I was excited to host Andrea Zuvich, author of His Last Mistress during this Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tour. I am a huge fan of historical fiction but I was actually completely unfamiliar with this story of the Duke of Monmouth and Henrietta Wentworth so I enjoyed learning a new facet of history as well as reading a fascinating story.
Tomorrow I’ll be posting my review of His Last Mistress, today on The Happy Booker, Andrea Zuvich has written a guest post about why she’s drawn, as an author, to historical fiction.
Welcome to The Happy Booker, Andrea!
Good day to you from the North West England! I’m thrilled to have been asked to do a guest post here on The Happy Booker today, so thank you, Donna!
Why I Started Writing Historical Fiction
I never really thought that I would write a book. Much less have a possible three books published in the same year. I was a bookworm since I learned to read; and I was always a very shy, quiet, sort of girl - and in many ways I still am. What I loved more than anything was History. I knew when I was about eight or nine that I wanted to be a historian in the way that some people dream of becoming a writer. And it was because of my intense passion for history, particularly the history of the Seventeenth Century, that I began writing historical/biographical fiction.
There are some stories that I feel like I have to tell, because I want people to remember the people from the past. I do not want us to forget about their joys, their sorrows, their hopes, and their dreams. So it was with the Duke of Monmouth, whose painting I photographed at the Museum of Somerset in Taunton Castle:
Lots of people know about the Duke of Monmouth (1649-1685) and his ill-fated Rebellion in 1685, but few have heard about his last romantic relationship and even fewer had heard of the lady with which he had said relationship – Henrietta Wentworth.
There are several reasons why I chose to write about the Monmouth and Henrietta:
1) I love the Stuarts, who were a Scottish royal family who ruled England as well following the death of the last Tudor, Queen Elizabeth I. Remember Elizabeth had Mary, Queen of Scots beheaded, yep, these descended from that Mary.
2) James Scott, the Duke of Monmouth and Buccleuch, was the eldest illegitimate son of King Charles II, and remains a tragic, romantic figure that can still arose both admiration and contempt.
3) Less than a handful of people (and those were usually historians) seemed to have ever heard of the mysterious Lady Henrietta Wentworth. I thought her story- their story – was one of the most heart-wrenching stories I had ever read about.
Publishing His Last Mistress was such a strange, wonderful, frightening experience. A book is so intensely personal to a writer – you’ve researched, written late into the hours of the night, cried when your characters cried, smiled when they were happy – and then off it goes, that work that you’ve spent so much alone time with - to be read by people all over the world. Again, I’m still a shy person, and the thought of this can be daunting. The thoughts of “Will they like it?”, “Will they hate it?” can be unnerving, but ultimately, whether they like it or not, a reader will go away knowing this true and tragic story, and have a pretty good idea of the history and politics of the Late Stuart court, and that can only be a good thing.
As I mentioned above, I have a thing for the Stuarts, I find them endlessly fascinating and I’m sad at how readers often overlook them, and end up reading more about the Tudors. The Stuarts had everything the Tudors had, and more: sex, political intrigue, romance, adultery, duels, wars, rebellions, royal uncertainty, grisly executions, and major catastrophes such as the Great Plague and the Great Fire.
So, go on, give the Stuarts a try…
About the Book
Publication Date: May 20, 2013
Set in the tumultuous late 17th Century, His Last Mistress tells the true story of the final years of James Scott, the handsome Duke of Monmouth, and his lover Lady Henrietta Wentworth.
As the illegitimate eldest son of King Charles II, the Duke is a spoiled, lecherous man with both a wife and a mistress. However, this rakish libertine is soon captivated by the innocence of young Lady Henrietta Wentworth, who has been raised to covet her virtue. She is determined to spurn his advances, yet she cannot deny the chemistry between them. Will she succumb? At the same time, the Duke begins to harbour risky political ambitions that may threaten not only his life but also that of those around him.
His Last Mistress is a passionate, sometimes explicit, carefully researched and ultimately moving story of love and loss, set against a backdrop of dangerous political unrest, brutal religious tensions, and the looming question of who will be the next King.
About the Author
Born in Philadelphia in 1985 to Chilean-Croatian parents,
Andrea Zuvich is a historian specializing in the Late Stuarts of the Seventeenth Century and is the creator and writer of the history website, The Seventeenth Century Lady. Andrea studied History and Anthropology at both the University of Central Florida and Oxford University, and has been independently researching the 1600s since 2008. Andrea is a leader on and one of the original developers of The Garden History Tours at Kensington Palace, Historic Royal Palaces, and lives with her English husband in Lancashire, England.
For more information, please visit Andrea's website.
Check out the rest of the stops in this tour!
Twitter Hashtag: #HisLastMistressTour
Monday, August 26
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Wednesday, August 28
Guest Post at The Happy Booker
Thursday, August 29
Review at The Happy Booker
Friday, August 30
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews
Wednesday, September 4
Review at A Chick Who Reads