Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Spanish Bridegroom

For a Queen's Love by Jean Plaidy
I love it when new Jean Plaidy books are released. Actually released its quite correct, released would be better. See, Jean Plaidy died in the early 1990s, and most of her books were published throughout the 50s and the 70s. Most of the books have gone out of print, but they are slowly being republished.

This book tells the story of King Phillip II of Spain and his first three wives. The first Maria Manoela, whom he has somewhat of a childhood romance with. The second Queen Mary Tutor of England, a marriage made strictly for politically again. And the third Elizabeth Valois of France, daughter of Catherine di Medici, another marriage made for political reasons like most royal marriages. However, helped by the fact his wife was 3 years younger than himself, he did seem to fall a bitin love with her.

What I love about this book, and all Jean Plaidy books in general, is that while they are historical fiction they read a bit biography. They aren't written to have a big mystery, or a great plot twist, instead she simply tells the story of their lives. While some of her characters don't have the most interesting lives, I still enjoy them and love that I'm able to learn a little bit with each of her novels.

One reason I felt I was able to learn so much from this book especially is because its about of topic I haven't read a lot about. I read tons of books about England during this period, but few about Spain, so it was nice to see this period from a different point of view. And while there were a lot of new historical persona for me, its always fun to read about figures I've read before, for example Mad Queen Juana, who I read about in C.W. Gortner's The Last Queen, and Diane de Poitiers, who I discovered in Diane Haeger's Courtesan. It's almost like reacquainting yourself with an old friend, and its always neat to see a different author's take on an old character.

I definitely wound up enjoying, more than a lot of Jean Plaidy's other books even. Even without any grand gestures or climaxes I still wasn't able to put it down. And I can't wait to read her next book, which has thankfully already been (re)released!


1 comment:

  1. I have never heard of this author - thanks for highlighting her. My friend loves historical fiction so I should tell her about this author (and check out her books as well). I love when I learn something while reading a book!