10 Books to Entertain and Enrapture Reign Fans Waiting for Season Four

Season 3 of the CW’s Reign is a wrap, and fans are in mourning—and not just over the death of . . . no wait, no spoilers in case some of you have DVRed the Season Finale but not watched it yet. No what’s really got fans crying are the ugly rumors that Summer 2017 is the earliest Reign will return. What will we all do for our 16th century French/Scottish fix in the intervening months?

Never fear, mes amiesAn evening with the feisty-yet-tragic Mary Queen of Scots, or the cunning Catherine de Médicis is only a bookstore (or library) visit away.

I’ve combed through my personal shelves and reached out to some book blogger friends to compile this list of TEN BOOKS TO ENTERTAIN AND ENRAPTURE REIGN FANS while the show is on hiatus (and I want you all to remember I scooped Buzzfeed Books on this one). These books will take you to the intrigue-filled French and Scottish courts, and satiate your cravings for things royal:

#1 Médicis Daughter by Sophie Perinot: It is my blog, so I get to lead with my book but that’s not naughty because the critics agree the book is oh so nice—

“Brilliant.  This is what I call a ‘WOW’ book.”  “I have re-read this book not once but TWICE, it’s that good!!!”~Book Lovers’ Paradise

This novel of Valois family dysfunction, political treachery, forbidden love and bloodiest massacre in French history has been called, “A riveting page-turner skillfully blending illicit liaisons and political chicanery.” (~Kirkus Reviews). It was selected as one of Goodreads “Best Books of the Month: December 2015” (the month it released), and also as a B&NReads, December’s Top Pick in Fiction.

More importantly for Reign fans, Amazon reviews suggest Médicis Daughter “would be a great gift for any … fan of the show Reign.”

Médicis Daughter takes readers into the post-Francis Valois landscape (which is precisely where Season 3 left us hanging). With King Charles IX on the throne and Catherine de Médicis pulling the strings and plotting the plots (some things never change), you KNOW there will be plenty of dark and dirty. Viewed through the eyes of the youngest Valois Princess, Marguerite, the court comes alive. As Erin at Flashlight Commentary (see her book recommendation at #7 below) says: “Atmospherically, the novel swept me off my feet. Perinot’s depiction of the French court was beautifully drawn and I was wholly captivated by both the political and social interaction that unfolded among its players.” [Erin’s full review is here].

♥Recommended for Reign fans who enjoy the lush, dark side of the Valois court—the poisonings, the sexual decadence, the back-room deals—and also those who rooted for Princess Claude to outmaneuver her domineering mother.♥

#2 The Serpent and the Moon by HRH Princess Michael of Kent: Instead of heading forward, travel backward to the pre-Reign Valois world with this fascinating volume of popular history. This book relates the true story of the battle between Catherine de Médicis and Diane de Poitier for the heart of, and influence over King Henri II of France.

There are so many fascinating-but-at-the-same-time-creepy details here for Reign fans to enjoy. From the moment 14-year-old Catherine arrives as a bride to discover her handsome young husband already in the thrall of a woman who was present at his birth (I told you it was creepy), through the humiliating and disgusting remedies by which she attempted to combat a decade of childlessness, up to Catherine’s vengeful taking of Château Chenonceau from Diane after Henri’s death (and the evidence of the black arts that Diane found when she took possession of the Chateau she was given in exchange) this book will illuminate Catherine to her fans and foes alike.

Need a tempting detail? How about this: Catherine summoned an Italian carpenter to the Place of Saint-Germain where her bedroom was immediately above that of her husband’s mistress. She had two holes made in the floor of her room and then watched Diane and Henri in bed, sobbing later to friends that “her husband had ‘never used her so well.’”

♥This is a book for Reign fans who miss the old Henri-Catherine-Diane love/power triangle days. And for those who don’t want to read about “what’s next” in Mary’s story for fear of spoiling the plots in Season 4.♥

 BOOKS REIGN FANS

#3 Courtesan by Diane Haeger:  Another excellent choice for Reign fans who want to harken back to the days of Catherine versus Diane, this historical novel was recommended by Esther of Drink Read Love (want to get savvy reviews coupled with wine pairings? This is a blog for you).  Esther calls Courtesan a “tapestry” weaving “the story of the passionate—if somewhat scandalous—romance between Diane de Poitiers and King Henri II of France” while managing to portray “the complexities of the situations which she [Diane], Catherine de Medici, and Prince-turned-King Henri find themselves pushed into.” You can read Esther’s full review of Courtesan—which begins with Henri III’s father Francis I still on the throne—here.

