“These Are a Few of my Favorite Things: 5 of my favorite novels I’d recommend in a heartbeat. 

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Slammerkin by Emma Donoghue.

This novel is my all time favorite for many reasons. It’s got everything I look for in a novel! Sex, murder, intrigue… it’s not a happy story,  then again I love to read and write unhappy things.

Our main character, Mary is not likable and that’s what I love about her. She’s constantly messing up even when she has a light at the end of the tunnel and a chance to redeem herself. Mary is so young when the events of the novel take place and one could attribute her troubles to her age but in truth, she is an arrogant, greedy girl.

The novel is set in London and on the outskirts of the city. It discusses prostitution and the struggles of the lower class.

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The Wideacre Trilogy by Philippa Gregory.

Move over The Other Boleyn Girl, Gregory’s debut novel is one to pick up and not miss!

As with Slammerkin, the wiseacre trilogy discusses sensitive subjects such as incest, murder, and the occult. It’s a fabulously told tale which keeps you on the edge of your seat. The main character is Beatrice Lacey and once again we have an unlovable protagonist. She’s greedy and vain yet you can’t stop reading. Beatrice, like Mary from slammerkin, had a chance to redeem herself but she does not and only continues her behavior.

This leads to a series of events crashing down around herself and others. It’s a great read and if you can stomach raunchy incest sex scenes then it’s definitely worth your time.

 

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Leonardo’s Swans by Karen Essex

This novel was one I picked up on a whim and ended up loving. The two women featured, Isabella and Beatrice are as different as two sisters can be. Their rivalry is marked by marriage and although the sisters both make great marriages there is more to be had. Jealousy, adultery, love and more fill the pages of this historical fiction novel.

 

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Cleopatra’s Daughter Series by  Stephanie Dray

This series surprised me a lot. At first, I thought it a young adult book but by the time I got to the third novel I was definitely convinced it was not.

Octavian’s obsession with Selene is the center I would say of the novel. There is so much sexual tension between them and to some, this could be a trigger as she is so young.

I believe it is a great series and for those who love Cleopatra, this insight into her daughter is worth the read!

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The Borgia Bride by Jeanne Kalogridis

If you know anything about the Borgias you know that a novel about them will be raunchy as hell and fun to read. In this novel, our main character is Sancha of Aragon. Most books I have read are from Lucrezia’s perspective so this was a breath of fresh air. I enjoyed her loveless marriage to Joffre and affair with Cesare. Sancha has relations with all three brothers. In real life, this was said to be true.

This novel has a lot of sex. Rape and underage included. It contains boatloads of adultery and murder so definitely not for the faint of heart. I think I finished it in a day. It’s a pretty quick read which keeps you interested the whole time cause you feel like you need to continue to the end of this fascinating woman’s life.

 

 

Honorable Mentions

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The Wise Woman By Philippa Gregory

A riveting tale of witchcraft and lust…

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Duchess of Milan By Michael Ennis

Cousin rivalry, sexual intrigue and more…

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Empress of Rome Series By Kate Quinn

Ancient Rome at its finest with corrupt Emperors…

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Diaries of the Family Dracula By Jeanne Kalogridis

The story behind the Dracula family descendants.

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The Lost Queen By Norah Lofts

George III’s sister Caroline and her disastrous marriage to Christain of Denmark.

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The Prince and the Quakeress By Jean Plaidy

George III and Hannah Lightfoot. A person favorite and basis for what I wrote my novel on.

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The Russian Concubine series By Kate Furnivall

A Russian woman and Chinese man fall hopelessly in love despite the events going on around them.

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Empress Orchid and The Last Empress by Anchee Min

Cixi from minor concubine to Empress…

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Four Sisters All Queens by Sherry Jones

The four sisters of Provance have their voices heard in this gripping novel…

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The Dark Queen Series by Susan Carroll

Catherine de Medici and her flying squad of witchcraft and poison center around this long series of sisters.

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Roma by Steven Saylor

Short story collection of Roman families from the start to the fall…

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Nefertiti by Michelle Moran

The beautiful Egyptian queen comes to life…

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Katherine by Anya Seton

Mistress and wife?

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The Red Tent by Anita Diamant

An exciting biblical refering novel about Dinah, daughter of Jacob and Leah.

Sex Through The Centuries. 

Sex.

Teens giggle while children look around in confusion as adults blush. How did such a natural act become so taboo? As a child, everything I learned about sex was from the school bus, my friends, or experimentation. My family never spoke of it. This proves true for many people, but why have we become so conservative towards the act of reproduction?

