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Thursday, March 6, 2014

"The Boleyn Bride" by Brandy Purdy~A Woman's Perspective



From carefree young woman to disillusioned bride, the dazzling lady who would become mother and grandmother to two of history’s most infamous queens, has a fascinating story all her own…

At sixteen, Elizabeth Howard envisions a glorious life for herself as lady-in-waiting to the future queen, Catherine of Aragon. But when she is forced to marry Thomas Boleyn, a wealthy commoner, Elizabeth is left to stagnate in the countryside while her detested husband pursues his ambitions. There, she raises golden girl Mary, moody George, and ugly duckling Anne–while staving off boredom with a string of admirers. Until Henry VIII takes the throne…

When Thomas finally brings his highborn wife to London, Elizabeth indulges in lavish diversions and dalliances–and catches the lusty king’s eye. But those who enjoy Henry’s fickle favor must also guard against his wrath. For while her husband’s machinations bring Elizabeth and her children to the pinnacle of power, the distance to the scaffold is but a short one–and the Boleyn family’s fortune may be turning.

Praise for the novels of Brandy Purdy:

"Recommended for readers who can't get enough of the Tudors and have devoured all of Phillipa Gregory's books."  Library Journal

"Purdy wonderfully reimagines the behind-the-scenes lives of the two sisters."
Historical Novel Review on The Tudor Throne


     Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corporation
  • Publication date: 2/25/2014
  • Pages: 272
  • Genre:  Historical Fiction
  • Author:  Brandy Purdy
  • Website:  http://www.brandypurdy.com



    Please see her website and blog for more insights into this interesting author!


    The Bookish Libraria is delighted to have Ms Purdy here to answer some questions for us about herself and her work.  Welcome, Brandy!!

    1)      Tell us something about yourself, please.  How do most people describe you?


    The truth is very few people know me well enough to really describe me. I tend to come off as very quiet, shy, and reserved, or, to put it bluntly, boring, the kind of person most people wouldn’t like to get to know; putting myself forward is the hardest thing for me as both an author and a person. Treatment-resistant depression is the bane of my existence, so I do go through many dark, overwhelming periods, but I also have a few good points, I’m very warm and loving, and I love to laugh and learn new things. I’m 38 years old, and I love to spend time with my cat, Tabby, read, write, watch classic movies, try my hand at different creative projects, and bake red velvet cakes from scratch. That pretty much sums it up.


    2)      Briefly, from where did the idea for your novel germinate?


    The ideas come to me in all sorts of ways, I never know where I will find inspiration, for The Boleyn Bride I was intrigued by Elizabeth Boleyn’s seeming absence from her daughters’ lives, so very few facts are actually known about her and there are a few tantalizing rumors of her immorality that have down to us; though historians tend to believe this was intended more as another means to blacken Anne’s name at the height of the divorce scandal. I also wanted to explore the idea of the emotionally absent mother and Elizabeth Boleyn seemed an ideal character for that. Of course, it’s important to stress my portrayal of her is fictional, so little is actually known about her, she might have been the most loving mother in the world, history just failed to record it.



    3)      Who first told you you could write well, and how did it affect you?


    The readers who read my first two novels, which were self-published (The Confession of Piers Gaveston and Vengeance Is Mine, which later was bought by Kensington and re-titled The Boleyn Wife). I was gambling on myself when I took the chance and put my work out there, I had no idea how it would be received; I’m glad so many people have been kind enough to write to me and tell me that they’ve found entertainment and enjoyment, and sometimes even meaning or an emotional connection, in the pages of my books. Knowing that means so much to me.


    4)      Which contemporary authors do you most admire?


    That’s a very difficult one, I tend to be more story rather than author oriented; I will read anything, fiction or non-fiction, that grabs my attention.



    5)      Who are your favorite classical authors?


    It’s the same with classical as well as modern; I tend to focus more on story. When I was a little girl in 4th grade I found a huge dictionary at a yard sale and it had a list of the 100 greatest books of all time in the back and I worked my way through them over the next couple of years. Unlike most of the kids I went to school with, I didn’t complain when our English teacher assigned us a classic to read, it always intrigued me, I never believed publishers kept books in print 100 years or more just to torture school children, so there must be more to it than that, to why that particular book had endured while so many others written at the same time had been forgotten, and I wanted to find out why.


    6)      What was your first book as a child?  What’s your all time favorite book?


