Early on the morning of the 20th June in the year 1837, the archbishop of Canterbury and Lord Chamberlain came to the palace of Kensington to tell an eighteen-year-old girl that she was Queen of England. The Victorian age had begun.
Young, determined to dedicate herself to her country, deeply and demonstratively affectionate by nature, the Queen immediately succumbed to the worldly charm of Lord Melbourne, her Prime Minister.
This is a novel of the first years of the Queen’s reign before her marriage to the Prince Consort. The innocent young girl found that she was at the heart of Palace feuds, intrigues and scandals which were to oust her from public favor, and the charming Queen whose youth and innocence had so appealed to the people became the villainess of the Flora Hastings scandal, the despot of the Bedchamber Plot and the subject of speculation concerning her relationship with her Prime Minister.
There was conflict between the Queen and her mother, the flamboyant Duchess of Kent, whose name was linked with that of Sir John Conroy whom Victoria detested; and of another kind with Sir Robert Peel who became victim of the Queen’s spite; and there was the aging Duke of Wellington who incurred her anger.
The scene is dominated by the imperious, hot-tempered Queen, unswervingly loyal to those whom she loves as her dear ‘Lord M’. And there is Melbourne himself, the aging politician and worldly cynic, the Prime Minister with the stormy past. The publicly-conducted intrigue between his mad wife, Lady Caroline Lamb, and the scandalous Lord Bryon, though over long before the Queen’s Accession, reverberated through the years; yet in spite of being cited as co-respondant in two divorce cases, he retained his position as Prime Minister and became a partner in a romantic relationship with the young Victoria.
Alison Weir - The Six Wives of Henry VIII
The tempestuous, bloody, and splendid reign of Henry VIII of England (1509-1547) is one of the most fascinating in all history, not least for his marriage to six extraordinary women. In this accessible work of brilliant scholarship, Alison Weir draws on early biographies, letters, memoirs, account books, and diplomatic reports to bring these women to life. Catherine of Aragon emerges as a staunch though misguided woman of principle; Anne Boleyn, an ambitious adventuress with a penchant for vengeance; Jane Seymour, a strong-minded matriarch in the making; Anne of Cleves, a good-natured and innocent woman naively unaware of the court intrigues that determined her fate; Catherine Howard, an empty-headed wanton; and Catherine Parr, a warm-blooded bluestocking who survived King Henry to marry a fourth time.
Bernard Cornwell - The Pale Horseman
Uhtred is a Saxon, cheated of his inheritance and adrift in a world of fire, sword, and treachery. He has to make a choice: whether to fight for the Vikings, who raised him, or for King Alfred the Great of Wessex, who dislikes him. In the late ninth century, Wessex is the last English kingdom. The rest have fallen to the Danish Vikings, a story told in The Last Kingdom, the New York Times bestselling novel in which Uhtred's tale began. Now the Vikings want to finish England. They assemble the Great Army, whose one ambition is to conquer Wessex. A dispossessed young nobleman, married to a woman who hails from Wessex, Uhtred has little love for either, though for King Alfred he has none at all. Yet fate, as Uhtred learns, has its own imperatives, and when the Vikings attack out of a wintry darkness to shatter the last English kingdom, Uhtred finds himself at Alfred's side. Bernard Cornwell's The Pale Horseman, like The Last Kingdom, is rooted in the real history of Anglo-Saxon England. It tells the astonishing and true story of how Alfred, forced to become a fugitive in a few square miles of swampland, fights his enemies against overwhelming odds. The king is a pious Christian, while Uhtred is a pagan. Alfred is a sickly scholar, while Uhtred is an arrogant warrior. Yet the two forge an uneasy alliance that will lead them out of the marshes to the stark hilltop where the last remaining Saxon army will fight for the very existence of England. Enthralling as both a historical and personal story, The Pale Horseman is a novel of divided loyalties and desperate heroism, featuring a cast of fully realized characters, from a king in despair to a beguiling British sorceress. And always, beyond the spearmen and the swordsmen are the folk who suffer as the tides of war sweep over their farmlands. From Bernard Cornwell, the New York Times bestselling author whom the Washington Post calls "perhaps the greatest writer of historical adventure novels today".The Pale Horseman is yet another masterpiece of historical and battle fiction that gives life to one of the most important and exciting epochs in the history of the English people and culture.
