Venus in Winter by Gillian Bagwell

Venus in Winter

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 f...

Details Venus in Winter

TitleVenus in Winter
Release DateJul 2nd, 2013
PublisherBerkley Trade
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, European Literature, British Literature, Fiction, English History, Tudor Period, Romance

Reviews Venus in Winter

  • Rebecca Huston
    I had such high hopes for this one, a retelling of the life of Bess of Hardwick. This novel is full of descriptions, some sex, encounters with Tudor royalty, a nasty relation, but cuts off the final, most interesting part of Bess's life -- when she was Countess of Shrewsbury, and her life became entangled with Mary, Queen of Scots. That to me was a huge blunder on the author's part. Also, Bess and her husbands are such goodies that I was heartily...
  • Teresa Gibson
    I tried, I really did, to get into this book. But after 100 pages, I've given up. I rarely give up on books, but I have two others to review and I just can't spend any more time with this one. All I got out of the 100 pages I read was a Tudor history lesson. Bess Hardwicke goes to court and witnesses Henry VIII wed wives 4 and 5. I'm told the story picks up and I may try again later. But writers of historical fiction should assume that readers ki...
  • Misou
    The story of Bess Hardwick is surely an interesting one given the historical context. I enjoyed the writing and the amount of details given, however, the flow of the story is too slow at points and the author complete skipped the next half of her life (maybe the author will follow up with a sequel?). I also find Bess Hardwick annoying since she is so one dimensional. Her character is all good and all she does is pray and lets things (and husbands...
  • Judy
    Did Norman Rockwell write a book like this? The female characters are so impossibly good The whole feeling of the book is so unrelentlessly sentimental. Still I didn't know much about Bess of Hardwick so at least I have an introduction to her and will proceed to some nonfiction to satisfy my interest
  • Telesilla
    I have no idea how a historical fiction author could take on Bess of Hardwick's early life and write a bland novel, but Bagwell managed it.
  • Jennifer
    Bess of Hardwick married the Earl of Somerset and served as Mary Queen of Scots' jailer--but that's the half of her life this novel does *not* cover. Not bad, but not great either.
  • Amy Bruno
    Fantastic book! I love Bagwell's previous two books, but I think this may be my favorite. Review to come...
  • Sarah
    2.5 StarsA book purported to be about Bess of Hardwick, I looked forward to exploring the life of such an important figure in female history during the Elizabethan age. From what I've gleaned from Wikipedia and other research sources, I knew her to come from rough beginning to rise as one of the wealthiest women of her era, ancestress of throne claimants. However, what I got from this book was the history of the Tudors through the eyes of an onlo...
  • Patty
    This is my third book by Ms. Bagwell and I can tell you that I was jumping up and down when given the opportunity to review it. I can tell you that I will be jumping up and down if given the opportunity to review her next book. She is one of those authors where I see her name on the book and I would read it without even checking out the synopsis - I just KNOW that I am in for a well researched, well written engrossing novel.Venus is Winter was no...
  • Marie Z. Johansen
    I thoroughly enjoyed this book!I worked a bit backwards. I had just finished reading "Arbella: England's Lost Queen" by Sarah Gristwood and, after reading "Venus In Winter I am currently reading "Bess Of Hardwick" by Mary Lovell.Venus In Winter closely follows the historical facts and Ms. Bagwell weaves a delightful, highly believable, tale around the history. Bess of Hardwick was a truly amazing woman who was quite ahead of her time. Intelligent...
  • Stephanie Lee
    I loved the September Queen but this book just wasn't that good. I got about 60% done and had to give up. I think if it were split into two books it would have been a lot better, but this was a disappointment for me.
  • Gretchen
    Quick and engaging. I would have liked to see a little more intellectual development out of Bess. A second book dealing with Bess' time married to Shrewsbury and her charge, Mary, Queen of Scots would be welcome from this author.
  • Lisa Garrett
    I wanted to like this book, but it ended up being too heavy on the history and too light on story.
  • Darlene
    I have had Gillian Bagwell to my blog a few times over the last couple of years when she’s had a new novel release but her newest, Venus in Winter which released on July 2, is the first one I’ve read. Why is that I ask myself and I have no answer other than it won’t be long before I read her other two books. This is a story that doesn’t contain any new information especially when you’re familiar with a certain period but it’s the way ...
  • Hiba
    This book is a prime reason why I love historical fiction books so much.I just finished the book and my brain is in such a frenzy. I'm gushing with excitement.LET ME JUST SAY GILLIAN BAGWELL YOU DESERVE A DIGITAL HUG FOR YOUR AMAZINGNESS. *gives hug*.Pros:The history- This book was so historically rich. I learned so many new things about The Golden Age that I never knew. I loved how she brought a new depth to the whole Dudley, Seymour, Grey issue...
  • Elizabeth