♥Recommended for fans of Reign wanting to go back a generation and see Henri, Catherine and Diane when they were as young (and crazy in love) as Frary were when Reign started.♥

#4 The Raven’s Heart, by Jesse Blackadder: This recommendation is courtesy of Erin at Oh, For the Hook of a Book (awesome book blog with well-considered reviews and lots of special features) who says of the novel, “It was such a phenomenal read. . . a book that will haunt my soul for a longtime.”  And it is seconded by Meg of Bookish Affair (brilliant book blog, follow it if you read historical fiction or historical non-fiction avidly) who “thought the author did a great job of bringing Mary to life.”

Set immediately after the widowed Queen Mary’s returns to Scotland, The Raven’s Heart covers her tumultuous struggle to wrest back control of her throne. While the novel’s main character is actually a young woman sent to Court to befriend the Queen and try to win back her family lands, Erin at Oh, For . . . says the author “painted a . . . personal picture of Mary, Queen of Scots. . . a woman in a man’s world who needed to be extra strong to gain respect . . . .” Erin further felt that Blackadder effectively portrayed the gentle side of Mary, making it easy for readers to see how “she managed to make everyone around her love her” and to inspire loyalty.

Read Erin’s full review here. And find Meg’s full review here.

♥Loyal fans of Mary on Reign pick this one up.♥

Catherine REAL and REIGN#5 The Confessions of Catherine de Medici by C.W. Gortner: This book includes “the most dramatic events of Catherine’s adult life including the 1572 Bartholomew’s Day massacre of Protestant Huguenots, vividly and chillingly depicted” (~Historical Novel.info). My book-blogger friend Meg at A Bookish Affair notes that, “Gortner is able to humanize the Queen as a person who had seen a lot of trauma in her life” and concludes that Confessions is “perfect for any history lover who wants to see Catherine de Medici in a new light.”  Publishers Weekly called Gortner’s novel, “”A remarkably thoughtful interpretation of an unapologetically ruthless queen,” and I must say I quite agree.

You can read Meg’s full review here.

♥Unapologetic Catherine admirers, this book is for you!♥

#6 Blood Between Queens by Barbara Kyle (part of her Thornleigh Saga): Do you enjoy a thriller element with your history? Have you been engrossed by the Mary vs. Elizabeth of England plotline in Reign? Then try this book. My friend Nancy Bilyeau (whose own series about Tudor-era England—beginning with The Crown–I adore) called Kyle’s book, “a fast-paced and exciting historical novel that plunges readers into the deadly rivalry of Elizabeth I and Mary Queen of Scots just as the beautiful three-time-married monarch had fled Scotland for her cousin’s kingdom.” If Nancy says it “captures the high-stakes politics of the Tudor court, depicting its most famous personages with both accuracy and imagination,” I guarantee you it does.

♥Recommended for Reign fans who can’t get enough of the Mary vs. Elizabeth battle.♥

#7 A Time For The Death Of A King by Ann Dukthas: Another book-blogger recommendation, this one special for this occasion from Erin of Flashlight Commentary, whose blog I read regularly for her articulate reviews. Dukhas’ YA novel is “one of those books I [Erin] intend to give my kids” (that’s a compelling recommendation). A true mystery investigation that sets out to settle the question of whether Mary Queen of Scots was a murderess, complicit in the death of her second husband, Lord Darnley, “readers will not be disappointed by the swift and lean narrative and the solutions to the historical puzzle Dukthas draws.” [Booklist] Erin loved the time-traveling detective at the center of this mystery, Nicholas Segalla, and“admire[d] how the author’s manipulation of the material deepened the mystery surrounding Darnley’s death while introducing young readers to the powerful legacy of Mary, Queen of Scots.”

