Blogmas | Top 7 Books of 2022!

Hello!

In the beginning of 2022, I created my yearly challenge on Goodreads, where I set the goal to read 40-45 books. The reason why I added on another five onto the list was because I wasn’t just doing one challenge, I decided to mix it up with keeping track of the books that had a movie and/or show out in the world. As of 12/18, I’m still trying to complete the 20 books I allowed for myself for this, and honestly, I really enjoyed having both of them going on at the same time. I’m very proud of myself on these successes, but I haven’t exactly made my decision to continue it once the new year comes, but I’ll be letting you know my plans soon!

When I was getting ready to write this post, I was going to discuss my top 12 books, but I wasn’t sure on the time allotted for this week, so I just broke down and made it the top 7 like I did for the last two years.


1. The Best of Us by Kennedy Fox

This is the second year in a row where the authors of Kennedy Fox have claimed first place.

I truly loved this story of these characters, and as I mentioned in the review, I am not much into male characters, especially in the romance genre. I’m quite picky but I think the fact he seemed more relatable than Kendall. The story itself takes place after COVID-19 hits, which I think is what drew me into Ryan more because my mom is a registered nurse and worked her butt off in those early intense days. My heart went out for him and his selflessness and struggles during that time.

Besides all of this, it is also set around Christmastime, so it is literally perfect for this time of year. I wish anyone who is still looking for a steamy holiday themed book, this is what you should be getting into next.

Sidenote: I recently found the first and third books in the series for free on Amazon, so when I get in a mood for a little Kennedy Fox, I’ve got these babies to keep me company!

2. Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga

This year I wanted to explore children’s books because I still feel the sting of my own struggles with books as a child and it cost me a lot of great stories in the end, so I felt like I needed to explore my horizons and then I found this little gem.

I felt really conflicted to make this #1 because I fell in love with this story of a young girl, who becomes a refugee with her mother after violence in Syria begins. It wasn’t just Jude and her new world that got me, but I also fell in love with the writing style too. It was in verse, and I had never read poetry before, and I liked how the author was able to bring them together like this. It was a magical experience!

3. The Raven and The Dove by K.M. Butler

When I began reading this one, I didn’t really know what I was doing because at the start of the year, I wasn’t into books about the Vikings. I’d tried in the past, but nothing could grab me as inviting until I found K.M.’s debut scrolling through Kindle Unlimited back in January.

The Raven and The Dove is the story about a group of Vikings raiding on small villages in what is now Normandy, France. A shieldmaiden by the name of Halla is a part of the crew and the best way to describe her is restless. She is a warrior, but she doesn’t just want to be that, and while she and a small party go to scope out a village that could be a great way to trade goods, she finds herself put into an odd situation.

She actually volunteers to stay and wed a Christian, Taurien. He is a very conflicting character as he was raised to hate these Northmen, but he also wants to protect his home and its people from any other raids, so he does what any desperate man would do, he decides to wed Halla. Halla oversees her fellow Vikings and attempt to keep the will of the Gods of her people, but that becomes very difficult with their Christian neighbors.

I am all about seeing how the other one lives type of person, and this reflects in the books I read of course, and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing these two characters fight their feelings of right and wrong; their faiths and trust for one another are tested many times, but it was still enjoyable as a reader because we still have issues seeing past the other person’s origins and religions. I definitely recommend anyone who loves to be a little nosy at times.

4. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

While I was wanting to explore more classics, I knew Little Women would pop up some time, the book is very popular on Jeopardy, and I think that’s why I wanted to just devout myself to it and the best way I did that was through audiobook on YouTube. I had actually found a channel on there that had multiple people acting out the various characters and I loved this type of reading; it reminded me of how they use to tell stories on the radio before television was invented.

This book was lovely and honestly perfect in the springtime. This truly made me happy and excited to see what would happen to these characters–until that chapter about Beth though, boy, did I cry like crazy! After I had completed it, and that was another sad night, because I had grown to dig into it after my mom put me to bed, I tried to read “Little Men” but unfortunately, it didn’t have the same magic as the first but I am willing to give it another try in 2023 because I loved the character Jo so much, I want to see what happens in the later years.

5. Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder

After I finished with “Other Words for Home” I dove into other children’s books, but my focus was generally on classics. I had read Little Women, the Harry Potter series, and a few by Roald Dahl, so my plan was stay in that lane for a while longer and I ended up reading three and half books of the “Little House On The Prairie” by Laura Ingalls Wilder. My favorite among them was the one about her future husband, Alonzo Wilder.

I found this story unique compared to the ones written about Laura and her life. “Farmer Boy” was set in Alonzo’s point of view and even though it was fictionalized, I was still amazed by how this little boy lived in these times; readers get a chance to look into the differences between boys and girls on the prairie. My favorite scene was Christmas, they would spend it with one another in absolute silence and eat apples and popcorn with warm apple cider. I’m not much on any kind of cider but I found this interesting and peaceful.

6. Shield-Maiden: Under the Howling Moon by Melanie Karsak

Apparently, it’s not a book list without a book by Kennedy Fox or Melanie Karsak. This year alone, I read 8 books by Melanie. but only three of them were written by Kennedy Fox.

Anyways, as a couple of months since I had finished The Raven and The Dove, I was itching for another book that discussed the Viking world, but I was still a bit hesitant because I didn’t think I would find anything that could hit that bar and then I went through Melanie’s work and found out she had two series about shield-maidens, so I thought about it a bit, but ultimately went for it.

The story of the shield-maiden Hervor was everything I needed at that time. I love a good badass heroine and Melanie makes a lot of strong but relatable female characters. I was very upset once I was done with the final book, and then I did something totally stupid, I decided to dive headfirst into the sequel “The Shadows of Valhalla” which focuses on Princess Blomma’s children Prince Loptr and Princess Hervor aka Ervie. I was bawling my eyes from the events that happened in “Under the Dark Moon” and then I went into “Gambit of Blood” where they were talking about characters previously featured in the other books and I began crying again. I was truly a mess, and my mom laughed at me! I’m currently waiting on the four and final book in the series as I just finished the most recent installment and I’m already semi depressed about leaving these people for good.

7. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by John Tiffany and J.K. Rowling

I am very happy to say I have finally read all of the Harry Potter books. I did believe I would actually do this because before I went on this journey, I was just a fan of the films, and I was too afraid I wouldn’t enjoy watching them if I read the series. I was forced to read “The Sorcerer’s Stone” back in 2006, and my teacher had us watch the movie a few days after so everything was still fresh in our minds to do comparisons between these formats, so you can understand why I was hesitant going into it in the beginning.

When this book came out, there were a lot of mixed comments about it, the most significant was it isn’t written in the same way J.K. wrote the original seven books. This is a screenplay of the play that appeared in 2016 by John Tiffany It still has the spirit of Rowling with familiar characters jumping in here and there. I found this way of writing better oddly enough. It is different, but after coming out of reading “If We Were Villains” by M.L. Rio, I was able to picture the entire thing in the same way I did when they were doing Shakespeare’s work. I didn’t like this book unfortunately, but I thought it was a lot of help while I was into this one instead.

When I finished “Deathly Hallows” back in July, I felt the epilogue wasn’t that satisfying for me. I wanted to know how Harry and the gang were doing in their lives after the Battle at Hogwarts, and so when I went into this story about Harry’s middle son Albus Serveus Potter and how he deals with being a son of this hero of the Wizarding World, Harry is an adult and father now, so as much as he doesn’t feel like it, his children are faced with making their own legacies or in Albus’s case, attempting to fix a wrong and that in itself was absolutely amazing! It was heartbreaking, between the scene Albus meeting Professor Snape and the final scene at Godric’s Hollow will break you whole, that is, if you weren’t in the first place!


If I hadn’t waited majority of the month to write this post, I would have made it longer. My original plan was to do Top 12, but I didn’t want to rush getting everything done in a short number of days, so I went with seven books total, and I’m still shocked I was able to shrink it down enough for today.