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To investigate this, we must go back to the beginning. Starting with the earliest humans, sex was purely animalistic. Our instincts simply kicked in and we mated. Simply. No shame.

As we came into the time of Egypt and Rome we still see sex as something which fills everyday life without shame. Pompeii was full of it. Murals and other scenes of pornography filled the city. In Egypt equally, scenes filled tombs and temples alike. The Egyptians were certainly not shy about sex and in fact, pharohs kept harems of women,  including their mothers, sisters, and daughters within them. (Disclaimer, totally not supporting incest, just using as an example ) Cleopatra was notoriously open with her sexuality first with Caesar then Antony. She married two of her brothers but it is unknown whether she had relations with them. Back to Rome… the emperors were notorious for their sexual escapades. They were open with them and men and women alike held lovers of all stations.

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This also brings me to the subject of homosexuality and how it is also considered taboo in today’s society. We have lightened up a bit on it but it is not fully accepted as it was during the days of the Romans or Egyptians. Personally, I think it should be!

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Moving forward, we get to England and it’s reign as master of the world. England shunned sex and kept it hush hush. Although it was common for men to have mistresses, women lost their power and if accused of adultery could be out to death. We see Henry VIII who put Anne Boleyn to death for rumors and Catherine Howard for the same crime with solid evidence.

Long before Henry, came Edward II who had big shoes to fill. He stands between his father and son, two great king’s of England, yet Edward was a weakling. He was easily overpowered by his scorned queen, Isabella. Edward was a homosexual and although fathered four children with his wife, eventually took another male lover, causing her to begin an affair with Roger Mortimer and cause and uprising. Eventually, Edward was killed and Mortimer was defeated and killed. Isabella was imprisoned by her son, Edward III for the remainder of her life.

Onto Mughal India where sex was… complicated….

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Kama Sutra… the book of love. A common book for those who studied the art or even married couples. Much was expected from a woman in the royal bedchamber and if you could catch the emperor then you would rise. Emperor Jahangir fell in love with Nur Jahan and made her the most powerful woman in India. Jahangir’s son would have to deal with her well into his reign but like his father also fell deeply for a woman. Shan Jahan fell in love with Mumtaz Mahal who was of relation to Nur Jahan. He was unable to marry her at first and took another wife but soon had his way. He quickly shunned his other wives after giving them a child each and focused all his attention on Mumtaz. Detailed court documents of their sexual passion are available and well exposed. It resulted in her giving birth to 14 children and unfortunately for Mumtaz, she died birthing their fourteenth. The Taj Mahal symbolizes their love where they have both been interred for eternity.

Don’t even get me started on China…

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As one of the largest empires, Chinese rulers would have concubines… a ton of them. Girls were selected from noble families because hey, only the best for the Emporer. These girls would sit in the halls of women and wait to be chosen. many would grow old and never get a night with their king. Once the emperor died, the women would have their heads shaved and be set to a nunnery equivalent. Some concubines like Ci-Xi and Wu Zhao rose up to become empress because they birthed the next emperor.

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England after the restoration exploded with sex. Charles II had many acknowledged mistresses and bastards. Although he had no legitimate children, he did not shun his wife Catherine. The king was described as lusty and highly sexual. Also during this time, many views of the woman changed. Women took lovers and were allowed on the stage, baring their legs as actresses. Nell Gwynn never married, yet she had lovers including Charles. Many families threw their daughters to the king with hopes of advancement and many would be educated on just how to please the king within the bedchamber.

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Moving forward to George III. It was said he had a mistress, Hannah Lightfoot and then fell in love with Sarah Lennox but once George Married Charlotte, we see a more conservative king. After his marriage, he proves to be a very devoted husband and father. His son, on the other hand, George IV disposed his wife and took many mistresses, even dubbing one his true wife. During this period, women were expected to be virgins and not take lovers.

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Victorian England explored the reign of courtesans and free love such as in France. Victoria’s son Edward was a great lover of women and did not shy around it.

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After Edward, we get more into the 20th century where marriage stayed between a man and woman and sex began to be hushed.

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When the 60s and 70s came the idea of free love came back and for a brief period, some people brought sex back into the spotlight. In the 80s we get pornography wisely distributed. Music videos with scantly clothed women. As we approach our century we see porn taking over everywhere. It’s highly distributed and has taken the place of many stable relationships. I was in a relationship with a porn addict once and trust me when I say this is one thing where it can ruin relationships.

