Tuesday, July 2, 2013


Today I have the immense pleasure of presenting to you a fabulous post by ,

Gillian Bagwell

Author of,

 (How gorgeous is this cover??!)

Bess of Hardwick’s Husbands: No. 1 of 4!
By Gillian Bagwell

Bess of Hardwick is best remembered today for building Hardwick Hall and for having survived four husbands. She inherited property each time she was widowed, eventually becoming the wealthiest andmost powerful woman in Tudor England after Queen Elizabeth.But that could hardly have been foreseen from her early life or her first marriage.
Bess was born, probably in 1527, at what was then Hardwick Manor, which she later rebuilt into what would become known as Old Hardwick Hall. Her father died when she was a baby, her mother remarried, and when she was about eleven, her father was imprisoned for debt, leaving Bess’s mother with eight children to care for.
Around the age of twelve, Bess became a lady in waiting to Anne Gainsford, Lady Zouche, a distant relative. 

 possibly Anne Gainsford, Lady Zouche

Such an arrangement was the standard way of preparing well-born children for life, introducing them to potential mates and a circle of people who would help them rise in the world. Also in Lady Zouche’s service was a boy named Robert Barlow or Barley, who was also from Derbyshire, and distantly related to the Hardwicks.
Bess and Robert were married in spring 1543, probably in May, when he was thirteen and she was probably fifteen. The impetus for the marriage was probably the desire of Robert’s father, Arthur, to preserve his estate from the clutches of the Court of Wards. If he died leaving Robert an unmarried minor, the crown would take control of the property and whoever bought Robert’s wardship would be able to marry him to someone of their own choosing.

Codnor Castle print

Arthur Barlow died soon after Bess and Robert were married, but his plans didn’t go off quite as he had intended. Poor young Robbie Barlow died on Christmas Eve 1544, leaving Bess a sixteen-year old widow, and the family property passed to Robbie’s twelve-year-old brother George. The Court of Wards took control of the estate, and Sir Peter Frecheville bought George’s wardship, and did exactly what Arthur Barlow had been afraid of: he married George to his own daughter, and the Barlow family effectively lost control of its land and property.
As a widow, Bess was entitled to a widow’s dower, a third of the rents and revenues of the property throughout her lifetime. But Sir Peter Frecheville tried to deny her this income, asserting that part of what was supposed to be the Barlow estate wasn’t really theirs but only leased, and that Bess had not truly been married to Robert because the young couple hadn’t consummated the marriage. He offered Bess a small settlement if she would give up her dower rights, and she accepted it because her family was in desperate straits. But someone must have rallied to Bess’s side, because she went to court to get what she was entitled to. By this time she was in the household of Frances Brandon Grey, the Duchess of Suffolk, and in my novel Venus in Winter I have made this savior Sir William Cavendish, a friend of the Greys who would later become Bess’s second husband. 
Mary Tudor and Francis Brandon, Duke of Suffolk

The court battle went on for years, but eventually Bess succeeded in winning the income to which she was entitled, as well as punitive damages. It was her first step toward financial independence.

 Gillian Bagwell’s novel about Bess of Hardwick, Venus in Winter, is released , today, July 2. 

To find links to Gillian’s posts on Bess’s other husbands and other subjects related to the book, 

please follow her on Twitter, @GillianBagwell

             Thank you, Gillian!


To Enter to Win a Copy of this book:

1- You must be a Follower of this blog
2-  For Additional Chances, post on FB, Twitter, Linkedin, Blog and elsewhere! Just come back and post your link in comments.

Good Luck!!!


Anonymous said...

Sounds like a fab book!

Shared on Facebook :)


Soft Fuzzy Sweater said...


As I said on FB, Ms. Bagwell is one of the best of the genre!

Angela - Bookaunt said...

Thank you for the chance to win this book. I am a fan of historical fiction fan. I have also shared on facebook


griperang at embarqmail dot com

I am also a follower via bloglovin and gfc

Kimberlee said...

Please enter me in this fabulous giveaway.

GFC-Kimberlee Gibbs


Linda said...

Somehow I have known a little about Bess of Hardwick for as long as I've been reading HF, but I've never read a novel about her. This is going on the wish list. Thanks for the giveaway.
longtime follower thru GFC, now following through Bloglovin

rhonda said...

Book sounds perfect for me blog follower lomazowr@gmail.com.Will tweet at rhondareads

steelers1099@gmail.com said...

Here is my link on Twitter

Here is my FB link

I really loved today's post about Venus in Winter it has a gorgeous cover and I would love to win it. Thanks for the chance!

mamabunny13 said...

I follow you via gfc - mamabunny13
mamabunny13 at gmail dot com

mamabunny13 said...


mamabunny13 at gmail dot com

Carol N Wong said...

I tweeted: http://t.co/cJ59IVj7V3


Carol N Wong said...

I posted on Facebook:



Carol N Wong said...

I pinned it on Pinterest!



Batch of Books said...

I'm following via Bloglovin (Books for Kids).

I pinned the giveaway! http://pinterest.com/pin/13088655140144267/

cyn209 said...

i follow your blog as Cyn209

thanx for giveaway!!!

cyn209 at juno dot com

cyn209 said...

i shared on my FB wall: www.facebook.com/cyn209

cyn209 at juno dot com

Roxanne Napolitano said...

I've tweeted to my followers:

~Roxanne Napolitano

Unknown said...

Bess sounds like an amazing woman. I'm very excited about reading this series!!
Please enter me!
Allisonmharper@hotmail.com. I follow you!

Carolyn said...

I've been waiting for this one-thanks for the chance to win a copy! I follow via GFC (Kingem). My email is remoy (at) gmail (dot) com.

Mystica said...

I follow you on GFC. Please count me in for this giveaway.


Michelle Stockard Miller said...

This sounds like such a great book! Thanks for the giveaway!

I follow you via email (long time follower, as you know):


Michelle Stockard Miller said...

Shared on Facebook:


Michelle Stockard Miller said...

Tweeted: https://twitter.com/truebookaddict/status/355215024228270083

Michelle Stockard Miller said...

Pinned it on Pinterest!


Thanks again, Lucy!