I am excited on what kind of books I discover in the new year. I do hope to get started on my Goodreads Challenge on the first of January and after that, I will type up my goals for 2023 because I know everyone is wondering on how many books I want to read, if I am truly doing two challenges again, and honestly, I enjoy writing those posts for you too, so be on the lookout for that, okay?

How many books did you read this year? Did you hit your intended goal or not? What are your Top 3 books for 2022 as well?

snowflake

Blogmas | A Little Wrap Up

Hello!

Welcome back to Blogmas everyone!

I wasn’t sure I would actually participate this year, especially what happened those two weeks at the beginning of November… If you’re wondering about that, you can read my little update in the monthly playlist I released on Monday. Anyways, we are here now and for some odd reason I have developed a trend during Blogmas and I tend to do a simple recap of the previous year’s holiday posts. I’m still unsure why I started doing this, but it’s become part of my ritual for the first week of December; kind of like publishing a playlist at the end of each month, I guess.


Why I Decided on 8 Days

For anyone who doesn’t know or understand what Blogmas/Vlogmas is, it is a theme in which a person releases a post or vlog (video log) of everyday up until Christmas or sometimes the day after, it just depends on the person. I have blogged every day once and I will never do it again, because I felt so stressed out, so when I wrote this post, I was explaining my need to shrink the timetable just a bit with only eight days. This year, I am doing seven posts, but it could also change depending on my end-of-the-year posts too.

The Christmas Song Tag

This is another annual thing for me to do for Blogmas, and that is at least one Christmas-y tag. I actually love doing them every year, mainly because I am curious about if my answers will change as much as the year before, and since we’ve added a new member into our family, I’m sure that’ll change it up a bit.

I’ve done this tag multiple times over the years, but I think the oldest is from 2014, and again, I enjoy reading about what I had said in that post and compare it to the others. As much as I like this tag in general, I would love to see if anyone’s created any more Christmas tags; I have been tempted to combine all of the tags I’ve done in the post and come up with an ultimate Christmas tag, but I haven’t made my mind up yet, so we’ll have to see what happens next year.

Festive and Winter-y Baby Names

Last December, I decided to do something different and share some of my favorite holiday theme baby names.

Back in 2020, I spent the entire month creating new and festive name combinations on my second Instagram page, and it was really fun, but extremely chaotic as I was posting six name pairings each day. I will say, my page looked gorgeous, and I did feel proud for committing to both Blogmas and the names. I definitely don’t recommend it, and I will not be doing that again but kudos to anyone who is multitasking like that in 2022.

So, when I go to 2021, I knew I couldn’t do that again, so I thought of a different route and honestly, this was so much better! I was able to add more names and discuss which names represent this time of the year the best.

Holidays Reads & TV

I spend a lot of my time on Instagram and scroll through a lot of bookstagrammers and I always see various holiday-ish books that actually sound interesting, but I am very difficult to please when it comes to stories based around Christmas, I mean, there’s a reason why I have never been a fan of the Hallmark Channel. I actually pick that channel and Lifetime out of my guide once November comes around because they drive me nuts!

However, I finally talked myself into listening to A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickins, and I think I may end up making it part of my tradition, kind of like what I do with Halloween; I like to watch the music video for Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” on the final day of October. I’ve done it every year since 2009. This year, I wasn’t able to watch the film but I listened to the actual song before I left for the nursing home, and I’m saying that counts for something!

Anyways, I also shared my favorite short Christmas cartoons. They were not produced by Walt Disney, but they are as old as Snow White and the Seven Dwarves (1939) and I’m happy to know I can actually watch them without having to use YouTube because that’s what I’ve been using since 2015, but now they’re on Prime Video as a collection, and I’m really enjoying having them so easily again.

