“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