Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Queen's Governess by Karen Harper

"Anne Boleyn gave me life, but Kat Ashley gave me love," said Elizabeth I of her beloved governess, Katherine "Kat" Ashley. And Ms. Harper's novel gives a voice to that woman whose name is known to almost anyone interested in the flame-haired Tudor queen but about whom little is actually known. Now, through a finely meshed weaving of facts and fiction we learn how the daughter of an obscure beekeeper in Devon rose to the rank of royal governess. I won't go into details here to avoid spoiling it for readers, but I will assure you that there is plenty of danger, drama, romance, and royal intrigue along the way, and I was never disappointed.
As both a longtime reader of historical novels set in Tudor England and as the author of one myself (The Boleyn Wife) I know that it's hard to find anything truly new about the Tudors, but this felt fresh rather than like just another recycling of the same old story.
I would particularly like to mention Ms. Harper's fictional explanation for Kat Ashley's behavior during the infamous flirtation between the young Elizabeth and Thomas Seymour, it is refreshingly new, and those who are tired of reading about smart women making fools of themselves over Tom Seymour may enjoy this new take on the old tale.

I thoroughly enjoyed "The Queen's Governess" and think it deserves special mention as a stand-out read amongst the breeding like bunnies ranks of Tudor fiction.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

New Review of The Boleyn Wife

Read a new review of The Boleyn Wife at which discusses my portrayal of Lady Rochford's character as well as her voyeuristic tendencies.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Confusion Over The Boleyn Wife and The Tudor Wife

It has recently been brought to my attention that some of my readers have mistakenly purchased THE TUDOR WIFE by Emily Purdy together with THE BOLEYN WIFE by Brandy Purdy through some online retailers.

As I have previously explained on this blog, these are different editions of the same novel--the titles and my first name, as well as the cover art, were changed for the different editions and were in no way designed to deceive readers. Please note that THE BOLEYN WIFE was also originally self-published as VENGEANCE IS MINE.

My publishers in both America and abroad are working with Amazon to correct the problem.

I sincerely apologize for any confusion this may cause, and to anyone who ordered both books without realizing they are the same.

Brandy Purdy

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin

One of the strangest most haunting and disturbing love stories I have ever encountered is that of Lewis Carroll (the pen name of Charles Lutwidge Dodsgon) and his child muse Alice Liddell whom he immortalized and kept forever young as "Alice In Wonderland."
When Alice was eleven years old something happened--precisely what we do not know, the pages that might have told us have been cut from Dodgson's diary--that abruptly ended their special friendship. Dodgson would spend the rest of his life befriending and taking some rather disturbing photographs of other little girls as if he were searching for another Alice. The story he told her one lovely afternoon, which she begged him to write down just for her, he eventually published as "Alice In Wonderland," and later followed with a sequel "Through The Looking Glass" as this was the only means by which he could maintain a tenuous bond with Alice, though he never seemed to be able to accept that the child he had loved had become a woman, wife, and mother. Still, he sent her an inscribed copy of each and every edition of the book, including foreign languages ones.

Historians still debate whether the shy, stuttering Oxford mathematics don was teetering, albeit chastely, on the brink of pedophilia, but in the pages of Ms. Benjamin's haunting and evocative novel, he appears to be just that, spellbound and enraptured by his dreamchild as he helps her shed the multi-layered garments of a typical Victorian child and don a gypsy girl's beggarly rags over her nakedness then watches as she romps and rolls on the grass before he takes that unsettling photograph of the dark-haired sprite with the knowing eyes.

"Alice I Have Been" gives that unwitting muse a voice, a voice that grows increasingly weary and frustrated as she ages with being identified as "Alice In Wonderland," and tries to escape it. She never even reads the book, refusing even when her own son climbs onto her lap and asks her to read it to him. She is always aware of Lewis Carroll's sad and haunting stare following her from afar as she falls in love with a Prince, Leopold, the youngest son of Queen Victoria, endures heartbreak as her beloved sister dies and her romance crumbles, in part due to the scandal and whispers surrounding the mysterious unexplained rift and estrangement from Carroll, and eventually marries a country gentleman, Reginald Hargreaves, and bears him three sons. While Carroll himself grows older and greyer alone in musty rooms, saddened because "all my child friends grow up and leave me!" and still dreaming of Wonderland where Alice will never really grow up and he can still have her.

"Alice I Have Been" is a well-written historical novel that gives readers a window into the private world of a woman who never meant to be anyone's muse and never wanted fame and often found its effects detrimental to her personal happiness. It is also a fascinating tale for anyone who likes to know the stories and inspirations behind the books we read and remember.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Presenting Tabby in Cat Couture

Tabby: If life is like a stage and we're all merely players then it's all about what will I wear next; right?

A simple pink t-shirt for basic, everyday wear.

The Sweater Girl: Tell Me The Truth Purrlease, Do These Stripes Make Me Look Fat?

For evening wear you simply can't go wrong with sparkly hot pink!

Yawn! Modeling is such hard work!

Coming soon to a theatre near you: SLEEP OF THE DEVIL CAT!

If Piers Gaveston is the Lord of Misrule in mommy's book (THE CONFESSION OF PIERS GAVESTON) then I'm her Lady of Misrule, and with this court jester cap and collar I'm also all set for Mardi Gras!

But, on the other hand...I think I'd rather just go to sleep.

With the exception of the court jester's cap, Tabby has been dressed for this photo shoot in a lavish wardrobe purchased from