On Friday, I spent $15 to become a Friends member, which entitled me to browse books for 4 hours before the sale opened to the general public. I bought 23 wish-listed books to post on PaperBackSwap, including several vintage Jean Plaidy and Anya Seton paperbacks and three of Philippa Gregory's popular Tudor novels.
Here are some of the books I bought for myself:
The Iron King by Maurice Druon. Tanzanite just reviewed this novel on her blog. Set in the reign of Philip the Fair, the book covers the monarch's attack on the Templar order of knights and the infidelity of his three daughters-in-law. The book is the first in "The Accursed Kings" series. With my luck, I will enjoy the book enough to want to read the rest, which can be expensive to buy secondhand.The Moneyman by Thomas Costain, "the vivid and dramatic story of Jacques Coeur, who built a vast empire of trade that made him the richest man in all of 15th-century France. But Jacques Coeur wanted more than wealth." Costain wrote a well-known quartet of histories of the Plantagenet monarchs: The Conquerers, The Magnificent Century, The Three Edwards and The Last Plantagenets. I had never heard of this novel, but it looks like a fun read.
Coronation of Glory by Deborah Meroff, about the Lady Jane Grey and her ill-fated, nine days' reign.
At this sale, I always seem to find one or two books I just have to buy for the sake of novelty. This time, I discovered a library discard called Isabella: Young Queen of Spain by Mildred Criss, which, according to the copyright page, was on its 12th printing in 1941. The text on the jacket flap bills it as a book "for older girls and boys.
The book description does its best to make its subject sound appealing. "Astonishing Isabella of Spain! Five hundred years old in history, but young Isabella is not an out-of-date heroine! She was as animated and vigorous as any modern young girl; staunch in upholding her principles; clever in confounding her enemies; affectionate and gentle in caring for her invalid mother; courtly and restrained when she assumed her rightful queenly station."
The jacket flap also praises Isabella and Ferdinand's crusade against the "Infidel" Moors in a way that seems very un-PC today: "Isabella and her knight, Ferdinand of Aragon, pledged themselves to a Crusader's life against mighty forces of greed, hatred and violent oppression. No personal sacrifice was too great to be made, and the result of this determined unselfishness and courage was triumph."
The text on the back of the dust jacket reveals Mildred Criss also wrote books about Mary Queen of Scots, Pocahontas, Abigail Adams and Lafayette. She designed her New Hampshire home "as an exact copy of a French Normandy cottage."
I will definitely blog about this book once I've finished it!