Philippa Gregory - The King's Curse
The final novel in the Cousins’ War series, the basis for the critically acclaimed Starz miniseries, The White Queen, by #1 New York Times bestselling author and “the queen of royal fiction” (USA TODAY) Philippa Gregory tells the fascinating story of Margaret Pole, cousin to the “White Princess,” Elizabeth of York, and lady-in-waiting to Katherine of Aragon. Regarded as yet another threat to the volatile King Henry VII’s claim to the throne, Margaret Pole, cousin to Elizabeth of York (known as the White Princess) and daughter of George, Duke of Clarence, is married off to a steady and kind Lancaster supporter—Sir Richard Pole. For his loyalty, Sir Richard is entrusted with the governorship of Wales, but Margaret’s contented daily life is changed forever with the arrival of Arthur, the young Prince of Wales, and his beautiful bride, Katherine of Aragon. Margaret soon becomes a trusted advisor and friend to the honeymooning couple, hiding her own royal connections in service to the Tudors. After the sudden death of Prince Arthur, Katherine leaves for London a widow, and fulfills her deathbed promise to her husband by marrying his brother, Henry VIII. Margaret’s world is turned upside down by the surprising summons to court, where she becomes the chief lady-in-waiting to Queen Katherine. But this charmed life of the wealthiest and “holiest” woman in England lasts only until the rise of Anne Boleyn, and the dramatic deterioration of the Tudor court. Margaret has to choose whether her allegiance is to the increasingly tyrannical king, or to her beloved queen; to the religion she loves or the theology which serves the new masters. Caught between the old world and the new, Margaret Pole has to find her own way as she carries the knowledge of an old curse on all the Tudors.
Philippa Gregory - The Other Boleyn Girl
Mary Boleyn catches the eye of Henry VIII when she is a girl of just fourteen. But her joy is cut short when she discovers that she is a pawn in her family's plots. When the capricious king's interest warnes, Mary is ordered to pass on her knowledge of how to please him to her friend and rival: her sister, Anne. Anne soon becomes irresistible to Henry, and Mary must resign herself to being the other Boleyn girl. But beyond the court is a man who dares to challenge the power of her family to offer Mary a life of freedom and passion. If only she has the courage to break away - before the Boleyn enemies turn on the Boleyn girls... (Harper, 2011)
Jean Plaidy - Katharine, the Virgin Widow
The young Spanish widow, Katharine of Aragon, has become the pawn between two powerful monarchies.After less than a year as the wife of the frail Prince Arthur, the question of whether the marriage was ever consummated will decide both her fate and England’s. But whilst England and Spain dispute her dowry, in the wings awaits her unexpected escape from poverty: Henry, Arthur’s younger, more handsome brother - the future King of England.He alone has the power to restore her position, but at what sacrifice?
Philippa Gregory - The Kingmaker's Daughter
In The Kingmaker’s Daughter, #1 New York Times bestselling author Philippa Gregory presents the riveting story of Anne Neville, her sister Isabel, and their ever-changing fortunes.The Kingmaker’s Daughter is the gripping and ultimately tragic story of the daughters of the man known as the “Kingmaker,” the most powerful magnate in England through the Cousins’ Wars. In the absence of a son and heir, he uses the two girls as pawns in his political games, but they grow up to be influential players in their own right. In this novel, her first sister story since The Other Boleyn Girl, Gregory explores the lives of two fascinating young women. At the court of Edward IV and his beautiful queen, Elizabeth Woodville, Anne grows from a delightful child brought up in intimacy and friendship with the family of Richard, Duke of Gloucester, to become ever more fearful and desperate when her father makes war on his former friends. Her will is tested when she is left widowed and fatherless, with her mother in sanctuary and her sister married to the enemy. Fortune’s wheel turns again when Richard rescues Anne from her sister’s house, with danger still following Anne, even as she eventually ascends to the throne as queen. Having lost those closest to her, she must protect herself and her precious only child, Prince Edward, from a court full of royal rivals.
