Thursday, November 29, 2018

2019 Most Anticipated - The Dead Queens Club

The next book in my 2019 Most Anticipated event is one that is pitched as Mean Girls meets The Tudors.  It is no secret that I am obsessed with all things Tudor, and especially my girl  .....

I was immediately intrigued and the synopsis only made me more so. Hannah Capin's The Dead Queens Club modernizes the tale of the King who had six wives and sets it in a high school. 

The Goodreads synopsis for this novel sets the expectation for two of Henry's girlfriends to have 'tragic accidents' (and possibly by his hand) so I am curious as to how that will be dealt with.
What do a future ambassador, an overly ambitious Francophile, a hospital-volunteering Girl Scout, the new girl from Cleveland, the junior cheer captain, and the vice president of the debate club have in common? It sounds like the ridiculously long lead-up to an astoundingly absurd punchline, right? Except it’s not. Well, unless my life is the joke, which is kind of starting to look like a possibility given how beyond soap opera it’s been since I moved to Lancaster. But anyway, here’s your answer: we’ve all had the questionable privilege of going out with Lancaster High School’s de facto king. Otherwise known as my best friend. Otherwise known as the reason I’ve already helped steal a car, a jet ski, and one hundred spray-painted water bottles when it’s not even Christmas break yet. Otherwise known as Henry. Jersey number 8.

Meet Cleves. Girlfriend number four and the narrator of The Dead Queens Club, a young adult retelling of Henry VIII and his six wives. Cleves is the only girlfriend to come out of her relationship with Henry unscathed—but most breakups are messy, right? And sometimes tragic accidents happen…twice…
We all know what happened to Anne Boleyn and Katheryn Howard but the high school setting makes me think we're in a for a twist to that part of the story.

Hannah took the time to answer a few questions about her book and offers up why she thinks we're still so intrigued by Henry (and his wives) all these years later.

1 What gif do you feel represents The Dead Queen's Club?

This one from MEAN GIRLS--with Regina George representing every girl at Lancaster High School, the bus representing everything that *happens* at Lancaster High School, and Cady standing in for protagonist Cleves, who's just trying to live her life (and also solve murders and end misogyny).

2 If someone were to make a signature cocktail in honour of your book, what might be included?

I'd imagine, in a very "do not try this at home" sort of way, a cocktail involving one shot for each of the six wives of Henry VIII, plus one extra shot for the unfairly maligned Jane Boleyn (née Parker), Lady Rochford. Also Red Bull. It may surprise you to learn that I am in fact not a mixologist.

3 Your novel is a modern twist on King Henry VIII. Why do you think we're still fascinated by him and his wives all these years later?

Short answer: no one does drama like Henry VIII! Better answer: Henry VIII had a larger-than-life personality magnified by exceptional PR. His reign followed a soap-opera-style arc that would be unbelievable in fiction if it hadn't happened in real life. Personal answer: I've been fascinated with the six wives since I was a kid. All of them were impressive and accomplished women in their own right, and almost all of them have been alternately praised and maligned in both serious scholarship and popular culture over the years. Most are finally getting the respect they deserve--with the exception of Katheryn Howard, who is often still dismissed as "an empty-headed wanton" when in fact she was a generous, gracious, charismatic teenage girl thrown into a situation beyond her control and ultimately executed because she hurt a powerful man's ego. I've carried a torch for her since I was 12 or so, and a major reason I wrote DQC was to set the record straight--both for the historical Katheryn Howard, and for the girls and women today still facing slut-shaming and victim-blaming.

4 Name a song you listed to for inspiration while writing this novel 

"The King Is Dead But The Queen Is Alive" by Pink is absolutely the DQC theme song! And "Pastime With Good Company" by Henry VIII himself--he composed it at age 17 or 18, and there's a 21st-century version of it in DQC.

5 If you could travel to anywhere, in any time period, when and where would you want travel?

The early morning hours of February 13, 1542, to Katheryn Howard's rooms in the Tower of London. She was beheaded later that morning, and the night before her execution she requested that they bring the chopping block to her so she could practice--she wanted to comport herself in a queenly way even to the very last, and that detail about her completely devastates me. If I could time-travel, I'd literally just go back to that night and give her a hug.

6 What 2019 release are you most anticipating?

I had the extraordinary privilege of reading Rory Power's debut, WILDER GIRLS, a few months ago, and it was phenomenal! I can't wait until it's out so I can yell about it without spoiling it for everyone. I'm also really excited to read Hafsah Faizal's debut, WE HUNT THE FLAME.

7 If not too spoilery, can you share the first line of The Dead Queen's Club.

"Henry calls me at 12:01 the night before homecoming." Late-night pranking: commence!

I am excited by the research that was obviously done for this book. I also love the idea of Anne Of Cleaves as a mini detective. It feels right in a lot of ways.

The Dead Queens Club releases January 29, 2019 but you can pre-order it right now from any retailer (or snag it with those holiday gift cards).

You can find out more about Hannah by following her on Twitter, and by visiting her her website. You can also find out more about her books on the publisher website.

Are you a fan of stories that are taken from history but put in a more modern setting? Do you love Tudor history as much as I do? Let me know in the comments!

Be sure to stop by tomorrow to for the next book on my 2019 most anticipated list. 

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