"Sex and the Tudors go together like Henry VIII and failed marriages," my
novelist mother used to say whenever I grabbed another Jean Plaidy historical
from her bookcase.
My fav teen read was the historical bodice-ripper, all those well-thumbed
paperbacks we passed under the desk at school. And how things come around! The
Tudors are hugely popular again today, as are novels about sexually dominant
men. Personally, I see Henry VIII as the ultimate dominant, demanding submission
both in the bedchamber and in public, even acting as judge and executioner to
some of his unfortunate wives. His first divorce and second marriage is a
compulsive erotic tale that climaxes â€“ if youâ€™ll pardon the expression â€“ with
the terrifying, sensational beheading of Anne Boleyn.
So what is about the Tudors that captures our imagination? The rich garb of the
nobility, perhaps, which puts our own aristocracy to shame. Those
jewel-encrusted, ermine-trimmed gowns, the jaunty feathered velvet caps and
gentlemenâ€™s garters seem marvelously lavish and tactile. Letâ€™s face it, even the
most glamorous designer frock sported by Princess Kate cannot compare with
Elizabeth Iâ€™s vast angel ruffs and hoop-skirted cloth of gold.
Henry VIII's youngest daughter took a leaf out of her father's book, wearing
elaborate costumes designed to intimidate and impress, to bring her subjects to
their knees in admiration of their goddess. Like todayâ€™s celebs, Elizabeth Tudor
understood the power of a drop-dead red carpet outfit.
Hand-in-hand with display goes their prominent sexuality. Tudor women did not
wear panties, for goodnessâ€™ sake. Even given the length of time it took
noblewomen to be released from their elaborate gowns, thatâ€™s not playing hard to
get. Nor were the men shy of advertising their wares. Noblemen and merchants
alike paraded about with outrageously enlarged codpieces â€“ a kind of pouch
designed to accentuate the groin â€“ to make them appear more virile. Some were
made from shiny or brightly colored fabrics or decorated to draw more attention
to them. No suit of armour was complete without a thrusting steel codpiece. I
like to imagine they held competitions!
But life at the Tudor court was not just about display. It was also a dizzying
tightrope between power and the axe. Perhaps it is the violent, unpredictable
nature of Tudor existence that fascinates us. In the 1500s, laws were
implacable: punishments harsh and immediate. Anne Boleyn fell from being Queen
of England to a criminal on the scaffold in a matter of weeks. I made the
difficult decision to include Anne Boleyn's beheading in my novel Wolf Bride,
even though it is a romance, because her death demonstrates how high the stakes
were for illicit Tudor lovers.
No doubt our twenty-first century existence would feel tame to the courtiers
accused of sleeping with Anne Boleyn. Now, you might face legal action over a
dubious tweet. At Henry's court you could be hanged, drawn and quartered for a
treasonous remark, your estates seized by the crown, your heirs disinherited.
And when the fall from power is so brutal, it makes the pleasures in life that
much sweeter â€“ and hotter.
Hilary Mantel meets Sylvia Day: the first installment in a
deliciously erotic trilogy, set against the sumptuous backdrop of the
scandal-ridden Tudor Court.
Bound to him against her will...
Lord Wolf, hardened soldier and expert lover, has come to King Henry VIII's
court to claim his new bride: a girl who has intrigued him since he first saw
her riding across the Yorkshire moors.
Eloise Tyrell, now lady-in-waiting to Queen Anne Boleyn, has other ideas. She
has no desire to submit to a man she barely knows and who-though she is loath to
admit it-frightens her more than a little.
Their first kiss awakens in both a fierce desire that bares them to the soul.
But as the court erupts into scandal around the ill-fated Queen, Eloise sees
firsthand what happens when powerful men tire of their wives...
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About Elizabeth Moss
Born into a literary family, Elizabeth Moss lives with her husband and five children in
South-West England, and is a keen countryside walker. She writes fun and sexy
historical romances. She also writes award-winning fiction as Victoria Lamb.
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