♥This book is for the mystery readers among Reign fans, and for those who are ready for the next, Scottish, chapter of Mary’s life.♥

#8 Mary Queen of Scotland and The Isles by Margaret George:  I love me some Margaret George (in fact, I am eagerly awaiting her next novel due in 2017)! And I am not alone.  Margaret is an iconic figure in historical fiction circles (deservedly so), and more than two decades ago she wove this marvelous fictionalized account of Mary Queen of Scots life basically from womb to tomb. Meg of A Bookish Affair calls George’s novel, “an epic story with thrilling detail!” Kirkus Reviews had this to say of the book, “George has created a lively, gallant Mary of intelligence, charm, and terrible judgment . . . . a readable, inordinately moving tribute to a remarkable queen.” Sounds like OUR Mary, doesn’t it Reign-royals?!

♥Recommended for those who cannot get enough Mary (at nearly 900 pages, this should satisfy your Mary cravings while still keeping you enthralled)♥Mary REAL and REIGN

#9 The Little Book of Mary Queen of Scots by Mickey Mayhew: This petite (less than 200 pages) volume of popular history is comprised largely of contemporary anecdotes about Mary, and excerpts from letters and rare primary sources.  But does discuss our culture’s fascination with the Scottish Queen, including Reign.  Historical novelist Philippa Gregory called it, “A bright and breezy account of the complex life of Mary Stuart.”

♥This book is for those who want a non-fiction look at Mary’s life and who don’t have the time to invest in a long read.♥

#10 The Wild Queen: The Days and Nights of Mary, Queen of Scots by Carolyn Meyer (from the Young Royals series). I am closing out my list with this YA novel that comes to me TWICE recommended—first by a big-time Reign fan of my acquaintance (she’s also a history devotee who is always stumping her fellow fans with her “royal pop quizzes”) and second by Erin at Flashlight Commentary. Currently the Amazon #10 Best Seller in Teen & Young Adult Renaissance Historical fiction, this novel follows the recently widowed Mary home to Scotland where she hopes that a new husband will not only help her to secure not only her own throne but allow her to take the crown of England from her cousin, Elizabeth. Too bad, as the back cover reveals, “the love and security she longs for elude her . . . [and she] finds herself embroiled in a murder scandal that could cost her the crown.” Or rather too bad for Mary but NOT for Reign fans because if that doesn’t sound like an episode of the show I don’t know what does!

♥Recommended for Reign watchers wanting “what happens next” for Mary on Scottish soil right now—not in summer of 2017♥

Well that’s it Reign fans and reader-friends . . . ten different ways to get your fix while waiting for the CW to run the next episode. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the recommendations, and to learning which are your favorites. And in the meantime remember, the Valois are just plain sexier than the Tudors 😉

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Marguerite de Valois: Shinning a Light on a Much Maligned French Princess

Light is a frequent literary device. It can be an emblem of hope, a way to see what has been hidden, even a method of symbolically driving back demons.  This month a collection of historical novelists, including myself, have decided to use light in all those ways, by creating a weekly blog event (#LightOnOurLadies) to illuminate the historical women at the center of our writings. The main character in my next novel, Médicis Daughter, is profoundly in need of such illumination. 

History has not been kind to 16th century French Princess Marguerite de Valois. In fact, she has been quite viciously misremembered as a wanton and a woman without substance. Before I explain how I think that happened, please allow me to shine a little light on the real Marguerite.

Born at the Château of Saint-Germain overlooking the Seine, as her father had been before her, Marguerite (or Margot as she was affectionately called) was the eighth child of King Henri II of France and Queen Catherine de Médicis.  Described by the poet Ronsard as tall and graceful, with fine pale skin, sparkling black eyes, and chestnut hair, Margot stood out even at a Court renowned for its beauties. But she had more than looks going for her—far more. A true granddaughter of François I, Margot was highly intelligent. She loved books, and often got so swept away by them that she forgot to eat or sleep (sound familiar to anyone reading this?). As a mature woman, Margot was a serious and influential force in the literary life of France. A student of more than literature, Margot was a solid classics scholar. She spoke multiple languages fluently, and also had a genuine talent for public speaking. This she was frequently asked to do, often representing one royal brother or another. Finally Margot had a keen grasp of the fine points of statecraft. Arguably her political acumen exceeded that of her brothers, making her the most similar of all her siblings to her strong-willed, politically expert mother, Catherine de Médicis.

