Friday, August 7, 2009

Review & Giveaway: Hugh and Bess by Susan Higginbotham

Once again, excellent historical novelist Susan Higginbotham brings the fourteenth century to life, this time with the story of Bess de Montacute and Hugh le Despenser. She told the story of Hugh's parents in her previous book, The Traitor's Wife (which I reviewed in April, click the title or here to read my review) and she seamlessly picks up the threads for this part of the tale.

Thirteen year old Bess de Montacute is very unhappy to learn that her parents have chosen a husband for her. Her misery is complete when she learns that her intended husband is none other than Hugh le Despenser, whose father and grandfather were both executed as traitors. On top of that, he is twenty years older than she is. She detests him before they ever even meet.

For his part, Hugh has had a hard time of it. He was a prisoner for years after his father was killed and has done his best to show the King that he is loyal and worthy. His saving grace has been Emma, his childhood friend and lover for many years. She hasn't got the birth or wealth he needs to help him regain his family's lost place and so she refuses to marry him herself. With an aching heart, Hugh and Emma agree to sever their romantic relationship but remain close friends.

Though their marriage is frosty at first, Bess and Hugh gradually warm to each other and their growing relationship has a lovely tenderness to it. The many obstacles they encounter serve to draw them close together until neither can imagine why they had the feelings they both did at first.

This book is quite different from The Traitor's Wife , it is both shorter and less complicated. There are fewer outside characters and the tangles of court life are largely avoided. The stars of this story really are Hugh and Bess and their relationship, so the title is completely appropriate. The reader gets a rich, focused tale of complex emotional weight that is has a totally different feel than her first book did but is just as satisfying. I love Susan Higginbotham's books and am so looking forward to her next one!

Please visit the author's website for more information on her books and her fantastic blog for all kinds of cool historical stuff (it is one of my favorite blogs, always something interesting there!).

Hugh and Bess is published by Sourcebooks. ISBN 978-1-4022-1527-8

This review is part of a blog tour. Here is a list of the rest of the participating blogs:

Musings of a Bibliophile (7/28)
Passages to the Past (8/1)
My Friend Amy (8/1)
Reading Adventures (8/2)
Jennifer's Random Musings (8/2)
Peeking Between the Pages (8/3)
Historical (8/3)
Grace's Book Blog (8/4)
The Written World (8/5)
Mrs. Magoo Reads (8/5)
Historical Fiction (8/6)
Jenn's Bookshelf (8/6)
Beatrice (8/8)
Book Addiction (8/9)
Steven Till (8/10)
Medieval Bookworm (8/11)
Carla Nayland (8/11)
The Literate Housewife Review (8/12)
Diary of an Eccentric (8/13)
Bookfoolery and Babble (8/14)

I have an extra paperback ARC copy to give away! To enter, just leave me a comment here. This contest is open WORLDWIDE! The winner will be drawn at random, enter thru midnight eastern on August 22. Below are some ways for you to earn extra entries. Please leave ONE comment for each thing you choose to do. You can combine your comments together if you like but please do not leave multiple comments for the same extra thing (for example, one comment if you fave at Technorati or subscribe via Feedburner, not three).

+1 become a follower (current followers automatically included)
+1 tweet giveaway on twitter or blog about it
+3 fave this blog at Technorati (click on the little green box on the left sidebar)
+3 subscribe via Feedburner

Good luck everyone and many thanks to Sourcebooks for sending this to me for review!


Meghan said...

I just finished this one, so no need to enter me in the giveaway, but I liked your review! I think it's a good sign that Susan Higginbotham can succeed at both the historical epic and a shorter novel mainly about romance. I'm really looking forward to her next one now too!

Pam said...

I've heard such great things about this book! I'd love to be included!

+ follow
+ faved on technorati

melacan at hotmail odt com

Susan Higginbotham said...

Thanks for the review, Carey! (No need to enter me!)

Amanda said...

Great giveaway! Thank you! And I'm a follower :)

holdenj said...

I liked the review and sure would love to win a copy to read as well!

+ I follow.

JHolden955 (at) gmail (dot) com


bermudaonion said...

