Author: Jone Lewis

The White Princess: Historical Fiction vs. Fact

Philippa Gregory’s book The White Princess has come to the screen via Starz in April, 2017.  As with The White Queen, figures in the series are taken from history, with considerable fictionalizing. Here are some of the biographies of the real women behind Gregory’s characters, women in the life of Elizabeth of York, all important parts of the history of the Wars of the Roses and then the early Tudor dynasty. You’re invited to compare and contrast their stories on-screen and in the books. Women Characters in The White Princess Elizabeth of York, daughter of King Edward IV and his queen, Elizabeth Woodville. The Princess Elizabeth married Henry VII, the first Tudor king, and was mother of Henry VIII, his older brother Arthur, and his sisters Margaret Tudor and Mary Tudor. Elizabeth Woodville, the Queen’s mother, whose marriage to Edward IV was opposed by the Earl of Warwick and whose marriage was questioned by Richard III. She was the daughter of Jacquetta of Luxembourg. Margaret Beaufort, the King’s mother, the “Red Queen” to Elizabeth Woodville’s White Queen.  Margaret Beaufort, married to Edmund Tudor when she was 12, gave birth to Henry Tudor, the future Henry VII. She supported her son in the Wars of the Roses. Cecily, Duchess of York, or Cecily Woodville, the Queen’s grandmother. Margaret, Duchess of Burgundy, the Queen’s paternal aunt. This sister of Edward IV was a friend of Elizabeth...

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Lucy Colman: Abolitionist, Feminist, Freethinker

Known for: a freethinker who worked for racial justice and for the education of African Americans; she accompanied Sojourner Truth on a visit to President Abraham Lincoln Occupation: reformer, activist, educator, writer Dates: July 26, 1817 – January 18, 1906 Also known as: Lucy Newhall Colman, Lucy Coleman, Lucy Davis, Lucy Newhall Danforth Colman Lucy N. Colman Biography: Lucy Newhall Danforth was born in Sturbridge, Massachusetts, in 1817. In her autobiography, she reported that from an early age, about six, she was horrified to learn of the existence of slavery, and bothered her mother with many questions about it. In 1824, Lucy’s...

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Natalie Woods Quotes

The only time a woman really succeeds in changing a man is when he’s a baby. Nick, they called me a goddamn juvenile delinquent, now do I get the part? (quoted in Gavin Lampert’s 2004 biography of Natalie Wood) In so many ways I think it’s a bore to be sorry you were a child actor – so many people feel sorry for you automatically. At the time I wasn’t aware of the things I missed so why should I think of them in retrospect? Everybody misses something or other. You get tough in this business, until you get big enough to hire people to get tough for you. Then you can sit back and be a...

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Vannozza dei Cattanei, Mother of Borgias

Vannozza dei Cattenei was the mother of Lucrezia Borgia, Cesare Borgia and two (or maybe one) other children of Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia, who later became Pope Alexander VI.  Borgia’s mistress, she was also an innkeeper. She lived from July 13, 1442 to November 24, 1518. Variations on her name include Vanozza dei Cattenei, Giovanna de Candia, Countess of Cattenei. Biography Vannozza dei Cattanei, as she was called, was born Giovanna de Candia, daughter of two nobles of the house of Candia. (Vannozza is a diminutive of Giovanna.) We know nothing of her early life, other than that she was born in Mantua. She may have been an innkeeper with several establishments in Rome when she became mistress of Rodrigo Borgia, then a Cardinal in the Roman Catholic Church (or the inns may have been property obtained with his support). He had many other mistresses before, during and after their relationship, but his with Vannozza was his longest relationship. He honored his children by her above his other illegitimate offspring. Rodrigo Borgia had been appointed a cardinal by Pope Callixtus III in 1456 — his uncle, born Alfonso de Borja, who died in 1458. Rodrigo Borgia did not take Holy Orders and become a priest until 1468 — but that did include a vow of ceibacy. Borgia was not the only cardinal to have mistresses; one rumor at the time had Vanozza...

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Transcendental Wild Oats by Louisa May Alcott

Louisa May Alcott wrote this biting satire on life in a 19th century Utopian community, based on her own family’s experience at Fruitlands. She portrays the father figure as a dreamer and idealist, and the mother as the practical one who has to do all the work to meet worldly needs like food and shelter.

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An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving by Louisa May Alcott

Louisa May Alcott wrote this Thanksgiving story in 1881. In this selection you’ll find a vivid description of a New England family, “poor in money, but rich in land and love,” and their Thanksgiving dinner. The story was made into a movie by Sony Pictures, available on DVD, and shown on the Hallmark Channel. Jacqueline Bisset  stars as Isabella Caldwell and Hélène Joy as Mary Bassett.  The setting is a New Hampshire town, the time is after the American Civil War. It tells of a struggling widow and family, left poor by the death of Mr. Bassatt.  The widow’s wealthy mother comes to visit at Thanksgiving at the instigation of Bassett daughter Tilly. Values about money, virtue, reconciliation and the autonomy of children are featured. An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving November, 1881. By Louisa May Alcott. SIXTY YEARS AGO, up among the New Hampshire hills, lived Farmer Bassett, with a houseful of sturdy sons and daughters growing up about him. They were poor in money, but rich in land and love, for the wide acres of wood, corn, and pasture land fed, warmed, and clothed the flock, while mutual patience, affection, and courage made the old farmhouse a very happy home. November had come; the crops were in, and barn, buttery, and bin were overflowing with the harvest that rewarded the summer’s hard work. The big kitchen was a jolly place just now,...

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