Category Archives: D.L. Bogdan

The Forgotten Queen by D.L. Bogdan

The Forgotten Queen by D.L. Bogdan
Kensington Books February 2013
Historical Fiction
 Review copy from the author, thank you!
Burton Book Review Rating:4.5 stars

 From her earliest days, Margaret Tudor knows she will not have the luxury of choosing a husband. Her duty is to gain alliances for England. Barely out of girlhood, Margaret is married by proxy to James IV and travels to Edinburgh to become Queen of Scotland.

Despite her doubts, Margaret falls under the spell of her adopted home. But while Jamie is an affectionate husband, he is not a faithful one. And nothing can guarantee Margaret’s safety when Jamie leads an army against her own brother, Henry VIII. In the wake of loss she falls prey to an ambitious earl and brings Scotland to the brink of anarchy. Beset by betrayal and secret alliances, Margaret has one aim—to preserve the crown of Scotland for her son, no matter what the cost…

Read my previous D.L. Bogdan reviews

There are two contemporary Tudor novelists that I really enjoy and who I would not be adverse to reading their fifth or sixth book set in the era. Otherwise, a Tudor book by any author would not cross my threshold as I have had my full of the whole Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn episodes. With D.L. Bogdan’s newest Tudoresque novel we are treated to a historical figure that always seems out of England/out of mind in my reads: Margaret Tudor, elder sister to Henry VIII and the favored Mary Tudor, Queen of France who later married Charles Brandon.

Margaret’s story may not be too different than other royal princesses as they are marketed to the best match for their country and off they go, never to return to their homeland again. Margaret was sent by her father Henry VII to go make peace with Scotland and marry their King. That is what she attempted to do, and her marriage was portrayed lovingly and I enjoyed reading their story. There was always a constant struggle for Margaret, was she a princess of England or was she a Queen of Scotland? Margaret herself came off as naive, petulant, somewhat wild in nature, and wholly unpredictable. Which made the reading that much more fun (except when sometimes I felt like I was reading about Mary Queen of Scots! SO similar in character!)!

When we got to the parts where Margaret lost so much, I really empathized with Margaret that I was able to forgive her arrogant ways and horrible marriage choices. Her losses were many, and she seemed to stack up more losses than her counterparts such as Catherine of Aragon or even Anne Boleyn. And yet, we always hear SO MUCH more about Catherine and Anne. Due to Bogdan’s captivating storytelling, I am more intrigued about Margaret Tudor, mother of King James V and eventual ancestress of the United Kingdom.

I recommend The Forgotten Queen for its quick pace, and for doing Margaret justice. Why she should always seem to be forgotten in novels and history is a mystery and a travesty for a woman who went through so much and ultimately gave so much to Scotland yet was not recognized for it. As I read through Bogdan’s telling of Margaret’s story, I felt her pain as she yearned for love and appreciation, and she finally achieved it with this reader.



Filed under #histnov, 2013 Releases, 2013 Review, D.L. Bogdan, Scotland, Tudor

It’s Mailbox Monday! What Are You Reading?

What are you Reading?
This meme is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey where we keep track of what we are currently reading and plan to read.

Mailbox Monday is a meme originally from Marcia’s Mailbox and can be found here for October.
In the Mail:

A Gift for My Sister by Ann Pearlman (thank you, bookish mama!!)
Ann Pearlman’s The Christmas Cookie Club enthralled readers everywhere with a heartwarming and touching story about the power of female friendship. Now, in A Gift for My Sister, she once again explores the depth of the human heart, and this time it’s through the eyes of two sisters. Tara and Sky share a mother, but aside from that they seem to differ in almost every way. When a series of tragedies strikes, they must somehow come together in the face of heartbreak, dashed hopes, and demons of the past. The journey they embark on forces each woman to take a walk in the other’s shoes and examine what sisterhood really means to them. It’s a long road to understanding, and everyone who knows them hopes these two sisters can find a way back to each other.

