Showing posts from October, 2009

And the winner of the Wayward Muse is.......

Katy F I want to thank everyone for entering the contest for the Wayward Muse , and don't forget that I'm also giving away a copy of Sunflowers . Contest ends November 5th. There will be more giveaways in November, including India Edgehill's Delilah .

Guest Blogger Sheramy Bundrick on "Who Was Rachel"

I was so excited when author Sheramy Bundrick contacted me about guest blogging on Scandalous Women. Her new book Sunflowers about artist Vincent van Gogh has been winning rave reviews. Publisher's Weekly wrote (in a starred review), " A knockout debut impressive volume of suspense, delight, and heartbreak." Please welcome Sheramy to the blog! It is truly the discovery of a new hemisphere in a person’s life when he falls seriously in love. -Vincent van Gogh The Sunday newspaper in Arles, Le Forum Républicain, featured a brief story in its 30 December 1888 issue about an incident that had happened just before Christmas. The article begins: “Last Sunday at 11:30 pm, one Vincent Vangogh, painter of Dutch origin, presented himself at the maison de tolérance no. 1, asked for a certain Rachel, and gave her his ear, saying ‘Guard this object very carefully.’ Then he disappeared.” We know Vincent van Gogh, of course, as perhaps the world’s most famous artist, beloved

Sunday Movie Review: Amelia

Cast Hilary Swank......Amelia Earhart Richard Gere.......George P. Putnam Ewan McGregor....Gene Vidal Christopher Eccleston.....Fred Noonan Joe Anderson....................Bill Stutz William Cuddy...................Gore Vidal as a young child Mia Wasikowska................Elinor Smith Cherry Jones......................Eleanor Roosevelt On Friday, I decided to see the new film Amelia starring Hilary Swank and Richard Gere at the AMC movie theater on 42nd Street (tickets cost $6 before 12 noon). I'm writing a chapter on Amelia for Scandalous Women, and I thought this would be a great way to get in the mood. Movies should never be used for research, but I was eager to see what the filmmakers did with Amelia Earharts story. The film starts off with Amelia Earhart along with her navigator, Fred Noonan on the last leg of her around the world flight. The movie is told in flashbacks from her childhood when a young Amelia is first captivated by the sight of an airplane. As a young woman, sh

Book Review and Giveaway of The Wayward Muse

This week's giveway is Elizabeth Hickey's The Wayward Muse . The novel details the love triangle between Jane Burden, her husband William Morris, and the artist and poet Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Here is a teaser from the back cover: Pulled straight from the canvasses of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Elizabeth Hickey’s The Wayward Muse paints a vivid portrait of the mysterious and beautiful Jane Burden, the Pre-Raphaelite icon. A stableman’s daughter raised in the slums of Oxford, England, seventeen-year-old Jane is convinced of her own homeliness. But her fortunes forever change when she is discovered by the charismatic and irreverent painter, Rossetti. Jane is swept into the artist's world as model and muse and falls madly in love with him. When Rossetti abruptly leaves her, Jane reluctantly agrees to marry his protégé, a shy craftsman named William Morris. But her passion for Rossetti never dies, and years later all three become entangled in a love triangle from which they will

Elizabeth Bathory, The Blood Countess

Help Wanted: Ever dreamed of working in a castle? Well then Castle of Cachtice is just the place for you. Located high up in the magnificent Carpathian Mountains, Castle of Cachtice is looking for female servants to work for the Countess. Must be between the ages of 10-17, virgins and orphans preferred. Duties include light dusting, and helping the Countess with her beauty regiment. Healthcare and Dental not provided. When Sheridan Le Fanu, the Victorian Gothic writer, was creating his novella Carmilla, he probably had Countess Elizabeth (Erszebet), one of the world's greatest serial killers in mind for his anti-heroine. Bram Stoker's Dracula owes as much to her as to Vlad the Impaler. By the time the Blood Countess's reign of terror was over, 650 girls had lost their lives, all for the Countess's insatiable desire to look young. Elizabeth Bathory (1560-1614) came from one of the richest and noblest families in all of Hungary. One of her ancestors Stephen Bathory actua

And the Winner of WOLF HALL is.....

The winner of Hilary Mantel's WOLF HALL is Patricia Altner Patricia please email me your address at so that I can put the book in the mail to you.

