Posted By Claire on November 25, 2015
Back in 2012, I read and reviewed JoAnn Spears’ Six of One: A Tudor Riff describing it as “a fun, rather irreverent, entertaining spoof”. I thoroughly enjoyed it because it was just so different to the usual historical fiction, and it was entertaining and cheeky.
In Six of One, the protagonist history professor Dolly was preparing to marry Henry, a man with ‘baggage’ – six ex wives, two daughters and a son, when during her bachelorette party Dolly choked, lapsed into unconsciousness, and then travelled to another plane of existence. There, she met various characters from her historical studies – women like Elizabeth of York, Margaret Beaufort, Kat Ashley, Elizabeth I, Mary I, Lady Jane Grey, Mary Queen of Scots, Bess of Hardwick etc. – before being granted an audience with Henry VIII’s six wives, who had been charged with talking to brides “facing a treacherous marital decision”. It was such a fun read so I was more than happy to read and review JoAnn’s latest book.
In Seven Will Out: A Renaissance Revel, we are reunited with Dolly and also with many of the historical characters of the first book because Dolly collapses at an awards ceremony and is whisked off to that other plane. This time, she meets, Arabella Stuart, Blanche Parry, Jane Dormer, Anne Hathaway, Lettice Knollys, Douglas Sheffield, Amy Robsart, Catherine de’ Medidic, the Grey sisters, Margaret Douglas, Helena von Snakenborg and Emilia Lanier, as well as her old friends. Last time, she found out the real truth about the fate of the Princes in the Tower and this time not only does she find out what really happened to Amy Robsart, wife of Robert Dudley who died in strange circumstances in 1560, but she also finds out who really wrote the works of William Shakespeare, and it’s not Shakespeare, Marlowe, Bacon or Oxford! One bit that really made laugh out loud was the “true” origin of Lady Macbeth’s famous line “Out, damned spot,” and who Lady Macbeth was actually modelled on.
The book’s subtitle is “A Renaissance Revel” and it really is a lively and entertaining read. I loved JoAnn’s takes on these historical characters and the whole Shakespeare storyline was brilliantly done and was so clever. She knows her Shakespeare inside out! JoAnn also knows her history. Each character’s story is spot on, although obviously with a “twist”, and it’s the reality of the history, the depth of these people’s stories, combined with humour which makes it such a wonderful read. Congratulations, JoAnn!
If you thought “Six of One: A Tudor Riff” was the most fun you could have with your nightdress on, wait until you see what “Seven Will Out: A Renaissance Revel” has in store. Get ready for one ‘ruff’ night! Tudorphile Dolly thought that the night she spent on an astral plane with Henry VIII’s six wives, learning their heretofore unknown secrets, was a one-time thing. Not so! In “Seven Will Out”, Dolly finds herself back in the ether with the women of later Tudor times: Elizabeth I, ‘Bloody’ Mary, Bess of Hardwick, Mary, Queen of Scots, and Anne Hathaway Shakespeare, to name a few. They too have secrets that will turn history on its head, and comic sass that will keep you laughing. You’ve read all of the traditional, serious and romantic takes on the legendary Tudors. Why not try your Tudors with a new and different twist?
Paperback: 528 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (October 31, 2015)
Available as a Kindle book and paperback at Amazon.com, Amazon UK and other Amazon stores.