Book News September 2019

the irish princess

four queens

Four Queens and a Countess: Mary Queen of Scots, Elizabeth I, Mary I, Lady Jane Grey and Bess of Hardwick: The Struggle for the Crown

Paperback – 15 September 2019 (UK) & 1 January 2020 (US)

When Mary Stuart was forced off the Scottish throne she fled to England, a move that made her cousin Queen Elizabeth very uneasy. Elizabeth had continued the religious changes made by her father and England was a Protestant country, yet ardent Catholics plotted to depose Elizabeth and put Mary Stuart on the English throne. So what was Queen Elizabeth going to do with a kingdomless queen likely to take hers?

catherine howard

Katherine Howard: Henry VIII’s Slandered Queen

Hardcover – 1 September 2019 (US) & 29 April 2019 (UK)

Over the years, Katherine Howard, Henry VIII’s fifth wife, has been slandered as a “juvenile delinquent,” “empty-headed wanton,” and “natural-born tart” who engaged in promiscuous liaisons prior to her marriage and committed adultery after her marriage to Henry VIII. This biography challenges these assumptions by drawing on seven years of research, demonstrating that Katherine’s reputation is unfairly deserved. It offers new insights into her activities as queen as well as the nature of her relationships with Manox, Dereham and Culpeper. Katherine was bright, charming and beautiful, but it was her tragedy that her premarital liaisons—in a climate of distrust and fear of female sexuality—led to her ruin in 1542. Conor Byrne challenges Katherine’s negative reputation and redeems her as Henry VIII’s slandered queen.

curtain down

Curtain Down at Her Majesty’s: The Death of Queen Victoria in the Words of Those Who Were There

Hardcover – 1 September 2019 (US) & 21 December 2018 (UK)

Her Majesty the Queen breathed her last at 6.30 p.m., surrounded by her children and grand-children. With this notice, pinned to the entrance gate of Osborne House, Queen Victoria’s doctors announced the death of the most powerful woman in the world, who had sat on her throne and ruled through more than six decades. Her rule had seen her kingdom spread to become the world’s biggest empire, had seen massive change in society and leaps forward in technology. It is little surprise that the death of one who had ruled for all of many people’s lives created chaos, shock and mass outpourings of grief across the country. Author and researcher Stewart Richards has delved through the archives to put together the definitive view of Victoria in her final days, through the immediate reaction and aftermath of her death, to the state funeral of February 2, 1901. Based entirely on fascinating first-hand accounts, Curtain Down at Her Majesty’s offers a truly unique insight into the events of that tumultuous few days.

Entertaining the Braganzas: When Queen Maria of Portugal visited William Stephens in 1788

Paperback – 30 May 2019 (UK) & 2 September 2019 (US)

Maria I of Portugal was a monarch with absolute power. William Stephens was the illegitimate son of a Cornish servant girl; he sailed for Lisbon at the age of fifteen to become one of the richest industrialists in Europe. The contrast between these two people could not have been greater – they were poles apart in every facet of their lives – yet they formed an unlikely friendship in the stifling formality of the Portuguese court. William, a man of genius, built up a thriving glass factory in a small village seventy miles north of Lisbon. Maria, the reigning queen of Portugal, spent three days here in the summer of 1788, sleeping for two nights in the house of an Englishman, a man who was not only low-born and illegitimate, but also a Protestant, a heretic in the eyes of the Portuguese. Entertaining the Braganzas is the story of this unique event in royal history, an intimate glimpse into the world of absolute monarchy, a snapshot of court life in the old Europe, just one year before the French Revolution began to change the face of the continent. It is also the story of two extraordinary people whose very different lives came together at a time of great upheaval in European history.

The Quest for Queen Mary

Paperback 13 June 2019 (UK) & 17 September 2019 (US)

When James Pope-Hennessy began his work on Queen Mary’s official biography, it opened the door to meetings with royalty, court members and retainers around Europe. The series of candid observations, secrets and indiscretions contained in his notes were to be kept private for 50 years. Now published in full for the first time and edited by the highly admired royal biographer Hugo Vickers, this is a riveting, often hilarious portrait of the eccentric aristocracy of a bygone age.

Giving much greater insight into Queen Mary than the official version, and including sharply observed encounters with, among others, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, the Duke of Gloucester, and a young Queen Elizabeth, The Quest for Queen Mary is set to be a classic of royal publishing.