    Venus in Winter was a refreshing novel about the life of Bess of Hardwick, a young woman who came of age in the court of King Henry the VIII, as he was going through wives, like women today might go through shoes. From the first chapter of this novel the language flowed very smoothly and it was a very intoxicating read that I did not want to put down. Bess leaves her house at the age of twelve for better opportunities and for the prospect of marr...
  • Lady Jane Grey
    Story time! When I first heard about this book, I wanted to read it. I also wanted to read it in December 2013 because that would be my first opportunity to bring it into Tudor History month. That was way back in 2012 sometime when I first heard about it. Bess Hardwick has been begging for a novel for a really long time and she finally got one! So right away I looked on Paperback Swap to see if I could put it on my wish list and get a good spot i...
  • Jo Barton
    Venus in Winter charts the first forty years in the life of Bess of Hardwick, from her early life as a gentlewoman in the service of Lady Zouche, through to her subsequent marriages, and life at the centre of the Tudor court. As one of the most successful women of the Tudor age, there is no doubt that Bess always had her eye on the main chance, and in using her unique appeal, she succeeded in securing an advantageous place in society. Her many ma...
  • Julie Ferguson
    I read this novel immediately after reading two nonfiction books about the Tudor era, one of which was scholarly and dense. I really appreciated this one's accessibility allowing me to come to grips with the times from a different perspective. Bagwell, the author, uses Bess of Hardwick's life up to 1608 to give the period some immediacy and humanity. While her early life is not well documented, the rest is and forms the backbone of the book.Bess ...
  • Arleigh
    Based on the little known early life of Elizabethan lady Bess of Hardwick, this novel spans three decades during one of England’s most perilous eras. Through the eyes of an impoverished girl turned great landowner, the events surrounding the courts of Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary I, and Elizabeth I are brought to life, with descriptions of religious divisions, marital disputes and political intrigue. Bess, who married four times, increasing her ...
  • Patty Mccormick
    This book is about the life of Bess of Hardwick. It starts with her as a poor young girl and follows her rise and fall as she becomes a wealthy woman. Bess married 4 very different men and led quite an interesting life. This book focuses on the first half of her life, perhaps there will be a second novel about the other half?The events and politics of the time are portrayed well. The book is easy to understand and read. The language and descripti...
  • Nicole
    I - like many - find history pretty dull. Dry facts are just so… blah. And yet historical fiction turns my disinterest right on its head. When an author sandwiches those facts between an engaging story, I eagerly turn the page. Such was the case here. Gillian Bagwell chronicles the story of Bess Hardwick, who actually existed. Bagwell bases her writing off of letters and whatnot and tells Bess’s story in a more dynamic manner. Bess lived thro...
  • Laurie
    This was a fascinating read about Bess of Hardwick spanning the time period of 1539-1603 in England. I especially enjoyed that this story gave insight into the political upheaval and intrigue of the royal court told through the experience of those who served the royals. It is also a story of a woman's successful life as someone who holds increasingly powerful positions in the royal court and survives the loss of multiple husbands. This book is co...
  • Moriah Solomon
    The idea of marrying well and in widowhood. My Book Reveiw Based on the little known early life of Elizabethan lady Bess of Hardwick, this novel spans three decades during one of England’s most perilous eras. Through the eyes of an impoverished girl turned great landowner, the events surrounding the courts of Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary I, and Elizabeth I are brought to life,with the beauty of of ever setting and Gillian is good at bring to lif...
  • Gayle
    Little is known of the early life of Bess of Hardwick, lady in waiting to Queen Elizabeth I. This novel covers what her life could have been like, based on the few known facts of her life prior to her time with Elizabeth I. From her early days at Hardwick with her family to her service to Lady Zouche to the 3 marriages covered in this book (she eventually married a fourth time) and the births of her children and the deaths of husbands, children a...
  • Marci
    This was a great read!! Intensely captivating, and full of detailed descriptions of people and places, this was a quick read for me! The author kept me reading anxiously from start to finish. This is the second book of Gillian Bagwell's that I have read, and I'm becoming quite a fan!
  • Marie
    4.5 stars! Very enjoyable.
  • Denielle
    Bess of Hardwick, what can you say about her. I enjoyed the story of her life. The story keeped me going. Loved it...
  • Melissa Martineau
    This book covers approximately the first 40 years of her life. I hope the author continues the tale with the Queen Mary years.
  • Rosemary
    Liked this very much! I won this book in a free giveaway, and couldn't put it down! The characters' jumped out at me and I definately recommend this book to lover's of Phillipa Greggory!