Why then, if Margot was as competent as she was pretty is she so little remembered? And when recalled, why is Margot depicted not as she was, but as lascivious and nearly amoral?

To put it simply, Marguerite de Valois was a victim of poor timing. She was born at the end of her dynasty.

When a royal house expires, its last years are generally recounted by people who have political and personal agendas that make it tempting to denigrate their predecessors. Such was the fate of Valois in the late 16th Century. Slander and denigration of royal family began during their lifetimes, largely fed by the tensions and rivalries of a vicious series of wars (the French Wars of Religion) that stretched from the early 1560s beyond the end of the Valois reign. No member of the Valois was exempt from the attacks of gossips, or from the writings of anonymous political pamphleteers.  Anti-Valois propagandists seeking to degrade Marguerite chose that easiest and most ancient path for destroying a woman: assertions of rabid sexual desire and wanton conduct.

Slanderous talk about Margot began early among her family’s enemies, but she owes most of the lasting defamation of her character to a single printed work, Le divorce Satyrique. This malicious pamphlet was composed in her lifetime.  It mocked and insulted Margot as it set out grounds for a proposed annulment of her marriage to Henri de Bourbon. Margot’s cousin/husband was no longer merely King of the Navarre, but King Henri IV of France—and a king in need of an heir. We all know that a King in need of an heir will do what it takes to be rid of a queen who cannot give him one.  So, grounds for an annulment were created and printed.  That such a piece of propaganda should have been taken up as fact and treated as history for so long may seem astounding to us today, but early chroniclers of the French court were often not particularly concerned with objectivity. Nor were early historians. As Robert Ja Sealy remarks in The Myth of the Reine Margot, “the documentary sources for our knowledge. . . were written during the wars of religion and, all too frequently are colored by political expediency . . .”  Objectivity as a goal rather than a veneer is a rather recent requirement for history and historians. Even some of the histories written in the 19th and early 20th centuries make no pretense at objectivity in recounting the period of the Wars of Religion. Rather, their authors unabashedly announce in their prefaces which side they are on. Margot, considered not a particularly important historical player, remained largely unexamined.  The myths about her grew and thrived in darkness.

In Médicis Daughter I’ve focused a strong and clear light on the historical Marguerite, creating a coming-of-age story that does her better justice than she received from Valois disparagers, or from those later historians who saw no reason to look more closely.  Médicis Daughter releases six weeks from today. To learn more about the book, visit the novel’s page at Amazon, or on Facebook.

 

And now,

As part of the Shining Light on Our Ladies Tour,  please meet my fellow authors Helen Hollick and Alison Morton… and their ladies

 Alison Morton is a woman after my own heart.

Raised by a feminist mother and an ex-military father, it never occurred to Alison Morton that women couldn’t serve their country in the armed forces. After six years, she left as a captain, having done all sorts of interesting and exciting things she can’t talk about, even now…

Fascinated by the complex, power and value-driven Roman civilisation since childhood, she wondered what a modern Roman society would be like if run by strong women…

Alison lives in France and writes award-winning Roman-themed alternate history thrillers with tough Praetorian heroines – INCEPTIO, PERFIDITAS, SUCCESSIO and now

…  AURELIA:  Late in 1960s, Aurelia is sent to Berlin to investigate silver smuggling, former Praetorian Aurelia Mitela barely escapes a near-lethal trap.  Her old enemy is at the heart of all her troubles and she pursues him back home to Roma Nova but he has struck at her most vulnerable point her young daughter. Please visit Alison (and Aurelia) to read more – and a chance to win a paperback copy of Aurelia

Helen Hollick is a fierce advocate for Indie Authors.

She lives on a thirteen-acre farm in Devon, England. Born in London, Helen wrote pony stories as a teenager, moved to science-fiction and fantasy, and then discovered historical fiction. Published for over twenty years with her Arthurian Trilogy, and the 1066 era, she became a ‘USA Today’ bestseller with Forever Queen. She also writes the Sea Witch Voyages, pirate-based fantasy adventures. As a supporter of Indie Authors she is Managing Editor for the Historical Novel Society Indie Reviews, and inaugurated the HNS Indie Award.