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The Diaries of Queen Liliuokalani of Hawaii, 1885-1900

Hardcover – 30 May 2019 (UK) & 30 September 2019 (UK)

Queen Lili‘uokalani, born as Lydia Lili‘u Loloku Walania Wewehi Kamaka‘eha, was the last reigning monarch of the kingdom of Hawai‘i. She ascended the throne in January of 1891, upon the death of her brother, King David Kalākaua, and ruled until she was overthrown in 1893. Collectively, the personal diaries of Lili‘uokalani provide the modern reader with an invaluable record of the Queenʻs private life, thoughts, and deeds―as heir apparent under King Kalākaua; as queen of the Hawaiian Islands; at the time of her arrest and imprisonment following the counterrevolution of 1895; at the time of her abdication; during her efforts in Washington, DC, to delay the annexation of her beloved islands to the United States; and in her later years as a model of hope and perseverance to the people of Hawai‘i. The gaps in Lili‘u’s commentary on certain crucial political events are due to the turbulence of 1890s Hawaiian politics. The Lili‘uokalani diaries for 1887, 1888, 1889-short version, 1893, and 1894 are a part of the group of documents known as the “seized papers” that are now held by the Hawai‘i State Archives. These are among the records seized by order of Republic of Hawaii officials in 1895, after they had taken the Queen into custody with the intent of obtaining evidence that she had prior knowledge of the counterrevolution. The government eventually turned these documents over to the territorial archives in 1921, four years after the death of the Queen. Four of the diaries transcribed here were not seized and remained in the Queen’s possession; today these are in the Bishop Museum. The important 1889-long version diary is now in the private collection of a member of the Dominis family and its contents appear here in publication for the first time. David Forbesʻs introduction describes the history of the diaries and provides short biographies of people mentioned frequently throughout the diaries. His annotations enable the reader to understand the content and context of the diaries and include quotations and information drawn from the letters and papers of Lili‘uokalani and the royal family.


Neslishah: The Last Ottoman Princess

Paperback – 20 August 2019 (UK) & 3 September 2019 (US)

Twice a princess, twice exiled, Neslishah Sultan had an eventful life. When she was born in Istanbul in 1921, cannons were fired in the four corners of the Ottoman Empire, commemorative coins were issued in her name, and her birth was recorded in the official register of the palace. After all, she was an imperial princess and the granddaughter of Sultan Vahiddedin. But she was the last member of the imperial family to be accorded such honors: in 1922 Vahiddedin was deposed and exiled, replaced as caliph–but not as sultan–by his brother (and Neslishah’s other grandfather) Abd lmecid; in 1924 Abd lmecid was also removed from office, and the entire imperial family, including three-year-old Neslishah, was sent into exile. Sixteen years later on her marriage to Prince Abdel Moneim, the son of the last khedive of Egypt, she became a princess of the Egyptian royal family. And when in 1952 her husband was appointed regent for Egypt’s infant king, she took her place at the peak of Egyptian society as the country’s first lady, until the abolition of the monarchy the following year. Exile followed once more, this time from Egypt, after the royal couple faced charges of treason. Eventually Neslishah was allowed to return to the city of her birth, where she died at the age of 91 in 2012. Based on original documents and extensive personal interviews, this account of one woman’s extraordinary life is also the story of the end of two powerful dynasties thirty years apart.

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Royal Confinements

Hardcover – 28 September 2019 (US & UK)

In 1980 Sir John (Jack) Dewhurst, one of the leading obstetricians and gynaecologists of his generation, wrote an intriguing book which reviewed the pregnancies and childbirths of some of Britain’s Queens and Princesses. He gave his expert opinion on many controversial questions such as: Why Queen Anne, despite her many pregnancies, was unable to produce an heir; why Princess Charlotte tragically died during labour; how deeply did Queen Victoria resent her repeated confinements and analysed some historical myths surrounding royal births. This is a timely revision of this absorbing book which covers important historical aspects of the monarchy. Updated by the author of Bringing Them Up Royal, to include the modern day royals.

meghan sussex style

Meghan Duchess of Sussex: Queen of Style

Hardcover – 2 September 2019 (US) & 26 March 2019 (UK)

From striped blazers to crisp button-down shirts, off-the shoulder jackets to tailored tuxedos, slinky leather skirts to sophisticated ballgowns. . . Meghan, Duchess of Sussex is rapidly becoming fashion’s ruling queen of style. A bona-fide fashionista before she joined the House of Windsor, Meghan has become a global style icon, renowned for her contemporary, elegant and occasionally edgy aesthetic. Her sense of style and fashion has evolved from her days as a classic California girl and time as a ‘Deal or No Deal’ TV hostess through the years on legal drama ‘Suits’ and now as a Royal Duchess. As the beloved wife of Prince Harry, mum-to-be Meghan has the fashion world at her Manolo Blahnik-shod feet. What she wears, women around the world long to emulate in order to get a flavour of that unique ‘Markle-Style Sparkle’. HRH, The Duchess of Sussex is the most fashion-literate, style-savvy Royal there has ever been. . .

marie antoinette

Marie-Antoinette: The Making of a French Queen

Hardcover – 24 September 2019 (UK) & 29 October 2019 (US)

Who was the real Marie-Antoinette? She was mistrusted and reviled in her own time, and today she is portrayed as a lightweight incapable of understanding the events that engulfed her. In this new account, John Hardman redresses the balance and sheds fresh light on Marie-Antoinette’s story.