Guest Blogger Audrey Braver on Eliza Jumel Burr

Scandalous Women is pleased to welcome author Audrey Braver to the blog. Audrey Braver is a native of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. She has a degree in Business Administration and is an alumna of Baruch College, CUNY, in New York City. About every fifteen years, she changes careers, one of which was Director of the Morris-Jumel Mansion, a Historic House Museum of the Decorative Arts in New York, the former home of Eliza Jumel Burr. Currently, she is a book reviewer for the Historical Novels Review. Under the pseudonym of A. K. Daniels, Audrey has published a fictional novel, “A Helluva Guy, ” available through and on Amazon’s Kindle. Audrey is currently writing a fictional biography of Madame Jumel. Although, she loves living in New York, London is her favorite city and considers it her second home. Born in a brothel in Providence, Rhode Island, in 1775, Betsy Bowen was the daughter of a prostitute and followed in her mother’s footsteps, the one exception being that she was not

Review of Wolf Hall

I had planned on posting my review of the 1986 film 'Lady Jane' directed by Trevor Nunn starring Helena Bonham Carter as Lady Jane Grey, and Cary Elwes as her husband Dudley but my DVR broke last night. Instead I was able to finish Hilary Mantel's Booker prize winning novel WOLF HALL which will be released this Tuesday, October 13. Here is a brief teaser: In the ruthless arena of King Henry VIII’s court, only one man dares to gamble his life to win the king’s favor and ascend to the heights of political power England in the 1520s is a heartbeat from disaster. If the king dies without a male heir, the country could be destroyed by civil war. Henry VIII wants to annul his marriage of twenty years, and marry Anne Boleyn. The pope and most of Europe opposes him. The quest for the king’s freedom destroys his adviser, the brilliant Cardinal Wolsey, and leaves a power vacuum. Into this impasse steps Thomas Cromwell. Cromwell is a wholly original man, a charmer and a bully, b

And the Winner is........

And the winner of a copy of Diane Haeger's new book The Queen's Mistake is: Bianca Please email me at with your address so that I can send you the book.

Hilary Mantel Wins Booker Prize

The book world was buzzing yesterday over Hilary Mantel, author of WOLF HALL winning Britain's most prestigious literary honor, the 41st Annual Man Booker prize, beating out the other nominees, which included A.S. Byatt, J.M. Coetzee (both former winners), Adam Foulds, Simon Mawer, and Sarah Waters. In addition to the award, Mantel will receive £50,000 (about $80,000). You can read a full report of the ceremony and why she won here. I was struck by this paragraph in the NYTimes article: 'In the run-up to Tuesday’s ceremony at the Guildhall in London, Ms. Mantel, 57, was the overwhelming favorite, with the bookmakers William Hill giving “Wolf Hall” odds of 10-11, the shortest odds ever for a nominee.' I was lucky to receive a review copy of WOLF HALL from the publisher (According to the new FTC rules, bloggers must disclose how they receive their books). Normally I only review books that fall under the purview of Scandalous Women in history but I couldn't resist the ide

Interview with Diane Haeger, author of the Queen's Mistake

Scandalous Women is pleased to welcome Diane Haeger to the blog. Welcome, Diane, to Scandalous Women. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you started writing? Sure. Well, I have been writing historical fiction for almost 20 years, beginning with Courtesan, a novel based on the true, epic love story of Henri II and Diane de Poitiers—who was the unofficial Renaissance queen of France. It was a story that changed my life since I was driven to tell it to an American audience to such an extent that I gave up the final portion of a doctoral degree in psychology in order to go to France and finish the story. That is probably a good thing since I have been blessed enough to say that The Queen’s Mistake is my 11th historical novel and I have never looked back. But I like to believe that my books perhaps encompass the two worlds of psychology and fiction, bringing to life characters, their troubles and their triumphs, in a human and believable way. At least that has alway

Sunday Salon - Movie Review of Bright Star

Cast Ben Whishaw as John Keats Abbie Cornish as Fanny Brawne Paul Schneider as Charles Armitage Brown Kerry Fox as Mrs. Brawne Thomas Sangster as Samuel Brawne Jonathan Aris as Leigh Hunt Samuel Barnett as Joseph Severn Written and directed by Jane Campion On Friday I went to see Bright Star , the new film about the romance between poet John Keats and Fanny Brawne, literally the girl next door. I was intrigued to see the film because I had been under the mistaken impression that while Keats had been in love with Fanny, she didn't return his feelings. The film details their relationship from their first meeting in 1818 until Keats' death from tuberculosis in Rome in 1821 at the age of 25. Along the way there are obstacles, namely the objections of Keats' friend Charles Armitage Brown, who considers Fanny to be a nuisance, taking Keats away from his work, to Keats' lack of money and ill-health. Despite these obstacles, the love between Keats and Fanny keeps growing until

October Giveaway: The Queen's Mistake

The first of this month's giveaways is The Queen's Mistake by Diane Haeger. Isn't the cover gorgeous? I would love to own that dress. Here is a brief description: From the author of The Secret Bride, the tragic tale of the fifth wife of Henry VIII...When the young and beautiful Catherine Howard becomes the fifth wife of the fifty-year-old King Henry VIII, she seems to be on top of the world. Yet her reign is destined to be brief and heartbreaking, as she is forced to do battle with enemies far more powerful and calculating than she could have ever anticipated in a court where one wrong move could mean her undoing. Wanting only love, Catherine is compelled to deny her heart's desire in favor of her family's ambition. But in so doing, she unwittingly gives those who sought to bring her down a most effective weapon-her own romantic past.The Queen's Mistake is the tragic tale of one passionate and idealistic woman who struggles to negotiate the intrigue of the cour