Wooden + Dot Ornaments

I love giving and making gifts for people. I’ve done a lot of seasonal crafts over the years but being able to do them for Christmas is different for me as a person. I like being able to make someone else special for a day, and Christmas is the perfect holiday to do that. As I continue to do these wooden ornaments, the list of people increases and unfortunately can knock off others, and honestly, I hate leaving certain people off the list, but I can always add them to my 2023 list. I was literally rereading these paragraphs and realized I sound an awful lot like Santa Claus…

Best Songs of 2021

One of the main reasons why I keep track of all of the songs I’ve enjoyed over the past year, and it actually makes things so much easier in the end. I like to be almost done writing the December post before I bring everything into one playlist. It is also helpful to wait until Spotify’s unleashed their end-of-the-year collections as well. It gives you a better idea of which artists, bands, genres, etc. you were loving the entire year.

The list for 2021 is actually one of my favorites. Despite my best efforts, not all of my yearly playlists end up being favorites in itself, but I’ve had a couple of them before, the first was 2016, the second best is from 2019 and this one. I am excited to see what I can do with the best songs for 2022 later this month.

If you would like to check out my 2021 wrap up playlist, you can click here.

Top 7 Books of 2021

For the final post of Blogmas content, it is usually my top favorite books of the year. In 2021, I decided to write about the Top 7 books, and I find it odd that I completed my original goal of 30 books and managed to shrink my favorites list to only seven. I probably wanted to make things easier for myself, especially doing this post in general, and I can understand my need to do it that way, especially if I wasn’t in the mood to do any more Blogmas stuff after Christmas.


Next Monday, I will officially start my Blogmas content, and my schedule will continue as normally, a new post will publish around 7:30am on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I am hoping to finish before Christmas arrives and relish in those final two weeks of December before putting my sights on what I want to do in January. So, I truly hope you find something that you enjoy and if you’re a new blogger, looking for advice or ideas to do for Blogmas, I hope you are inspired to spread your own Christmas spirit onto your platform.

How do you feel about Blogmas and/or Vlogmas? Whose content are you most looking forward to this year?

snowflake

Book Review: “The Duchess” by Danielle Steel

Hello!

Last month, while I was away, I was able to start and finish two books and they were “Murder On the Orient Express” by Agatha Christie and Danielle Steel’s “The Duchess” and they also were my first reads for both authors, so I might be interested in reading other books in the future. The only reason why I will not be sharing a review on MOTOE is because I’ve already seen the 2017 film and it is considered a classic so thought it belonged in my other journal, but I thought you’d love to know my thoughts on this book instead.

To be quite honest with you, I thought this would be a different story, in my mind I thought it was about Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire. I saw the words “The Duchess” and immediately became excited to finally read the actual book based on the film that came out in 2008, but it wasn’t. The author who wrote that book is Amanda Forman. What I didn’t expect was continuing to read this other story and absolutely loving it!


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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The incomparable Danielle Steel breaks new ground as she takes us to nineteenth-century England, where a high-born young woman is forced out into the world—and begins a journey of survival, sensuality, and long-sought justice.

Angélique Latham has grown up at magnificent Belgrave Castle under the loving tutelage of her father, the Duke of Westerfield, after the death of her aristocratic French mother. At eighteen she is her father’s closest, most trusted child, schooled in managing their grand estate. But when he dies, her half-brothers brutally turn her out, denying her very existence. Angélique has a keen mind, remarkable beauty, and an envelope of money her father pressed upon her. To survive, she will need all her resources—and one bold stroke of fortune.

Unable to secure employment without references or connections, Angélique desperately makes her way to Paris, where she rescues a young woman fleeing an abusive madam—and suddenly sees a possibility: Open an elegant house of pleasure that will protect its women and serve only the best clients. With her upper-class breeding, her impeccable style, and her father’s bequest, Angélique creates Le Boudoir, soon a sensational establishment where powerful men, secret desires, and beautiful, sophisticated women come together. But living on the edge of scandal, can she ever make a life of her own—or regain her rightful place in the world?

From England to Paris to New York, Danielle Steel captures an age of upheaval and the struggles of women in a male-ruled society—and paints a captivating portrait of a woman of unquenchable spirit, who in houses great or humble is every ounce a duchess.

taken from Goodreads.