Elizabeth Gaskell - North and South
When her father leaves the Church, Margaret Hale is uprooted from her comfortable home in Hampshire to move with her family to the North of England. Initially repulsed by the ugliness of her new surroundings in the industrial town of Milton, Margaret becomes aware of the poverty and suffering of local mill workers and develops a passionate sense of social justice. In North and South Gaskell skillfully fused individual feeling with social concern and in Margaret Hale created one of the most original heroines of Victorian literature.
Alison Weir - Innocent Traitor
Alison Weir, our pre-eminent popular historian, has now fulfilled a life's ambition to write historical fiction. She has chosen as her subject the bravest, most sympathetic and most wronged woman of Tudor England, Lady Jane Grey. Lady Jane Grey was born into the most dangerous of times. Child of a scheming father and a ruthless mother for whom she is a pawn in a dynastic game with the highest stakes, she lived a life in thrall to political machinations and lethal religious fervour. Growing up with the future Queen Elizabeth and her reluctant nemesis, Mary, she soon learns the truth of the values imparted to her by Henry VIII's last Queen, Katherine Parr. Her honesty, intelligence and strength of character carries the enthralled reader through all the vicious twists of Tudor power politics, to her nine-day reign and its unbearably poignant conclusion. Alison Weir states: 'Lady Jane Grey's story is compelling and shocking. She was a young girl of royal blood who was used by greedy and unscrupulous men to satisfy their own ambitions. Having been the victim of abuse in childhood, she was sold into an unhappy marriage and forced to accept a crown she did not want, then tragically paid the price of her so-called treason.' 'After publishing nine history books, writing this novel filled me with a heady sense of freedom. No longer was I tied to sources and to the strict discipline of historical interpretation, but I could give my imagination free reign. Thus it was wonderful to be creative, and even provocative, at the same time as being historically accurate to a degree.'
Ford Madox Ford - A Man Could Stand Up
The third volume of Parade’s End—one of the outstanding works about World War I and British society before, during, and after that cataclysm—this novel focuses on Valentine Wannop in London and Christopher Tietjens away at war, with the narrative concluding on Armistice Day. Making a dramatic comment on prewar life and morality, this is a perceptive exploration of time, history, and sexuality. This first-ever critical edition is fully annotated and includes a new introduction by a leading expert on Ford Madox Ford.
Ken Follett - World Without End
World Without End takes place in the same town of Kingsbridge, two centuries after the townspeople finished building the exquisite Gothic cathedral that was at the heart of The Pillars of the Earth. The cathedral and the priory are again at the center of a web of love and hate, greed and pride, ambition and revenge, but this sequel stands on its own. This time the men and women of an extraordinary cast of characters find themselves at a crossroad of new ideas--about medicine, commerce, architecture, and justice. In a world where proponents of the old ways fiercely battle those with progressive minds, the intrigue and tension quickly reach a boiling point against the devastating backdrop of the greatest natural disaster ever to strike the human race--the Black Death.
Virginia Woolf - Orlando (angol)
Virginia Woolf's exuberant 'biography' tells the story of the cross-dressing, sex-changing Orlando who begins life as a young noble in the sixteenth century and moves through numerous historical and geographical worlds to finish as a modern woman writer in the 1920s. The book is in part a happy tribute to the 'life' that her love for Vita Sackville-West had breathed into Virginia Woolf's own day-to-day existence; it is also Woolf's light-hearted and light-handed teasing out of the assumptions that lie behind the normal conventions for writing about a fictional or historical life. In this novel, Virginia Woolf plays loose and fast: Orlando uncovers a literary and sexual revolution overnight.
Norah Lofts - Anne Boleyn
Ann Boleyn, Henry VIII's second Queen and mother of Elizabeth I, who was beheaded on charges of incest and adultery, was a woman of such power and mystery that many thought her a witch. Now her legend is brought to life in a fascinating, vividly written biography by one of our most distinguished contemporary novelists.