Continuing on. Sex will probably never be as open and free as it was once yet we continue to live on. Babies are being constructed within Petrie dishes while parents pick out eye color rather than just do the act itself and get what you’re given. Society and technology have definitely changed the way we view sex and our sexuality.

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I have gotten mixed reviews about the sex within The King’s Secret Daughter. Anna sleeps with a man before marriage and develops a relationship. This could be normal for the time period but to know the whole story you’d have to read the book. She is at one point shunned by her second husband and finds comfort with another man and the man is punished.

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Within She’s Only Seventeen, we explore human sexuality at its finest. Kat loses her virginity at the tender age of fifteen and after that, she uses sex as a way to express herself and on some occasions, show or mask deep emotions. Kat commits adultery on more than one occasion but since the story takes places from 1980-2001, it is fealty with differently.

In conclusion, sexuality is suppressed in many ways in this society. I have vowed that my daughter will not be uneducated and I trust myself to remain calm when she comes to me with questions. I do not want her to see it as something to be ashamed of. I most certainly am not and I suppose my openness is one of the reasons for my happy marriage.

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This is definitely one of those subjects I could go on forever about so I will stop here. As always, I am welcome to discussions.

“The King’s Secret Daughter” Character Descriptions… 

…as promised…

 

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Name: Anna

Height: 5’7

Hair: blonde, thick, long and curly.

Eyes: dark brown almost black

Birthday: November 2nd, 1761

 

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Name: Nathan Miller

Height: 6’1

Hair: dark brown almost black shoulder length

Eyes: green

Birthday: March 12th, 1761

 

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Name: Thomas Miller

Height: 5’9

Hair: dark brown, shoulder length

Eyes: very dark blue

Birthday: June 25th, 1760

 

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Name: John Seymour

Height: 6’0

Hair: waist-length light brown hair

Eyes: light blue

Birthday: April 21st, 1746

 

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Name: Jack Smith

Height: 6’4

Hair: shoulder length dirty blonde

Eyes: deep blue

Birthday: December 28th, 1745

 

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Name: Arthur Greene

Height: 6’1″

Hair: chestnut. Long

Eyes: Hazel

Birthday; September 9th, 1754

 

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Name: Joe Piece

Height: 5’11”

Hair: shoulder length black

Eyes: Gray

Birthday: October -31st 1762

 

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Name: Will Wilson

Height: 6′

Hair: shaggy sandy blonde

Eyes: blue

Birthday: October 2nd, 1759

 

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Name: Charlotte Miller

Height: 5’6″

Hair: long dark brown almost black

Eyes: dark blue

Birthday: May 9th, 1764

 

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Name: Gregory Martin

Height; 5’11

Hair: Ebony

Eyes: Hazel

Birthday: February 13th, 1755

Royal Geneology

My interest in genealogy has ranged from everything to the Tudor/Stuart succession to the Mughal Empire of India to the Hapsburg and Egyptian lineages. I have a photographic memory. Apparently, it’s a rare thing but it’s helped a lot. Put a genealogy table of the Rammaside Dynasty in front of me and guaranteed I can copy 90% or more from memory.

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My interest began in fifth grade when I discovered Henry Viii and instantly fell in love with history. I began researching him and his six wives. This eventually led to discovering his parents and their roles in the War of the Roses as well as his descendants which led into the Stuart dynasty.

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I remember when Charles II the Power and The Passion   Aired. As the last true king to rule without a parliament, I found Charles intriguing. Although he died without heirs, through his many mistresses, Prince William will bear his blood as the first monarch in history to do so. Among his illegitimate children was James the Duke of Monmouth. He was Charles’ eldest son and rumors surrounded that he married his mother, Lucy Walter. James was the subject of my senior thesis and I have done extensive research on his behalf.

 

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Next, I devoured the great Mughal Empire of India. Key figures included Shan Jahan, builder of the Taj Mahal and his third and favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal whom he had fourteen children with. After the death of his wife, Shan Jahan flew into depression and became obsessed with building his late wife’s mausoleum leaving his four sons to fight over the throne. The eldest, Dara, was highly supported and the unspoken heir. Next came Shuja who fled to Bengel to seek help from the Shah. Aurangzeb, the third son, was very devout in religion and took up arms against Dara with his younger brother Murad at his side. Dara was disposed of and Aurangzeb next turned on Murad who was murdered. Shuja fled but was eventually executed. With no one standing in his way, Aurangzeb became undoubtedly ruler of India and the war of succession was over. To seal his rule, he imprisoned his father in a tower with one window which overlooked the still under construction Taj Mahal. His eldest daughter Jahanara became his sole caretaker for the remainder of his life.

