The author of The September Queen explores Tudor England with the tale of Bess of Hardwick—the formidable four-time widowed Tudor dynast who became one of the most powerful women in the history of England.
On her twelfth birthday, Bess of Hardwick receives the news that she is to be a waiting gentlewoman in the household of Lady Zouche. Armed with nothing but her razor-sharp wit and fetching looks, Bess is terrified of leaving home. But as her family has neither the money nor the connections to find her a good husband, she must go to facilitate her rise in society.
When Bess arrives at the glamorous court of King Henry VIII, she is thrust into a treacherous world of politics and intrigue, a world she must quickly learn to navigate. The gruesome fates of Henry’s wives convince Bess that marrying is a dangerous business. Even so, she finds the courage to wed not once, but four times. Bess outlives one husband, then another, securing her status as a woman of property. But it is when she is widowed a third time that she is left with a large fortune and even larger decisions—discovering that, for a woman of substance, the power and the possibilities are endless . . .
About the Author
Gillian Bagwell united her life-long love of books, British history, and theater to write her first novel, The Darling Strumpet, based on the life of Nell Gwynn. She has lived in London, now lives in Northern California, and enjoys returning to England to conduct research for her books.
Praise for Venus in Winter:
"A vast panorama of Tudor history, from the viewpoint of a legendary woman who loomed large in it—the redoubtable, fabulously wealthy, much-married Bess of Hardwick."—Margaret George, author of Elizabeth I: The Novel
“Venus in Winter does justice to the extraordinary, powerful, and dangerous Bess of Hardwick. Gillian Bagwell has brought to vivid life one of the great women of Tudor England.”—Bernard Cornwell, author of 1356
"A wonderful portrait of one of Elizabethan England’s most fascinating—and most long-lived—women. A great read, rich with detail and story!"—Diana Gabaldon, author of the bestselling Outlander series
“The crushing anxiety of family financial burdens, the marital expectations placed on high-born young women, and the uncertainties of life under Henry VIII and his children are all explored in this richly imagined and beautifully written novel. I think it’s Bagwell’s best!”—Patricia Bracewell, author of Shadow on the Crown
“Bagwell proves that a Tudor heroine doesn't have to be a royal to fascinate us. An eyewitness account of the turbulent reigns of five English monarchs, Venus in Winter is a refreshing, engaging, and impeccably researched novel.”—Leslie Carroll, author of Royal Romances