Hardman shows how Marie-Antoinette played a significant but misunderstood role in the crisis of the monarchy. Drawing on new sources, he describes how, from the outset, Marie-Antoinette refused to prioritize the aggressive foreign policy of her mother, Maria-Theresa, bravely took over the helm from Louis XVI after the collapse of his morale, and, when revolution broke out, listened to the Third Estate and worked closely with repentant radicals to give the constitutional monarchy a fighting chance. For the first time, Hardman demonstrates exactly what influence Marie-Antoinette had and when and how she exerted it.

women means

Women of Means: The Fascinating Biographies of Royals, Heiresses, Eccentrics and Other Poor Little Rich Girls

Paperback – 3 October 2019 (UK) & 15 September 2019 (US)

The Grass Isn’t Greener on the Other Side: Heiresses have always been viewed with eyes of envy. They were the ones for whom the cornucopia had been upended, showering them with unimaginable wealth and opportunity. However, through intimate historical biographies, Women of Means shows us that oftentimes the weaving sisters saved their most heart-wrenching tapestries for the destinies of wealthy women.

Happily Never After: From the author of Behind Every Great Man, we now have Women of Means, vignettes of the women who were slated from birth―or marriage―to great privilege, only to endure lives which were the stuff Russian tragic heroines are made of. They are the nonfictional Richard Corys―those not slated for happily ever after.

Women of Means is bound to be a non-fiction best seller, full of the best biographies of all time.

sister queens

The Sister Queens: Isabella & Catherine de Valois

Paperback – 16 September 2019 (UK)

wo sisters: born nine years apart to a mad French king during the turbulent years of the Hundred Years War, the bitter series of conflicts that set the House of Plantagenet against the House of Valois.

Catherine de Valois, the beautiful young bride of Henry V, conducted a passionate love affair with the young Owain Tudor, with whom she was to found the entire Tudor dynasty. Her sister Isabella was married aged seven to Richard II, subsequently fled England following his murder, only to find her country fatally divided. A gripping tale of love, exile and conflict in a time when even royal women had to fight for survival.

s m stirling

The Sky-Blue Wolves (Novel of the Change)

Paperback – 24 September 2019 (UK & US)

Two generations after the Change, Crown Princess Órlaith struggles to preserve the hard-won peace her father brought to Montival–the former western North America. But the Change opened many doors, and through them Powers strong and strange and terrible came, to walk once more among humankind.

With her fire-forged friend and ally, Japanese Empress Reiko, Órlaith must take up her sword to stop the spread of the mad malignancy behind the Yellow Raja, who has imprisoned her brother Prince John. And from the emerging superpower of Mongolia, the Sky-Blue Wolves of the High Steppe ride once more beneath the banner of Genghis Khan–the thunder of their hooves resounding across a world in turmoil.

the irish princess

The Irish Princess

Hardcover – 12 September 2019 (UK & US)

Forced into exile Aoife and her family find themselves at the mercy of Henry II. Aoife – aware of her beauty but not its power – intrigues and beguiles Henry in equal measure. For Aoife he agrees to help her father, an alliance that leads the MacMurchadas to the charistmatic Richard de Clare, a man dissatisfied with his lot and open to new horizons.

Diarmit promises Richard Aoife’s hand in marriage in return for his aid in Ireland, but Aoife has her own thoughts on the matter. She may be a prize, but she is not a pawn, and she will play the men at their own game. For herself, for her family, and for her country.

warrior queens

Warrior Queens: True Stories of Six Ancient Rebels Who Slayed History

Hardcover – 7 October 2019 (UK) & 10 September 2019 (US)

The true life stories of six little-known fierce ancient warrior queens are told with humor and vivid detail by an award-winning writer. For young readers seeking to be inspired by stories of strong women, this riveting book shines a light on six powerful ancient queens. Highlighting women warriors who ruled in ancient eras, like Hatshepsut in 1492 BCE Egypt, and Zenobia in 260 CE Palmyra, the stories span the globe to reveal the hidden histories of queens who challenged men and fought for the right to rule their queendoms. Award-winning author Vicky Alvear Shectar’s lively text and acclaimed illustrator Bill Mayer’s witty illustrations showcase these stories filled with history, power, and humor.

house grey

The House of Grey: The Story of the Medieval Dynasty

Hardcover – 15 September 2019 (UK) & 1 January 2020 (US)

