Historical Fiction Therapy

Let's face it, if you are unfortunate enough to fumble through a really bad work of historical fiction, you then find yourself in need of some serious Historical Fiction Therapy....something well-written, something soothing and calming in it's accurate period details, yet gripping in it's plot.



After being practically blinded by the Tudor time-traveling atrocity Heir Apparent, A Reader's Respite instinctively knew that we had to choose our next book very carefully -- we needed some Historical Fiction Therapy to get over the trauma.

Thank goodness author Susan Higginbotham swept in to the rescue with her gloriously beautiful novel, Hugh and Bess.

New cover. You know how we feel about partially-headed women on covers.

Hugh and Bess is essentially a continuation of Higginbotham's previous novel, The Traitor's Wife (which, by the way, is going to make our Top 5 Books of 2009 this year), and the tale of the infamous Hugh le Despenser the Younger and his reluctant wife Bess de Montacute.

Old cover....our favorite, hands down.

Not familiar? We'll fill you in....

Hugh the Younger was the son of Hugh (of course) the Elder. Daddy Hugh, history alleges, was the (*ahem*) "special" friend of King Edward II in 14th century England. Not only did he supposedly warm the King's bed, but Daddy Hugh was Eddie's preeminent adviser and became fabulously wealthy via the King.

The English people, understandably, took a dim view of this and the end result was that Daddy Hugh ended up drawn and quartered as a traitor and Eddie tossed off his throne.

All of this is covered in Higginbotham's The Traitor's Wife.

So skip ahead a few years. Edward III is now on the throne and Hugh the Younger is desperately trying to live down his very, very bad last name. Eddie 3 decides to marry Hugh to Bess de Montacute, who understandably would rather retain her maiden name after the ceremony.

Edward III. Or, Eddie 3 as we like to call him.

Needless to say, Hugh has a tough row to hoe. But history records that he manages to turn things around and work his way back into the royal good graces.

And Hugh and Bess is the vivid, encompassing tale of how they managed to accomplish this. Is it a love story? Well, yes, in a way. More than that, this is a story of human resilience and a triumph of spirit.

Higginbotham is a master at creating a world so real that the reader loses themselves within history itself. Her books are simply not to be missed.



Aren't you lucky? A Reader's Respite just happens to have one extra copy of Hugh and Bess. Interested? Just leave us a comment saying so. That's it. No twittering, no friending, no following. Just leave a comment. All comers welcome (including international) and we'll draw a random winner on November 1st, so check back then to see if you won!

We do have one condition for this offer: the winner must agree to get your hands on a copy of The Traitor's Wife and read that novel first in order to enjoy the full effect of Hugh and Bess. A Reader's Respite wouldn't want you to miss out by reading these books out of order!

AN UPDATE:

Author Susan Higginbotham has generously offered to send the winner of Hugh and Bess a complimentary copy of The Traitor's Wife......now how nice is that???
Go here for details.

Oh, and by the way, if you head over to Susan''s fabulous BLOG, you'll see that she's hosting a separate contest in which you can win another copy of The Traitor's Wife!!! Go enter now, before she changes her mind!

42 comments:

  1. I promise to abide by the rule, because all that salacious stuff about Hugh the Elder sounds really good. If I read The Traitor's Wife, I might even be able to cancel my subscription to People Magazine! ... Well, nothing that drastic, but still, it sounds like great fun. Please enter me!

    nbmars AT yahoo DOT com

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ooh, please enter me. Anything to have an excuse to buy another great book! Just kidding.

    fitz12383(at)hotmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  3. Sounds like an excellent book! I will definitely be adding it to the list of books I am planning to read when I finish my challenge. :)
    Allie

    ReplyDelete
  4. I've heard really good things about this one and so I'd love to read it. Thanks! And although I'm more forgiving than you when it comes to HF, really odious HF is truly bad.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Oh you definitely needed therapy after _that_ book and it sounds like this was the ticket. What will happen after you get Gaveston from me lord only knows.

    PS, don't enter me I have a copy.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Oh, I do love a good historical fiction novel - and I promise to read The Traitor's Wife first if I win :) Thanks!

    a.d.malouin [at] gmail [dot] com

    ReplyDelete
  7. I love historical fiction!! And I already added this to my wish list before I read that you were offering a giveaway, so I solemnly promise to read The Traitor's Wife first if I win.

    jmchshannon at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  8. I just requested The Traitor's Wife from my library because it sounds like a story I'd really enjoy!

    Please enter me for Hugh and Bess, I'd love to read it!

    Thank you so much!

    Wendy
    amateur_artiste AT yahoo DOT com

    ReplyDelete
  9. I'm interested in this one...will read 'the traitor's wife' first :)

    karen k
    kmkuka(at)yahoo(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  10. Both books sound great. I'll be sure to read "The Traitor's Wife" first! I'm descended from the De Spenser family along with the royalty they mixed with, so reading about this era has always been interesting to me, whether fiction or historical fiction!

