Monday, March 13, 2017

A pair of MUST reads for any Tudor Enthusiast ~ by author JoAnn Spears

Six of One:
A Tudor Riff
JoAnn Spears

About the Book:
“Six of One” is the ultimate ‘girls’ night in’…with the six wives of Henry VIII. It’s the most fun you can have with your nightdress on! Join Dolly, the Tudor-obsessed heroine of “Six of One”, on a Yellow Brick Road journey to the alternate reality of an all-girl Tudor court.

It all begins when Dolly loses consciousness on the eve of her marriage to the six-times- divorced Harry. She awakens in the company of the Tudor women she’s studied all her life. They have a mission to accomplish, and Dolly may be just the girl who can help them do it.

As a warm-up to her life-changing interview with the six wives of Henry VIII, Dolly gets to dish with lots of the other fascinating females of the Tudor era. She learns things she never guessed about the Princes in the Tower from their sister, Elizabeth of York…Henry VIII’s mom. She talks sex with Henry’s sisters and scholarship with his daughters. She even gossips with the help, since Kat Ashley and Bess of Hardwicke are among the ladies on hand.

Of course the heart of the story is in Dolly’s interview with the six wives of Henry VIII. It turns out there’s something to each of the wives’ stories that’s been held back all this time. You won’t believe what really happened…or will you?

“Six of One” offers no tragedy, no excuses, and no apologies. It does have lots of broad humor, not to mention tons of puns. And—for a change—a happy ending.

"The novel is an enthusiastic, well-researched, fictional account of what happened to the infamous wives of Henry VIII." Kirkus Indie Review


Seven Will Out:
A Renaissance Revel
JoAnn Spears

About the Book:
If you thought "Six of One: A Tudor Riff" was the most fun you could have with your nightdress on, wait until you see what "Seven Will Out: A Renaissance Revel" has in store for Tudors fans and Shakespeare and Marlowe conspiracy theorists.  Get ready for one 'ruff' night!

Tudorphile Dolly thought that the night she spent on an astral plane with Henry VIII's six wives, learning their heretofore unknown secrets, was a one-time thing. Not so! In "Seven Will Out", Dolly finds herself back in the ether with the women of later Tudor times: Elizabeth I, 'Bloody' Mary, Bess of Hardwick, Mary, Queen of Scots, and Anne Hathaway Shakespeare, to name a few. They too have secrets that will turn history on its head, and comic sass that will keep you laughing. And if that isn't enough, there is even a cameo appearance by Anne Boleyn.

You've read all of the traditional, serious and romantic takes on the legendary characters of the English Renaissance. Why not try your Tudors and your Shakespeare with a new and different twist?


My Reviews:
Six ~ My head is exploding with rockets of awe and reverence and delight. As soon as I read the book blurb my fingers were so firmly crossed I worried circulation would be cut off. Could she pull it off, this JoAnn Spears? I mean, I LOVE Tudor history. I’ve read and studied those crazy folk all of my life, and it was my dearest hope…
The answer is YES! In spades YES! This story is a tour de force (farce??).
Now, I adore my Kindle, and through it books come and go, and once in a while, memories remain. But when I come across a book that literally (almost) blows my mind, I get online and buy the physical version, for I must have it with me, like a very dear friend, for the rest of my life. I wasn’t half way through Six of One before I had a paperback winging its way to my door.
Some of you may recall O Brother Where Art Thou?, a comedic re-telling of The Odyssey by Homer, in which Odysseus spends ten years trying to get back home after the Trojan War. George Clooney gives the movie some added eye-candy interest, but the point is that the retelling honors, and yet is so brilliantly original, admirers of the Homer’s version could but stand up and cheer. And that is where I find myself with Six of One.
While not strictly a paranormal story, Six is certainly extra-normal, since Dolly, the heroine, travels to another plane, where she has extended conversations with most of the Tudor, and Tudor-affiliated women. The interviews begin with Henry VIII’s grand-mum Margaret, and go on to include many characters, including both of his female children, and, yikes, each of his wives.
Six of One is funny, insightful, thought provoking and absolutely brilliant. Thank you, JoAnn Spears! Extremely well done.

Seven ~ Yes! Yes! Yes, there is more! Okay, life and deadlines took me away from all things reading/blogging/reviewing for a while, so think of my delight when I found that JoAnn Spears had followed up Six with Seven while I had my focus elsewhere. Oh, the joy! And wow - what?? Per usual, she will have you chuckling and wishing for your own time slot in that tower, but she goes far beyond the funny and literally turns the literary world on its ear! Not only that, but her reasoning flawless, insightful in its reasoning, and impressive. Her knowledge of the many characters that populate the Tudor era and its surrounds is astounding and spot on! 
I love to read a good book. When the threshold of "love" leaves me slack-jawed it MUST come to live with me in the real, touchable world. E-life on my Kindle just won't do. So, as after reading Six, I went back to Amazon and bought the solid, you'll-be-with-me-forever version and here they are to prove it. Fun. Interesting. Brilliant. I want to get invited to the tower!! Again, extremely well done.

About the Author:
JoAnn Spears couldn't decide whether to major in English or History in college. Life stepped in, and she wound up with a Master's Degree in Nursing instead. A twenty-five year nursing career didn't extinguish that early interest in books and history-especially Tudor history. It did, however, stoke a decidedly gallows sense of humor. 

Eventually, JoAnn read just about every spin there was on the stories of Henry VIII and the extended Tudor family. Every spin, that is, except the one with the gallows humor. The Tudors certainly qualified for it, but it just wasn't out there. JoAnn decided that with gallows humor to spare, she would do her best to remedy the Tudor comedy gap. A little inspiration from the classic "Wizard of Oz" showed her the way to go, and "Six of One", a new kind of Tudor novel, was born. 

JoAnn thought "Six of One", her story about Henry VIII's six wives, would be an only literary child. Then, two years after its birth, she was caught by surprise with the idea for a sequel. In October, 2015, "Seven Will Out" made its debut and bought the latter-day Tudors into the comedy mix.

JoAnn enjoys writing but maintains her nursing license because a) you never stop being a nurse and b) her son thinks she should be sensible and not quit her day job. She also enjoys life in the beautiful mountains of northeast Tennessee, where she gardens, embroiders antique reproduction samplers, and teaches yoga in her Methodist church basement. JoAnn shares her home with three cats and the works of Jane Austen, Barbara Pym, Louisa May Alcott, and of course, Alison Weir.

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