I've heard that Susan Higginbotham is one of the best at historical fiction, so I'd love to give this a try. Please enter me!
+1 faved on Technorati
+1 subscribe in Google Reader
Thanks for the great giveaway!

nic said...

I have never read any of her books but would like to.

Literate Housewife said...

I have this one coming up and I'm so excited! I haven't had a chance to read The Traitor's Wife as I had hoped, but I think I will still really enjoy Hugh and Bess. Great review!

Jemima said...

Please enter me. I am already subscribed to your feed.

email: thereadingjourney[at]gmail[dot]com

Marjorie said...

A great review, count me in, I am a follower.

cenya2 at hotmail dot com

Mom of 5 Boys said...

Ooh, I'd love to read this! I am a follower.

chey said...

Sounds like an interesting book. Please enter me.
chey127 at hotmail dot com

Wanda said...

Please enter my name in your draw. Thanks. I am a follower of your blog.
wandanamgreb (at) gmail (dot) com

Debs Desk said...

What a great review. Please include me in your giveaway. I am a follower.

Grad School Mommy said...

after that review, i have to read it!! please count me in!


Jake Lsewhere said...

Looks like a good book, please enter me into this drawing.

I'm also a Blogger follower.

Thanks for hosting this giveaway.

throuthehaze said...

count me in please!

+1 follower
+3 Technorati fave (throuthehaze)
+3 subscribe via Feedburner

throuthehaze at gmail dot com

Beth said...

Please enter me - sounds good!

Beth said...

I subscribe +3

bridget3420 said...

I would like to enter.

bridget3420 said...

Technorati fave - bridget3420

bridget3420 said...

Email subscriber


bridget3420 said...



Sue said...

I liked your review. And really want to read it now! Thanks for sharing it.

s.mickelson at gmail dot com

Jake Lsewhere said...

I've also blogged about this giveaway here.


Paula said...

Have heard great things about this book and would love a chance to have it. I follow you thru bloglines.

Anita Yancey said...

Sounds interesting. I'd really like to read it. Please enter me. Thanks!

I just became a subscriber!


MoziEsmé said...

Would love to read this book!

And I'm a follower!

janemaritz at yahoo dot com

austenfan said...

Hmm, this sounds like the kind of story I might like. :)

+1 I'm a follower


austenfan said...

+1 tweeted it here:


austenfan said...

+3 faved your blog at Technorati (austenfan)


austenfan said...

+3 subscriber via Feedburner


Michele at Reader's Respite said...

No need to enter me, but wanted to tell you how much I agree re: Susan's books. She is right up there with Sharon Kay Penman in my opinion....the best of the best in historical fiction.

nfmgirl said...

I'd love this ARC! Please count me in.

I follow

I blogged:

I subscribe

nfmgirl AT gmail DOT com

etirv said...

I would like to be entered!


etirv said...



etirv said...

Google reader subscriber!


ibeeeg said...

At first, when I saw this book, I was not interested. Then I saw it in the store and read the back...became more interested. Your review has now solidified that I want to read this book.

Please enter me.

I alread follow your blog via GoogleReader

Posted a link about this giveaway on my blog's sidebar.


Esme said...

I would love to read this.

and I follow

chocolateandcroissants at yahoo dot com

HB said...



Elizabeth said...

I would love to win this book. None of the libraries in my system have it, and I just started The Traitor's Wife.
I see that you are in NH. I host a network for bloggers in New England at my blog. Check it out if you have a chance. There's a button on my right sidebar.
Also, I'm giving away 8 different ARCs. Stop by and check it out.

gaby317 said...

this looks like a fun read. pls count me in!

+1 follower
+3 subscribe via googlereader


gaby317nyc AT gmail DOT com

Jenny N. said...

I've read "The Traitor's Wife" and loved it so would love to be able to read this book too.


mariag said...


Would love to read this book.

amanda said...

Thanks for the chance to win! This seems like a book my mother-in-law would enjoy.
oheeyore at hotmail dot com

Nicole said...

Sounds like a good book.
+1 I follow.

