From princesses to country girls to actresses…the loves of Charles II come to life.
Ten years after Charles I was deposed and executed, his son, Charles II, regains the throne after many years in exile. Charles is determined not only to restore the monarchy but also to revive a society that has suffered under many years of Puritan rule, when everything from theater to Christmas festivals was illegal. As king, Charles II throws himself into the gaiety of court life, becoming a patron of the arts and a consummate lover of women. He first secures a strong dynastic alliance by marrying Catherine of Braganza, a shy, plain Portuguese princess who falls in love with her handsome husband and brings him great wealth, but can never give him the son he longs for. For many years, his “untitled queen” is a bold and sensual older woman—Barbara, Countess of Castlemaine—whose husband is routinely paid to look the other way. But when the politically ambitious Lady Castlemaine becomes too powerful, she is replaced by Louise de Kéroualle, a baby-faced French noblewoman who may have been sent to Charles’s court as a spy. His other great love, and Louise’s rival, is Nell Gwyn, a stage actress who rises from the streets of London to become the king’s favorite and a hero of the working class.
Court intrigue and affairs of the heart weave together in this unforgettable page-turner.
“Plaidy excels at blending history with romance and drama.”—The New York Times
“Burn the murderess!”So begins Jean Plaidy’s The Captive Queen of Scots, the epic tale of the Scottish Queen Mary Stuart, cousin to Queen Elizabeth of England. After her husband, Lord Darnley, is murdered, suspicion falls on Mary and her lover, the Earl of Bothwell. A Catholic in a land of stern Protestants, Mary finds herself in the middle of a revolt, as her bloodthirsty subjects call for her arrest and execution. In disgrace, she flees her Scottish persecutors for England, where she appeals to Queen Elizabeth for mercy, but to no avail. Throughout Mary’s long years as the Queen’s prisoner, she conceives many bold plans for revenge and escaping to freedom—but the gallows of Fotheringhay Castle loom . . .
Set against royal pageantry, religious strife, and bloody uprising—and filled with conspiracies, passion, heartbreak, and fascinating historical detail—The Captive Queen of Scots is an unforgettable tale of the intense rivalry between two powerful women of noble blood.
Two sisters change the course of a nation by forsaking the King—their own father.
England is on the verge of revolution. Antagonized by the Catholicism of King James II, the people plot to drive him from the throne. But at the heart of the plot is a deep betrayal: the defection of the daughters James loves, Mary and Anne.
Both raised Protestant according to the wishes of England, the sisters support Protestant usurper William of Orange, Mary’s husband, who lusts after the British crown. Passive Queen Mary is subservient to her husband’s wishes, while Anne is desperate to please her childhood friend Sarah Churchill, a bold and domineering woman determined to subdue Anne, the queen-to-be, and rule England herself.
Intrigue and political drama run high as the sisters struggle to be reconciled with each other–and with the haunting memory of the father they have exiled.
When an empire is at stake, one woman stands between the past and the future
In post-Restoration England, King Charles II has fathered numerous bastards, but not a single legitimate heir. Because of this, his brother, James, Duke of York, is heir-presumptive to the thrones of England, Scotland, and Ireland—the three crowns of Britain. But James’s devout Catholicism, and desire to return Britain to the rule of Rome, does not sit well with his subjects and his time as king is sure to be short. Raised under the Protestant guardianship of her uncle King Charles, James’s daughter Mary finds herself at fifteen facing a marriage to the Dutch and Protestant William of Orange, long prophesied to be destined for the throne. But can she follow her calling to rule Britain without losing the love of her father?
Captivating in its historical detail, lush and sweeping in its scope, and unforgettable in its dramatic depiction of relationships between monarchs and families, The Three Crowns is the singular story of the only joint sovereigns in British history.
The dashing Robert Carr is a well-known favorite of King James I. After attracting his attention by falling from a horse in the tiltyard, Robert rises quickly through the ranks. But when the cunning and beautiful Frances Howard comes to court, a very dangerous liaison changes everything. Married against her will while still a child, Frances emerges from that experience a headstrong force of nature—determined to have her own way, no matter what the consequences. Her attempts to rid herself of an unwanted husband, and later to ensnare a lukewarm lover, have led her deep into the world of spell-makers and poisoners. This is a woman to underestimate at great peril. But not until Robert finds himself ensnared in one of Frances’s plots—imprisoned in the Tower of London and accused of murder—does he learn at last what she is truly capable of.
A private battle rages at court for the affections of a childless queen, who must soon name her successor—and thus determine the future of the British Empire.
It is the beginning of the eighteenth century and William of Orange is dying. Soon Anne is crowned queen, but to court insiders, the name of the imminent sovereign is Sarah Churchill. Beautiful, outspoken Sarah has bewitched Anne and believes she is invincible—until she installs her poor cousin Abigail Hill into court as royal chambermaid.
Plain Abigail seems the least likely challenger to Sarah’s place in her highness’s affections, but challenge it she does, in stealthy yet formidable ways. While Anne engages in her private tug-of-war, the nation is obsessed with another, more public battle: succession. Anne is sickly and childless, the last of the Stuart line.
This final novel of the Stuarts from Jean Plaidy weaves larger-than-life characters through a dark maze of intrigue, love, and destruction, with nothing less than the future of the British Empire at stake.
The haunting story of the beautiful—and tragic—Mary, Queen of Scots, as only legendary novelist Jean Plaidy could write it
Mary Stuart became Queen of Scotland at the tender age of six days old. Her French-born mother, the Queen Regent, knew immediately that the infant queen would be a vulnerable pawn in the power struggle between Scotland’s clans and nobles. So Mary was sent away from the land of her birth and raised in the sophisticated and glittering court of France. Unusually tall and slim, a writer of music and poetry, Mary was celebrated throughout Europe for her beauty and intellect. Married in her teens to the Dauphin François, she would become not only Queen of Scotland but Queen of France as well. But Mary’s happiness was short-lived. Her husband, always sickly, died after only two years on the throne, and there was no place for Mary in the court of the new king. At the age of twenty, she returned to Scotland, a place she barely knew.
Once home, the Queen of Scots discovered she was a stranger in her own country. She spoke only French and was a devout Catholic in a land of stern Presbyterians. Her nation was controlled by a quarrelsome group of lords, including her illegitimate half brother, the Earl of Moray, and by John Knox, a fire-and-brimstone Calvinist preacher, who denounced the young queen as a Papist and a whore. Mary eventually remarried, hoping to find a loving ally in the Scottish Lord Darnley. But Darnley proved violent and untrustworthy. When he died mysteriously, suspicion fell on Mary. In haste, she married Lord Bothwell, the prime suspect in her husband’s murder, a move that outraged all of Scotland. When her nobles rose against her, the disgraced Queen of Scots fled to England, hoping to be taken in by her cousin Elizabeth I. But Mary’s flight from Scotland led not to safety, but to Fotheringhay Castle.