Book: The Lost Tudor Princess- The Life of Lady Margaret Douglas

*I received a free copy of this ebook through netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

(I am SO late in writing up this review).

I requested The Lost Tudor Princess thinking I was requesting a historical fiction of Lady Margaret Douglas. I was wrong. Very, very wrong. It was non-fiction. I was surprised as I don’t have any non fiction in my categories, but I decided to read it. Honestly, I probably should read more non-fiction.

lost-tudor-princessThis is a true biography of the life of Margaret Douglas, niece to Henry VIII and cousin to Queen Elizabeth I. It describes Margaret’s life in detail, to the circumstances surrounding her birth, her long life, and to the lives of her children as well. Margaret was an interesting woman, and walked a very fine line between a tumultuous political time.

I’m fairly familiar with the history of Henry VIII and Elizabeth’s long road to power, through the brief reign of her brother and bloody reign of her sister. Despite my knowledge of the history and familiarity with some of the more famous figures of the time, I had never heard about Margaret Douglas. I was really intrigued by her life and impressed by her. She lived through a lot, including imprisonment (multiple times), the death of her parents and uncle, the death of her cousins (Edward and Mary), the death of her son, and then the death of her husband.

The problem I had with the book is how very dry it was. I understand it was non fiction and a biography. It almost read like an academic biography with how extremely detailed it was. But it’s extreme detail also made it very difficult for me to get through. It would give names of the various people involved in Margaret’s life, and then refer to them as their title rather than their name. This ended up being very confusing as titles were often changing. I wish there had been a guide to the key people mentioned in the book. Between all the political ties and servants, especially with all the people Margaret Douglas corresponded with through letters, it was difficult to keep track of everyone. I often had to refer to the family time line or the annotated notes in the back, but my ebook links were off and didn’t take me to the specific page. Halfway through I decided to give up reading the notes.

Despite Margaret being a fascinating person in history, I have to give this a 2 out of 5 stars. Between the cumbersome ebook format, lack of of who’s who section, and the incredibly dry writing, it was a difficult read for me.However, I felt like I learned a lot.

On another note, I learned something about myself. I always tend to romanticize the Elizabethan era time. I blame Shakespeare. But I think this book helped me realize how terrible of a Lady I would be. Margaret was incredibly cunning and very ambitious. I am not the least bit ambitious or competitive, so I probably would not have fared well. I would have ended up like poor Lady Jane and got myself beheaded.

 

 

Book: In Search of Scandal

*I received a free copy of this ebook through netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

Romance novels are my guilty pleasure. I started sneaking them from my mother at 16 and have been obsessed ever since. As an English major, I love reading anything. But when I am stressed out or tired with what I’m reading, I have to get my romance novel “fix”. I think of it this way: A romance novel is a playing field and I am rooting for courtship. Courtship wins every single time. In Search of Scandal Book cover

I had the opportunity to review this ARC which is released on December 1st (today!). In Search of Scandal is about Will Repton, travel botanist, recently returned from India running into the beautiful, dazzling Charlotte Baker. She loves him from the start but can Will overcome his dark memories from Tibet to love her back?

Likable main characters can make or break a romance novel. I liked the characters of Will and Charlotte. They each had their own unique voice, which can be difficult to do when switching point of views. They both also had chemistry and I liked them together.

One of the things I couldn’t quite figure out was everyone’s social position. Charlotte’s older sister married an Earl, but the sister was a beard since the love affair was really between the Earl and Charlotte’s brother Wally.*  The Earl died and the sister married a Mr. Ben Paxton (and Wally is in disgrace for obvious reasons), so they are not part of the Ton. Charlotte was raised as a lady (since her sister was married to the Earl and had a proper education) and is a hot commodity in society. The complicated family connections was much more complex and convoluted than it needed to be. I have read a lot of historical romance and my understanding is that if one person in the family is in disgrace, they ALL are. It seemed odd to me that Charlotte was accepted into society but no one else was.

Despite that, the beginning of the novel was promising and fun. Charlotte is besotted with Will before even meeting him, and falls even more in love with him on meeting. Will just can’t even believe this gorgeous girl likes him, and tries his best to avoid her.

The key moment for me is the ‘ah-ha!’ moment when they realize they both love each other. It is a difficult and delicate moment to coordinate. Many authors bumble or outright fail at it. This one was not the best. The moment hinges on them both saying it to each other, even though both of their actions already demonstrated their feelings. One can argue that Will’s character is a little oblivious and Charlotte’s character is naive. But it left me as a reader just frustrated with the two of them. It wasn’t the worst ‘ah-ha!’ moment, but I have read better.

The ending was a little messy. A couple sub-plots became main plots and complicated things to an unnecessary degree.

Overall, it was still a delightful read with solid characters and some sizzling chemistry. I would rate it 3 out of 5.

Another win for courtship!

*I liked Wally’s character, but his sexuality had no bearing on the plot. It seemed as if the writer was trying too hard to be modern and edgy.