On her blog today Helen introduces some ladies from the Court of King Arthur, except this ‘court’ is set in 5th century Britain and her Gwenhwyfar, Morgause and Morgaine are very different from the ladies of the Medieval tales!

ENJOYING THE SHINING LIGHT ON OUR LADIES TOUR?  Then please join us again NEXT TUESDAY when we set sail with Captain Jesamiah Acorne’s ladies aboard Sea Witch, meet a lady surgeon disguised as a man aboard another ship, and are introduced to lady  blackmailed into marrying a knight….

 

 

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The Sister Queens Makes More “Best Of” Lists

While I was baking up a storm and wrapping gifts for friends and family I received a couple of very special year-end presents.  The Sister Queens made several  ”best of” lists” (in addition to the list at Let Them Read Books  mentioned in a previous post).

I am exceedingly flattered that The True Book Addict, has my debut keeping company with books by the likes of C.W. Gortner, Hilary Mantel and my good friend Nancy Bilyeau. Holly’s list at Bippity Boppity Book lets me rub elbows with Ken Follett and Diana Gabaldon (wow).  Book Drunkard’s “Top 12″  and Tanzinite’s Castle Full of Books  both also have me in very august company.   I am  thrilled that Kate Quinn, author of a brilliant trilogy set in ancient Rome that I personally devoured, also picked The Sister Queens as one of her 2012 favorites and Space Station Mir named me as one of her “Top Ten New-To-Me Authors for 2012.”  Finally, I feel very privileged that The Sister Queens made two of the “personal favorites” 2012 lists at Romantic Historical Lovers—Meagan’s and Jenny’s. 

Not so sound like The Count from Sesame Street, but by my reckoning that makes nine favorites lists  I am gobsmacked and grateful. Thank you to the book bloggers who did me such honor and thank you to all the readers who embraced my first novel so warmly!

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Forget Fifty Shades of a Certain Dark Color—How About Fifteen Reasons to Read The Sister Queens

On the fence about The Sister Queens?  Looking for a little persuasion—a reason to add it to your “To Be Read” pile?  Well, I am about to give you fifteen.

You see I keep a list of comments from reviewers—comments that rocked my world.  And I noticed the other day that, with the 4 month anniversary of its release just around the corner, my novel has received in excess of three dozen really super reviews from bloggers and book-related publications.  That’s not counting the more than one-hundred readers who have taken the time to write reviews for it at either Goodreads or Amazon.

So, at the risk of tooting my own horn most unbecomingly, I’ve decided to share a compendium of my favorite quotes grouped to support fifteen excellent reasons for any reader to take notice of The Sister Queens:

#1:  The Sister Queens is amazing—don’t take my word for it (I am a little partial), it has received a staggering amount of good reviews:

“This is the must read novel of the summer for anyone with a passion for historical fiction.” (Fresh Fiction)

THE SISTER QUEENS is probably my first Perfect 10 in well over a year—but it certainly merits at least that.(Romance Reviews Today)

“Word on the street (rather, consensus among historical fiction bloggers) is that this is an author to watch whose book is a page-turner, fast-paced, emotional, passionate, well-written and carefully researched.” (School Library Journal)

“Historical fiction lovers rejoice! A new and true talent has arrived on the scene!” (Let Them Read Books)

The Sister Queens is an amazing debut novel. Telling a story about history in a way that only the best historical fiction does.” (The True Book Addict)

I’ll be recommending this to everyone I know who loves historical fiction and putting this author on my “buy immediately” list for her future releases” (Bippity Boppity Book)

The Sister Queens is historic fiction at its absolute finest. I simply cannot wait to see what this author does next. She’s already won herself a spot on my list of favorite authors. In all of its colorful prose, deep and eccentric characters, and historical brilliance, this book can be summed up with one word: phenomenal. Brava!” (The Tulsa Book Review)

“In short, an excellent work of historical fiction . . . . Certainly the best I’ve read this year set in the Middle Ages. Highly recommended.” (Medieval Bookworm)

“This is one of the few historical fiction stories that I’ve read lately that I would consider a page-turner(Debbie’s Book Bag)

#2:  The story has it ALL:  Whatever you like in your historical fiction you are going to find it in the pages of The Sister Queens, a novel that spans 40 years and locations including England, France, Provence, Cyprus & the Holy Land.

