The Stone Rose

London, 1350. Agnes, daughter of a stonemason, is struggling to keep her father's trade in a city decimated by plague. And then she receives a mysterious message from the disgraced Queen Isabella: mother of King Edward III, and widow of Edward II. Isabella has a task that only Agnes can fulfil. She wants her truth to be told.

Much has been whispered of the conflicts in Isabella and Edward's marriage. Her greed and warmongering. His unspoken love for male favourites. But as Agnes listens to Isabella, she learns that she can be of help to the queen - but can either woman choose independence, follow her own desires, and survive?

The sweeping third instalment of Carol McGrath's acclaimed She-Wolves Trilogy: the gripping series exploring the tumultous lives and loves of three queens of England - and of three women who lived in their shadow.

Based on the extraordinary true story of the female stonemason who carved a queen's tomb!

Reviews include

'Springs to vivid life for the reader, through immaculate research, depth of knowledge and imaginative prowess . . . A compulsive read' ― Anne O’Brien

'A real tour de force of gripping writing, rich historical detail and complex, fascinating characters. Superb!'' ― Nicola Cornick

'An enticing and intriguing tale of a woman who is driven to desperate and ruthless lengths to protect those she loves' Alexandra Walsh

Publication 21st April 2022


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Sex and Sexuality in the Tudor Era

Sex and Sexuality in the Tudor Era


There has long been an appetite by readers and film viewers for the Tudor period as portrayed in novels, sumptuous costume dramas and documentary film. Have you ever been curious about the Tudors’ view of sex and sexuality? This book will reveal myths and truths about how our Tudor antecedents conducted their sexual relationships romantic affairs, and marriages.

How did the Tudors write about romance and sex? Which literature influenced how they perceived sex? It was a society with a range of attitudes. A concept of Courtly Love persisted amongst the upper echelons of society. The Church had a strict view as regards marital relationships and on which days couples were permitted to have sexual relations? Yet a priest did not have to officiate for a marriage to be valid. This is a period when hand-fasted marriages were valid. Homosexuality was regarded as heresy but what about Church indiscretions as investigated during the 1530s? Did people simply bend or ignore the rules? How did the Renaissance and the popularity of Humanism amongst intellectuals influence sexual mores? How indeed was the female and male body perceived at this time?

What forms of birth control were in use? Have you heard of the Venus Glove? What were the ‘stews’? How did the Tudors deal with venereal diseases? What were the penalties for infidelity? What was the ‘marital pre-contract’ and was it a gateway to promiscuity? Find out about Courtly indiscretions- the King’s mistresses, his wives and same sex indiscretions. How did the Tudors dress to attract lovers? Did dances contain sexual innuendos? This book will reveal how Tudor gentlemen and ladies dressed to ‘attract’. It tells of how villagers liberally celebrated ancient rituals attached to religious holidays and how po-faced City merchant classes conducted illicit affairs. What really happened behind the bedroom door and in hidden places?

Through an examination of known lives, court cases, accepted as well as unaccepted mores, Sex and Sexuality in Tudor Times offers an entertaining and studious understanding of the romantic and sexual habits of our Tudor ancestors. Step back in time five centuries to King Henry’s Court; visit the country village; plunge into the City streets. After all, many city street names might just\ indicate the presence of sexual liaisons?

No matter the period, man and woman, including men and women of the same sex, fall in love and follow their natural desires and urges.


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The Damask Rose


1266. Eleanor of Castile, adored wife of the Crown Prince of England, is still only a princess when she is held hostage in the brutal Baron's Rebellion, and her baby daughter dies. Scarred by privation, a bitter Eleanor swears revenge on those who would harm her family - and vows never to let herself be vulnerable again.

As she rises to become Queen, Eleanor keeps Olwen - a trusted herbalist, who tried to save her daughter - by her side. But it is dangerous to be friendless in a royal household, and as the court sets out on crusade, Olwen and Eleanor discover that the true battle for Europe may not be a matter of swords and lances, but one fanned by whispers and spies . ..


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The Silken Rose

The Silken Rose


1236. Ailenor of Provence, cultured and intelligent, is only thirteen when she meets her new husband, Henry III of England. A foreign and friendless princess in a strange land she is determined to please him. And she knows that when the times comes she must provide an heir, to secure the throne against those who would snatch it away.

Rosalind, a commoner skilled in the arts of needlework and embroidery, catches the young queen's attention and a friendship blossoms. But she is unprepared for the dangerous ramifications of winning the queen's favour ...

As closeness, and soon love, develops between Ailenor and Henry, so too does her influence on her husband and her power at court. As France and Wales provide constant threat, and England's barons increasingly resent her influence, Ailenor must learn to be ruthless. Who should she encourage her husband to favour? Who can she trust?