After I quickly found out this wasn’t at all what I wanted to read originally, I never thought to turn away from it. I had surprised myself in a way because I’ve DNF’d (did not finish) a lot of books this year, and I was half expecting this to be added onto that list.

“She had no idea where the future would lead her or what it would look like, but whatever happened, she was determined to survive it.”

And then I learned more about Angelique Lantham’s story, and I couldn’t stop turning the pages and I started to really hate sleeping at night because the pull to hear more about her and the world Danielle was able to create was so strong.

As familiar as relearning the customs of that time, which as a reader you should take note early on because this is based in an earlier setting than most historical fictions. This is set in the later period of the Regency, after George IV is actually king and it goes on until the start of Queen Victoria’s reign. So, being a woman–a daughter, wife, and/or aunt was rough because you were not entitled to inherit anything, especially if you were a daughter of a duke. The young daughters and orphaned nieces of the wealthy were subjected to find a suitable husband during the Season and were introduced to others in their social class, plus the royals of the time.

For Angelique, she was the favorite of her only living parent, the Duke of Westfield, but she had two older brothers Tristan and Edward who knew they were next in line to their father’s titles, houses and wealth after he died. And their little sister would get nothing, or so they believed. Once their father passed away, he couldn’t protect her from their wrath, much less the law keeping her away what should have been hers in the first place.

What I found interesting, and mesmerizing was Angelique’s will to fight the odds in her own little modest way.

Every time I thought where the story was going, it would twist around and lead into a new direction just like life had been for her. After being forced to leave her little world at her beloved home, she was sent to a family who needed a nanny for their five children. As a reader, this puzzled me because taking care of that many children under the age of five–despite the changes in history–seems very daunting, and in the beginning, Angelique was nervous about this prospect too, but she pushed through it with grace until her final day.

Related to kings in two countries, and daughter of a duke, banished by her brother, she was reduced to working as a domestic, and at the mercy of anyone who would hire her.

Afterwards, she travels to France, another ancestral home but with the same heartbreaking results. She finds no job, and everything feels so numb until she comes across a young woman named Fabienne battered and beaten, and she nurses her back to health. Fabienne has had a rough life and has resorted to prostitution, and this part of the book is where things become slightly more interesting, as these two young women decide to create a high-class brothel in Paris, and as the reader, you never see it coming until afterwards; this was the first twist of the story to me and I was stunned by the fact that Angelique would want to do it in the first place and that really threw me for a loop, but then again we are at the last stages of the Regency period–despite being settled in another country!–so the story of brothels, madams, and hookers wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, but don’t get me wrong, it was frowned upon respectable women, but sex work has always been available and people (mostly men) have engaged in this sort of act for every part of history!

However, as Angelique has been quick to find out, life can change in an instant, and she has to abandon her life in France and start all over again, but this time she moves to America, and as she’s on the boat, she meets a nice young man by the name of Andrew and he definitely changes Angelique’s piece of mind about what it means to be in love and suddenly wants everything she’s never wanted in the beginning of the story. This relationship was different compared to all of the others she had in Paris, and it’s in this section that two more things turn for this character that makes you feel very happy inside for a while.

For anyone who has never read anything by Danielle Steel, I think you should consider looking into this book and seeing if it had the same effect on you as it did on me. I have picked out a few other books by her to check out in the future. Maybe I’ll find a chance to read them in 2023?

Have you read “The Duchess” by Danielle Steel before? If you have, what were your thoughts on it?

snowflake

Book Review: “The Yellow Wall-Paper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Hello there!

In a way to get me ready for fall and of course, Halloween, I wanted to find something that would reflect my mood and I thought my favorite thrillers. Now, I am not a very big fan of horror despite my love for vampires, witches and werewolves, but I do enjoy a good psychological thriller here and there.

