Tag Archives: Edward II

HFVBT | Review and Giveaway for The Boleyn Bride by Brandy Purdy

The Boleyn Bride Excerpt:

“Mary had run straight to me, poor girl, expecting some comfort from her mother, bursting into my bedchamber in a flurry of weeping, rumpled blond curls, and gold satin, and blurted it all out between wracking sobs and showers of tears. Henry had just told her that they must, because of her condition, part. … something had gone terribly wrong. The tea of tansy and white poplar had, for the first time, failed, and, for this, King Henry blamed her.”

“Poor Mary, she wept and wallowed and buried her face in my lap, leaving behind a smeared imprint of her features painted on my nightgown, before she slunk away, hurt and bewildered, wondering why her mother had failed to give her the comfort she had expected and so desperately needed.”

“‘There are other teas, daughter!” I called after her. ‘Some penny-royal, perhaps mixed with …'”


From carefree young woman to disillusioned bride, the dazzling lady who would become mother and grandmother to two of history’s most infamous queens, has a fascinating story all her own…

At sixteen, Elizabeth Howard envisions a glorious life for herself as lady-in-waiting to the future queen, Catherine of Aragon. But when she is forced to marry Thomas Boleyn, a wealthy commoner, Elizabeth is left to stagnate in the countryside while her detested husband pursues his ambitions. There, she raises golden girl Mary, moody George, and ugly duckling Anne–while staving off boredom with a string of admirers. Until Henry VIII takes the throne…

When Thomas finally brings his highborn wife to London, Elizabeth indulges in lavish diversions and dalliances–and catches the lusty king’s eye. But those who enjoy Henry’s fickle favor must also guard against his wrath. For while her husband’s machinations bring Elizabeth and her children to the pinnacle of power, the distance to the scaffold is but a short one–and the Boleyn family’s fortune may be turning.

(Synopsis and book cover image provided by Historical Fiction Virtual  Book Tours)

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My Thoughts:

My thoughts on The Boleyn Bride will be presented a bit differently in this review. Because there were a number of things I disliked and some I liked, I have decided the easiest way to share these with you is by way of a list of each.


  • I love any book centering around this time period, one filled with Boleyns, Henry VIII and others in his court, and the general history filling out the story being told. I enjoy learning history via historical novels where the research is accurate.
  • Brandy Purdy is one of those historical authors who has done her research well. I appreciated the time and effort that goes into doing this.
  • As a memoir writer, I also enjoyed hearing the story of the Boleyn children — Mary, George, and Anne — as told by their mother, Elizabeth Howard Boleyn. It is a very different approach to historical fiction and reflects not only on the court and its members but also on Elizabeth’s life as well. I found this very effective.


  • A 26-page prologue which seems as though it will never end. Much of what is in the prologue could have been simply worked into the rest of the book. The prologue dampened my enthusiasm for the book rather than tempting me to want to read more.
  • The myth of the changing last name of Thomas Boleyn through variations of Bullen and a long list of others is, in my opinion, overused here. Typically, in Elizabeth’s dialogue or thoughts, she refers to him as “Thomas Bullen — I mean Boleyn!” Other references are made to her name for him applicable to his sexual ability, or lack thereof. Here she calls him ” Thomas Bull-In.” One or two such references for each variation would have been enough. I got the hint that she despised him the first time.
  • Brandy Purdy has a grasp of language and words which is amazing. However, many times in her attempt to describe a scene for her reader the sentence becomes too long, filled with too many adjectives, and a lack of breathing room:

That night she rewarded Henry by giving him ‘a little taste–a foretaste–of heaven.” She led him into her bed–a fat white feather bed covered in quilted white satin, hung with white lace curtains, like a tantalizing veil, where she lay, a black-haired angel in alluring, clinging white satin, whilst in each corner, blindfolded, white-winged and gilt-haloed harpists played, and I sat, unsmilingly, doing a mother’s duty and acting as my daughter’s chaperone, in a straight-backed gilded chair outside her open bedchamber door.

  • Although I have read many historical novels on Anne Boleyn and her life at court during King Henry VIII’s reign, I was disappointed to find that Purdy dismisses the drama leading up to and including the trial for Anne, George and their friends. Suddenly they are whisked away and very little said about the trial. And then they are dead.
  • Elizabeth is presented as a rather complex character and not a great image of motherhood. However, I would have liked to have known more about her impressions of the lifestyle she lived at court, the happenings inside the Queen’s chambers, more about who Elizabeth was as a woman.

My Recommendation: 

Despite my opinion and lists of likes and dislikes, some have praised The Boleyn Bride and others have had similar concerns with it. To learn more about the book from other reviewers on this tour, click on the image below to find the entire tour schedule:

The Boleyn Bride_Tour Banner _FINALv2

Meet the Author:

Brandy Purdy (Emily Purdy in the UK) is the author of the historical novels THE CONFESSION OF PIERS GAVESTON, THE BOLEYN WIFE (THE TUDOR WIFE), THE TUDOR THRONE (MARY & ELIZABETH), THE QUEEN’S PLEASURE (A COURT AFFAIR), and THE QUEEN’S RIVALS (THE FALLEN QUEEN). An ardent book lover since early childhood, she first became interested in history at the age of nine or ten years old when she read a book of ghost stories which contained a chapter about Anne Boleyn haunting the Tower of London. Visit her website at www.brandypurdy.com, you can also follow her, and her cat Tabby, via her blog at http://brandypurdy.blogspot.com where she posts updates about her work and weekly book reviews.

