Alongside my life long dream of turning into a dragon with a book hoard (not at all related to my habit of picking up random fantasy books and yelling MINE! IT’S MINE! NO TAKE BACKS! 😉 ), has been the dream of going to a Regency ball (preferably at Almack’s Assembly Rooms) or just time traveling in general. I blame historical fiction writers for being fabulous and making me want all the tea and pretty dresses. 😉
HOWEVER, there are TONS of stories that I’d like to read that I haven’t really found ANYWHERE?? Ideally, I would write them all, but I am extremely lazy and the sheer amount of research involved is less appetizing than eating a jeep like Klinger (IF YOU GOT THAT REFERENCE YOU ARE THE BEST PERSON IN THE UNIVERSE <3).
So I’ve put together a fairly short list of the ones I WANT TO READ THE MOST to see if maybe the lovely bookish and writerly communities could help a poor time traveling dragon out.
Urraca of León and Castile (1079-1126)
Urraca of León and Castile is the first woman historically documented to label herself as the Empress of All Spain (yep, you read that right!). Married twice in her life, the marriage that fascinates me is her marriage to Alfonso I of Aragón (aka a marriage 300 years or so BEFORE Isabel and Ferdinand, basically combining the SAME two countries that did become Spain under the Reyes Católicos). Alfonso and Urraca did not like each other… in fact, their marriage led to a huge civil war for a lot of reasons, but one was that Urraca refused to cede control of HER COUNTRY to him. She was Queen. Not him. (<- she was a fabulous Queen Bunny).
My favorite article about this event in English comes from the Unusual Historicals blog, but here is a snippet written by their contributor Jessica Knauss:
Urraca quickly achieved an annulment from Pope Paschal II on the basis that she and Alfonso were second cousins. She also cited abuses, tyranny, removing bishops from their dioceses and planning the death of her son. Urraca had already put some geographical distance between herself and Alfonso, but he refused to accept the annulment.
Lady Snake Lord/ Lady K’abel (672-692)
National Geographic posted an article 4 years ago when this Mayan Queen’s tomb was found in Guatemala and I started researching her after that. The aspect of her story that intrigues me the most is that she was THE military ruler of the Wak (Centipede) Kingdom even though she was married to the technical King of that Kingdom. Part of this could be related to the fact that she was part of the Kan (Snake) dynasty (based in Calakmul, one of the greatest Mayan cities) that was very empire-focused and considered the Wak as a vassal state. Her marriage would have been to cement political ties, but unlike in European or other cultures, Lady K’abel was given the title of “Supreme Warrior” — making her MORE POWERFUL than her husband. This was not normal in earlier Mayan civilizations, but research suggests that the Kan dynasty held women (and women ancestors) in high esteem and started to shift cultural expectations. Which I think is a) awesome and b) fodder for an awesome powerful-leading lady historical fiction (especially as her kingdom was in between her family and the rival power, Tikal). Discover Magazine’s article from 2014 goes into more details including an artist interpretation of what Lady K’abel would have looked like, but I WANT BOOKS NOW….. *flails unhappily* (Another good character would be Ix Wak Chan Ajaw – also mentioned in the Discover Magazine article!)
Mai Bhago (1600s-1700s)
This is a newer find compared to the other two, but I’m so curious to read a fictional book about her that she made my short list! Mai Bhago joined the Khalsa, the Sikh warrior-saints, who fought against the Mughals led by the aggressive Aurangzeb. After some extremely difficult years of fighting, some of the Khalsa elected to renounce their faith so they could return to normal life. Mai Bhago went to great lengths to change their minds, just in time for an epic battle on December 29, 1705. Mai Bhago was the only Sikh in her group to survive. I found out about her story through the incredibly fabulous Rejected Princesses website and here is the link directly to her story (with lots more details).
THESE ARE JUST THREE STORIES I WANT WITH THE NEED OF MAGPIE THINKING OF SHINY THINGS. I have a ridiculous amount of HF and Fantasy stories that I want to write, but if you have read or are writing stories based on any of these three fabulous ladies, PLEASE LET ME KNOW!!!
What stories are you dying to read?? (doesn’t have to be HF) Out of these three leading ladies, who would you pick to read or write about?