A Love Surrendered (Winds of Change #3) by Julie Lessman (a brand new release from Paperbackswap! What luck!)
Orphaned in Iowa, Annie Kennedy moves to Boston to stay with her spinster aunt. She longs for romance to fill the void left by her parents’ death. But when she falls hard for Steven O’Connor, the man who broke an engagement to her sister, Annie is worried. Will he break her heart too when he discovers who she really is?

And received for a future review:

No Safe Harbor by Elizabeth Ludwig
The Thrill of Romantic Suspense Meets the Romance of 1800s America

Lured by a handful of scribbled words across a faded letter, Cara Hamilton sets off from 1896 Ireland on a quest to find the brother she’d thought dead. Her search lands her in America, amidst a houseful of strangers and one man who claims to be a friend–Rourke Walsh.

Despite her brother’s warning, Cara decides to trust Rourke and reveals the truth about her purpose in America. But he is not who he claims to be, and as rumors begin to circulate about an underground group of dangerous revolutionaries, Cara’s desperation grows. Her questions lead her ever closer to her brother, but they also bring her closer to destruction as Rourke’s true intentions come to light.

The Forgotten Queen by D.L. Bogdan
From her earliest days, Margaret Tudor knows she will not have the luxury of choosing a husband. Her duty is to gain alliances for England. Barely out of girlhood, Margaret is married by proxy to James IV and travels to Edinburgh to become Queen of Scotland.

Despite her doubts, Margaret falls under the spell of her adopted home. But while Jamie is an affectionate husband, he is not a faithful one. And nothing can guarantee Margaret’s safety when Jamie leads an army against her own brother, Henry VIII. In the wake of loss she falls prey to an ambitious earl and brings Scotland to the brink of anarchy. Beset by betrayal and secret alliances, Margaret has one aim—to preserve the crown of Scotland for her son, no matter what the cost…

What I’ve Read:

A Lady in The Making by Susan Page Davis.. another fun historical romance and very quick read at 320 pages.. review posts in a few days. I love this Prairie Dreams series, and I recommend reading in order. This one is my favorite out of the bunch you see below.

To Love and Cherish, book two in the Bridal Veil Series by Tracie Peterson and Judith Miller. Review posted here. Can easily be read as a stand alone.

Skip Rock Shallows by Jan Watson… another series book that I jumped into with this one, and probably should have read the others first to enhance my appreciation of this one. This was a very character driven story.

Queen of the Waves by Janice Thompson
Blog tour starts tomorrow, I am the kickoff reviewer unfortunately, because I could have kicked this book all over the place. Blech. Nuff said. (Here is the review.)
I am not having good luck finding an awesome Titanic themed read. Maybe I should find that old Danielle Steel novel that I read when I was young lady..


Filed under #IMWAYR, Christian Fiction, D.L. Bogdan, Julie Lessman, Mailbox Monday

The Sumerton Women by D.L. Bogdan

The Sumerton Women by D.L. Bogdan
Kensington, April 24, 2012
Review copy provided by the author, thank you!
Burton Book Review Rating:Enjoyed very much!

Orphaned at age eight, Lady Cecily Burkhart becomes the ward of Harold Pierce, Earl of Sumerton. Lord Hal and his wife, Lady Grace, welcome sweet-natured Cecily as one of their own. With Brey, their young son, Cecily develops an easy friendship. But their daughter, Mirabella, is consumed by her religious vocation—and by her devotion to Father Alec Cahill, the family priest…

Set at a fictional estate of Sumerton, Bogdan reenters the Tudor courts in a different fashion with this new novel. Fresh new characters breeze through the tyranny of King Henry VIII’s reforms, but not everyone comes away unscathed. The root of this story is as the title suggests, with women who love the Earl of Sumerton. The Earl is a sweet man, with little faults, except for his inability to break through to his alcoholic wife, Lady Grace.