Zibilee said...

This sounds like a really good read, although I haven't read the first one. Please enter me in this giveaway. By the way, great review!


wade said...

count me in sounds really good
I follow

wadesherry@hotmail dot com

Esme said...

This sounds like an interesting book
and I follow thanks

chocolateandcroissants at yahoo dot com

Belinda M said...

Please include me in your giveaway

+ current follower

+3 I subscribe in feedburner

Canadian Contests, Freebies, Coupons, Deals, Games and Chat - join us at


Lee P said...

Thanks for this giveaway and please count me in.

+1 I follow your blog
+3 I subscribe via Google Reader


gaby317 said...

Please count me in! This book looks so good.


gaby317nyc AT gmail DOT com

+ I'm an old follow

LoveMyCoffee said...

I'd love this one

I follow


Marie said...

I really want to read this one!

I am a follower.

dag888888 said...

Please include me, thanks!


dag888888 said...

I subscribe to your blog via google reader.


dag888888 said...

I'm a follower.


Milka said...

This one sounds good too, thank you for the giveaway.
I am a follower already. :)


teabird said...

Hi - I'd love to read this - your review convinced me! I follow via Bloglines -

teabird17 %at% yahoo dot com

Valorie said...

I would love to win. :D


Valorie said...

I follow.


Valorie said...



Valorie said...

I favorite on Technorati.


Valorie said...

I subscribe via Feedburner.


Kristen said...

I keep hearing such good things about this one. Please enter me.

whitreidsmama at yahoo dot come

Rebecca C said...

Sounds like a good read.

+ Long time follower

+ Tweeted


Anonymous said...

Please count me in...would love to read this book...thanks for the opportunity.

karen k

Anonymous said...

I'm a follower :)

karen k

Laura said...

Thanks so much for the review! It looks great! I'm subscribing to you via Bloglines, if that can count. If not, I guess I just get one entry.


Luvdaylilies said...

Loved the review! I'd like to be entered in the giveaway=)

I'm a follower

Thanks so much,

Luvdaylilies at bellsouth dot net

tetewa said...

I'd like to be included!

I Heart Book Gossip said...

Please count me in
+1 become a follower
+1 tweeted @iheartbkgossip

cindyc725 at gmail dot com

Barb said...

I love historical fiction and with little romance thrown in,it is even better. Please count me in.

I am a current follower of your blog.
I favd the blog on Technorati.
I subscribe through Google.

bstilwell12 AT comcast DOT net

Barb said...

I tweeted about the giveaway: Here's the link:

bstilwell12 AT comcast DOT net

ossmcalc said...

I love to read historical books, and this one sounds really great from the review. Please enter me into this giveaway.

Thank you,


ossmcalc said...


I follow.

thank you,


ossmcalc said...


I tweeted this giveaway

Thank you,


ossmcalc said...


Faved this blog at Technorati as ossmcalc

Thank you,


ossmcalc said...


Subscriber via Feedburner

Thank you,


Lee P said...

+1 Tweeted here:


renee said...

I would love to read this, please enter me

Kaye said...

Hi Carey, thanks for hosting another fabulous contest. This looks like a great book. Please enter me in the drawing, puhleeeze.

I'm a follower


fitz12383 said...

Please enter me in this fab giveaway!
Thanks, Amanda

+3 subscribe
+1 follow


Carol W. said...

I follow.

I'd love to read this book.


Llehn said...

I'd love to play please! Already a follower.


Thank you!!

Thank you to Beth at Beth Fish Reads and to The Blogger Guide for helping me to customize my template and to Andrea at The Little Bookworm for improving my header!!

About Me

My photo
New Hampshire, United States
Bibliophile, Anglophile, Traveller... I have been an avid reader all of my life, since I took the Dr. Seuss Dictionary away from my Mom when I was less than a year old because I wanted to read it myself. In college, where I earned my degree in English Literature, I was often asked "What are you going to do with it?" Now I finally have the answer to that question!!! Being employed as a Flight Attendant for twenty years has given me a lot of life experience and, better still, a lot of time to read. I love to travel for fun, too.