The Revolt of the Eaglets by Jean Plaidy

The Revolt of the Eaglets by Jean Plaidy was first published in 1977.

The year is 1171 and King Henry Plantagenet is celebrating the arrival of the New Year in Castle Argentan, he’s looking forward to returning to England soon where he’ll be reunited with his long-term mistress Rosamund Clifford. Their affair is common knowledge now since his wife of nineteen years Queen Eleanor discovered it.

When Henry gets word that Thomas a Beckett has been murdered by four of Henry’s men, in Canterbury Cathedral, he’s furious as he knows he will be blamed for it, well in truth he did more or less give the order for the argumentative Thomas to be got rid of. Within two years Thomas has been canonised by the Pope.

Queen Eleanor is a woman scorned. She was a powerful woman before she married Henry, she owns the rich lands of Aquitaine, and she’s determined to set her Plantagenet sons against their father.  Strangely the eldest son Henry has already been crowned, but he has no power and that enrages him.

Meanwhile, King Henry can’t be faithful to any woman, but shockingly he has seduced and impregnated the 11 year old girl who is to marry his son Richard, she’s also the daughter of the French King Louis and King Henry is terrified that her father will discover the secret.

I enjoyed this one although these older historical fiction books often have a more stilted style of writing.



The Thistle and the Rose by Jean Plaidy – 20 Books of Summer 2023

The Thistle and the Rose by Jean Plaidy was published in 1963 and if you’re interested in Scottish history reading this book will probably teach you quite a lot, in a painless fashion although I must say that at times Plaidy’s writing style seems quite stilted, certainly when compared with writers like Hilary Mantel and Alison Weir. This is the eighth book by Plaidy featuring the Tudors

The book begins in the Tudor court of Henry VII, not long after his heir Prince Arthur has died.  Only Princess Margaret, Prince Henry and Princess Mary are left, but Margaret is of an age to be married off and Henry VII negotiates with the Scottish King James IV. Margaret is sent to Scotland to become a Stuart Queen and be a political pawn for her father. Unexpectedly Margaret falls for James IV and for her new country, despite it being obviously poorer than England. She has at least escaped her father’s famous meanness. But James had had an even worse father, he wanted nothing to do with his son, giving him no love or time. Despite his upbringing James was a good and successful king.

When James dies at the Battle of Flodden Margaret is made Regent, she has one small son and gives birth to another soon after her husband’s death. The Scottish ‘nobles’ are of course all fighting among themselves and Margaret ends up losing her children and the Regency. Her brother Henry VIII is no help at all.

I liked this and might try to track down the others in the series. It’s amazing how often Stuart kings died, leaving young children at the mercy of men who want the power for themselves. History does indeed repeat itself.

This is one of my 20 Books of Summer 2023.




The Lion of Justice by Jean Plaidy

 The Lion of Justice cover

The Lion of Justice by Jean Plaidy is the second book in the author’s Norman Trilogy, but I haven’t read the first one, I don’t think that was a problem though. It was first published in 1975. She wrote under several pseudonyms including Victoria Holt.

I must admit that I was a wee bit disappointed with this one when I began to read it as the writing style seemed quite chunky when compared with more modern writers of historical fiction. There’s a lot of very obvious info-dumping, however I got used to the style and ended up enjoying it although I would only give it three stars.

Scottish princesses Edith and her sister Mary have been placed in a nunnery after the death of their mother Queen of Scotland. The nunnery is run by their aunt Christina who is determined that they will take the veil. The girls aren’t enamoured with that idea though and hope that they will be able to get married in the future, this incenses Aunt Christina the mother superior and she becomes more and more violent, especially towards Edith. So when some men from the royal court visit them they see their chance to escape. Edith hangs on for a son of the Conqueror. Henry is the youngest of that dead king’s sons, and is third in line to the throne. As you can imagine Edith is quite happy to change her name to Matilda as Henry asks her to. She’s of Saxon blood and the Norman Henry’s idea is that if he does become king marrying a Saxon will make him popular with the common people. But Henry is a philanderer and already has multiple illegitimate children, that’s all such a heart-ache for the young Matilda over the years.

Henry spends a lot of time in Normandy and when he’s not there he’s often in Wales with Nesta, his favourite other woman of long standing. Actually that part reminded me so much of another heir to the throne!

Anyway, I don’t think I will rush to read the other books in this trilogy but it was fairly entertaining.

Scottish non fiction books


This post is so long overdue, I had meant to get around to writing about some of my Scottish non-fiction books at the beginning of the year, but life and moving house somehow got in the way.

Anyway, better late than never, and of course as the Read Scotland 2014 challenge is continuing in 2015 and probably forever and a day, I should manage to get these ones read eventually.

There’s a biography of John Buchan – by his wife and friends. This one was published in 1947. I really like John Buchan’s adventure/spy/mystery books but the man himself was just amazing – what a career he had! I hope to learn more about him through this book.

Montrose by John Buchan. Buchan won the James Tait Black memorial prize for this biography of the Marquess of Montrose.

Maritime Scotland by Brian Lavery is a Historic Scotland publication. As you would imagine, the sea in Scotland is important. It’s impossible to live more than 40 miles from salt water according to this book. It should be interesting.

Mary Queen of Scots by Jean Plaidy
. Until I saw this book I had no idea that Jean Plaidy had written anything other than her historical novels which I enjoyed as a youngster. I wonder what she thinks of Mary Stuart?

Hand, Heart and Soul by Elizabeth Cumming is about the Arts and Crafts movement in Scotland. This book has some nice photographs in it but also an awful lot of text. It’ll be one for dipping in and out of I think.

Scottish Gardens by Sir Herbert Maxwell was published in 1908 and it’s a gorgeous book with lovely illustrations by Mary G. W. Wilson. This was one which I said to Jack – buy that for my birthday! I don’t go in for surprise presents, after all these years it’s sensible to make sure that you get what you want and Jack is happy to oblige as it means he doesn’t have to rack his brains for gift ideas. Anyway, I think the book is quite a rare one and I intend to carry out some research to see what has happened to all the gardens which are mentioned and illustrated in the text.

Then there’s The Scottish Gardener by Suzi Urquhart, another birthday present.

So that’s my first batch of Scottish non-fiction books. I have a lot of Scottish travel books but I’ll keep them for another time. Those are the sort of books which are good for dipping into when you want to know more about the area which you are going to visit.

I think you’ll agree that this lot should keep me busy for a while anyway.