And herein lies the problem with the rest of the review. If I say much about his children, and his ward Lady Cecily, I would give away intriguingly spicy plot points which would otherwise ruin the story for the potential reader. I was warned ahead of time that the synopsis alone gave away a piece of the story, and I kept my promise to myself to not read the synopsis, and I have shortened the one above.

This is a story where the Church and one’s own faith collides with that of the Kings’ and their own family; this is a story where family ties are put to the test; this is a story that offers an intriguing slice of life set against a very tumultuous time in England. The political games are the backdrop, with the religious upheaval and the reforms more at the forefront, and they effect and inspire the Sumerton women differently. I loved the characters, their flaws, and their traits, and most especially enjoyed the family drama that was the focus as opposed to simply focusing on yet another Tudor figure. There are appearances by the King, and the Queens, and Cranmer, who are there to set the historical tone. There are births, deaths, and marriages.. where betrayal, trust and loyalty are all intertwined in a fast-paced saga that I would recommend to readers who appreciate the Tudor era. I enjoy Bogdan’s writing style and always look forward to her work, (all of her Tudor books have been a delight) but I was thrilled how Bogdan channeled some V.C. Andrews for The Sumerton Women!

Read my previous reviews of Bodgan’s Tudor novels
Read another review of The Sumerton Women at
The author’s blog can be found at


Filed under 16th Century, 2012 Releases, 2012 Review, D.L. Bogdan, Tudor

Book Review: Rivals in the Tudor Court by D.L. Bogdan

Rivals in the Tudor Court (Tudor Court 2) by D.L. Bogdan
Kensington Paperback April 26, 2011
ISBN-13: 978-0758242006
Review copy provided by the author, thank you!
The Burton Review Rating: 4

The death toll in Henry VIII’s England can be counted in the thousands. No one was more aware of this than Thomas Howard, third duke of Norfolk. Relying on his indomitable force of will, cleverness, and sheer good fortune, Thomas Howard manages to be one of the king’s only intimates to survive an unforgettable reign of terror. This impeccably researched companion piece to “Secrets of the Tudor Court” chronicles the ambitious duke’s life, loves, and remarkable capacity to endure. Before he was the king’s uncle, before he was his nieces’ ultimate betrayer, Thomas Howard was a hostage at the court of Henry VII while his father was imprisoned in the dreaded Tower of London. There he would marry the queen’s sister, his forever princess Anne Plantagenet. While he founded a dynasty, his career as soldier and sailor brought him acclaim and the trust of the Tudors. But when unspeakable tragedy robs him of family and fortune, Thomas must begin again. Abandoning notions of love, Thomas seeks out an advantageous match with the fiery Elizabeth Stafford, daughter of the duke of Buckingham. Clever, willful, and uncompromising in principle, the young duchess falls victim to a love she cannot deny. When Thomas takes on a mistress, the vulnerable Bess Holland, Duchess Elizabeth prepares to fight for all she holds dear. Only then does she learn she faces a force darker than anything she could ever have imagined, an obsessive love that neither she nor Bess can rival.

Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk, was a key player both behind the scenes and not-so-behind the scenes during Henry VIII’s reign. Tudor fans recognize his name as the one responsible for putting his two nieces under the King’s nose, ripe for the plucking. After Henry tired of mistresses Mary Boleyn and Bessie Blount, Thomas saw that Henry had eyes for Mary Boleyn’s sister, Anne. And of course the rest is history.. Anne becomes queen, fails to give Henry the male heir and is summarily executed on trumped up charges of adultery. Another niece becomes available, Kitty Howard, who moves on become another Queen Catherine to King Henry.

But who was this man, the formidable Thomas Norfolk? Behind the political movements and shrewd judgement, he is one powerful noble who managed to escape the axe, although he came close and was saved by Henry’s death alone. In D.L. Bogdan’s previous book, Secrets of the Tudor Court, Thomas’s daughter Mary Howard was the focus of the story but the story held frightening glimpses of Thomas himself, who is better known simply as Norfolk.

