Monday, January 23, 2012

Guest post with Anne Clinard Barnhill author of At the Mercy of the Queen

Being a reader who cannot get enough of Tudor era England, I am excited to welcome Anne Clinard Barnhill to Bippity Boppity Book today!  I just recently finished Anne's novel At the Mercy of the Queen which is about Anne Boleyn's cousin Lady Madge Shelton (stop back by on the 25th for my review) and now she is here to tell us a little about the subject of her next book.

So without further ado, here is Anne!

Now that AT THE MERCY OF THE QUEEN is out into the world, what's next?  I'm currently at work on another novel about a Shelton ancestor, Lady Mary Shelton, a generation past Lady Margaret (Madge) Shelton.  This time, the story takes place in the court of Elizabeth I rather than Henry VIII's.  And, like AT THE MERCY OF THE QUEEN, the few facts I've been able to dig up about Lady Mary form the kernel of the story and my imagination furnishes the rest.

I have discovered that Mary was orphaned at an early age, which meant she would have become one of the Queen's wards.  Wardship was a lucrative practice for monarchs and had a long history of use before Elizabeth's time.  Henry VIII used wards as bargaining chips, rewards for faithful service and sometimes, he even sold wardships to fill his coffers.  If an underage child lost his father, he became a royal ward.  The king or queen could either raise the child with the royal offspring, give the ward to someone or sell the guardianship.  Usually, wards were given or sold to lords with lands near those of the ward.  It was a frequent practice for a ward to marry either her guardian's child or, sometimes, the guardian himself.  Charles Brandon married his ward, Catherine Willoughby, though at first she had been betrothed to his son.

Wardship was a way to gain control over a youngster's wealth until he/she came of age. If the child lost the father as an infant, the ward would have upwards of twenty years to reap the benefits of being a guardian.  It was also a way of increasing one's land holdings and other revenue.  Even if the mother was still living, the welfare of the child was a concern of the monarch, not the mom. 

So, Mary Shelton was orphaned at a young age, losing both parents in the same month.  Later, in her teens, we find her serving at the court of her cousin, Elizabeth.  She is the lady-in-waiting who, most famously, married secretly, without permission.  Elizabeth, enraged, broke Mary's finger in a fit of anger.  In later life, Mary was one of three very powerful women who had the trust of the queen.

Those are the facts.  You'll have to wait for the book (still without at title) for the story.

Thank you Anne for stopping by!  I'll be looking forward to reading all about Mary.  

You can visit Anne at her website     

Anne is here today as part of her tour with Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours.  Please follow the link to see the rest of the schedule for the tour including more guest posts, interviews, giveaways, and reviews of At the Mercy of the Queen.

You can also follow the tour on twitter:  #MercyOfTheQueenVIrtualTour

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