“The Sister Queens has it all… court life, balls, rivalry, politics, love and lust; with the added element of it seeming so real to the reader as though watching a film.” (Peeking Between the Pages)

“This is an excellent slice of an extremely interesting period of time. We get the politics and social aspects of not one but two countries (always a bonus!) as well as in the latter part of the book, Louis’ crusade to the Holy Land.” (The Broke and the Bookish)

 #3  Rumor has it I can actually write:

“Sophie Perinot’s writing style is simple and honest and all the more eloquent for it.” (Let Them Read Books)

“I hope that Ms. Perinot is considering further books on unsung women in history as she does have a magical way with words. A way that brings long dead characters to very real life.” (Broken Teepee)

“I couldn’t believe that this is Sophie’s first book. It reads like it’s written by someone with years of writing experience and dozens of novels under their belt.” (Book Drunkard)

 “. . . this is a novel that I quickly lost myself in. It was written beautifully and Perinot does an amazing job of bringing these two characters to life.” (The Owl Bookmark)

Perinot’s writing is almost flawless, and she brings to rich life characters who lived more than 600 years ago, no small feat.” (Briar Patch Books)

Perinot is a great writer and I’m anxious to see what other books she comes out with in the future” (A Bookish Affair)

#4  So I am getting compared to some pretty well-known historical novelists (and I am both flattered and grateful):

“Fans of Philippa Gregory and Carolly Erickson will want to add this author to their collection.”  (Joplin Loves 2 Read)

“I was reminded of one of my favorite historical fiction authors, Sharon Kay Penman. (Although Ms. Perinot’s style is deliciously more sexy :)(Let Them Read Books)

“. . . Perinot’s writing style reminds me of my revered Jean Plaidy—that is high braise indeed from this reader. (historical-fiction.com)

#5  Historical fiction aficionados, fear not—reviewers find the novel rings true to its era and is well researched:

“Intriguing, thought-provoking, atmospheric and lushly detailed, this is a novel that rings true about the era . . . .” (The Romantic Times)

“It was a wonderful book and I cannot recommend it enough because of its realistic characters and the historical setting that it was obvious Perinot took years researching to create.”  (The Owl Bookmark Blog)

This book shows impeccable research and the ability to put those details to good use. To bring out the most important things and know what to leave out.” (Debbie’s Book Bag)

“In the writing of this book, I could tell that there was extensive research …into the lives of these two women and their families and they were portrayed as very real women who adored their children and would do anything to keep them safe and protect their heritage.” (A Celtic Lady’s Reviews)

“Marguerite and Eleanor are fully-fleshed out characters’ they are products of their time and place, which Perinot establishes in fine form.” (The Historical Novel Reviews)

“In transporting me back to the 13th century, Perinot allows modern sensibilities to fall away, and lets the truth of the time drive her sisters’ attitudes and ambitions. She doesn’t condescend to them by forcing an anachronistic desire to be the ‘equal’ of any king, these aren’t post-2000 Disney princesses. She inserts no speeches hinting at nascent feminism. Perinot finds her connection in a way that is human — not political — treating the protagonists with respect for who they were.” (The Slosh Pile)

 #6  The Sister Queens is NOT just for die-hard Historical Fiction fans:

“this book belongs on the shelf of anyone who loves the genre, and even those who are not regular readers of historical novels.” (The True Book Addict)

“Perinot hits the historical notes, but also speaks to modern women’s sensibilities(The Romantic Times)

“If you are a reader of historical fiction or a fan of Medieval romance, I highly recommend The Sister Queens. If you are neither but enjoy stories about the many relationships that define a woman, you may find more to like here than you expect.(Romance Dish)

 #7  That’s because the themes at the novel’s heart remain relevant today:

“While leading the life of a royal wife in the 13th century certainly has little bearing on life today, the relationships each sister shared with her husband, children, and extended family is certainly relevant to today’s reader.” (Books, Belles, and Beaux)

“Yes, Sophie Perinot’s debut THE SISTER QUEENS takes us through medieval battles, the crusades, and some juicy court politics, but it is truly a story about two women and their quest for fulfillment.(I Heart Words)

“This is a true coming-of-age story, a tale of sisterhood, relationships and of timeless womanhood. You will laugh and cry with them, want to scream at times and cheer at others.”  (The Tulsa Book Review)

#8  In particular, this is the PERFECT story for anyone who is and has a sister:

“Perinot shows her passion and love for these sisters and not only pays tribute to the historical time period, but the bond of sisterhood as well.  Anyone with a sister will feel something when they read this novel.” (The Pittsburgh Historical Fiction Examiner)

“The history is amazing, but the bond of sisterhood is perfect.”  (The Musings of a Book Junkie)

“Perinot makes you care about these characters. She nailed the bond that only sister’s can have. The love, the jealousy, and also the deep friendship.” (To Read or Not to Read)

“The story, its very heart and soul, stayed with me for many days after.  I think it resonates with me because of my relationship with my own dear sister. . . .”  (Romance Reviews Today)

“I would strongly recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of historical fiction and especially to those of you out there who have a sister – I saw so much of my sister’s and my relationship in these pages (I saw myself being Marguerite and my sister as Eleanor) and I was able to reflect upon our own relationship. (Onyx Book Chateau)

“This both takes sibling rivalry to a whole new level and shows the bonds that exist between sisters despite being separated by miles and country boundaries.” (Debbie’s Book Bag)

It’s in part the relationships between the sisters, though, that makes this an excellent book. Yes, they have their children and their husbands, but they also always have one another, and it’s the sort of heartwarming female relationship that doesn’t always dominate mainstream fiction in quite the way it should.(Medieval Bookworm)

“Perhaps the most endearing aspect of the book is the way in which author Sophie Perinot tenderly reveals the lives of sister queens Marguerite and Eleanor through their relationship with each other.” (Idyll Conversation)

 #9  I know it’s a long book, but you won’t be able to put it down:

“Ms. Perinot’s characterization of the two women is fascinating and I found it quite hard to put the book down; in fact, I read it in one sitting. I love writing that grabs you and won’t let you go like that.” (Broken Teepee)

“It’s very rare that it takes me only two days to read an historical fiction book (they’re notoriously 400 to 500+ pages), but that’s what I did.(Romance Reviews Today)

Although the novel is a little over five hundred pages, I wanted more!” (Peeking Between the Pages)

“At 500 pages, I felt I still could have read more. It wasn’t enough! (Oh for the Hook of a Book)

The pages of this read absolutely flew by at a pace much faster than my recent reads this year. This is a testimony to just how well written these characters were and how invested in their lives I became. You are simply sucked into all of the ups and downs that these women face.”  (The Maiden’s Court)

#10  Honestly, aren’t you a little tired of the Tudors?

“This was a wonderful read and one of my favorites so far this year. Move over Tudors, I think I have a new historical royal family obsession(Ageless Pages Reviews)

 #11  The Sister Queens will introduce you to two sisters of power and beauty who have been largely and inexplicably lost to time.  It may teach you a thing or two about 13th century history and will surely make your curious to find out more:

“Good historical fiction will incite the reader to investigate the historical figures coming alive in its pages.  The Sister Queens is one such book” (The True Book Addict)

How could these two amazing characters have been lost to history? Thank you, Ms. Perinot, for breathing life into these amazing women and sharing their beautifully crafted tale with the world.” (The Tulsa Book Review)

 #12  And it will have you looking at historical characters you thought you knew from new angles:

“I also like how Sophie Perinot gives readers a different perspective of Henry and Louis. She doesn’t just focus on what they did for their countries during their reigns, but looks deeper, focusing on the relationships they have with their wives and children. She shows that even if they might have been one of the most favored kings, they were not necessarily the best husband or father.” (Always with a Book)

#13  There are no cardboard characters here:

