Author Valerie Arnand (who was born in the year 1937) pens historical fiction based on English royalty. Under the pen name Fiona Buckley, she pens historical mysteries that features Ursula Buckley.
Under her real name, she wrote the “Norman” series, “Bridges Over Time” series, and other historical fiction novels. Her “Bridges of Time” series follows one family from the eleventh century until the twentieth century. She also wrote another novel that explores the British’s prejudice against the Indian Sikhs, which is set during modern times. Her first novel was published in the year 1977, and was called “Gildenford”, and it is the first book in the “Norman” series.
Valerie Arnand was born in the city of London, and knew from six years old that she wanted to write. When she was fifteen, she saw a movie called Ivanhoe. Watching this movie made her realize that she wanted to write historical novels the most.
She visits Exmoor quite frequently, and still lives in London.
She believes in King Richard III being innocent in the Princes in the Tower matter. She presents her view in one of her books, making the point that an old tutor of Edward V, John Alcock stayed on good terms with the king. This is probably not something he would have done if he had thought him responsible for his former student ending up dead, she argues.
“The Proud Villeins” is the first novel in the “Bridges Over Time” series, which was released in the year 1991. Norman knight Ivon de Clairpont is taken captive in England, and many times, he tries to escape from his Danish master’s holdings close to York. He was crippled during the last attempt he made.
Fans of the novel found this to be a fantastic read and was tough to put down for very long. Some found this to be worth reading, and has quite a lot of authentic history in it. Arnand is clearly a strong writer, her prose is one of her strong suits. Some enjoyed the book, and the way it is able to focus on multiple characters over many years. It is filled with some realistic characters and the situations they had to go through.
“The Ruthless Yeomen” is the second novel in the “Bridges Over Time” series, which was released in the year 1992. This novel begins in the year 1271 and moves through time, winding up in 1399. Rushley, a village, and Isabel of Northfield (who is Alfred Plowman’s young wife) is envious of her gorgeous cousin Rohese. Rohese marries a freeman. Alfred dies because of an accident, and Isabel enters a close by abbey to try to raise her own station. She illegally offers the land she is tied to as a dowry. She is allowed in exchange for the land, which is strong armed away from the rightful owner. That being said, she is made a kitchen drudge.
A revenge attempt ends in failure, as does her trying to be happy when she has an affair with a freeman. When she is an old woman, she hands down a talisman of Nicola’s (a young family member) that their family’s free ancestor had before being unjustly made a serf before William the Conqueror’s time.
Nicola, who is unhappily married and Thomas Woodcarver (who is her talented craftsman husband yet brutal man) are able to escape the bondage that ties them down through lies. They are able to put together a possibility for a better future for descendants.
Fans of the novel found this story deals with the other side of things during this time period, mainly the poorer class of people. It offers up a fascinating glance of life during this period of time.
“The Women of Ashdon” is the third novel in the “Bridges Over Time” series, which was released in the year 1993. The Whitmead is starting to move up in the world and get some more respectability. They still suffer, despite some inroads moving into the gentry. While the War of the Roses is going, young Susannah Whitmead is made to marry Sir James Weston, a neighboring owner of land. She grows to love Ashdon House as well as her husband, but Weston is killed during a battle at Bosworth, as he fights for Richard III.
Susannah has two more husbands that take her through the turbulent Tudor years. Christina Trefusis (who is Susannah’s granddaughter) marries one of their cousins so that they can keep Ashdon. She leads a life that is not quite eventful, although it is a happy life, before politics of the rocky Elizabethan era intervene.
Some felt that this was a great example of what historical fiction can offer readers. Valerie Arnand did a great job writing this one; her details allow you to picture what is actually going on. Each of these characters are brought to life.
“The Faithful Lovers” is the fourth novel in the “Bridges Over Time” series, which was released in the year 1993. Ninian Whitmead, who is close to forty, has loved deeply one time and lost it. He resigned himself to Polmawgan House, his Cornish estate by the sea, with no family or wife.
He is unprepared for a shipwreck of a pirate ship off of Cornwall’s coast that leaves a young Indian girl (who is named Parvati) stranded in a strange land. She is the only survivor. He takes the girl in. First out of charity, later due to growing charity. He marries her when attachment grows into love, and they have a son.
Even though she adopts a Christian name and gets baptized into an Anglican church, the Puritan community finds her unacceptable. Both her strange customs and foreign blood are off putting for them. Tragedy seems on the horizon while stirrings of Civil War in England become more likely.
Books in order of publication by series:
Norman Quartet Books
|The Norman Pretender||(1979)|
|The Disputed Crown||(1982)|
|King Of The Wood||(1988)|
Bridges over Time Books
|The Proud Villeins||(1990)|
|The Ruthless Yeomen||(1991)|
|Women of Ashdon||(1992)|
|The Faithful Lovers||(1993)|
|The Cherished Wives||(1994)|
|The Dowerless Sisters||(1995)|
Exmoor Saga Books
|The House of Lanyon||(2007)|
|The House Of Allerbrook||(2008)|
Ursula Blanchard Books
|The Robsart Mystery aka To Shield the Queen||(1997)|
|The Doublet Affair||(1998)|
|To Ruin a Queen||(2000)|
|Queen of Ambition||(2001)|
|A Pawn for the Queen||(2002)|
|The Fugitive Queen||(2003)|
|The Siren Queen||(2004)|
|Queen Without A Crown||(2011)|
|A Rescue For A Queen||(2013)|
|A Traitor’s Tears||(2014)|
|A Perilous Alliance||(2015)|
|The Heretic’s Creed||(2016)|
|A Deadly Betrothal||(2017)|
|The Reluctant Assassin||(2018)|
|To A Native Shore||(1984)|
|Crown Of Roses||(1989)|
|West of Sunset||(1992)|