Monday, June 8, 2009

Why I Love Jean Plaidy

When we first thought about having a Jean Plaidy season, one of the first ideas was to ask a couple of people who we know are passionate Jean Plaidy fans about why they are. So today we have a post from Arleigh and later in the week from Lucy, who together run a Jean Plaidy focussed site at Royal-Intrigue , a blog at Plaidy's Royal Intrigue and the Jean Plaidy reading challenge.

I was introduced to historical fiction by Philippa Gregory. I knew right away that some facts were skewed, as The Queen’s Fool has a mystical element, but the fact that the kings and queens depicted in the novel truly existed piqued my interest in the genre. Directly after reading The Other Boleyn Girl, I found Robin Maxwell and enjoyed her version of Anne Boleyn so much more than the haughty, calculating jade that Gregory made her out to be. Thus my obsession with Anne Boleyn began.

The first Jean Plaidy novel I read was, of course, The Lady in the Tower. I was floored not only by the writing style, expert dialect and amazing vocabulary, but of the extreme accuracy. Plaidy’s characterization of Anne showed both her strengths and her weaknesses in equal measure. The reader can understand and sympathize with Anne’s reasoning knowing that many of the reputed facts are no more than embellished rumors.

To date I have read 29 of Jean Plaidy’s nearly 100 historical novels. I am quite amazed, not only that she has written so many novels, but that they are so good. When I am asked -- as I often am in my profession -- who my favorite author is, I answer without skipping a beat: Jean Plaidy! Not very many people give her a try and it is a shame; they are missing out on the best historical fiction has to offer!

By: Arleigh from Royal Intrigue


  1. Thank you for your post Arleigh. I haven't read that many Plaidy novels but I'm doing my best to add more to the TBR pile.

  2. Hi Arleigh, my story is similar to yours. I had read lots of historical fiction but not 'royal' historical fiction until Philippa Gregory, went looking for more and discovered Jean Plaidy. I've read 7 of her books so far but I'm slowly getting a great collection. So I totally agree with you and love her style!

  3. Thanks for posting Arleigh! I only have one Plaidy and ashamed to say I haven't read it yet. I am looking forward to it though but afraid I'll get hooked.

  4. I read Jean Plaidy when I was about 12 years old. I wasn't old enough to get an adult library card so I would go with my father and he showed me around and told me some authors I could take out on his card and one was Jean Plaidy. Well, when I saw that huge shelf full of books by her and they all looked so interesting. I remember the first one I ever read was "Daughter of Satan" and from there I was wild about her. I read every book the library had and started haunting used book stores and picking them up at garage sales with my dad on Saturdays. I used to have a huge collection of the old Pan paperbacks.

    I read her Victoria Holt books too just because I loved Plaidy so much and I'll say I enjoyed them but much prefer the historical over the gothic romance. I read one or two under the other pseudonymn which won't come to me right now (Phillipa Carr?)but never really cared for them.

  5. I've read 6 that I've reviewed.. and one V Holt that I hadn't reviewed but wish I had because it is still my favorite (My Enemy the Queen).
    Plaidy has one of the better writing styles that tends to keep you interested, and her attention to accuracy is impeccable. I would not hesitate to say that Jean Plaidy is one of the best HF Authors out there, if not THE best! She makes learning histories of Europe fun and entertaining.

    Some people may be put off by the prices of the new releases..and some are hard to find.
    Please be sure to look for the old editions of Jean Plaidy's novels on, Alibris, or many of her books had multiple printings and can be found used for less than $5.00!

    Also try FantasticFiction.Uk and they show which used book sites currently have an offering of that book's page that you are currently viewing.

    And try your library!

  6. I must really get round to reading some Jean Plaidy. I'm obsessed with Anne Boleyn, so which is the best Plaidy book to read - Murder Most Royal or The Lady in the Tower?
    I enjoyed reading Robin Maxwell's The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn and the usual Philippa Gregory ones (The Other Boleyn Girl and The Boleyn Inheritance. My favourite Gregory ones are The Wideacre Trilogy - Wideacre, The Favoured Child and Meriden - think those are the titles!