Venus In Winter
Venus in Winter is a novel based on the first forty years of the life of Bess of Hardwick, the formidable four-times widowed Tudor dynast who began life in genteel poverty and ended as the richest and most powerful woman in England after Queen Elizabeth. Bess built Chatsworth House and Hardwick Hall and is the forebearer of numerous noble lines, including the Dukedoms of Devonshire, Norfolk, Somerset, and Newcastle; the Earls of Lincoln, Portsmouth, Kellie, and Pembroke; and the Baron Waterpark. She is an ancestor of the current Queen Elizabeth.
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Reviews for Venus In Winter
"A vast panorama of Tudor history from the viewpoint of a legendary woman who loomed large in it."
- Margaret George, author of Elizabeth I: The Novel, The Autobiography of Henry VIII, and many more
"Venus in Winter" does justice to the extraordinary, powerful, and dangerous Bess of Hardwick. Gillian Bagwell has brought to vivid life one of the great women of Tudor England."
- Bernard Cornwell, author of The Last Kingdom, 1356, the Sharpe series, and many more
"A wonderful portrait of one of Elizabethan England's most fascinating — and most long-lived — women. A great read, rich with detail and story."
- Diana Gabaldon, author of the bestselling Outlander series
"Gillian Bagwell ventures among England's Tudor nobility in this novel about a shy, bewildered girl who would eventually become the grande dame known as Bess of Hardwick. The crushing anxiety of family financial burdens, the marital expectations placed on high-born young women, and the uncertainties of life under Henry VIII and his children are all explored in this richly imagined and beautifully written novel. I think it's Bagwell's best!"
- Pat Bracewell, author of Shadow on the Crown and The Price of Blood
"Gillian Bagwell proves that a Tudor heroine doesn't have to be royal to fascinate us. An eyewitness account of the turbulent reigns of five English monarchs, Venus in Winter is a refreshing, engaging, and impeccably researched novel."
- Leslie Carroll, author of The Confessions of Marie Antoinette, Royal Romances, and many more
"Bagwell weaves a delightful, highly believable, tale around the historical facts... This is one of those books that I found difficult to put down... If you love historical fiction, Tudor fiction, British historical fiction, or just great fiction in general... this book will appeal!"
- Books by the Willow Tree
"[T]he same fine attention to detail and the meticulous research we have come to expect from this author's writing. Rich in detail and alive with treachery, the story of Bess of Hardwick is a fascinating read... the complexity of court intrigue and the corruption and greed of some of the major Tudor personalities come gloriously alive."
- Jaffa Reads Too
"I had high hopes for this novel on my favorite Tudor heroine... Thank you for surpassing my expectations!"
- Burton Book Review
"This is my third book by Ms. Bagwell, and I can tell you that I was jumping up and down when given the opportunity to review it... I just KNOW that I am in for a well-researched, well-written, engrossing novel... I took it on my vacation and, like her two other books, I read it in one sitting. I find that once I start I am part of the world of the protagonist and it is very hard to leave."
- Broken Teepee
"An engrossing look at a powerful woman in English history... With the book's rich descriptions, readers will feel as if they are right there among the pomp and circumstance of 1500s England as Bess finds herself thrust into the glamorous yet treacherous court life of King Henry VIII. As Bess navigates her rise through society and secures her place in history, Venus in Winter becomes a worthy epic novel."
- RT Book Reviews
"The beauty of this story is that it does not cover the time period for which Bess is famous — acting as keeper of Mary, Queen of Scots, along with her fourth husband, George Talbot, the Earl of Shrewsbury — but fleshes out her younger years from childhood. It's such an interesting story that it kept this reader up late a few nights! I highly recommend it for Tudor fans and those looking for a view of royalty through an honest and intriguing character rarely found in historical fiction."
"Bagwell paints the remarkable life story of Bess of Hardwick from her twelfth to her fortieth birthdays. Rich in historical detail seamlessly interwoven into a compelling plot... Venus in Winter is historical fiction at its finest, with outstanding character development, a highly plausible plot line, [and] historical accuracy... Queen Anne Boleyn Historical Writers highly recommends Venus in Winter."
- Queen Anne Boleyn Historical Writers
"There have been numerous novels... about the court of Henry VIII, but most of these books focus on the king's six wives and their immediate attendants. Bagwell's novel stands out from the rest because it shows how a sixteenth-century English gentlewoman could rise in society through service in noble households rather than the King's pleasure."
- Carolyn Harris, Royal Historian