By Angie Georgeff
Laissez les bon temps rouler! In English, that is “Let the good times roll!” Next Tuesday, March 5, will be Shrove Tuesday, better known as Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras in French. We had fun marking the occasion last year, so once again we will celebrate with beads and crawdads.
In honor of the observance, our Lego Club for kids will have a special building project. Children are invited to join us at 6 p.m. to work on Mardi Gras floats for adorable little toy crayfish wearing purple, green and gold Mardi Gras masks and party hats. Please call the library at 743-6533 for reservations or more information.
Truth is not always stranger than fiction, but it often is quite strange enough. I guess that’s part of the reason why I prefer history to historical fiction. I also want to avoid coloring my understanding of history by confusing fantasy with the facts. When a novel is written by a trained historian, however, I’m prone to make an exception, especially when I’ve already enjoyed reading her histories.
Prolific historian Tracy Borman, author of “The Private Lives of the Tudors: Uncovering the Secrets of Britain’s Greatest Dynasty” and “Thomas Cromwell: The Untold Story of Henry VIII’s Most Faithful Servant,” turns her pen and imagination to the succeeding dynasty in a new novel with the refreshingly brief title “The King’s Witch.” When James VI of Scotland inherited the throne of England from Elizabeth I as James I, he brought a well-documented dislike of women and fear of witches with him. The king’s attitudes permeate his court and threaten the lives of women who are skilled in healing with natural remedies.
Lady Frances Gorges is such a young woman. After she nursed the late queen through her final illness, Frances retired to her family home. She should have been safe there, but she is summoned to court to serve Princess Elizabeth, James’s daughter. Frances finds allies in the young princess and her mother, Queen Anne. Before long, a budding romance develops between Frances and Thomas Wintour, an up-and-coming lawyer. When a sick child whom she had helped dies, Frances is arrested on suspicion of witchcraft and tortured. Charges are dropped when Princess Elizabeth falls ill, but Frances stands on shaky ground and she knows it.
Tom then reveals a secret to Frances that tests her loyalty to him and to others. Since the novel’s Thomas – unlike Frances – is based on a historical figure of that name, readers who can’t wait for the second novel in the trilogy can search the Internet for clues to his probable fate. However, that would likely make you even more impatient for the second volume’s release.