Wednesday, December 5, 2018
Queen Anne Stuart Part Two ~ The Cinderella Princess by Rosemary Morris
Click on the cover to discover more about this title and Rosemary's other titles.
Author’s Note My novel, Far Beyond Rubies, in which the heroine is another Cinderella, is set in Queen Anne Stuart’s reign 1702 – 1714.
Princess Anne’s mother died. Her father, James, Duke of York, had taken the unpopular decision to become a Roman Catholic. Her uncle, the childless King Charles II, knew politics demanded his heirs, Anne and her elder sister, Mary, be raised in the Protestant faith. He appointed Lady Frances Villiers, a committed Anglican, as their governess and leased Richmond Palace to Frances and her husband.
The princesses benefited from country air and were privileged to live by the Thames in the days when due to bad roads the river was of great importance.
Anne’s indulgent father visited his daughters regularly, showered them with gifts and often stayed for several nights at Richmond Palace. Yet all was not well with the family. In 1673, due to the Test Act, which excluded anyone who did not take communion in the Anglican Church from public office, James was forced to resign as Lord High Admiral and to give up all his other official positions. In that age of fervent religious allegiances, I wonder what effect religious controversy had on Anne, a stubborn child.
What did Anne think when her father married fifteen-year-old Mary of Braganza? History relates that James was captivated by his bride. Looking at a copy of her portrait, I’m not surprised. She was tall with a good figure, jet black hair, a fair skin and large eyes that her contemporaries at court described as ‘full of sweetness and light’. The proud bridegroom introduced his new wife to his daughters as a ‘playmate’, but Anne formed a bond, not with her stepmother, whose children would be raised in the Roman Catholic faith, but with vivacious Sarah Churchill, who would have such a profound influence on Anne’s life.
Motherless Anne, a Protestant ‘Cinderella’ of her era, has all the ingredients of a fictional heroine, but – a member of the tragic Stuart family - what would she make of her life?
Extract from Far Beyond Rubies
“Bastards, Juliana! You and your sister are bastards.”
Aghast, Juliana stared at William, her older half-brother, although, not for a moment did she believe his shocking allegation.
It hurt her to confront William without their father at her side. At the beginning of April, she and Father were as comfortable as ever in his London house. Now, a month later, upon her return to her childhood home, Riverside House, set amongst the rolling landscape of Hertfordshire, his body already lay entombed in the family crypt next to her mother’s remains. Would there ever be a day when she did not mourn him? A day when she did not weep over his loss?
A cold light burned in the depths of William’s pebble-hard eyes.
Juliana straightened her neck. She would not bow her head, thus giving him the satisfaction of revealing her inner turmoil.
William cleared his throat. His eyes gleamed. “Did you not know you and your sister were born on the wrong side of the blanket?”
Anger welled up in her. “You lie. How dare you make such a claim?”
Hands clasped on his plump knees, William ignored her protestation. “You now know the truth about your whore of a mother,” he gloated.
Well, she knew what William claimed, but did not believe him. “You are wicked to speak thus. My mother always treated you kindly.”
“As ever, you are a haughty piece.” William’s broad nostrils flared. Anger sparked in his eyes. “My dear sister, remember the adage: ‘Pride goes before a fall’. However, do not look so worried. I shall not cast you out without the means to support yourself.”
William rang the silver handbell. When a lackey clad in blue and gold livery answered its summons, he ordered the man to pour a glass of wine.
Juliana watched William raise the crystal glass to his lips. What did he mean? How could she maintain herself and her sister? She had not been brought up to earn a living.
She looked away from her half-brother to glance around the closet, the small, elegantly furnished room in which she kept her valuables and conducted her private correspondence before her father’s death.
Now it seemed, William, the seventh Baron Kemp, and his wife, Sophia, had sought to obliterate every trace of her by refurbishing the closet. Where were her books and her embroidery frame? Where was Mother’s portrait? Rage burned in the pit of her stomach while she looked around her former domain. Juliana wanted to claw William’s fat cheeks. It would please her to hurt him as he was hurting her. No, that wish was both childish and unchristian. She must use her intelligence to defeat him.
Five Star Review of Far Beyond Rubies
When reading Far Beyond Rubies, I felt I had stepped into the 18th century. Ms Morris has done her homework to bring us such a rich story with all the historic background and social graces of the era. I especially loved her description of the gentlemen's fancy outfits. They dressed as brightly as male peacocks and wore make-up and wigs that even outshone the ladies of the day.
The dialogue filled with authentic words used in that time period and the way her characters expressed themselves added to the enjoyment of the story telling. I read the book on my Kindle and truly appreciated the dictionary just a click away to find the definition of the words used in that time period.
I wasn't familiar with the history of England, so I enjoyed learning about kings, queens, and politics etc. The author made it easy to understand. The sweet romance was filled with interesting characters and so many secrets.
I would recommend this book for lovely escape reading and for the historical value.
About Rosemary Morris
Writing a novel is a solitary occupation. Every day, I am alone with my desktop working for at least eight hours, When I am not thus engaged, I read and post e-mails, write blogs, deal with business and study historical non-fiction to research the romantic historical novel which I am writing. I visit places of historical interest to convey the lives and times of the characters in my novels. The protagonists in my tales of times past are not 21sr characters in costume.
As a historical novelist I don’t think it is possible to portray every minute fact about the past accurately, but I have a responsibility my readers to thoroughly research the era in which my novels are set. In addition to reading non-fiction and making detailed notes, I visit libraries, museums, stately homes and other places of historical interest.
When my words flow well, I am tempted to work for many hours without a break. That would be detrimental. Writing is mentally and physically tiring, so I have a five-minute break every hour, during which I stretch and exercise my eyes. If the weather permits, I work in my organic garden. I also visit the health suite at the leisure centre to enjoy the jacuzzi, steam room and sauna. Water aerobics are beneficial, but I’m not keen on the loud modern music played to encourage the participants to keep up the pace.
I don’t want to be a writer in a garret but sometimes I wish I lived in an ivory tower with nothing to distract me from my imaginary companions. However, the daily chores, cleaning, washing clothes, shopping etc., keep my feet on the ground, so does time with family and friends.
Novels by Rosemary Morris
Early 18th Century novels: Tangled Love, Far Beyond Rubies, The Captain and The Countess
Regency Novels False Pretences, Sunday’s Child, Monday’s Child, Tuesday’s Child, Wednesday’s Child and Thursday’s Child. Friday’s Child to be published in June 2019
Mediaeval Novel Yvonne Lady of Cassio. The Lovages of Cassio Book One
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