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.
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.
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.
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!
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!