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!


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!


  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

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


  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. :)

  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.

  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.

  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

  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

  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!

    amateur_artiste AT yahoo DOT com

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

    karen k

  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.

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


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

    jaded2112 AT gmail DOT com

  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.

    Diary of an Eccentric

  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

  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.

  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. ;)


  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!


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

    Thanks for the contest!

    jennifer.fahie at hotmail dot com

  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

  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.

  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

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


  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!

  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.

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

    juliannedouglas05 at sbcglobal dot net

  26. Please enter me for the contest!


  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". :-)

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

    Thanks for the giveaway!


  29. 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

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

    mabelilly28 at yahoo dot com

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

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

    austenfanblogs at gmail dot com

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


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

  35. I have to admit I am obsessed with historical fiction and would love to read both books.

  36. 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!!!


  37. 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

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

    Thanks ~ megalon22{at}yahoo{dot}com

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

    cherryblossommj (at)gmail[dot]com


Fire away!