Bernard Cornwell - The Last Kingdom
'I had been given a perfect childhood, perfect, at least, to the ideas of a boy. I was raised among men, I was free, I ran wild, was encumbered by no laws, was troubled by no priests and was encouraged to violence.' Uhtred is an English boy, born into the aristocracy of 9th Century Northumbria, but orphaned at ten, adopted by a Dane and taught the Viking ways. Yet Uhtred's fate is indissolubly bound up with Alfred, King of Wessex, who rules over the last English kingdom when the Danes have overrun Northumbria, Mercia and East Anglia. That war, with its massacres, defeats and betrayals, is the background to Uhtred's childhood, a childhood which leaves him uncertain of his loyalties, but a slaughter in a winter dawn propels him to the English side and he will become a man just as the Danes launch their fiercest attack yet on Alfred's kingdom. Marriage ties him further to the West Saxon cause, but when his wife and child vanish in the chaos of a Danish invasion, Uhtred is driven to face the greatest of the Viking chieftains in a battle beside the sea, and there, in the horror of a shield-wall, he discovers his true allegiance.
Ken Follett - The Pillars of the Earth
"Follett risks all and comes out a clear winner," extolled Publishers Weekly on the release of The Pillars of the Earth. A departure for the bestselling thriller writer, the historical epic stunned readers and critics alike with its ambitious scope and gripping humanity. Today, it is a beloved favorite of countless readers, standing as a testament to Follett's unassailable command of the written word and to his universal appeal. A spellbinding epic set in twelfth-century England, The Pillars of the Earth tells the story of Philip, prior of Kingsbridge, a devout and resourceful monk driven to build the greatest Gothic cathedral the world has known... of Tom, the mason who becomes his architect-a man divided in his soul... of the beautiful, elusive Lady Aliena, haunted by a secret shame... and of a struggle between good and evil that will turn church against state, and brother against brother.
Ken Follett - Winter of the World
Ken Follett’s Fall of Giants, the first novel in his extraordinary new historical epic, The Century Trilogy, was an international sensation, acclaimed as “sweeping and fascinating, a book that will consume you for days or weeks” (USA Today) and “grippingly told and readable to the end” (The New York Times Book Review). “If the next two volumes are as lively and entertaining as Fall of Giants,” said The Washington Post, “they should be well worth waiting for.” Winter of the World picks up right where the first book left off, as its five interrelated families—American, German, Russian, English, Welsh—enter a time of enormous social, political, and economic turmoil, beginning with the rise of the Third Reich, through the Spanish Civil War and the great dramas of World War II, up to the explosions of the American and Soviet atomic bombs. Carla von Ulrich, born of German and English parents, finds her life engulfed by the Nazi tide until she commits a deed of great courage and heartbreak. . . . American brothers Woody and Chuck Dewar, each with a secret, take separate paths to momentous events, one in Washington, the other in the bloody jungles of the Pacific. . . . English student Lloyd Williams discovers in the crucible of the Spanish Civil War that he must fight Communism just as hard as Fascism. . . . Daisy Peshkov, a driven American social climber, cares only for popularity and the fast set, until the war transforms her life, not just once but twice, while her cousin Volodya carves out a position in Soviet intelligence that will affect not only this war—but the war to come. These characters and many others find their lives inextricably entangled as their experiences illuminate the cataclysms that marked the century. From the drawing rooms of the rich to the blood and smoke of battle, their lives intertwine, propelling the reader into dramas of ever-increasing complexity. As always with Ken Follett, the historical background is brilliantly researched and rendered, the action fast-moving, the characters rich in nuance and emotion. With passion and the hand of a master, he brings us into a world we thought we knew, but now will never seem the same again.
