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February 22 , 2009

Lady of Blossholme


"The Lady of Blossholme" was Henry Rider Haggard's 34th piece of fiction, out of an eventual 58 titles. It is a novel that he wrote (or, to be technically accurate, dictated) in the year 1907, although it would not see publication until the tail end of 1909, and is one of the author's more straightforward historical adventures, with hardly any fantasy elements to speak of. The story takes place in England during the reign of Henry VIII, in the year 1536. This was the period when King Henry was rebelling against Pope Clement VII, and when many Englishmen in the north, and many clergymen, were consequently rebelling against Henry, in the so-called Pilgrimage of Grace. To raise needed funds for this rebellion against the king, the Spanish abbot Clement Maldon murders Cicely Foterell's father and tries to claim all the family's lands and jewels. And what a hell this religious zealot puts poor Cicely through. She and her foster mother, Emlyn, are incarcerated in a nunnery and later tried as witches. Cicely's husband is conked on the head and shipped overseas, and a murderous midwife is sent to do away with Cicely's new baby. Before all can be put to rights, and our heroine and her husband are reunited, Cicely and her few friends must seek an audience with no less personages than Thomas Cromwell and King Henry themselves.

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