My current project centers around a history professor who finds a medieval manuscript and travels back in time to meet Lady Margaret Beaufort, mother of England’s King Henry VII and founder of the Tudor dynasty.
Lady Margaret, (1443-1509) was a remarkable woman by any measure but once you consider her entire life story, she becomes even more so. In a very brief overview, Lady Margaret became the heiress of a troubled yet wealthy line of royal bastards when her father committed suicide when she was one year old. Married off to a much older stranger in Wales, she gave birth to her one and only child, Henry Tudor, at the age of just 13. The husband she barely knew died before she gave birth, leaving her alone in a country whose language and customs were foreign to her. She married two more times, probably on the orders of her relatives and other counselors, who sought to control her and her vast riches.
Wealthy, exceptionally pious, well read, largely self-educated, and courageously devoted to her only child, Lady Margaret worked tirelessly to ensure the her son’s safety and inheritance, shrewdly supporting and promoting him and his tenuous claim to the throne. She risked imprisonment, execution, and the loss of her lands and titles, in short all she had, to see her son achieve greatness.
In spite of her gender, possibly because of it, Margaret planned, maneuvered, and negotiated, always behind the scenes. Often depicted as greedy, scheming, and manipulative in many history books, I think historians have rushed to judgement against her. She was smart, independent, ambitious, charitable, and devoted – worthy traits that are usually lauded in a man but criticized when found in a woman, especially in those times. Although she went to remarkable lengths to help her son, I think many mothers, whether past or present, would do similarly for their own children.
Using that woman as a backdrop for my novel, I began to write nearly a year ago. I liked the idea of a modern woman meeting Lady Margaret in her own time and the interactions they might have…
Coming up in future posts, I’ll be posting small excerpts from my current project. I would love feedback, insight, and anything else you’d like to offer. Please feel free to write about your current project(s) too!