“Her two sisters, as well as their two kings, the wicked mother-in-law ~ White Queen Blanche of Castille, and the sisters’ children are so magnificently drawn. I could absolutely see them alive and feel their hearts’ emotions and motivations.(A Bookish Libraria)

“She gives her queens the freedom to be real women, with all of their hopes and dreams and triumphs and disappointments, yet she keeps them within the constraints of their time.” (Let Them Read Books)

“Another thing that really puts this novel above some others is that the author fleshes out all of her characters.” (Peeking Between the Pages)

“Not only does The Sister Queens tell an entertaining and well-researched story, it also boasts of characters who are multifaceted and interesting.”  (Broken Teepee)

“This is the type of book I am constantly looking for in the historical fiction genre, and rarely seem to stumble across; it’s very engaging from the outset, it’s lively to read with actualized characters in stead of cardboard historical cutouts . . . .” (Ageless Pages Reviews)

“Her characters felt real, especially those problematic kings, and I appreciated the way she tried to keep everyone human (save for, perhaps, Marguerite’s vile mother-in-law).” (Unabridged Chick)

#14  The Sister Queens is like a movie in your head (popcorn optional):

“one to mark down for the greatest of novels list. . .reads visually as a theatrical movie” (Oh, for the Hook of a Book)

#15  I still have book club spots available and I would be happy to join your group via Skype to discuss The Sister Queens:

“Whether or not you read The Sister Queens as your book club selection (which I believe would make a fascinating choice!), you should definitely read the reader’s guide with discussion questions.”  (Bags, Books & Bon Jovi)

Those are my fifteen reasons (whew).  If you were recommending The Sister Queens to a friend (and I sure hope you are) what would you tell her?  I’d love to know and to tempt you to share I am hosting a giveaway.  Share a reason you’d urge someone to add The Sister Queens to her/his TBR pile (or you’d like to add it to yours) in the comments below and you will be entered to win a signed copy :)

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It’s Launch Day Mes Amis!!!!

It is launch day at last!  I am off to celebrate at a luncheon including two of my favorite historical authors—Kate Quinn and Stephanie Dray.  But don’t hate me.

The truth is, launching a book involves more work (and sheer terror) than it does champagne.  And what launching a debut novel entails in this age of social media is one of the topics I discuss today at The Paperback Swap Other subjects on the table—why I chose to focus The Sister Queens on only two of the four daughters of Raymond Berenger, Count of Provence; a family controversy about whether I am more like Marguerite or Eleanor; and the book I am working on next.

Oh and you just might win a copy of The Sister Queens in the Paperback Swap giveaway.

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Greetings readers, writers, and history lovers of every type. My name is Sophie Perinot, and I am a multi-published novelist. Have a look in the “My Books” section of this website to discover my work.

I have three grand passions – writing, family, and history. As an author I draw upon these to write stories set against the past exploring issues and feelings so essentially human that they transcend any particular era.

When I pick up a novel I want to be diverted. When that novel takes me to
the past I also want to learn about the period in which it is set and the historical figures who people it. But most of all I seek stories and situations that resonate in my own life, giving me a better understanding of myself and others. What I desire myself as a reader I seek to provide to others as a writer. I hope that my novels will entertain, educate and elucidate.

This website is designed to supplement my books – offering you a behind-the-scenes glimpse of my writing process, extra information on settings and historical subjects relevant to my novels, and links to additional resources.   If you have wandered here as a fellow writer, I hope you will find my links to writing resources and writing-centric blog entries useful in your on-going creative journey. If you visit as a reader, please be in touch. I am always interested in readers’ thoughts and reactions to my work.

 

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RIBBONS OF SCARLET—ORDER NOW

Six bestselling and award-winning authors, including Sophie Perinot, bring to life a breathtaking epic novel illuminating the hopes, desires, and destinies of princesses and peasants, harlots and wives, fanatics and philosophers—six unforgettable women whose paths cross during one of the most tumultuous and transformative events in history: the French Revolution.

Ribbons of Scarlet is a timely story of the power of women to start a revolution—and change the world.

In late eighteenth-century France, women do not have a place in politics. But as the tide of revolution rises, women from gilded salons to the streets of Paris decide otherwise—upending a world order that has long oppressed them. [more]

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