Showing posts from August, 2013

Women of the White Queen: Marguerite of Anjou

From the beginning Marguerite of Anjou was a controversial queen. Few queens of England have so divided opinion; few have suffered more from the propaganda spread by their enemies.   Historians over the years have portrayed her as vengeful and ambitious.   In Shakespeare’s trilogy, she is the she-wolf of France, vilifying her as an adulteress and warmonger.   In Richard III, she is depicted as a one-woman Greek chorus.   Marguerite’s marriage was supposed to bring peace with France, but instead England dissolved into civil war during her husband’s reign, due to his mental illness and general unfitness to rule.   She acted with the best of all possible motives, to support first her husband, and then her son. Marguerite has borne the brunt of the responsibility for what went wrong during Henry’s reign. Like Matilda, Eleanor of Aquitaine and Isabella, she is seen as an unnatural woman for meddling in affairs of state. Marguerite was born on March 23, 1430, the daughter of Rene of A

Women of the White Queen - Lady Margaret Beaufort

Lady Margaret Beaufort has always been sort of a cipher to me, not quite as knowable as either Elizabeth Woodville or Marguerite of Anjou.   Perhaps that’s because she was never a Queen, but the mother of a King. She wasn’t royal, although she was descended from royalty.   Her son, Henry Tudor, by rights, should never have become King. Margaret, with her deep faith, believed that it was always God’s plan that Henry should be king.   In the BBC 1/Starz miniseries, she’s played by actress Amanda Hale with a furrowed brow and a fierce expression.   In her only scene in the first episode, she wears a red dress and chastises Jacquetta Woodville for her daughter’s marriage to the Yorkist king.   Reading about her life, I found a much more fascinating woman.   Throughout her life, Margaret took matters into her own hands, whether it was finding a husband or safeguarding and protecting the interests of her son.   She was genuinely pious, extremely clever, and pragmatic.   Due to her wealt

Women of THE WHITE QUEEN – Elizabeth Woodville

One could say that the story of Elizabeth Woodville is a Cinderella story.   Young widow meets handsome King; they marry despite opposition and live happily ever after.   Well as happy as one can be when the handsome king cheats on you constantly and eventually runs to fat after a life of indolence, and your brother-in-law is an asshole who keeps trying to depose your husband, and then your other brother-in-law steals the throne from your son and you have to hide in sanctuary until finally another handsome prince rescues you and marries your daughter.   It’s a different kind of fairy-tale, one that could only take place in Medieval England during the reign of the Plantagenets, the world’s most dysfunctional royal family. Let’s start from the beginning shall we? Elizabeth Woodville was born sometime in 1437, possibly in October, the eldest daughter of Jacquetta of Luxembourg, the Dowager Duchess of Bedford and Sir Richard Woodville.   Her parents’ marriage had been scandalous i

From Page to Screen - Starz/BBC THE WHITE QUEEN

Well, I hadn’t planned on reviewing THE WHITE QUEEN until I was in England when I could watch the entire series since I don’t have Starz, but the cable channel surprised me by offering up a sneak preview of the first episode this weekend.   So since they were so generous, I couldn’t refuse to watch the show now could I? I’m not going to go into the historical accuracy of the show so much in this review since I have a series of blog posts planned on the women of the War of the Roses planned for the next two weeks.   Instead I plan on focusing on my first impressions of the series and whether or not I think it’s a good adaptation of Philippa Gregory’s novels.   The series is going to be based on three of Gregory’s novels, THE WHITE QUEEN, THE RED QUEEN, and THE KINGMAKER’S DAUGHTER.   It’s going to be 10 episodes and I will recap each episode as I watch it, trying not to get to ahead of the broadcast in the states.   Lucky for me, I have a region-free DVD player, so even when I’m not

August is for Austen

Here we are in the dog days of summer, or at least they are supposed to be.   Here in New York it’s been raining on and off for the past three days.   Just the kind of weather that makes you want to curl up in your apartment with a good book or movie.   This month, two Austen inspired projects have been released for those of us who either enjoy reading or watching romances set in olden times or who just adore Jane Austen.   Yes, August is for Austen, in 2013. First up is the new non-fiction book AMONG THE JANEITES:   A Journey Through the World of Jane Austen Fandom by Deborah Yaffe which an enjoyable look at the Jane Austen fans who read her books religiously, belong to JASNA, love to wear the regency clothes, the very people that the new movie AUSTENLAND lovingly spoofs.   Along the way, she meets a Florida lawyer with a byzantine theory about hidden subtexts in the novels, a writer of Austen fan fiction who found her own Mr. Darcy while reimagining Pride and Prejudice, and a

Winner of the Gillian Bagwell Giveaway

Sorry that I'm so late picking a winner but work was busy yesterday and then last night I went to see a screening of the new film AUSTENLAND from the novel by Shannon Hale (which I will be reviewing on the blog tomorrow).  But I am happy to say that the winner of all three of Gillian's wonderful novels is: RUTH A   Congratulations to Ruth, and thank you to everyone who entered.  I only wish that I could afford to buy everyone copies of Gillian's novels!   Don't despair though, because who knows what goodies I will be bringing back from my trip to London at the end of the month!   Please do come back to the blog as I start a new series about some of the fascinating women during The Cousins' War.