threesisters Three Sisters, Three Queens is Philippa Gregory’s latest book about the Tudor Court.  This time, we get the perspective of Margaret Tudor, daughter of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York and sister of King Henry VIII.  Margaret, the Tudor Princess, would become the Queen of Scotland, married to King James IV of Scotland and mother to King James V of Scotland.  Even though the title suggests that the book is about three women, the primary focus is on Queen Margaret.  However, the other two women, the Queen of England and the Queen of France, have an impact on Margaret’s life.

The novel begins with Margaret as a young woman, a girl really. Her older brother, Arthur, Prince of Wales is to be married to Katherine of Aragon. Their marriage would form an alliance between the Spanish court and England.  Katherine of Aragon makes her arrival, marries Prince Arthur and they move to Wales.  Margaret misses her older brother, but looks forward to her own marriage. Her father, King Henry VII is working on a marriage between her and Scotland’s King James IV.  But then, the London court gets the terrible news that Prince Arthur has died.  Princess Katherine returns to court as the Dowager Princess.  Her parents have failed to pay the dowry money to England.  And King Henry VII refuses to pay her dowager money until the dowry has been paid.  Katherine literally is a poor princess and has to pawn off her belongings in order to eat, even though she lives at court.  Princess Margaret, having been jealous of Princess Katherine’s finery when she came to court, delights in seeing her brought down a peg.  She believes, along with her grandmother Margaret Beaufort, Lady Mother of the King, that Katherine is too arrogant and needs to learn humility.  In fact, Margaret calls her, Katherine of Arrogant to herself. At this time, Margaret is told that she will marry King James IV.  Their betrothal makes her a queen and she is one step lower than her Lady Mother, the Queen of England.

Margaret makes the long journey to her new home in Scotland and marries King James IV.  Their marriage is fairly happy.  Their first children die while they are babies and King James wonders about the Tudor curse.  Queen Margaret has a son James (who becomes King James V).  Katherine of Aragon marries Margaret’s brother, King Henry VIII.  While England and Scotland have a Treaty of Perpetual Peace, Henry continues to ally himself with France, an enemy of Scotland.  While Henry is off in France, King James invades England.  During the Battle of Flodden, King James was killed.  Queen Katherine had ordered the English army to take no prisoners.  The army took James’ body to London and Katherine sent his bloody coat to Henry in France.  Of course, Queen Margaret was angry and heartbroken to have her husband be treated this way and by her own sister-in-law.

You may be wondering about the third sister and third queen.  Margaret and Henry had a younger sister named Mary.  Mary had been betrothed to the Holy Roman Emperor’s grandson but that was called off. Instead, Princess Mary was joined in marriage to King Louis XII of France.  Their marriage did not last long due to the King’s age and health.  After he died, Mary went  ahead and married Charles Brandon, a friend of her brother Henry whom  had recently been made a Duke by King Henry.  The pair married in secret in France, without Henry’s blessing which they were punished for.  Even so, Charles and Mary were welcomed at the Tudor Court.

Margaret continues to struggle. She is the Dowager Queen of Scotland but she has no authority.  She is even kept away from the young king James.  Her husband named her regent until their child was old enough to rule but the Scottish Council disregards this.  Instead, a French Duke (who is a cousin of the deceased king) is named regent.  Margaret marries the Earl of Angus for love in secret.  The Council is very unhappy about this.  Rumors circulate that Archibald, the Earl of Angus, is already married to another woman.  Of course, Margaret feels betrayed by her husband.  Her brother, Henry VIII will do nothing to help her.  Her sister-in-law, Queen Katherine, tells her to stay with her husband.  But Katherine needs Margaret to stay married to Archibald.  If Margaret would be granted a divorce from the Vatican, then that would clear the way for Henry VIII to divorce Katherine of Aragon.  And Henry has been having affairs with other women and producing male children.  Katherine has not given Henry an heir.  The royal English marriage is in danger of dissolving.

