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The Welsh Bookworm

The Welsh Bookworm is a librarian living and working in rural Minnesota. She is a past-president of the St. David’s Society of Minnesota, leads the Welsh folk-dance group Traed Y Ddraig, and teaches Welsh language classes. Her Welsh Bookworm column was featured occasionally in the newspaper Y Drych, now part of Ninnau. Laurel works for the Carver County Public Libraries in Waconia and Norwood Young America, loves reading, music, dance, languages, genealogy, gardening, and bird watching. Laurel reads historical fiction, mysteries, sci fi/fantasy, medieval and British history, Arthurian fiction, classics, and of course, anything connected to Wales. Follow my blog at http://welshbookworm.wordpress.com

Currently reading

Mrs. Queen Takes the Train
William Kuhn
The Boleyn Deceit
Laura Andersen
The Forgotten Queen - D.L. Bogdan Setting: England, Scotland
Time: 1498-c1538

Main characters: Margaret Tudor (sister of Henry VIII); James IV, King of Scotland; James V, King of Scotland; Archibald Douglas, 6th Earl of Angus; Henry Stewart, Lord Methven.

First paragraph, Chapter One: There was no one high enough to intervene on behalf of my immortal soul, my grandmother had cried. I was a shameful creature, she went on, a wilted petal on the Tudor rose. It was time I was made to examine my wicked ways and repent. Grandmother was through with humble chaplains and confessors. I was a Princess of the Blood; the fate of kingdoms may rest in my finding salvation. Thus I was removed to my godfather, the Archbishop of Canterbury himself, where I must come up with an impressive confession. I was certain it wouldn't take much; I had a wealth of sins to choose from.

Favorite line: Angus, his brother, and his cousin were little more than a glorified group of thugs to me, and I made sure to meet him in a beautiful dove gray velvet gown trimmed with ermine. Despite being married, I allowed my most stunning feature, my coppery hair, to flow free down my back, and it whipped about me in the wind. I was a Celtic goddess of old and I laughed at the comparison. Angus was nothing now. (p. 264)

The feisty, red-haired Margaret is sent away to Scotland at the age of 13 to marry the 30-year-old James IV of Scotland. This is a very readable and historically accurate account of Margaret Tudor's life - her many pregnancies, the loss of most of her children, her need to be loved and protected and subsequent disastrous choices in men following the death of Jamie, her friendship with the exotic "black Ellen" - told against the background of the political machinations for control of Scotland's young James V. Having been raised to be a Queen, Margaret expects to be always pampered and loved, and does not reconcile well with her circumstances. D.L. Bogdan has done a good job portraying a flawed, but still likeable woman. This book has a bit of the feel of Jean Plaidy in style, I thought. Although not a romance, it has an emotional style typical of romances, with language like "throbbing," "cooing," "sobbing," etc. And the author has Margaret quickly adopting the Scots dialect, using "canna" and "dinna" in her speech. No explicit sex scenes, so this would be fine for young adults.

Description: From her earliest days, Margaret Tudor knows she will not have the luxury of choosing a husband. Her duty is to gain alliances for England. Barely out of girlhood, Margaret is married by proxy to James IV and travels to Edinburgh to become Queen of Scotland. Despite her doubts, Margaret falls under the spell of her adopted home. But while Jamie is an affectionate husband, he is not a faithful one. And nothing can guarantee Margaret’s safety when Jamie leads an army against her own brother, Henry VIII. In the wake of loss she falls prey to an ambitious earl and brings Scotland to the brink of anarchy. Beset by betrayal and secret alliances, Margaret has one aim—to preserve the crown of Scotland for her son, no matter what the cost…

About the author: D.L Bogdan is a history major, aiming for a master's so that she might lecture one day. She is also a musician with classical voice training who has been playing keyboards and singing in bands since she was 18. She also enjoys reading, traveling, summer activities, spending time with family and friends, and researching her next novel! She makes her home in central Wisconsin.