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Book review: 'Bess of Hardwick' is a guilty must read

Published: Saturday, Aug. 1 2015 1:51 a.m. MDT

"Venus in Winter: A Novel of Bess of Hardwick" is by Gillian Bagwell. (Penguin Group)

Editor's note: This is one of a half dozen books that explores the lives of different figures in British royal history, including several set in the court of Henry VIII.

"VENUS IN WINTER: A Novel of Bess of Hardwick” by Gillian Bagwell, Berkley Trade Paperback, $16, 435 pages (f)

“Venus in Winter: A Novel of Bess of Hardwick” by Gillian Bagwell is a highly predictable novel. Despite this, it is a guilty must-read for women of all ages.

The novel begins by introducing the reader to Bess of Hardwick. On her 12th birthday, she is to be a waiting gentlewoman in the household of Lady Zouche. Bess is suddenly thrown into a world of power and money. She must learn to navigate the dangerous court of Henry VIII or else be thrown back to a world of poverty.

“Venus in Winter” is a beautifully written novel that highlights major events in Tudor history. It is a satisfying story of love and intrigue.

There are general sexual scenes that are scattered throughout the book.

Shelby Scoffield has a bachelor's in English from Brigham Young University and a master's in rhetoric and composition from Stanislaus State University. She is currently working on her teaching credentials so she can teach high school English.

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