Review: Tudor Christmas Tidings – three historical Tudor tales
I'm delighted to get you into the spirit of Christmas. It may be a little early, but it's never too early to read fabulous Christmas-themed novels, especially when the temperatures plummet outside.
My thanks to Rachel at Rachel's Random Resources for an advance copy.
Tudor Christmas Tidings, a collection of three historical stories by bestselling romance authors, Blythe Gifford, Jenni Fletcher and Amanda McCabe, is a wonderful tapestry of life at different stages of the Tudor years. It portrayed very well the intrigues and dangers of the times.
Blythe Gifford's tale, Christmas at Court, begins on Christmas Eve in the year 1483 – the first under the new king, Richard III. Elizabeth Woodville, King Edward IV's widow, tells Alice that she is to be betrothed on Christmas Day – to John Talbot, the son of the Earl of Stanson. A family from the north. King Richard's country. Disappointed but acquiescing, Alice is unsure if she can trust the man she's supposed to wed. What side was his family on?
When they part after the Christmas celebrations, Alice remains in John's mind. As a secret supporter of Henry Tudor, he knows he's treading on thin ice. And he doesn't want Alice dragged down with him.
Christmas at Court is a cat and mouse game set on each Christmas season over three years, against the backdrop of King Richard's reign. And whilst I, as a Ricardian, personally disagree with the characters’ views and plots, I found their portrayal realistic, and the danger they and their families faced, gripping. Alice and John's growing attachment at a time when no one knew who to trust is very well-portrayed. The fear that your life could be forfeit at any moment is apparent throughout, yet the story maintains the warmth of the Christmas season, and a budding romance.
In Jenni Fletcher's Secrets of the Queen's Lady, Philippa, lady to Anne of Cleves after her divorce from King Henry VIII, is thrilled to see Sir Christopher – Kit – again. It has been years since they last saw each other. Now widowed, she has embraced life alone, vowed never to let another man treat her like her late husband had done. To the court, they had been the perfect couple, but life behind closed doors was very different.
Now that Kit has returned from abroad, Philippa's feelings are in turmoil. Not that he'd be considered as a serious contender in any event – he is much younger than her! But as they attend court during the Christmas season, Kit's insistence at courting her makes her feel valued, but also scared.
Secrets of the Queen's Lady gives you a glimpse into Anne of Cleve's life following her divorce. She is the kindly woman who advises Philippa to do the right thing. Philippa herself is a strong character shaped by her past. She comes across as a woman who knows what she wants, and who fiercely protects her independence. Kit is determined, though, and he is shown as a man with integrity, who risks his reputation and standing for the love of his life.
Secrets of the Queen's Lady is heart-warming story that will have readers gripped.
His Mistletoe Lady by Amanda McCabe takes you to 1554, to Queen Mary's reign. Her Christmas court is full of Spanish courtiers. One of them is Diego, a widowed Spanish nobleman, and father to a small girl. He is not keen to leave his sun-drenched home for the cold wind and rain of England in December. And despite being a favourite with the English ladies, he is only intrigued by Catherine, half-Spanish, half-English who has just arrived with her Spanish mother. Her father is held in the Tower, and Catherine doesn't know why. But Diego knows, yet he can't allay her fears this time. Theirs is a sizzling romance, which grows despite the dangers they face.
Set against the treacherous backdrop of a Catholic queen ruling a country that has embraced protestantism, with spies everywhere, His Mistletoe Lady is an intriguing tale of secret plots which provide the main characters with many challenges along the way.
Tudor Christmas Tidings contains three very different stories. Yet throughout, you can sense the danger people found themselves in, especially if they belonged to the wrong side. Three engaging and entertaining stories, but with realistic hints of treason and conspiracies.
Tudor Christmas Tidings
Make Merry at Court
…with three Tudor Christmas stories!
In Christmas at Court Sir John Talbot and Lady Alice’s secret betrothal must wait until Henry Tudor claims the throne. Next in Secrets of the Queen's Lady the lady-in-waiting to Anne of Cleves is unexpectedly reunited with a handsome—younger—diplomat at the palace’s festivities! And in His Mistletoe Lady Catherine seeks help from a mysterious Spaniard to free her father in time for Christmas!
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About Jenni Fletcher:
Jenni Fletcher is from the north coast of Scotland and now lives in Yorkshire where she writes historical romance novels. She studied English at Cambridge University before doing a PhD on Edwardian literature & psychology at Hull. She has been nominated for 4 RoNA awards and won for Short Romantic Fiction in 2020.
In her spare time she loves baking and, of course, reading.
About Blythe Gifford:
After many years in public relations, advertising, and marketing, Blythe Gifford started writing seriously after a corporate layoff. Ten years and one layoff later, she became an overnight success when she sold to the Harlequin Historical line. Her books, set in the 14th to 17th centuries, typically incorporate real historical events and characters. The Chicago Tribune has called her work “the perfect balance between history and romance.” Blythe lives and works along Chicago’s lakefront.
Facebook page: www.facebook.com/BlytheGifford
About Amanda McCabe:
Amanda wrote her first romance at the age of sixteen--a vast historical epic starring all her friends as the characters, written secretly during algebra class (and her parents wondered why math was not her strongest subject...)
She's never since used algebra, but her books have been nominated for many awards, including the RITA Award, the Romantic Times BOOKReviews Reviewers' Choice Award, the Booksellers Best, the National Readers Choice Award, and the Holt Medallion. She lives in Santa Fe with a Poodle, a cat, a wonderful husband, and a very and far too many books and royal memorabilia collections.
When not writing or reading, she loves taking dance classes, collecting cheesy travel souvenirs, and watching the Food Network--even though she doesn't cook.
Amanda also writes as Laurel McKee for Grand Central Publishing, the Elizabethan Mystery Series as Amanda Carmack, and the Manor Cat Mystery Series as Eliza Casey.