Why did he seem to be so cruel to his family? He beat his wife, his children, and paid his servants to do it some more. Not a very likable creature indeed, and D.L. Bogdan take us back to Thomas’s beginning as a child struggling to make up for his short stature. His desire to be the best soldier earns him recognition, and Queen Catherine of Aragon favors him as well as King Henry does. He always wants more though, and he brings his family down whomever stands in his way.

Bogdan brings us the story of Thomas as he becomes more and more powerful, while also looking at the women in his life. We are treated to a never before seen look at Thomas Howard as he is undeniably happy with his first wife Anne Plantagenet until tragedy strikes again and again. The hardened man takes another wife with Elizabeth Stafford and we hope that perhaps he can come full circle, but he becomes more and more hateful, especially as he takes on a mistress, Bess Holland. We get the point of views of Thomas, his wife Elizabeth, and his mistress Bess, as they all struggle to maintain their wicked triangle of love and hate in Thomas’s cruel world. With the intermingling of their lives, Bogdan presents a page turning story of loyalty, treachery and ambition giving us the Tudor flair that fans love.


Filed under 16th Century, 2011 Releases, 2011 Reviews, D.L. Bogdan, Thomas Howard: Norfolk, Tudor

>Abuse in the Tudor Court~ By D.L. Bogdan

>Please welcome D.L. Bogdan as she imparts this important message:

Abuse in the Tudor Court

In my works SECRETS OF THE TUDOR COURT and RIVALS IN THE TUDOR COURT (Kensington Books, May, 2011), I chose to illustrate quite a detailed account of the abuses suffered by the Duchess Elizabeth Howard and the more speculated abuse of her daughter Mary Howard at the hands of the third Duke of Norfolk, Thomas Howard. Why did I choose to do this? Because I like gory descriptions of another’s pain? On the contrary. As a survivor of domestic violence myself, I chose to tell the story in a way that would perhaps at times shock the reader into awareness of the hopelessness of women not only in the 16th century, but the hopeFULness of women of today. In the time period of Duchess Elizabeth and young Mary, there was no help available. Men could do as they pleased as fathers and husbands, and they took full advantage of that, as the Duke of Norfolk’s actions illustrates quite well.

In Barbara Harris’ intriguing article “Marriage: 16th Century Style” and George Frederick Nott’s “Works of Henry Howard, earl of Surrey, and of Sir Thomas Wyatt the elder”in two volumes, we see firsthand letters the Duchess composed making attempts at seeking help in vain from the Lord Privy Seal Thomas Cromwell, and even appeals to King Henry VIII himself. Ahead of her time, Duchess Elizabeth spoke out when no one else would and though it is unfortunate she was not heard, it speaks of a courage seldom seen in documented early modern history on the part of these amazing women. Sadly, we also see the reaction of her husband the Duke, not unlike reactions of many modern abusers–denial and threats should the abuse be exposed coupled with accusations of her “slander”.

Though most would call the story of Duchess Elizabeth tragic, I feel she made a difference with her outspoken cries for help and assistance, showing not only women of her time that women COULD have a voice, but illustrating even more to contemporary women that WE have a voice now.

Seeking help is hard. I know. Women (and men) in abusive relationships feel trapped and live in terror of their abusers. They don’t know where to turn. Often isolated and controlled, help seems no where in sight. But there is hope and help. Take that first step. Call a friend, a trusted family member, or clergy person. We have resources today that the poor Duchess and her daughter could only dream of. It is up to us to use them and become survivors, not victims, of our abusers. There can be healing. I am proof of that hope realized.

Attached find some helpful links for study and sharing that may help others reach out for the help I so encourage them finding at: … National Domestic Violence Hotline … The Women’s Institute for Incorporation Therapy

We live in a time where we have a voice. Use it loud and use it proud!

