Brief Gaudy Hour by Margaret Campbell Barnes
Originally published 1949
Sourcebooks Landmark, 1st printing, 2008
Genre: historical fiction
Synopsis & Review: Young, lovely Anne Boleyn follows her younger, lovelier sister Mary to the court of Henry Tudor and Katherine of Aragon. While Mary becomes the king’s mistress, Anne endears herself to the Princess Mary, going with her to the French king’s court where she learns and perfects the arts of the courtier. Witnessing both her sister Mary’s fall from grace as the king’s mistress and subsequent marriage, as well as the Princess Mary’s arranged first marriage and second passionate elopement, Anne is determined to seek happiness in marriage. When she meets and falls in love with Henry Percy of Northumberland, it seems as though her dreams might come true; after all, though they are both promised to others, theirs is an eminently suitable match, and the lovers swear to uphold it. Only Henry Tudor is watching, and he too desires the pretty, vivacious Nan Boleyn. At a word from the king, Cardinal Wolsey separates Anne from her lover so that Henry Tudor might step into his place. From there, Brief Gaudy Hour follows pretty little Nan Boleyn as she becomes The Concubine, The King’s Whore–all while keeping Henry at arm’s length for years until he is free to marry her. Anne carries her family and friends with her to dizzying heights of power, but her time as Queen of England is short, and nothing will stop her once she tumbles from grace. click here for more on Brief Gaudy Hour!
A Man Rides Through by Stephen R. Donaldson
Del Rey, 1st mass-market printing, 1987
Warning! Spoiler Alert! This is the second of a two volume set, and in order to say anything about the plot, I will by necessity be revealing things left … unrevealed in the earlier review of The Mirror of Her Dreams.
Synopsis & Review: Following the decidedly intense cliffhanger at the end of The Mirror of Her Dreams, A Man Rides Through finds Geraden missing, Nyle possibly dead, Master Eremis vindicated before the Congery, Orison’s water poisoned while the castle is besieged by the Alend army, and Terisa fast in the clutches of Castellan Lebbick, a man far more likely to rape or murder her than listen to her. No one in Orison seems to believe Terisa that Geraden did not murder (or attempt to murder) his brother Nyle, not even their own brother Artagel. No one that is, but the mad Adept Havelock and his ineffectual sidekick Master Quillon. The two engineer Terisa’s escape from the dungeons with both the Castellan and the renegade Master Gilbur in hot pursuit. In order to save herself, Terisa must not only accept her power, but demonstrate it, and she does at long last, finding herself in the Care of the Domne with Geraden. Houseldon is no safe haven, however, as Eremis unleashes monstrosities of Imagery upon the town in hopes of killing Terisa and Geraden. Instad of hiding, they must escape and warn all of Mordant against him, raising support for King Joyce until the final confrontation of Imagery and Cadwal’s armies. click here to continue reading about A Man Rides Through