Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Spotlight: Whitehall Episode 12

She who would be queen must win the love of a king—and a country.

Welcome to WHITEHALL, where the true history of Catherine of Braganza and her marriage to King Charles II of England is brought to life with all its sensual scandal and political intrigue. Venture back in time to a place where the games of royals affect the lives of all.

Unfolding across a season of 13 episodes, this serial of history and royal drama is presented by Serial Box Publishing and written by Liz Duffy Adams, Delia Sherman, Barbara Samuel, Mary Robinette Kowal, Sarah Smith, and Madeleine Robins. 

Read or listen to the first episode for free at SerialBox.com or in our iOS app!

This week brings the 12th installment of Whitehall with “More Harmony in Her Bright Eye,” written by Madeleine E. Robins. Recovering from her loss, Catherine seeks a rainbow after the rains. Flooded cellars at Whitehall have Charles wading in to fix more than just the masonry.

Episode 12 will be available for download in text or audio on Wednesday, August 24.


November 1663

Catherine had been strong enough that morning to go to her chapel to hear Mass. Now, making her way back to her apartments through the chilly hallways, that strength waned. Was she still so little recovered, or was it melancholy that made her feel so? Lady Chesterfield and Lady Castlemaine flanked her, ready to offer assistance should the queen require, but Catherine would not ask it.

She had done her best to give her attention to the Mass, but the roar of the rain that had been falling without relent had melded with the sound of Father Patrick’s voice. Catherine could barely remember a time when rain had not fallen, like the tears of God Himself. When the fever had ebbed and she had at last returned to herself there had only been the black emptiness of loss—her own and Charles’s, for he mourned the loss of their child too. But as the weeks went by and that pain became quieter, other fears had come to her, the worse because she could not bring herself to speak to anyone of them.

Except for the Virgin.

Kneeling in the dim chapel that had become dear to her, Catherine found herself praying silently, “Please, Holy Mother, don’t let them send me back to Portugal.” Was it a great selfishness to fear the humiliation of being returned, like a bit of flawed goods, so that all the world would know of her failure?

Was it a greater selfishness to dread the leaving of this place she had come to as a stranger? The country in which she had found love and friendship and her place in this world? Was it selfishness to dread leaving so many she had come to care for—from her little page Samuel to Jenny, who had fought so hard to keep her alive, to brusque Clarendon, to her new sister, Anne? And Charles. As well to be banished from the sight of the sun or from the air she breathed. Today the Mass had brought her not peace but a feeling of doom not far off.

“Your Majesty?” Lady Chesterfield made bold to touch Catherine’s elbow, as if she would grasp it to bear the queen up. “How do you fare, madam? May we help you?”

Catherine shook her head. “I fare well, lady. Thank you for your care.” They were almost to her apartments. It was too much to wish she might be left entirely alone, but at least she might have some quiet.

Or not. When they arrived in her withdrawing room it was to find Feliciana chasing Samuel and Bacchus around the periphery of the chamber, while Lord Bath sat with his wife and Lady Suffolk, enthusiastically telling a tale. Another dog—not a spaniel but a large, brindled hound—leaned heavily against Bath’s leg and permitted its ears to be fondled. Not quiet, no.

“Your Majesty!” Bath sprang to his feet and bowed deeply; behind him the two ladies curtsied.

“My lord Bath, what brings you to us on so rainy a day?”

“Madam, His Majesty bid me come to ask if he might visit with you this afternoon.”

“His Majesty knows I am always his to command.” Indeed, Catherine was certain that Charles knew it; to ask permission—surely this meant something out of the ordinary. Is today the day the king comes to tell me he must put me aside? Not by choice—every moment he had spent at her bedside spoke of his care for her. But he was a king, and a king must have a queen who can give him sons.

As a page departed at Bath’s gesture, Catherine sat heavily in a chair near the fire. The boy was taking her answer to the king. The king would come—what then?

This episode can be found at SerialBox.com, in our app, or at your favorite ebook retailer.

Saving for later? Add this episode to your Goodreads shelf! 

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Serial Box produces and publishes fiction serials, blending story production and distribution practices from television, book publishing and narrative podcasting. These team-written original serials span a range of genres including sci fi / fantasy, espionage, contemporary and historical drama, post-apocalyptic, etc. Serial Box delivers episodes to fans’ digital devices every Wednesday over the course of 13-16 week seasons. Each episode is available in ebook and audio and takes about 40 minutes to enjoy. Learn more at SerialBox.com.  


  1. What a great idea! I hadn't heard of this type of serial story format before. Thanks for introducing me to SerialBox.

  2. I don't think I have ever read a book in serial form before. The excerpt has peaked my interest. I will definitely check out the first episode on Serial Box.


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