Reprinted with permission from the author’s blog, Herstory vs. History


Filed under D.L. Bogdan, Tudor

>What? They didn’t like it?" How to Handle Tough Critics by D.L Bogdan, author


What? They didn’t like it?” How to Handle Tough Critics.
D.L. Bogdan, author of Secrets of The Tudor Courts

“There’s nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein. ~Walter Wellesley “Red” Smith.

I can’t think of a more appropriate quote to describe the ups and downs of this profession than that! As a newcomer I can’t very well give the advice a seasoned veteran can but as I embark on this journey, I can say I’m learning more how to navigate through waters that (to me) feel uncharted. Taking criticism is something every person has to learn how to handle in every walk of life, but as a writer, you open yourself to the world in a way that sets all of your vulnerabilities on display. Opening a vein indeed.

Receiving critiques from reviewers who do it for a living are tough enough–but most professional reviewers, even when not giving you the glowing recommendation you hope for, have the grace to be fair. Customer reviews can give you a different vibe altogether, attacks and no-holds-barred insults that will give your confidence a serious run for its money if you’re in the wrong mood. If, like me, you haven’t been in the business long, this can give you quite the shock. When I received some harsh critiques from customers I cried, I carried on, all while some loyal family members and friends took charge by gallantly jumping to my defense. But then I realized that even the harshest reviewer has something to teach and any negative buzz out there are all things that can be applied to the next project. Answering these charges with negativity or defending your stance only breeds an endless cycle of negativity. Let the work speak for itself. Flaws may not be able to be fixed at that point in the game, but they can be learned from. And everyone is entitled to their opinion. When your soul is laid bare in such a public forum, you naturally wish their opinion would be favorable but when it’s not, it has to be accepted with grace and dignity. Before I ever sought to get published I wrote for myself and, while no work is perfect and can always be improved, I like what I do and am proud of myself. Meantime, I rely on the support of my family, friends, fellow writers and positive literary bloggers and fans who have never failed to give me the encouragement and pep talks I need to get through! There’s a time in life when no matter what anyone thinks, you have to look at yourself in the mirror and say, “I’m okay.” And I am!

Thanks so much to D.L. for providing us with this post. You can follow D.L. Bogdan at her new blog, History vs. Herstory


Filed under Book Reviews, D.L. Bogdan

>Why the Howards? by D.L. Bogdan, author of Secrets of The Tudor Court


Please welcome D.L. Bogdan, a debut author of Secrets of The Tudor Court which released May 1, 2010 from Kensington Books.

The Tudor era brings many images to mind. Most of the time, we think of the main cast: young Henry VIII, dashing and golden (or old Henry VIII–not so dashing and golden), vivacious Anne Boleyn, devout Catherine of Aragon, and the many figures that make the Tudor saga come to life. But what of the supporting cast? Those that turned the gears in the great medieval machine that has become as compellingly epic as the Arthurian legends? My goal in SECRETS OF THE TUDOR COURT (Kensington Books) was to bring some of these more peripheral personas to life. I chose Mary Howard as my subject; the daughter of the ambitious and cruel 3rd Duke of Norfolk Thomas Howard, and the wife of Henry Fitzroy, Henry VIII’s illegitimate son. She proved to be a challenging and unique window into a familiar tale and was tough to research.

 Any information I could gather was included in the story to authenticate my work but my job as an entertainer came into play as I creatively filled in some gaps to make for a fast paced, character driven study of a father and daughter’s love-hate struggle in a time where living beyond the shadow of the executioner’s axe was quite an accomplishment. When writing SECRETS OF THE TUDOR COURT I became fascinated with the antagonist Thomas Howard and delved into researching him in more depth. This led me to writing a companion piece, tentatively titled RIVALS IN THE TUDOR COURT, which will be released in roughly 9 months to a year by Kensington Books.

