I received a free copy of Venus in Winter from the publisher for my honest review.
About the Book:
On her twelfth birthday, Bess of Hardwick receives the news that she is to be a waiting gentlewoman in the household of Lady Zouche. Armed with nothing but her razor-sharp wit and fetching looks, Bess is terrified of leaving home. But as her family has neither the money nor the connections to find her a good husband, she must go to facilitate her rise in society.
When Bess arrives at the glamorous court of King Henry VIII, she is thrust into a treacherous world of politics and intrigue, a world she must quickly learn to navigate. The gruesome fates of Henry’s wives convince Bess that marrying is a dangerous business. Even so, she finds the courage to wed not once, but four times. Bess outlives one husband, then another, securing her status as a woman of property. But it is when she is widowed a third time that she is left with a large fortune and even larger decisions—discovering that, for a woman of substance, the power and the possibilities are endless . . .
About the Author:
Before my review I have a very special Guest Post from Gillian Bagwell! You all know how much I love to cook but I have never cooked with roses so I’m going to learn something right along with you! Enjoy….
This is my third book by Ms. Bagwell and I can tell you that I was jumping up and down when given the opportunity to review it. I can tell you that I will be jumping up and down if given the opportunity to review her next book. She is one of those authors where I see her name on the book and I would read it without even checking out the synopsis – I just KNOW that I am in for a well researched, well written engrossing novel.
Venus is Winter was no exception; I took it on my vacation and like her two other books I read it in one sitting. I find that once I start I am part of the world of the protagonist and it is very hard to leave. In this case that protagonist is Bess of Hardwick, a woman who rose from practically nothing to become one of the most wealthy women in England. Much is left to history of Bess from her life after she married her last husband, George Talbot, the Earl of Shrewsbury but not much of the years preceding. Venus in Winter takes on the task of bringing Bess’s early years to life.
Since little has been left to history about her life Ms. Bagwell has created a world of “what might have been” given Bess’s known locations and intelligent supposition. She uses the history of the time to predict how Bess might have felt or reacted to the swirling politics of the times. Bess was fortunate in her marriages and each one advanced her standing and fortune. She also seems to have been a very intelligent and shrewd woman.
The brilliance in this book comes more from the writing that pulls you into the mood of the times and uncertainty that came with the succession of monarchs from Henry VIII, to Edward VI to Mary I to Elizabeth I. How does a person stay safe, how does a person keep their fortune, how does a person proof their loyalty? Ms. Bagwell makes her readers feel all of the upset that the people of the time must have felt.
Bess herself was a little more of a struggle for me. Perhaps because so little is actually known of her from this period in history and it was a matter of placing her into events instead of having her drive events. I don’t know. Unlike some of the historical characters from the other books by Ms. Bagwell, Bess was still a bit of an unknown character. I enjoyed the history, I loved the reading but I can’t say I left the book loving Bess.
One lucky US reader will win a copy of Venus in Winter. How do you win? Just hop on the Rafflecopter. Good luck everyone!
Disclosure: I received a free copy of Venus in Winter from the publisher for my honest review. I received no compensation for this post.