I thought it was Victoria Helen Stone’s Jane Doe that got me interested in this genre, but then I started to remember when I was in high school, and I took two separate classes for each semester and the first was Novels where my interest in the genre was tested as we read Frankenstein by Mary Shelley and Helter Skelter by Curt Gentry and Vincent Bugliosi. However, it wasn’t until I went into Short Stories that I was introduced to Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s classic The Yellow WallPaper and this really made me realize that this was only the beginning.


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A woman and her husband rent a summer house, but what should be a restful getaway turns into a suffocating psychological battle. This chilling account of postpartum depression and a husband’s controlling behavior in the guise of treatment will leave you breathless. 

taken from Goodreads.


When I finally decided that I would re-read this story, I did it for a specfic reasons: I didn’t exactly remember how it ended, all I could figure out was that it creeped me out. Fast forward, I wasn’t wrong with my initial rememberance but things that wouldn’t make sense to me at that time of the first read; I knew of very little history about how women were treated in that timeframe, so by the time I had went back to it, I had the knowledge to back everything up in my brain.

Our main character Jane is forced to stay indoors and recover from a fit of “nervousness” as she calls it, and if the word “baby” didn’t turn up in a sentence later, we wouldn’t know it’s actually name as we call it postpartum depression. For her and other women of that time, it had another name completely “hysteria” and it wasn’t the best diagnosis for a woman as there is evidence (and lots of it!) towards how husbands, sons, brothers, and doctors put various women and girls in asylums for their overwhelming feelings in the 19th Century.

“It is the strangest yellow, that wallpaper! It makes me think of all the yellow things I ever saw – not beautiful ones like buttercups, but old foul, bad yellow things.”

Jane is unique though as her husband is a physician and he seems to love her enough, to support her in this condition at home. So, she is forced to recover in the master bedroom of their rental mansion, where it has decaying yellow wallpaper everywhere. Jane absolutely hates it. I understand her frustrations about it though, as I had purchased a pillow and sheet set that showed the color yellow to be as bright as the sun, but then we unwrapped it and found that the pillowcase fits the description to a T, but the sheet itself does not. It is so light that if nobody knew I had a brown mattress underneath, they certainly would as soon as they walked into my room… Anywho, like one does when they cannot explore freely, Jane starts to notice various things like the odd patterns and the disturbing figure that seems to appear at night.

Despite its small size, it definitely packs a punch worthy of a regular novel. I mean, as much as I love Frankenstein, my drive towards this book was stronger, and that’s saying something!

For anyone out there who is not too interested in horror, I highly suggest giving this story a shot before the end of the month. Although, if you feel comfortable waiting until after the Halloween festivities then by all means wait it out, but trust me when I say, you may end up enjoying it more than you think and want more like it afterwards, so as a nice warning, be sure to prepare yourselves!

Have you read Charlotte’s “The Yellow Wall-Paper” before? If your answer is yes, how did you come across it? I’d also like to know what you thought about it the first time you read it. Please tell me everything in the comments below!

snowflake

Book Review: “Queen of Martyrs: The Story of Mary I” by Samantha Wilcoxson

Hello!

I actually wasn’t going to post this review so soon, but in order to (hopefully) go with my plan for next month’s posts, I need more room within the last two weeks of October, so I had to come up with a Plan B, and this was it.

On Wednesday, I published my review for the first book in the Plantagenet Embers series, which was about Elizabeth of York. I mentioned that I was in the middle of a Plantagenet/Tudor phase, at the moment, and I was currently reading this book, while in reality I was flying through it, which is how it the review is coming out much sooner than I had originally planned. I hope you enjoy this post and maybe it’ll inspire you to check out Samantha’s books!


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How did a gentle, pious woman become known as ‘Bloody Mary’?
 
‘God save the Queen! God save our good Queen Mary!’

When these words rang out over England, Mary Tudor thought her troubles were over. She could put her painful past – the loss of her mother and mistreatment at the hands of her father – behind her.

With her accession to the throne, Mary set out to restore Catholicism in England and find the love of a husband that she had long desired. But the tragedies in Mary’s life were far from over.
 
Step into Tudor England

taken from Amazon.


I’ll be honest, I have never been interested with anything to do with Mary I.