(Bio provided by Historical Fiction Virtual  Book Tours)

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Where to Buy the Book:

Buy the Book

Amazon (eBook)
Amazon (Paperback)
Barnes & Noble
Book Depository
Google Play

Note: I am not affiliated in any way with any of these outlets.


Publication Date: February 25, 2014
Kensington Publishing
Paperback; 272p
ISBN-10: 0758273363

I received a copy of The Boleyn Bride from the publisher via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours in exchange for a fair and honest review. The opinions and recommendations expressed are my own.

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The giveaway is for two paperback copies and is limited to residents of the United States.
Follow the link below to a super easy entry form. Two winners will be selected by Random.org, and the
results will be posted here, via Twitter and on Facebook on Tuesday, March 5th.
Giveaway closes at midnight on Monday, March 4th.

Found Between the Covers | Book Giveaway

HFVBT Review | Isabella: Braveheart of France

 Isabella, Braveheart of France CoverAdvance Praise:

“What an intriguing story! … I’m enchanted indeed! Loved it!”

~ Montreal Times

“Author Colin Falconer has brought Isabelle’s story to life … wonderful descriptive and succinct prose graces each page of this biographical novel.”

~ Great Historicals

“Isabella: Braveheart of France is a gripping read … this is phenomenal historical fiction that is highly recommended.”

~ Crystal Book Reviews


She was taught to obey. Now she has learned to rebel.

Isabella is just twelve years old when she marries Edward II of England. For the young princess it is love at first sight – but Edward has a terrible secret that threatens to tear their marriage – and England apart.

Who is Piers Gaveston – and why is his presence in the king’s court about to plunge England into civil war?

The young queen believes in the love songs of the troubadours and her own exalted destiny – but she finds reality very different. As she grows to a woman in the deadly maelstrom of Edward’s court, she must decide between her husband, her children, even her life – and one breath-taking gamble that will change the course of history.

Does she submit to a lifetime of solitude and a spiritual death – or seize her destiny and take the throne of England for herself?

This is the story of Isabella, the only woman ever to invade England – and win.

(Synopsis and book cover image provided by Historical Fiction Virtual  Book Tours)

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My Thoughts:

When offered the opportunity to review this book, my love of historical fiction and the name of Queen Isabella prompted me to immediately respond with an affirmative nod. I anticipate any historical fiction as not only pure reading pleasure but also a comfortable way to view the past and learn from the history of centuries ago.

The first half to two-thirds of the book chronicles Isabella’s marriage at age 12 to her husband, King Edward II, and her role as Queen of England. The writing is fast-paced, descriptions of places and people filled with clarity and depth. The moments leading up to Isabella’s move to rebellion were exciting and then … well, then it fell completely flat for me, at least. Tragically, hardly any time is allotted to Isabella’s alliance with Roger Mortimer and their plan to conquer England.

I had confirmed with the publisher via HFVBT that the copy I received had not been finally edited, although it appeared a final edition. I worked hard at not letting multiple typos, duplicated chapters, lost time (i.e. on one page Isabella gives birth to her first child and then you turn a page or two and she has four or more!), misspellings, dead people resurrected to life suddenly, and inconsistencies in characterization bother me. I have not had the privilege of seeing a finally edited version. Therefore, I would hope that many of these problems had been cured before the last run.

Did I like anything about this book? YES, ISABELLA! I always a love a strong female character and to a point Falconer draws a perfect image of a girl, who sees the need to teach herself to become a strong woman. Although a lighter treatment of Isabella than most books I’ve read, she is shown to be empathetic and compassionate. The treatment of her husband, Edward II, seems fair in light of his somewhat flippant and vapid airs from time to time.

My Recommendation: 

As long as readers are obtaining copies of the final version of this book, I can highly recommend it to the individuals looking for an introduction to Isabella, the famous “she-wolf” of England.

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Isabella_Tour Banner _FINAL

Watch trailer:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lGBgmrsZLMA

Meet the Author:

Colin FalconerBorn in London, Colin first trialed as a professional football player in England, and was eventually brought to Australia. He went to Sydney and worked in TV and radio and freelanced for many of Australia’s leading newspapers and magazines. He has published over twenty novels and his work has so far been translated into 23 languages.

He travels regularly to research his novels and his quest for authenticity has led him to run with the bulls in Pamplona, pursue tornadoes across Oklahoma and black witches across Mexico, go cage shark diving in South Africa and get tear gassed in a riot in La Paz.

His most recent novels are Silk Road, set in the 13th century, and Stigmata, set against the backdrop of the Albigensian Crusade in Southern France in 1209. He currently lives in Barcelona.

For more information please visit Colin Falconer’s blog. You can also find him on Facebook or follow on Twitter.

(Bio and image provided by Historical Fiction Virtual  Book Tours)

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Publication Date: September 3, 2013
Publisher: Cool Gus Publishing
Paperback: 218pp
ISBN-10: 1621250911

I received a copy of Isabella: Braveheart of France from the publisher via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours in exchange for a fair and honest review. The opinions and recommendations expressed are my own.

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