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Apr 27, 2010


Secrets of The Tudor Court by D.L. Bogdan
Available for purchase APRIL 27!!
PERFECT for the Tudor Mania Reading Challenge
It is with extreme pleasure that I welcome debut author, D.L. Bogdan to The Burton Review. I read this novel recently and will have my review posting here on May 1st as the kickoff review for my Tudor Mania Reading Challenge. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel that was told from a different point of view of the Tudor courts. Most Tudor readers recognize the title Norfolk, or the name Thomas Howard, because he was the 3rd Duke of Norfolk, Thomas Howard, a fearsome political force behind getting his nieces' Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard to the throne as Queens of England. The story that Bogdan gives us is through the eyes of Norfolk's daughter, Lady Mary Howard.  I always enjoy learning more about secondary characters of the Tudor court, and this Mary Howard was married to King Henry's illegitimate son, Henry Fitzroy. Stay tuned for my review, but for now, let's hear about Bogdan's journey with Mary Howard:

What inspired you to tell the story of Mary Howard? Where had you first encountered her?

-I encountered Mary as a character who stood on the very fringes of the cast of several Tudor novels. The person who really fascinated me was her father, the 3rd Duke of Norfolk, Thomas Howard. But I wanted a gentler window into that history and found that telling a story that has become familiar to many through her unique perspective might be an interesting twist.

How hard was it to research for information on Mary Howard, as she is one of those more obscure members of the Tudor courts?

-It was like a wild goose chase but I ran into a lot of helpful people along the way, particularly Dr. David Head, who wrote THE EBBS AND FLOWS OF FORTUNE; the life of Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk. He helped steer me in some very interesting directions! Every source I encountered led me to more; I found that utilizing a lot of original sources, such as letters from the people involved (Eustace Chapuys, Surrey, Norfolk, his wife, and Thomas Cromwell) as well as transcripts from the various trials the most helpful. It really was one of the joyous processes of my life!

Mary is portrayed as having a close relationship with her cousins Queen Anne and Queen Catherine Howard. Have you come across evidence that this may be true? Was she a lady-in-waiting to both of these queens?

-Yes, Mary was a lady in waiting to both of her cousins. How close she was to them in actuality, I really am not sure. I inferred because her father was such a key figure in the lives of both of these women that she would have been particularly involved with them as well. This is where I had to step in as an entertainer rather than historian and fill in some gaps!

Although you give a specific reason in the novel, why do you think Mary didn't marry after her first husband died?

-I believe her brother Surrey had a lot to do with it. He stridently objected to any union with the Seymours, which seemed Mary's only documented prospect, and as Mary appeared to be a dutiful member of the Howard family, she may have been too intimidated by the strong personalities around her to make another match.

Your depiction of Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk, shows signs of tenderness at rare times, yet he is a very dark character. How true to life do you think this portrayal is?

-There is a lot more information about Thomas Howard's personality than Mary's. Through Dr. Head's work, as well as letters from Eustace Chapuys, ambassador to Charles V and an intimate of Henry VIII's court, I was able to discern a great deal about the complexities of the duke. The most helpful sources of all were letters exchanged between him and his fiery wife, Elizabeth, as well has her exchanges with Thomas Cromwell, along with the testimony given by her, his mistress Bess Holland, and Mary herself for his trial.

Although your novel includes some of the famous myths regarding the Tudor courts, such as Anne Boleyn's sixth finger, what are your personal thoughts on them?

-Honestly, I think a lot of those myths were probably stirred up at the time for sheer sensationalism, just as any contemporary public figure is found subject to them today. Fact and fiction seem to be inexorably intertwined in the myths and legends of the Tudor court and I incorporated some of them for the sake of entertainment.

You mention George and Jane Boleyn having a son. He is rarely mentioned in Tudor fiction and I would love to know if you remember where you had first picked up this fact.

-There are some references to it in other works of fiction, as well as a vague reference to it in an online family tree; however it listed the child as "baby boy Boleyn" so if there really was a child, I assume it likely did not survive to adulthood. It is true there are barely any mentions of a child in more well known sources which may make it just another Tudor myth . . .

Have you been lucky enough to have visited England? If so, what was your favorite event of the visit?

-I did, years before I ever knew it would be the subject of my novels (thank God I'm compulsive enough to take notes anyway!). My favorite part of the visit was Westminster Abbey. It made me feel so small and a little insignificant under the weight of so much history . . . but it was exhilarating to stand where so many key figures in history stood!

Do you have a favorite wife of Henry VIII that you enjoy reading about?

-That's a tough one. I find each of his wives extremely fascinating in their own right. I admire Catherine of Aragon's uncompromising beliefs and Anne Boleyn's sharp wit. I find Jane Seymour's timid but compassionate nature endearing, and was stirred to pity for Anne of Cleves, who was so far from home and so unwanted. Catherine Howard's naivete and typical teen antics were at once delightful and tragic, and Catherine Parr's intelligence and ability to survive what most didn't at her time was inspiring. So, the short answer would have been to say I like them all!

Who are some of your favorite Tudor period authors?

-I adore Robin Maxwell's work, Alison Weir, along with every one's favorite courtly author Jean Plaidy.

What is next in the works for your writing? Any more Tudor inspired novels coming our way?

Yes, I do have some works up my sleeve. In 6-9 months my second book, as yet untitled, will be released by Kensington, which is about Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk, his wife Elizabeth, and his mistress Bess Holland, and told from all 3 perspectives. I am especially proud of this work because I had a wealth of research to aid me and I feel it is very historically accurate. There are also a few other projects I am working on, so this isn't the last you will hear from me!

I was so excited to hear she is working on her next Tudor novel! I am thrilled to have another successful Tudor author to look forward to. And I am even more excited to offer my followers a chance to WIN a SIGNED finished copy of Secrets of the Tudor Courts by D.L. Bogdan, courtesy of this very generous author! USA and Canada residents ONLY.

All you have to do is tell me what intrigues you about Tudor fiction!

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Giveaway ends May 14! Good Luck!! My review is posted here.
Edited to add that Jennifer at Rundpinne was the winner, congrats!