    Thanks for the give away.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I'd like to read this. And, if I win, I promise to read The Traitor's Wife first!

    je2kids(at)yahoo(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  12. This sounds great! Promise to follow the rule! Please enter me!

    jaded2112 AT gmail DOT com

    ReplyDelete
  13. No need to enter me. Just wanted to pop in and say I'm glad you loved this one as much as I did.

    --Anna
    Diary of an Eccentric

    ReplyDelete
  14. This sounds really great! And I love a little historical fiction therapy. :) If I win I'll be sure to get myself a copy of The Traitor's Wife, too.

    srfbluemama at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  15. I've already read, and thoroughly enjoyed, The Traitor's Wife. I'd love to win Hugh and Bess, and get to feeling better about the deSpensers.
    Thanks for the giveaway.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I would love to have the perfect excuse to read The Traitor's Wife again! I, Teena, do so solemnly swear to abide by the rule set forth for this contest. ;)

    hackett.tm@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  17. If you would count me in to the draw, I promise faithfully that should I win, I shall joyfully read The Traitor's Wife before embarking upon this!

    vintagecandyfloss(at)googlemail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  18. I'm definitely in adn will buy and read The Traitor's Wife :)

    Thanks for the contest!

    jennifer.fahie at hotmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  19. Would love to read this book! And I have read The Traitor's Wife (library had it...surprisingly!).

    robinbird_79 AT hotmail DOT com

    ReplyDelete
  20. In defense of the publishers, women with partial heads on book covers must sell well or they wouldn't choose them. What does that say about the public in general? That we like women headless/objectified - or maybe that the rest of the cover is pretty so we can overlook the partial head? I think really it has more to do with the fact that if they put the whole woman's face on there people might not buy the cover because they don't like it, or they don't think that it's pretty enough, or that it fits the character. A partial head leaves more to the imagination, as well as being slightly disturbing.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Oh, and now that I'm done with my pondering the partially-headless lady, I would like to be entered for a copy (and promise to track down the first one if I win).

    akreese (at) hotmail (dot) com

    ReplyDelete
  22. I've had my eyes on this novel for some time. And yes, I promise to follow the one rule if I win.

    laraa.corona[at]gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  23. Wow... I must have been asleep earlier. I just realized that on two different sites I listed my email address incorrectly. My correct email address is jenniferfahie at hotmail dot com (no dot after jennifer) Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Susan Higginbotham's books have been on my TBR list for some time now. Please enter me to win "Hugh and Bess." I solemnly promise to read "The Traitor's Wife" first -- to me there is nothing worse than reading companion books out of order! I'll even break my self-imposed no-book-buying rule since my local library doesn't have it. Thanks for the opportunity to win.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Please enter me in the Hugh and Bess drawing. Thanks!

    juliannedouglas05 at sbcglobal dot net

    ReplyDelete
  26. Please enter me for the contest!

    j.brol@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  27. After proclaiming the official "Hug Le Despenser day" (;-)) yesterday, I'd surely be interested in a copy.

    And I guess I'll disobey the "no following rule". :-)

    ReplyDelete
  28. I'd like to be included! tWarner419@aol.com

    ReplyDelete
  29. I would love to win Hugh and Bess, and already have a copy of A Traitor's Wife!

    Thanks for the giveaway!

    shhhimreading[at]hotmail[dot]com

    ReplyDelete
  30. Did you know this is the first time I saw a review about Hugh and Bess and found out that you should read Traitor's Wife first. Of course I'd read them in order. Thanks!

    nycbookgirl at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  31. I love phenomenal historical fiction...thanks for this great giveaway!

    mabelilly28 at yahoo dot com

    ReplyDelete
  32. I'm glad your therapy seems to be successful. Stay the course!

    ReplyDelete
  33. This is a fabulous giveaway. I'd love to be entered into the drawing! :)

    austenfanblogs at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  34. The Traitor's Wife has been on my to-read list for a while now, I'd love to be entered for the drawing!

    jdq1175@aol.com

    ReplyDelete
  35. Thanks for the giveaway! I'm off to Susan's blog to enter for The Traitor's Wife too!

    ReplyDelete
  36. I have to admit I am obsessed with historical fiction and would love to read both books.
    andie.v107(at)yahoo(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  37. If you could please enter me, I've been wanting to get my hands on Hugh and Bess, Higginbotham is a great author truely a favorite!!

    Good reading to who ever wins!!!

    Nona
    san_peppy(at)hotmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  38. Please enter me for this giveaway. Over the past few months I have read many reviews of Hugh and Bess and put it on my TBR list. The opportunity to enter this giveaway for Hugh and Bess and the also get the second book as an additional gift is fantastic. Thanks for this opportunity.

    bstilwell12 at comcast dot net

    ReplyDelete
  39. I'd love to read Hugh & Bess - please count me in!

    Thanks ~ megalon22{at}yahoo{dot}com

    ReplyDelete
  40. Two more books on the Wish List thank you very much.

    cherryblossommj (at)gmail[dot]com

    ReplyDelete

Fire away!