 

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Going to the next area of history I devoured is Egypt. I have long dreamt of becoming an Egyptologist but unfortunately, now this is an impossible dream. I still hungrily take in facts about mummies and ancient Egypt daily and still can’t get enough. My favorite period though the span of two dynasties. I love anything with Ramses II. And then also deeply obsess over Tut and Nefertiti. I’ve had phases where Cleopatra and the Ptolemy’s had my calling yet Rome seems as a gray area for me still although it is enjoyable to research. Within Egypt, incest in marriage was common as isis and Osiris had done. On this topic, we will move to our next section, the Spanish royal houses.

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The Hapsburg house married so close that their last heir, Charles, was so deeply deformed that exorcisms were performed on his person. The Hapsburg chin, a trait which afflicted both men and women of the house, was so pronounced on Charles that he constantly drooled and could not chew food. The comparison between equity, Tut, and Charles can be drawn here as they both were a product of incest and could not produce healthy heirs, ending their dynasties because of those affections.

 

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The King’s Secret Daughter features a genealogy table which notes George III. Following upon this line, the sequel has broken away for a pure fictional genealogy table featuring Anna and Nathan’s heirs in South Carolina. For those interested, the line of George III that goes on with his legitimate children is quite intriguing. His eldest son and heir, George IV, had one daughter but she died in 1817 and left him without. The throne went next to his brother William who had ten children by his mistress Dorothy but none legitimate. William married for sake of the crown, shunning his illegitimate bunch, but no heirs were produced. Next came Victoria. Daughter of William and George’s other brother. She became known as the great queen Victoria and reigned into the twentieth century. Her heirs, though tainted with the blood disease hemophilia, still thrive throughout Europe. Scientist’s have tried to find out where the disease came from and many conclude that Victoria may not have been her father’s true daughter but the daughter of another man. If this is true then the line of George III did indeed end with her uncle William.

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In conclusion, there is much more I could write. In fact, I could go on for pages just dissecting each royal line and their troubles. I will save a headache. I have finalized the next gen genealogy tables for The King’s Secret Daughter sequels and will present it soon.

Is There Really a Right Age to Have Children?

This question has been asked for centuries, but recently it has come more to my attention because people have made it personal.

I had my daughter in my mid-twenties. According to many millennials, this is considered young. Yet what gets me is the half of women I graduated high school with that had a wave of babies once they graduated.

I put myself through college and married before I got pregnant and gave birth and yet I receive criticism.  This leads me to question many things.

1. The average age of childbirth has gone up drastically in the age of Millenials when the average age only twenty years ago was the early twenties. This could be due to longer lifespans and medical improvements. Also, millennials are more career focused compared to women who were considered homemakers in the baby boomers and generation x.

2. Priorities. Many women find it unnecessary to have children and chose to either live a life without or focus on careers. Millenials are the social generation and are frequent on social media and bar life.

3. Within history, it was not uncommon for a woman as young as twelve to become a mother. Pretty much once you got your first menstrual cycle you considered a woman and ripe for marriage. Take Margaret Tudor for example, the mother of Henry Vii and grandmother of the notorious Henry Vii. She married gave birth at barely twelve and it almost killed her. Things have since changed in this sense for the better yet we still have underage girls getting pregnant.

The debate of what age is the right one to have children is considered silly in my opinion.

Whenever one chooses, whether planned or unplanned, is right for you. Don’t let anyone judge or tell you differently.

On another note, within my novels, this subject comes up.

In She’s Only Seventeen, Kat Crowne gives birth at the tender age of twenty in 1986.

Within The Kings Secret Daughter Anna does not have children but in the sequel due to be released in November….

SPOILER ALERT***

Anna gives birth to her first child at the age of twenty-six in 1787. This was considered quite old during this time period for childbearing. While Anna births older, her sister in law Charlotte does at the age of twenty-two. An age which was more acceptable. Charlotte’s mother, Jane, births her eldest son Thomas at barely sixteen. Again a normal age for the time period. We also see teen births through Charlotte and Anna’s descendants.

In conclusion, I truly believe that there is not a right or wrong answer to the question. The criticism that one receives will always happen no matter what. It is the generation in which we live in.whether you have a child at sixteen of fifty it does not matter. if you have one child or twelve, you are still a mother. Age not number does not change this fact. Opinions are everywhere.

Just look at Social Media.

One post can spark thousands of opinions.