RIVALS IN THE TUDOR COURT focuses on Thomas, his fiery wife Elizabeth Stafford, and vulnerable mistress Bess Holland. This book was derived from a wealth of research, as there was a great deal more information about the duke available to me than his young daughter Mary. Both books were a joy to write and I am thrilled to share them with The Historical Fiction Connection. SECRETS OF THE TUDOR COURT is available on and at your local booksellers. If you’d like to know more about me and my upcoming works, please feel free to follow my new blog at

Thanks so much to D.L for providing us with this post. You can visit reviews of her first novel, Secrets of The Tudor Court here:

Pittsburgh Historical Fiction Examiner
Manic Readers
All Things Royal
The Burton Review
History Undressed (interview and review)


Filed under 2010 Releases, D.L. Bogdan, Tudor

>Book Review: Secrets of The Tudor Court by D.L. Bogdan *Tudor Mania Challenge!!*


Secrets of The Tudor Court by D.L. Bogdan
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Kensington; Original edition (April 27, 2010)
ISBN-13: 978-0758241993
Review copy provided by the author, thank you!
The Burton Review Rating:Four and a half Stars

When young Mary Howard receives the news that she will be leaving her home for the grand court of King Henry VIII, to attend his mistress Anne Boleyn, she is ecstatic. Everything Anne touches seems to turn to gold, and Mary is certain Anne will one day become Queen. But Mary has also seen the King’s fickle nature and how easily he discards those who were once close to him. . .

Discovering that she is a pawn in a carefully orchestrated plot devised by her father, the duke of Norfolk, Mary dare not disobey him. Yet despite all of her efforts to please him, she too falls prey to his cold wrath. Not until she becomes betrothed to Harry Fitzroy, the Duke of Richmond and son to King Henry VIII, does Mary finds the love and approval she’s been seeking. But just when Mary believes she is finally free of her father, the tides turn. Now Mary must learn to play her part well in a dangerous chess game that could change her life–and the course of history.

This is another great read to add to your Tudor fiction library. It is full of the Tudor speculation and gossip that Tudor fans have come to enjoy and love, but this is not told in an over the top fashion. It is fast paced and intriguing, as the Tudor courts and the events of the demise of Henry VIII’s wives are merely a backdrop for Mary Howard’s story. Although an avid fan of Tudor history, this particular story is new to me, as I have never registered the fact that the shrewd and cunning Thomas Howard, known to many as simply Norfolk, had a daughter named Mary Howard.

The story begins with Mary Howard’s vicious birth, and it is vicious because Norfolk is busy beating up Mary’s mother Elizabeth Stafford when she is in labor. The entire novel is full of Norfolk abusing the women in his life. His wife, his daughter, and then being the one main force behind both of his niece’s Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard wedding Henry, and eventually their demise. Mary Howard grows up under the thumb of her father, and she finds some comfort with her brother Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, until she realizes he is a chip off the old block. Initially, though, her brother and she enjoyed sharing poems with other literate members of the court. Through all the events of the wives of Henry, Mary is watching and trembling with fear throughout, but it is told with her fresh point of view and made me really care for Mary. It was a sad life for Mary, being unloved, until she finally is wedded to the admirable Henry Fitzroy, who was none other that the king’s own illegitimate son. Just when Mary thinks she will be able to have a life of her own and have babies, which is her deepest wish, her father decides that although they can marry each other, they cannot actually be together till he deems fit.

Mary watches her mother being beaten by Norfolk, and eventually the abuse moves towards Mary as well. These were hard scenes to get through, and displayed a lot of madness and cruelty of Norfolk. Mary is used as eyes and ears for Norfolk at court, and she witnesses the political machinations behind all the evil that occurs at the Tudor Court. It was not all Henry VIII’s doing, it had a lot of Thomas Howard’s hands in it. This is not a depiction that is any way favorable on Thomas Howard by any stretch of the imagination, but makes one wonder what really went on behind the closed doors of the Tudor courts. Along with the relationship with her family, we are also subject to Mary’s friendships with her father’s long-standing mistress Bess Holland, and with friends at court such as Margaret Douglas who was a niece of Henry VIII constantly in the middle of court issues.

