graeme-Evans
Anne is a young peasant girl in medieval Britain whose ability to heal others with herbs brings her to the attention of young King Edward IV. There are unexpected results when she becomes a member of his household. This racy tale comes alive with its colorful and often sumptuous descriptions and intriguing plot.

Innocent Traitor by Alison Weir
This complex, absorbing, and psychologically astute novel follows Jane Grey, great-niece of Henry VIII. After the death of Edward VI, Jane becomes a political pawn of the Protestants opposed to Mary’s succession. Jane rules for nine days before reaching the executioner’s block. Weir’s use of alternating viewpoints makes for effective storytelling.

The King’s Grace by Anne Easter Smith
In this highly speculative novel, Edward IV’s illegitimate daughter Grace Plantagenet investigates a young man's claim that he is one of the princes who presumably died in the Tower and who now wants Henry VII's throne. Smith paints 15th-century political intrigue with thought, courage, and honesty through the eyes of a minor historical figure.

The Shadow of the Pomegranate by Jean Plaidy
Katharine of Aragon's marriage to her beloved King Henry VIII is threatened by powerful people at court who spin webs of intrigue regarding whether she can bear a son. Plaidy wrote popular biographical fiction about the British monarchs in the mid-20th century, and she remains one of the best-loved in the genre.

To Dance with Kings by Rosalind Laker
The descendants of a fan maker from a village near Versailles are hired by the courts of Louis XIV, XV, and XVI, and the family's fortunes slowly rise through the French Revolution. Versailles comes alive in this novel of fast-moving drama and romance, which will especially appeal to fans of Gregory’s books with commoners narrating the lives of royalty.

The Wild Irish by Robin Maxwell
Having fought against the English for their oppression of her country, Irish pirate and gunrunner Grace O'Malley goes head-to-head with Queen Elizabeth I when her son is captured, a confrontation that brings her to England and risks her life. Maxwell skillfully interweaves the stories of two very complex, passionate, and remarkable women in this superb tale set during the Irish rebellion.

The Winter Mantle by Elizabeth Chadwick
In the wake of William the Conqueror's triumph at Normandy, one of his noblemen falls in love with William's niece. The situation forces the couple to choose between love and loyalty—a decision that has profound consequences. History, romance, and suspense are knit together in a heartrending tale of love and loss on an appropriately grand scale.

Also by Philippa Gregory:

The White Queen
The Plantagenets are at war, and Elizabeth Woodville catches the eye of the newly crowned boy king and marries him in secret. Their two sons become central figures in a mystery that has confounded historians for centuries, disappearing from the Tower of London. This novel is typical Gregory, with added intimate relationships, political maneuvering, battlefield conflicts, and even some supernatural elements.

Earthly Joys
John Tradescant is the gardener of Sir Robert Cecil, Queen Elizabeth's secretary of state who later plays kingmaker for James Stuart. John finds himself drawn deeper into the political and religious quagmire of the early 17th century. The tumult and chaos of pre-Restoration England is juxtaposed artfully against the order and symmetry of Tradescant’s famous gardens.

In the first of an 18th century family saga trilogy, Beatrice does not stop at murder, maiming, persecution of the innocent, or incest in her quest to secure for herself and children the beloved estate of Wideacre, slated to be delivered into the unworthy hands of male heirs only. Gregory’s first—and perhaps raciest—novel features her trademark confessional style.

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