Discussion Forums - Historical Fiction

Topic: Jean Plaidy

Club rule - Please, if you cannot be courteous and respectful, do not post in this forum.
  Unlock Forum posting with Annual Membership.
Subject: Jean Plaidy
Date Posted: 12/12/2008 4:25 PM ET
Member Since: 4/23/2008
Posts: 1,757
Back To Top

So, she seems to be popular here.  What's so great about her books?  LOL!

I haven't investigated her because it seems most of her stuff is about Tudor England, which isn't my favorite time period/place.  However, I would like to be "up" on all the great HF authors.  So, what's the best Plaidy book?  Where should I start? 

Date Posted: 12/12/2008 4:43 PM ET
Member Since: 7/13/2005
Posts: 5,201
Back To Top

I've been a Jean Plaidy fan for years.  She was an extremely prolific witer and her books cover the entire gamut of Englsh history from the Norman Conquest practically to the present day.  So although she has several Tudor-era books, there are lots of other historical times protrayed in her work as well.  It's hard to pin down the exact attraction to her work, I think mainly because her books are just plain interesting, and meticulously researched.

Some info on the author - Jean Plaidy was one of the synomyms of Ellalice Tate.  She also wrote a continung family saga series under the name Phillippa Carr, and gothic mysteries (think orphaned governess meets brooding hero in a windswept clifftop mansion) under the name Victoria Holt.  There were also books from her early career under a couple other names but the Plaidy, Carr & Holt pen names are the most well known.  Ellalice Tate died in 1991 but her books are still popular today and are re-isseud on a regular basis.

Date Posted: 12/12/2008 4:50 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2006
Posts: 95
Back To Top

She isn't just Tudor history.  Many of her books outside the Tudor period are out of print, but you can get them on here.  I like her books a lot.  I read a really good description on another board of her books.  I am copying it here:

"Her novels are fairly straightforward retellings of history (mostly English and/or royal). Some are written in the first person, others in the third. I wouldn't call her a great stylist; her prose is fairly--well, prosaic. And I've also found that her novels vary a lot in quality; some are very entertaining and readable, while others just read like textbooks with some dialogue thrown in here and there. That being said, I've enjoyed most of her books. She tells a good story without some of the "I'm so clever" tricks that some authors engage in, and especially in her first-person books, she succeeds at making often unsympathetic characters (e.g., Anne Boleyn, Katherine Howard) into people a reader can engage with and feel for.  If you like steamy books, she's definitely not for you. The bedroom door is firmly shut.  The Lady in the Tower (Anne Boleyn) is a good start with Plaidy.  And here's my Plaidy blog if you're interested (it's due for an update). It has some handy links (reviews, Plaidy websites, etc.) you may or may not have run across:http://plentyaboutplaidy.blogspot.com/"

Copied from historicalfiction.org

Last Edited on: 12/13/08 4:52 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 12/13/2008 12:12 AM ET
Member Since: 2/24/2007
Posts: 1,932
Back To Top

My goal this year was to read the entire Plantagenet saga by Jean Plaidy, (14 books) which isn't as straightforward as it sounds because many of the books were difficult to come by so it took 11 months to accomplish. I did it though, finishing the last in the series, The Sunne in Splendour last month. The entire series was terrific. In between waiting for certain books to come, I interspersed with some of the Queen's of England Series, also by Plaidy and  some other HF and Historical Bios.

She is so much more than only the Tudors. The Tudors get a great deal of attention due to Henry VIII having six queens. There were only 5 Tudor Monarchs*, but oh what drama!

My prized literary possesion is a book I won at auction which is not only signed with a personal note (not just a signature) but also contains a personal letter to the gentleman she had met on a cruise (she sent a copy of the book too after the trip in 1973! - WOW!). It is postmarked from her home in Cornwall. The Book is the 2nd in the Victorian Series (The Queen and Lord M) and is in perfect conditon.

The first book I read of hers that hooked me was "My Enemy, My Queen", which she wrote under the name Victoria Holt. It's still my favorite of all her books so far.

*edited to add: 6 if you were to count Lady Jane Grey's nine day reign.

Last Edited on: 12/13/08 12:22 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/13/2008 12:49 AM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2008
Posts: 1,976
Back To Top

Marci, awhile back (when you were on "leave") I won an auction on ebay for 20+ (I don't remember the exact number) Plaidy books.  It ending up costing about $1.68 per book including postage.  I posted most of them.  It was great fun.

Date Posted: 12/13/2008 1:33 PM ET
Member Since: 3/23/2008
Posts: 2,584
Back To Top

Wow Marci, what a treasure you have there!  I agree she is so much more than the Tudors.   I started reading the Victoria Holt books as a young teenager and fell in love with her writing.  I didn't discover till years later that she wrote under two other "names".  By then my love of HF was well on the road and her writings were certainly a part of that.

Date Posted: 12/13/2008 3:53 PM ET
Member Since: 6/5/2007
Posts: 2,513
Back To Top

I've always read her in all her incarnations - I love Carr's history series, and Victoria Holt (not so much now as a growup) and I've in high school read a pretty fair amount of her Plaidy books.  They are always worth a good reread, I agree.

Date Posted: 12/17/2008 7:59 AM ET
Member Since: 6/20/2007
Posts: 5,062
Back To Top

I am trying to collect the Plaidys, so if anyone comes across any, I'd love to hear from you!  I am especially looking for Uneasy Lies the Head so that I can start the Tudor Saga, The Murder in the Tower so that I can start the Stuart saga, and The Heart of the Lion and The Prince of Darkness from the Plantagenet Saga.

Date Posted: 12/17/2008 9:09 AM ET
Member Since: 4/23/2008
Posts: 1,757
Back To Top

I wishlisted a bunch of Plaidys and just got The Lady In The Tower, so I guess that'll be my first foray into Plaidy! 

Alice J. (ASJ) - ,
Date Posted: 3/24/2010 11:03 AM ET
Member Since: 5/13/2009
Posts: 43,864
Back To Top

I know Jean Plaidy is hotly debated in this forum so as I read To Hold the Crown I was trying to figure out why I like most of her books.  I read a review and it said it is like eating comfort food. Easy to get through. Often I don't want to read 800 on a particular person, so I like her books generally they are 300 - 400 pages. Very fact based, but more detail and better written than wikipedia.  Here books do not equal Sharon Kay Penman or Elizabeth Chadwick but are a different type of book I think more of give a the facts of a person or time period rather than building a beautiful picture of the person

BTW there are a lot of rereleases of her books by Three Rivers and they have changed the titles. To Hold the Crown has been changed from Uneasy Lies the Head.

Just thought I would share my thoughts