This was an impressive debut for Bogdan, covering a lot of material within the myriads of rumors and gossip of the courts, and I enjoyed it immensely. This is a wonderful addition to my Tudor fiction library, though not for those who would prefer more fact than fiction with regards specifically to the Tudors and the mention of some of the rumors that have since been believed as false. The reason they were included is because the author felt it would add to the atmosphere of the Tudor courts, since most of the rumors were believed to be fact at the time. The novel covers the reign of the queens Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves, Catherine Howard, and Catherine Parr, ending with Edward VI on the throne. As a complete and total Tudor junkie, I found that it was full of suspense, drama, and garnered my admiration for Lady Mary Howard, making me want to look for more information on this young woman who was witness to much of the turmoil of the Tudor courts, and daughter to the creator of many of the secrets of the Tudor courts.

This was my first read specifically for the Tudor Mania Reading Challenge which starts today. See the Challenge post and learn how you can win a book of your choice. Arleigh of and I read this at the same time and we were emailing each other back and forth about a lot of the events in the book. It is a great group read! Her review is here, as part of the Tudor Mania Challenge, so be sure to look for that.

Also, please visit the recent interview I posted with this author, which includes a giveaway for the Autographed finished copy of this book. If you like Tudor fiction, this is an absolute must read for you.


Filed under 2010 Releases, 2010 Review, Anne Boleyn, Catherine Howard, D.L. Bogdan, Thomas Howard: Norfolk, Tudor



Secrets of The Tudor Court by D.L. Bogdan
Available for purchase APRIL 27!!
PERFECT for the Tudor Mania Reading Challenge

It is with extreme pleasure that I welcome debut author, D.L. Bogdan to The Burton Review. I read this novel recently and will have my review posting here on May 1st as the kickoff review for my Tudor Mania Reading Challenge. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel that was told from a different point of view of the Tudor courts. Most Tudor readers recognize the title Norfolk, or the name Thomas Howard, because he was the 3rd Duke of Norfolk, Thomas Howard, a fearsome political force behind getting his nieces’ Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard to the throne as Queens of England. The story that Bogdan gives us is through the eyes of Norfolk’s daughter, Lady Mary Howard.  I always enjoy learning more about secondary characters of the Tudor court, and this Mary Howard was married to King Henry’s illegitimate son, Henry Fitzroy. Stay tuned for my review, but for now, let’s hear about Bogdan’s journey with Mary Howard:

What inspired you to tell the story of Mary Howard? Where had you first encountered her?

-I encountered Mary as a character who stood on the very fringes of the cast of several Tudor novels. The person who really fascinated me was her father, the 3rd Duke of Norfolk, Thomas Howard. But I wanted a gentler window into that history and found that telling a story that has become familiar to many through her unique perspective might be an interesting twist.

How hard was it to research for information on Mary Howard, as she is one of those more obscure members of the Tudor courts?

-It was like a wild goose chase but I ran into a lot of helpful people along the way, particularly Dr. David Head, who wrote THE EBBS AND FLOWS OF FORTUNE; the life of Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk. He helped steer me in some very interesting directions! Every source I encountered led me to more; I found that utilizing a lot of original sources, such as letters from the people involved (Eustace Chapuys, Surrey, Norfolk, his wife, and Thomas Cromwell) as well as transcripts from the various trials the most helpful. It really was one of the joyous processes of my life!

Mary is portrayed as having a close relationship with her cousins Queen Anne and Queen Catherine Howard. Have you come across evidence that this may be true? Was she a lady-in-waiting to both of these queens?

-Yes, Mary was a lady in waiting to both of her cousins. How close she was to them in actuality, I really am not sure. I inferred because her father was such a key figure in the lives of both of these women that she would have been particularly involved with them as well. This is where I had to step in as an entertainer rather than historian and fill in some gaps!

