I have finished Arbella's story, and could have cried at what her life turned out to be for her. Hers is not overly romantic or overly exciting, but just a life that was supposed to mean much more. In the end, years later, Arbella's name is linked to words such as 'freedom', liberty and democracy.. a ship was named for her sailing to the 'New World'..
I feel Arbella was cheated out of a life by Elizabeth I, then by her cousin the next ruler, James I of England aka James VI of Scotland.. I feel that Arbella should have been named as successor by Elizabeth. But obviously that did not happen. Then James continued Elizabeth's horrible control over Arbella's fate by also neglecting to at least allow Arbella to marry. He also wanted to use her as a pawn.. a bargaining piece. Ironically, when Arbella finally did marry as she had always wished, that was the end of Arbella's freedom. The biggest mistake of that was marrying a Seymour.. who also had a line towards the throne. A wonderful story it all is, but tragic that it had to be true and I am just not going to give it all away. You really must read the book.
I have since started Devil's Brood by Sharon Kay Penman. This author is AWESOME and is one of my newer favorites. Devil's Brood is part three in a trilogy ending Henry and Eleanor of Aquitaine. "When Christ and His Saints Slept" (1994) is the first one of novels of the Middle Ages in this Trilogy, next was "Time and Chance". Many of her fans had to wait a long long time for The Devil's Brood to come out and I am glad I had just read the other two last year and I didn't need to wait long for the release here. The first novel begins in 1120 and details the war between Empress Maud and King Stephen who usurped the throne after the untimely death of the one legitimate successor in the White Ship. Henry I names his daughter, Maude, at successor, but once he's gone Stephen of Blois claimed the throne and thus, the battle began.
"Time and Chance" is about Henry II and Eleanor and how they met and had children and thus the complicated relationship they shared.. also Thomas Becket.. and then a fictional character is more at play here as well. Battles on two borders, Henry cheats while Eleanor is busy having his many children, founding a dynasty that lasts for 300 years...
And now it is time For "Devil's Brood". Halfway through it, it is still as enjoyable as t he last two were, and less of the previously mentioned fictional character is at play. Which I like because I enjoy reading more closely matching to the real history. The phrase Devil's Brood refers to Henry and Eleanor's children, the young King Hal, Richard the LionHeart, Geoffrey, a few daughters.. There are rebellions of the young King Hal against his father Henry II and poor Eleanor gets caught in the middle and is never forgiven by her husband. She is now a prisoner and very little hope for escape. I must keep reading.. ;)