Philippa Gregory - The Red Queen
Heiress to the red rose of Lancaster, Margaret Beaufort never surrenders her belief that her house is the true ruler of England and that she has a great destiny before her. Her ambitions are disappointed when her sainted cousin Henry VI fails to recognize her as a kindred spirit, and she is even more dismayed when he sinks into madness. Her mother mocks her plans, revealing that Margaret will always be burdened with the reputation of her father, one of the most famously incompetent English commanders in France. But worst of all for Margaret is when she discovers that her mother is sending her to a loveless marriage in remote Wales. Married to a man twice her age, quickly widowed, and a mother at only fourteen, Margaret is determined to turn her lonely life into a triumph. She sets her heart on putting her son on the throne of England regardless of the cost to herself, to England, and even to the little boy. Disregarding rival heirs and the overwhelming power of the York dynasty, she names him Henry, like the king; sends him into exile; and pledges him in marriage to her enemy Elizabeth of York's daughter. As the political tides constantly move and shift, Margaret charts her own way through another loveless marriage, treacherous alliances, and secret plots. She feigns loyalty to the usurper Richard III and even carries his wife's train at her coronation. Widowed a second time, Margaret marries the ruthless, deceitful Thomas, Lord Stanley, and her fate stands on the knife edge of his will. Gambling her life that he will support her, she then masterminds one of the greatest rebellions of the time - all the while knowing that her son has grown to manhood, recruited an army, and now waits for his opportunity to win the greatest prize. In a novel of conspiracy, passion, and coldhearted ambition, number one bestselling author Philippa Gregory has brought to life the story of a proud and determined woman who believes that she alone is destined, by her piety and lineage, to shape the course of history.
Anne O'Brien - Virgin Widow
This title is about England's forgotten Queen. England, 1469. A daughter of Warwick the Kingmaker, Anne Neville cannot dictate her own future. Her marriage will be political, made purely to advance her family's interests. But at the age of fourteen, her father's treason forces her into exile, and into an uneasy betrothal with Edward of Lancaster. Edward is changeable and completely controlled by his powerful mother, Margaret of Anjou. In a hostile, impoverished court, Anne finds herself at the mercy of other's whims. On her wedding night, the audience assembled to witness her bedding instead witnesses a royal humiliation. At the point of consummation, Queen Margaret forbids the act. Anne went to her husband's bed a virgin, and she will remain so. The battle for the crown of England rages, and Anne's husband must fight for his cause. But he is foully done to death by Richard, Duke of Gloucester - a man who twice before has been betrothed to Anne. Anne must decide where her loyalties lie. And during the reign of King Edward, the wrong decision could mean death
Philippa Gregory - The Taming of the Queen
Why would a woman marry a serial killer? Because she cannot refuse... Kateryn Parr, a thirty-year-old widow in a secret affair with a new lover, has no choice when a man old enough to be her father who has buried four wives - King Henry VIII - commands her to marry him. Kateryn has no doubt about the danger she faces: the previous queen lasted sixteen months, the one before barely half a year. But Henry adores his new bride and Kateryn's trust in him grows as she unites the royal family, creates a radical study circle at the heart of the court, and rules the kingdom as Regent. But is this enough to keep her safe? A leader of religious reform and the first woman to publish in English, Kateryn stands out as an independent woman with a mind of her own. But she cannot save the Protestants, under threat for their faith, and Henry's dangerous gaze turns on her.The traditional churchmen and rivals for power accuse her of heresy - the punishment is death by fire and the king's name is on the warrant... From an author who has described all of Henry's queens comes a deeply intimate portrayal of the last: a woman who longed for passion, power and education at the court of a medieval killer.
Mary Chamberlain - The Dressmaker of Dachau
London, spring 1939. Eighteen-year-old Ada Vaughan, a beautiful and ambitious seamstress, has just started work for a modiste in Dover Street. A career in couture is hers for the taking – she has the skill and the drive – if only she can break free from the dreariness of family life in Lambeth.A chance meeting with the enigmatic Stanislaus von Lieben catapults Ada into a world of glamour and romance. When he suggests a trip to Paris, Ada is blind to all the warnings of war on the continent: this is her chance for a new start. Anticipation turns to despair when war is declared and the two are trapped in France. After the Nazis invade, Stanislaus abandons her. Ada is taken prisoner and forced to survive the only way she knows how: by being a dressmaker. It is a decision which will haunt her during the war and its devastating aftermath.
Kate Atkinson - A God in Ruins
In Life After Life Ursula Todd lived through the turbulent events of the last century again and again. In A God in Ruins, Atkinson turns her focus on Ursula’s beloved younger brother Teddy – would-be poet, RAF bomber pilot, husband and father – as he navigates the perils and progress of the 20th century. For all Teddy endures in battle, his greatest challenge will be to face living in a future he never expected to have.