Mary, the youngest of the original Tudor children still reports to Margaret.  Her letters had been happy ones, relaying to Margaret what had been happening at the English Court.  However, as time passes, her letters are filled with sorrow.  Mary is dismayed to see how her older brother, the King of England, is treating her sister-in-law, Katherine.  Mary has to witness Katherine’s sorrow as her husband sleeps with other women.  Katherine prays constantly and remains a dutiful wife.  Mary can do nothing to interfere as Henry VIII sets aside his wife, claiming that Katherine was not legally his wife, but the wife of his older brother, Arthur.  He claims that Katherine is the Dowager Princess of Wales and is now his “sister”.  The last letter Margaret receives from Mary is grim.  The woman, Anne Boleyn, is now married to their brother and will be crowned the Queen of England.

Three Queens, Three Sisters is available in print, large print and audiobook.

 

 

 

outlander kitchenTake a bite out of Diana Gabaldon’s New York Times bestselling Outlander novels with this immersive official cookbook from OutlanderKitchen.com founder Theresa Carle-Sanders!

Claire Beauchamp Randall’s incredible journey from postwar Britain to eighteenth-century Scotland and France is a feast for all five senses, and taste is no exception. From Claire’s first lonely bowl of porridge at Castle Leoch to the decadent roast beef served after her hasty wedding to Highland warrior Jamie Fraser, from gypsy stew and jam tarts to fried chicken and buttermilk drop biscuits, there are enough mouth-watering meals along the way to whet the appetite of even the most demanding palate.

Now professional chef Theresa Carle-Sanders offers up this extraordinary cuisine for your table. Featuring more than one hundred recipes, Outlander Kitchen retells Claire and Jamie’s incredible story through the flavors of the Scottish Highlands, the French Revolution, and beyond. Following the high standards for prodigious research and boundless creativity set by Diana Gabaldon herself, Carle-Sanders draws on the events and characters of the novels to deliver delicious and inventive dishes that highlight local ingredients and traditional cooking techniques. Yet amateur chefs need not fear: These doable, delectable recipes have been updated for today’s modern kitchens.

With full-color photographs and plenty of extras – including cocktails, condiments, and preserves – Outlander Kitchen is an entertainment experience to savor, a wide-ranging culinary crash course, and a time machine all rolled into one. Forget bon appétit.  As the Scots say, ith do leòr! (description from publisher)

shetlandCrime television shows are one of my favorite things to watch, but sometimes they can follow a predictable plot, so predictable in fact that it is easy to guess who the murderer is within the first ten minutes of the show’s beginning. When I stumbled upon Shetland, I was expecting the same predictable plot. Boy, was I wrong!

First of all, this dvd compilation of Shetland gives you the complete first and second seasons. (In case this seems daunting to you, let me ease your fears. Each season is only six episodes long, so in reality you are only watching twelve episodes total in this one case.) This show is the perfect length to get you hooked and invested in the characters without having to spend a lot of time getting through two full-length seasons of the show. Bonus: I wasn’t able to accurately guess who ANY of the murderers were in any of the episodes! Major score!

Shetland is a BBC Scottish crime drama that follows the life of Detective Inspector Jimmy Perez and his various staff members as they solve murders against the backdrop of the breathtaking Shetland Isles. Perez is a single dad raising an almost 16-year-old daughter. DI Perez and his team are responsible for keeping people safe within the community, a task that proves difficult as they are investigating crimes within such a close knit community that is spread across a number of islands within the Shetland Isles. This television show takes place against a gorgeous backdrop of sweeping cliffs, deep blue sea, and skies redolent with cloud cover. With such breathtaking scenery, the stories of crime, murder, mystery, and intrigue are pushed to a higher level, letting the writers, producers, and actors explore issues dealing with family and small communities in deep detail. I highly recommend this show as a way to cleanse your palette of the more traditional crime shows.


raven black

The first two seasons of Shetland are adapted from the book Raven Black by Ann Cleeves. Contact the library to find it today!