Although you give a specific reason in the novel, why do you think Mary didn’t marry after her first husband died?

-I believe her brother Surrey had a lot to do with it. He stridently objected to any union with the Seymours, which seemed Mary’s only documented prospect, and as Mary appeared to be a dutiful member of the Howard family, she may have been too intimidated by the strong personalities around her to make another match.

Your depiction of Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk, shows signs of tenderness at rare times, yet he is a very dark character. How true to life do you think this portrayal is?

-There is a lot more information about Thomas Howard’s personality than Mary’s. Through Dr. Head’s work, as well as letters from Eustace Chapuys, ambassador to Charles V and an intimate of Henry VIII’s court, I was able to discern a great deal about the complexities of the duke. The most helpful sources of all were letters exchanged between him and his fiery wife, Elizabeth, as well has her exchanges with Thomas Cromwell, along with the testimony given by her, his mistress Bess Holland, and Mary herself for his trial.

Although your novel includes some of the famous myths regarding the Tudor courts, such as Anne Boleyn’s sixth finger, what are your personal thoughts on them?

-Honestly, I think a lot of those myths were probably stirred up at the time for sheer sensationalism, just as any contemporary public figure is found subject to them today. Fact and fiction seem to be inexorably intertwined in the myths and legends of the Tudor court and I incorporated some of them for the sake of entertainment.

You mention George and Jane Boleyn having a son. He is rarely mentioned in Tudor fiction and I would love to know if you remember where you had first picked up this fact.

-There are some references to it in other works of fiction, as well as a vague reference to it in an online family tree; however it listed the child as “baby boy Boleyn” so if there really was a child, I assume it likely did not survive to adulthood. It is true there are barely any mentions of a child in more well known sources which may make it just another Tudor myth . . .

Have you been lucky enough to have visited England? If so, what was your favorite event of the visit?

-I did, years before I ever knew it would be the subject of my novels (thank God I’m compulsive enough to take notes anyway!). My favorite part of the visit was Westminster Abbey. It made me feel so small and a little insignificant under the weight of so much history . . . but it was exhilarating to stand where so many key figures in history stood!

Do you have a favorite wife of Henry VIII that you enjoy reading about?

-That’s a tough one. I find each of his wives extremely fascinating in their own right. I admire Catherine of Aragon’s uncompromising beliefs and Anne Boleyn’s sharp wit. I find Jane Seymour’s timid but compassionate nature endearing, and was stirred to pity for Anne of Cleves, who was so far from home and so unwanted. Catherine Howard’s naivete and typical teen antics were at once delightful and tragic, and Catherine Parr’s intelligence and ability to survive what most didn’t at her time was inspiring. So, the short answer would have been to say I like them all!

Who are some of your favorite Tudor period authors?

-I adore Robin Maxwell’s work, Alison Weir, along with every one’s favorite courtly author Jean Plaidy.

What is next in the works for your writing? Any more Tudor inspired novels coming our way?

Yes, I do have some works up my sleeve. In 6-9 months my second book, as yet untitled, will be released by Kensington, which is about Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk, his wife Elizabeth, and his mistress Bess Holland, and told from all 3 perspectives. I am especially proud of this work because I had a wealth of research to aid me and I feel it is very historically accurate. There are also a few other projects I am working on, so this isn’t the last you will hear from me!

I was so excited to hear she is working on her next Tudor novel! I am thrilled to have another successful Tudor author to look forward to. And I am even more excited to offer my followers a chance to WIN a SIGNED finished copy of Secrets of the Tudor Courts by D.L. Bogdan, courtesy of this very generous author! USA and Canada residents ONLY.

All you have to do is tell me what intrigues you about Tudor fiction!

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Giveaway ends May 14! Good Luck!! My review is posted here.
Edited to add that Jennifer at Rundpinne was the winner, congrats!


Filed under 2010 Releases, Author Post, D.L. Bogdan, Thomas Howard: Norfolk, Tudor