I know what I’m about to say is debatable, but I wholeheartedly believe Matilda of Flanders and Lady Jane Grey were both Queen of England, as they were named heirs to the throne by their previous kings, so is Mary I truly the first queen? This question may never find an acceptable answer.

Mary had been raised as her father’s heir, a beloved princess who would one day rule in her own right,

It was interesting to meet this woman who was so caring of others, turn into this “monster” who ordered the deaths of heretics. I do know that for my first fictionized view of Mary’s life after the deaths of her beloved mother Catherine of Aragon and former governess Lady Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury until her final day on Earth.

You have an unique chance to see how she treated everyone, including her relationships with her younger siblings Edward VI and the future Queen Elizabeth I. She is so full of love being around them, although she never really grew to trust her sister, but with Edward, that connection was clearly different in the beginning, before he becomes king. You see her around her stepmother Katheryn Parr, to her ladies-in-waiting, counselors, husband Philip of Spain, and her cousin Cardinal Reginald Pole.

After reading this book, I believe she never found someone she could truly love and trust other than her God. I’ve personally never understood the Catholic faith, so I don’t want to pass judgement on her or anyone else. However, there’s a part towards the end where she asks her sister if she would like to be sent to a convent, after Elizabeth declines a marriage proposal. It’s interesting how devout Mary was to her faith, but she seemed like she couldn’t submit to God like a nun, if Mary hadn’t been next on the succession to the throne, would she have give up all of her royal things to become a nun? It’s just a thought really.

Now let’s discuss her aliments that she seems to have suffered all throughout her life. The extreme headaches, nausea, and eventual mass in her abdomen. I was familiar with the story of her experiencing a phantom pregnancy, this really broke my heart as I had become somewhat sympatric to her up until this point. The part I was a bit confused on was what kind of sickness was she dealing with between the last of her father’s reign and beginning of her brother’s?

Well, this is my theory of it. both Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon actually share a common ancestor, Catherine of Lancaster. Catherine was the daughter of John of Gaunt, the 1st Duke of Lancaster. She was born to the red side of what would be part of The War of the Roses. Sound familiar to you? Catherine would go on to marry Henry II of Castile. They had a son by the name of John II of Castile, who in turn fathered a daughter, the future co-ruler Isabella of Castile, who would later marry Ferdinand of Aragon. These were Catherine’s parents and Queen Mary’s grandparents.

Her coronation must include the traditions of those who had gone before her, with the vital exception that she was not male.

Let’s go back through John of Gaunt’s line. John had married three times, Blanche, Constance and lastly his mistress Lady Katherine Swymford. Katherine would give birth to four children; since their children out of wedlock, they were not given their father’s surname, instead they were the Beauforts. Their first son John Beaufort, 1st Duke of Somerset married and had children with Margaret Beauchamp, they had a single child: Lady Margaret Beaufort. She would fight to get her son Henry Tudor to the English throne and create a brand-new line of royals, thus how we got Margaret, Queen of Scots, Henry VIII, Mary, Queen of France, Duchess of Suffolk and their descendants.

It was common practice to marry into family lines, at one time Mary was actually betrothed to her uncle Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor as a young girl. Instead, she married her cousin and Charles’s son Philip. He was the only husband to assume the title “King” and I can understand why on all fronts. Anyways, back to my theory, could have both Henry VIII, Catherine of Aragon and their oldest daughter suffer the consequences of marrying a cousin? We have to include Henry’s lack of hundreds bastard children (aside from his own daughters!) to understand that it wasn’t just Catherine’s fault he wasn’t getting a son. Could this have happened to Mary as well? She could have suffered from multiple conditions in the inbreeding of her parents. We just don’t know and may never know either.

Okay, I apologize for my mini family trees between Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon. I figured if I didn’t include them, you would be lost in translation. I’ve included a couple of links into those two paragraphs to hopefully make it easier to look back on each of their lines.

Have you read the third and final book in Samantha Wilcoxson’s “Plantagenet Embers” series? If you have, do you have a favorite story? Let me know in the comments below!

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