NOTICE: (Updated March 5, 2010)

Beginning December 19, 2009, Books 'N Border Collies will be posting but only intermittently while I pursue personal goals. I plan to share some reading I'm doing, but there will be no reviews. I will, however, be sharing my exploration of vegetarian cooking and the cookbooks and websites I use to educate myself. I hope you enjoy it!


Sunday, March 16, 2008


by Jean Plaidy

When it comes to Jean Plaidy, there are times I think I could write just two all-purpose reviews with blanks to fill in for names and places – one for her books that focus more on history and one for her books that focus more on relationships – for that is how the books feel sometimes. One or the other, mostly the same, change the details. But that would be greatly disrespecting the enormous corpus this gifted and prolific author has produced, and it would definitely rob the books of their due. The truth of the matter is while few of them are works that I would deem outstanding, I can always count on Jean Plaidy for a fast, informative and pleasing read. In short, she is a writer I turn to when I want a book I know I will enjoy.

If one is reading the "Queens of England" series in historical order, The Queen’s Secret is the second of twelve volumes. (The first is The Courts of Love.) It is the story of Katherine of Valois, mother of the Tudor dynasty. This is one of the Plaidy books that is more relationship-focused than history-focused. The history you learn is mostly via conversations between characters rather than any actions that Katherine is involved in personally. Her direct story is of her marriage to Henry V and her later secret marriage to Owen Tudor. Therefore, when Joan of Arc makes her mark in France, we only get to see it from a great distance. I had hoped there would be a little more about that, but, on the other hand, it piqued my interest enough that I will most likely be scouting out more books about Joan in the future.

One thing I found very interesting in reading the first two volumes of this series was the marked difference in the feelings regarding family in the two queens, Eleanor of Aquitaine (in The Courts of Love) and Katherine of Valois. Katherine cares only for her children and family, and admires the lifestyle of the common people that allows them to raise their own children. Eleanor barely knew her children and didn’t care. Governing the country came first for her. While Eleanor’s attitude was considered normal for nobility in general and royalty in particular, I think many readers will relate more to Katherine’s pain at surrendering her child to the state and her need to have a real family.


More to come in the Queens of England series:


Teddy Rose said...

Great review. I haven't read any Jean Plaidy yet, but do have some of her books On my TBR. I added this one and The Courts of Love.

Lezlie said...

Teddy Rose ~ Thanks! I was afraid it would maybe give a bad impression, but I really do like her books overall. Let me know what you think once you get to them. I plan on eventually reviewing this whole series.