    Gone With The Wind, it’s my favorite book and movie, and it was also the first adult level book I read so it has a special place in my heart; I was about nine or ten when I read it the first time all the way through. I started reading adult level books early, and to be honest I don’t really remember the children’s books very well, though I must have had them. I know I used to go to the library and get books about the history of costume filled with old fashion plates and engravings and those big coffee table books filled with glamour stills of the classic movie stars and antiques and art and ancient Egyptian treasures and things like that and spend hours pouring over them even when the text was years beyond me. I’ve always been very visual.  


    7)      Read any good books in the past 6 months?


    I’ve actually been doing research mostly so I haven’t had much time for reading for pleasure; that sometimes happens depending on what I am working on. While I was recovering from surgery recently I did reread two old favorites: The Razor’s Edge by Somerset Maugham and Nightmare Alley by William Lindsay Gresham. I’m currently reading, off and on, as it’s more of a reference book without a continuous plot, so it’s easy to put down and take up again, The Encyclopedia of the Exquisite An Anecdotal History of Elegant Delights by Jessica Kerwin Jenkins; I adore books like this as I love learning the history and symbolism behind objects and customs.


    8)      What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?


    Being a caregiver and watching my mother die and being powerless to do anything to change things. I haven’t had much actual work experience, as she became ill right after I graduated high school and then after her death I started writing.



    9)      What’s your earliest memory?


    Falling down. I have very vivid memories of learning to walk, I must have been about a year old, and it was Easter, and I was wearing a frilly white dress with little pink tulips on it and a big puffy skirt and I kept falling down at an Easter Egg hunt in our front yard and getting grass stains all over it.


    10)   What’s your most treasured possession?


    My cat Tabby, of course, she’s the love of my life. But if you mean material possessions--my good luck charm: I love the 1938 film “Marie Antoinette,” it’s the most magnificent piece of cinematic eye candy ever made in my opinion, the costumes and casting are marvelous, and seeing it at a young age further fueled my developing interest in history and historical fiction. When I review a book about Marie Antoinette on my blog, watch out, I have a tendency to go overboard and include lots of photos from that film. Anyway, I had the very good fortune to obtain a postcard from 1938 with a photograph of Norma Shearer costumed as Marie Antoinette and Tyrone Power as Count Fersen that was autographed by Tyrone Power, I consider this my good luck charm, and it sits in a little frame on my desk, beside my computer, and is always with me when I write.


    11)   Are you working on a new novel?


    Yes, but I tend to be a bit superstitious about not talking about works in progress, so I hope you’ll forgive me for not going into detail just now. But I will say, it is a departure from medieval and Tudor England, I’m venturing into an entirely different era. And, for the first time since my first novel, The Confession of Piers Gaveston, I’m writing from a male as well as a female perspective. The books I write that I love best are the ones that challenge me, and I’m very excited about this one and hope readers will be too.
    Fabulous interview!  I have the same reaction to Marie Antoinette and that film and Norma Shearer!  Can't wait to see what you're new novel will be. 


    Naturally, one of my favorite genre, and I wasn't disappointed by reading this novel.  Brandy Purdy has a stream of good books to choose from.  All of them are excellent.  She writes like a historian with the captivating tone of a storyteller.  There are few who can really pull this off as well as she does.  From the first paragraphs, I was caught in her web of intrigue and couldn't pull myself loose.  This is a book you will thoroughly enjoy even if you think you've already read all about the Boleyns.
    I can tell you, Ms Purdy has found a way to let you know you haven't!

    This book is told mostly in narrative form.  It made me feel I was sitting at the fireside of a castle with Elizabeth Boleyn and hearing her tales of her daughters' and her own life.  It holds a new perspective on the famous Boleyn girls; yes, but it also gives us a perspective of the mother who raised them and often neglected them.  It was mesmerizing.  If you've always wondered as I have where they got their backbone, beauty and charm...this is a novel that explains much of that.  We also see the seductions of men and the English court from another perspective.

    Brandy Purdy writes with a veteran's hand.  She is well-versed in the times, the settings and the nuances of the Tudor age.  All this makes her story come to life.  If you want to slip into a season of Tudor England, all you have to do is enter her book for a few hours and you're there.

    I loved this novel!  I think you who read historical fiction regularly will too.

    5 stars                         Deborah/TheBookishDame



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