“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.

The Women of “The King’s Secret Daughter”

*Spoilers*

Obviously 

Read here —–> https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XYVL6T5

 

Women’s roles have changed greatly since the time of Anna and the American Revolution. No longer in the United States nor Great Britain is a woman ruled by her husband. Here we explore the prominent women featured within The King’s Secret Daughter

 

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Our first and foremost character is of course Anna. She’s a rebel at heart who, although tries to remain faithful at first to king and country, follows her heart. She takes her life into her own hands, something quite rare in that time period. Her marriage to John Seymour marks the first time she is given away against her will and married off. She finds some happiness with Thomas Miller briefly. Thomas is a choice for her. She chooses freely to love him and in that action, she discovers the joys of relationships and intimacy without the restraints of marriage. When Thomas dies she is deeply saddened and cannot stomach John. Because of this, she saves the Miller Family and consummates her passion with Nathan. Her relationship with Nathan differs from everyone else in the fact that she loves him but is torn between her duty and heart.

When Anna leaves Nathan and returns to England she experiences the same trappings she did before. This time she is married to Jack Smith. Their relationship is stormy and passionate and Anna finds herself content with it for a while. She fears to return to England for the feeling of entrapment to come back.

Anna, however, takes her life into her own hands and returns to Nathan in South Carolina. Her return marks the end of her struggle between king and country. She chooses to live as Nathan Miller’s wife on Miller plantation where her role has differed greatly. Nathan never tries to suppress her and allows her to be herself.

This is important for Anna because her two arranged marriages ended terribly and she felt surprised.

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Next, we have the strong figure of Jane Miller. Jane is the mother of Nathan, Thomas, and Charlotte. She serves also as a mother figure to Anna in the novel for Anna has never had a positive one before.

Jane advises Anna many times and is also the first to forgive her upon the discovery that Anna is the daughter of the English king. She welcomes Anna both times as a prospective daughter in law with first Thomas and finally Nathan. She does not blame Anna for Thomas death although Anna blames herself, something which will plague her the rest of her life.

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Bea is Anna’s lady-in-waiting the first part of the novel. She is bold and brazen. Bea speaks her mind and Anna loves her for it. Bea is also a sort of mother/older sister figure to Anna. She explains to Anna about the secrets of the bedroom to which Anna is shocked that Bea knows these things as an unmarried woman. Bea has had many love affairs but at the time of the novel is unmarried. It is unknown whether she takes a husband once separated from Anna or not.

The loss of Bea affects Anna greatly as she has lost her best friend and confident.

 

 

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Finally, we have Charlotte Miller. Charlotte is the sister of Nathan and Thomas and the daughter of James and Jane Miller. She is quiet the first half of the book but when Anna meets her again in part three we see a different older Charlotte who is about to be married. Charlotte’s upcoming wedding is the main event of part three and we see the events leading up to it as her husband to be is introduced.

Charlotte serves as a Bea like confident to Anna and the two become fast friends. It is Charlotte who urges Anna to be with Nathan again. Anna does so at charlottes reception when Charlotte tells Nathan to go after Anna which results in Anna and Nathan reuniting and agreeing to marry.
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Honorable mentions include Queen Charlotte, the wife of George III and Hannah Lightfoot, his supposed mistress. Queen Charlotte does not favor Anna and is constantly pregnant. She eventually births fifteen children to her husband. Two who will become king.

Hannah is the supposed mistress of George III and mother of Anna. She is only spoken of and has no voice in the novel. Anna does not speak of her and acts as if she hardly exists.

 

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Each woman of The King’s Secret Daughter carries a unique view towards women of the day. Some are powerless while others hold titles.   Each holds their strength differently and has a story to tell.

The Men of “The King’s Secret Daughter”

*Spoilers*

Obviously 

Read here —–> https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XYVL6T5

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Within my novel, The King’s Secret Daughter, Anna is married three times to all very different men. She is also in relationships with two others which contrast greatly towards her marital partners.

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The first, Colonel John Seymour, is an officer in the British Army. Not much is offered on him for a back story other than he’s never been married. (John’s backstory contains his move from England to South Carolina where he meets a woman who he falls in love with but cannot marry. This is the main reason why he is so reserved towards Anna and does not want to marry her. This previous relationship is not mentioned in the book and may be subject to a spin-off prequel eventually so stay tuned) John married Anna at the insistence of George III. He does not want to marry her and keeps his distance. When she is lost, he does not inform the king of her status. Fortunately, Anna is found but at a cost. John kills Thomas Miller, marking the end of any peace which could ever become of John and Anna’s relationship. They both put on a show for Cornwallis sake yet feelings never develop between the two and when John dies in battle, Anna is “relieved”.

John is described as ruthless in battle and he shows little emotion towards Anna or anyone for that matter. He gains some earth towards Anna but it is quickly extinguished. His murder of Thomas Miller is one example of his hardness.