Summer is my romance novel/vacation read time. This summer’s romance pattern: kilts. Rugged Scottish Highlanders tearing up the countryside as they fight with claymores and dirks, display their clan colors with pride on their kilts, and fight to save their damsel, even when she’s capable of saving herself. That description may sound like the plot to many, many different Scottish Highlander romance novels and I tell you, yes, yes it is. But when that plot line lands in the hands of certain authors, it twists and molds itself into a beautifully crafted story involving love, fealty, family, and fierce Scottish loyalty. Here I’ve gathered my most recent Scottish Highlander reads. Enjoy! (If you’re looking for more information about romance novels, check out the Romance LibGuide put together by one of our awesome librarians!)


outlanderDiana Gabaldon is the author of the Outlander series, a total of 8 books with many novellas and other books added to the initial 8 books. She is currently working on the 9th book in the series. The first book in the series, Outlander, introduces the character of Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, who is reunited with her husband Frank as they reconnect on a second honeymoon in the British Isles. As they are exploring their surroundings, Claire and Frank stumble upon an ancient stone circle containing several plants that amateur botanist Claire is very interested in. One night, Claire is back looking at the plants when she walks through the stone circle and finds herself thrust into a different world. Dazed, confused, and lost, she becomes a captive of a group of Highlander men in 1743 Scotland. Forced to deal with circumstances thoroughly out of her control, Claire soon finds herself in the pleasure of a young James Fraser, known to his acquaintances as Jamie. Claire and Jamie soon are forced to rely of each other to survive. Gabaldon weaves the Outlander story around the delicate balance between Claire’s old and new life and the balance between her truth and the lies she must tell to survive. (If this interests you, this book/series has also been made into a television series – which is also available for checkout.)


My most recent Highlander romance series read was the Scandalous Highlanders series by Suzanne Enoch. I just finished mad, bad, dangerous in plaidreading Mad, Bad, and Dangerous in Plaid, the third book in this series with a fourth due to release in October. I picked this book up not realizing that it wasn’t the first book until I was about halfway through and by then I was too hooked to start the series at the beginning. In this book, we find Rowena MacLawry has escaped the Highlands and run away to London to have her debut season after her brothers have expressly told her she could not. She returns home to the Highlands with a large number of her sophisticated English ladies and lords in tow to help plan the wedding of one of her brothers. Rowena, or Winnie as she is known to her brothers and to the dashing Lachlan MacTier, has brought along these sophisticated men to hopefully find a husband and to prove to everyone that she is over her 18-year crush and obsession over Lachlan. As soon as Winnie expresses her disdain for Lachlan, he realizes that maybe he doesn’t want her giving up on him just yet. A humorous and disastrous mix of complications plague the wedding preparations and Winnie and Lachlan are forced to come up with a rather ingenious plan to make sure everyone ends up happy. I recommend that you check out the first book in the series, The Devil Wears Kilts, and the second book, Rogue with a Brogue, before reading the third. Also keep an eye out for the release of the fourth!


There are many, many other Scottish Highlander romance novels, but these are just my memorable ones from this summer’s reading, so if you’re interested in more Highlander romance novels, check out this list that collects from all three Davenport Libraries and contains some of the Highlander romance novels we own.

(Handy tip: If you’re reading a romance novel and aren’t sure whether it is the first in a series, check to see if there are siblings to the main character and whether or not any of them are married or in a serious relationship. If this is true, you most likely are not reading the first in the series. This is a generality and is not always true. Just something I’ve noticed. When in doubt, contact us at the library and we can check.)

Winter Solstice is a perfect book for a sweltering summer day.  Rosamund Pilcher does an amazing job of describing the quiet beauty of snow and the cold winter light. This is in contrast to the heartwarming style Pilcher is known for. Sometimes referred to as literary comfort food,the characters and the domestic settings are appealing  – people you’d like to know and places you’d like to live.

This is an unusual romance; a group of relative strangers who are all suffering in their own ways  end up together in an old house in Scotland. As they prepare to celebrate Christmas, they begin to heal and to care about each other.