The Grey family was one of medieval England’s most important dynasties. They were were on intimate terms with the monarchs and interwoven with royalty by marriage. They served the kings of England as sheriffs, barons and military leaders. In Henry IV’s reign the rivalry between Owain Glyndwr and Lord Grey of Rhuthun was behind the Welsh bid to throw off English dominance. His successor Edmund Grey played a decisive role at the Battle of Northampton when he changed allegiance from Lancaster to York. He was rewarded with the disputed lands and the earldom of Kent. By contrast his cousin, Sir John Grey, died at the second battle of St Albans, leaving a widow, Elizabeth née Woodville, and two young sons, Thomas and Richard. Astonishingly, the widowed Elizabeth caught the eye of Edward IV and was catapulted to the throne as his wife. This gave her sons an important role after Edward s death. The Greys were considered rapacious, even by the standards of the time and the competing power grabs of the Greys with Richard, Duke of Gloucester led to Richard Greys summary execution when Gloucester became king. His brother, Thomas, vowed revenge and joined Henry Tudor in exile.

When Thomas Grey’s niece, Elizabeth of York, became queen, the family returned to court, but Henry VII was wary enough of Thomas to imprison him for short time. Thomas married the greatest heiress in England, Cicely Bonville, their numerous children gained positions in the court of their cousin, Henry VIII, and his daughter, Mary. The 2nd Marquis was probably taught by Cardinal Wolsey but was a vigorous supporter of Henry VIII s divorce from Katharine of Aragon. But his son’s reckless involvement in Wyatt s rebellion ended in his own execution and that of his daughter, Lady Jane Grey, the ‘Nine Days Queen’. Weaving the lives of these men and women from a single family, often different allegiances, into a single narrative, provides a vivid picture of the English mediaeval and Tudor court, reflecting how the personal was always political as individual relationships and rivalries for land, power and money drove national events.

The Silken Rose

Paperback – 19 September 2019 (US) & 3 October 2019 (UK)

1236. Beautiful Ailenor of Provence, cultured and intelligent, is only thirteen when she marries Henry III. Aware of the desperate importance of providing heirs to secure the throne from those who would snatch it away, she is ruthless in her dealings with Henry’s barons.

As conflict escalates between them, Ailenor’s shrewd and clever Savoyard uncles come to support her but her growing political power is threatened when Henry’s half-siblings also arrive at court.

Henry and Ailenor become embroiled in an unpopular war to protect Gascony, last English territory on the continent, sparking conflict with warrior knight, Simon de Montfort, the King’s seneschal.

Ailenor, desperate to protect Gascony for her son, strives to treat with France and bring peace to Gascony.

Caught in a web of treachery and deceit, ‘she-wolf’ Ailenor’s courage is tested to the limit. Can she find the strength to control her destiny and protect her all that she holds dear?

Downton Abbey: The Official Film Companion

Hardcover – 13 September 2019 (UK & US)

Featuring a foreword by creator Julian Fellowes, spectacular photographs from the production, interviews with the cast and crew, and a look into the historical and geographical backdrop of the film, this official guide to the Downton Abbey film is made to be treasured and loved by fans across the globe.

With the film revolving around the visit of the King and Queen in 1927, it not only sees the return of all the main cast from the final television series, but also introduces some great British actors to the world of Downton, as we meet the royal family and their retinue.

Join Emma Marriott as she returns to Highclere, discovers the new sets at Shepperton and introduces other locations the length and breadth of England that are now part of the Downton story. Hers is a unique behind-the-scenes look at the making of the film, including detailed descriptions of how some of the most dramatic scenes came to life, and the talented team who made it all possible.

The book is lavishly illustrated with stunning shots from both behind and in front of the camera, original costume illustrations and historical photographs, as well as capturing some wonderful off-guard moments during filming.

A perfect companion to the cinema experience, Downton Abbey: The Official Film Companion continues the story of Downton, and will be treasured by Downton fans everywhere.

The Right to Rule and the Rights of Women: Queen Victoria and the Women’s Movement

Hardcover – 30 September 2019 (US) & 8 August 2019 (UK)

Queen Victoria is often cast as a foe of the women’s movement – the sovereign who famously declared women’s rights to be a ‘mad, wicked folly’. Yet these words weren’t circulated publicly until after the Queen’s death in 1901. Beginning with this insight, this book reveals Victoria as a ruler who captured the imaginations of nineteenth-century feminists. Women’s rights activists routinely used Victoria to assert their own claims to citizenship. So popular was their strategy that it even motivated anti-suffragists to launch their own campaign to distance Queen Victoria from feminist initiatives. In highlighting these exchanges, this book draws attention to the intricate and often overlooked connections between the histories of women, the monarchy, and the state. In the process, it sheds light on the development of constitutional monarchy, concepts of female leadership, and the powerful role that the Crown – and queens specifically – have played in modern British culture and politics.

About Moniek Bloks 2732 Articles
My name is Moniek and I am from the Netherlands. I began this website in 2013 because I wanted to share these women's amazing stories.

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