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Thomas Miller never married Anna, but they become engaged and physically intimate without the knowledge that John Seymour is still alive. Thomas and Anna have an instant attraction although his brother Nathan tried to come between them. Thomas and Anna both lose their virginity to each other and are engaged before his ultimate death. Thomas is the softest of Anna’s relationships. He is a simple man with small wishes. He is heir to the Miller Plantation and was raised in preparation for the task. When he does, his brother Nathan becomes the heir. Thomas’s death is needed for the revelation which takes place within Anna’s heart and how she makes her choices to side with the colonists rather than her own father.

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Captain Jack Smith serves as Anna’s second husband. Anna does not want to marry him but because of the events of the American Revolution and John Seymour, she obeys. He proves to be extremely different than John and is rough with her on their wedding night before ignoring her on board the Century. She ends up becoming friends with Will Wilson and Joe Pierce. Her relationship with joe sparks Jack to nearly assault her. He saves her life when she goes overboard and after that, the two share awkward encounters. Anna and Jack soon begin to interact on a different level and eventually develop a sexual relationship. He falls in love with Anna but after discovering that she has spoken to Joe Pierce, he becomes angry. Jack kills Joe in battle which results on Anna’s betrayal of the crew. Jack is insinuated to be killed at the end of the novel.

Jack’s character is quite complex. He has to put on a certain apprehended for the crew yet his true self comes out to Anna. We learn more of his backstory than we do with John. Jack had been married to a woman named Sophie who had died in childbirth. He also has been part of the British Royal Navy for many years. His scar is from a pirate who he stood up to. He eventually sought revenge on said pirate and killed him. Jack is also described as almost childish in many scenes. His friendship with Arthur Greene goes far back and Arthur is one of the only he trusts with his wife alone. Anna’s remorse for jacks death shows she did truly care for him, but her determination to get back to South Carolina after Joe’s death trumps all.

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Joe Pierce is the carpenter on the century. He is a young man who Anna has little interest in the beginning. After the death of his best friend, Will, who was interested in Anna, the pair finds comfort within each other. They begin a relationship behind Jack’s back and eventually Are found out. Joe is whipped and not allowed to speak to Anna. It hurts him when he finds out Anna and Jack have reconciled. Anna speaks to him on a whim which angers Jack and firing the last battle he is killed by Jack.

Joe is naive with women and falls easily under Anna’s spell. He is willing to risk all just to speak with her and when he does, it costs him more than he expects.

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Nathan Miller is Anna’s constant through the novel. She does not know it at first but he is her soulmate. Anna initially refuses Nathan but falls under his spell when he kisses her against her will. After Thomas dies, Anna meets with Nathan and they make love. Their feelings for each other are clear, yet Anna ends leaving for England. Nathan is never far from her mind and when she is finally given the choice, she returns to him. Nathan has moved on to Anna’s disappointment but they quickly reunite and their passion is once again restored. Anna married Nathan at the end of the novel.

Nathan is moody most of the first half of the novel. He is opposite his brother and is described as lazy and dreamy. He enjoys riding horses but has trouble focusing on tasks on the plantation. Eventually, after his brother’s death, he is heir to the plantation and begins to take his responsibilities seriously.

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Arthur Greene is Anna’s friend and sometimes confident aboard the century. She is at first wary of him because he is Jacks best friend but he soon becomes her good friend in his own right. Their relationship is marked by Arthur urging her relationship with Jack and Anna revealing her secrets to Arthur. The climax of their relationship comes when Arthur confesses what he saw during battle to Anna. He does not realize that this will cause Anna to take action against the crew.

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Will Wilson and Anna are never intimate. He becomes her close friend and although his mixed feelings towards her are clouded when he tries to kiss her, their friendship prevails. His death saddens her greatly and she mourns the loss of her only true friend on board at the time solemnly until she unwisely chooses to socialize with the crew once more.

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Other honorable mentions include George III and George IV. Their actions towards Anna are always not in her best interest. She loves her father and half brother but is shunned because of her actions. Her brother is torn between his duty and his sister but chooses his duty which disappoints Anna greatly.

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Other members of the Century also deserve a mention. Robert Steele and Henry Willis serve as allies to Anna on more than one occasion. She conversates with them and Robert even defends her on many occasions.

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James Miller is also a key man in the novel. As the father of Nathan and Thomas, he is the sole figure who pushes Nathan to Anna. He regrets this after because he knows Anna must leave but he values his son’s happiness. James is the one who saves Anna and for that, she is eternally grateful. He is disappointed to learn she is the king’s daughter but none the fewer accepts her still as she has saved his family and become like a daughter to him.

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Anna’s world was very much a man’s world yet women also played a key role. Tomorrow I shall discuss the women of The King’s Secret Daughter and how important their roles were within the novel.

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