Caught in a web of treachery and deceit, her choices will define the fate of England. To protect her close friends, and her beloved children, Ailenor, the She-Wolf from Provence, would do, and endure, anything

READERS LOVE THE NOVELS OF CAROL McGRATH!

  • 'The quality and detail of research stands out'
  • 'A triumph of a novel!'
  • 'Expertly written'
  • 'A cracking tale'
  • 'Laced with subtle tension'
  • 'Fascinating and vivid'
If you love THE SILKEN ROSE check out the highly acclaimed MISTRESS CROMWELL, also by Carol McGrath and available now ...

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Mistress Cromwell


MISTRESS CROMWELL presents the rise of Tudor England's most powerful courtier, Thomas Cromwell, through the eyes of the most important - and little known - woman in his life . . .

When beautiful cloth merchant's daughter Elizabeth Williams is widowed at the age of twenty-two, she is determined to make a success of the business she inherited from her father. But there are those who oppose a woman making her own way in the world, and soon Elizabeth realises she may have some powerful enemies - enemies who know the dark truth about her dead husband.

Happiness arrives when Elizabeth meets ambitious young lawyer, Thomas Cromwell. Their marriage begins in mutual love and respect - but it isn't always easy being the wife of an independent, headstrong man in Henry VIII's London. The city is both merciless and filled with temptation, and Elizabeth soon realises she must take care in the life she has chosen . . . or risk losing everything.

MISTRESS CROMWELL was previously published as THE WOMAN IN THE SHADOWS.


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The Betrothed Sister

(Book three in The Daughters of Hastings Trilogy)

It is September 1068. Thea, also known as Gytha, the elder daughter of King Harold II, travels with her brothers and grandmother into exile carrying revenge in her heart. She is soon betrothed to a prince of Kiev. Will her betrothal and marriage bring her happiness, as she confronts enemies from inside and outside Russian territories? Will she prove herself the courageous princess she surely is, win her princely husband's respect and establish her independence in a society protective towards its women?

Reviews for The Betrothed Sister:

  • 'The Betrothed Sister is like one of its own rich embroideries, cut from the cloth of history and stitched with strange and passionate lives.' Emma Darwin

  • 'A beautifully woven tale of an exiled princess’s quest for happiness. Compelling and convincing, the medieval world is brought vividly to life.' Charlotte Betts

  • 'What happened to the family of King Harold after William the Conqueror won the Battle of Hastings? Carol McGrath has delved into one of history's forgotten footnotes and come up with the astonishing story of Thea, the exiled English princess destined for Russian royalty. An enthralling tale, told with elegance and sympathy.' Vanora Bennett

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The Swan Daughter

(Book two in The Daughters of Hastings Trilogy)

A marriage made in Heaven or Hell. 1075 and Dowager Queen Edith has died. Gunnhild longs to leave Wilton Abbey but is her suitor Breton knight Count Alain of Richmond interested in her inheritance as the daughter of King Harold and Edith Swan-Neck or does he love her for herself? And is her own love for Count Alain an enduring love or has she made a mistake? The Swan Daughter is a true 11th C tale of elopement and a love triangle by best-selling author of The Handfasted Wife, Carol McGrath.

Reviews for The Swan Daughter:
  • 'A wise and lyrical evocation of the lives of women in the aftermath of the Norman Conquest, and high romance in the true sense of the word. A captivating read.' -- Sarah Bower, author of The Needle in the Blood and The Book of Love

  • 'Brings the 11th century alive... a wealth of well-researched detail.' -- Historical Novel Society

  • 'As delicately crafted as the stiches of the Bayeux Tapestry, 'The Swan-Daughter' establishes Carol McGrath’s exceptional skill as a novelist of the Medieval era.' ... Jenny Barden

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The Handfasted Wife

(Book one in The Daughters of Hastings Trilogy) The year is 1066 and England faces a time of great uncertainty. Beautiful, beloved Elditha, handfasted wife of King Harold, the father of her children, is cast aside for a political marriage. Yet, their love perseveres. Witnessing Harold’s defeat at Hastings, she flees from the Norman invasion. Can she preserve her broken love and protect her family?

Reviews for The Handfasted Wife

  • "Love, loss and longing being much the same now as in the 11th century, Carol McGrath’s Handfasted Wife has the same compelling hold on the reader as any contemporary novel, while remaining faithful to the mores of the time. What times they were, and what an achievement this book is!" Fay Weldon

  • This is an era and a family that I can't get enough of reading and the author surely did them justice... Carol McGrath has done impeccable research and is so very knowledgeable on these troubled times. ---- Kathleen Ingram, Reading the Ages

  • McGrath's research into the medieval quotidian is superb, and beautifully translated into a pastoral fiction in the tradition of Hardy. ---- Historical Novel Society
  • Moving, and vastly informative, a real page turner of a historical novel. ---- Fay Weldon

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