A Daughter's Love: Thomas More and His Dearest Meg
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A Daughter's Love: Thomas More and His Dearest Meg

3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  444 ratings  ·  35 reviews
With the novelistic vividness that made his National Book Critics Circle Award finalist Queen of Scots “a pure pleasure to read” (Washington Post BookWorld), John Guy brings to life Thomas More and his daughter Margaret— his confidante and collaborator who played a critical role in safeguarding his legacy.
Sir Thomas More’s life is well known: his opposition to Henry VIII’s...more
Hardcover, 448 pages
Published March 17th 2009 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (first published July 1st 2008)
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Rio (Lynne)
This book intrigued me because I know the story where Meg goes to The Tower and retrieved her father's head after it had been on Traitor's Gate. I know the story about More and Henry VIII, but I was hoping to learn more about the man's personal life, which I did. His daughter Meg, made sure his writings and letters were preserved and published, which helps us understand the man. This covers details about Utopia which I enjoyed. I believe he and his daughter Meg were brilliant, even if I didn't a...more
Elizabeth K.
This is a very readable biographical account in tandem of Sir Thomas More (author, scholar, statesman, martyr) and his eldest daughter, Margaret. While Thomas's story is very well known, the author shows that Meg herself was a philosopher and writer in her own right. There is plenty of primary source material to illustrate this; I am often reminded of Stephen Greenblatt's observation that it is astonishing to what extent this society valued contracts and writing things down in general.

Reading t...more
todd
John Guy's forte is Tudor England and this history presents an informative story of a man who pushed many social and intellectual boundaries while rigidly adhering to the narrowest of Catholic theologies. More is fascinating enough, but his daughter, Margaret, perhaps stands out even further in a society where women rarely enjoyed education or had the opportunity to engage men intellectually on anything close to an equal basis. She might be the best product of home schooling in history. Learning...more
Thalia
I wanted more More (lol). But is that the authors failings or history's? I still don't think I really have a good grasp on the man but I certainly do know more about him than I did before. And there were surprises for me. Thomas More was quite funny apparently although we are given precious few examples of his quick wit. I also have a hard time matching More, the heretic burner, with the idealistic lawyer that was so honest. And then there was the other subject of the book as this is almost as e...more
Catherine
Technically the book is about Thomas More's career, but Margaret is a focus for the few chapters there are records of her activities and literary efforts. She was a very fine translator of both Greek and Latin texts and was a perceptive scholar, even finding errors in Erasmus's work. It was interesting to see how Peter Giles, Erasmus, and More interacted with each other and how their lives turned out, influenced by each other. The author found good resources that offered a greater insight into M...more
Gili Austin
Fascinating... what an erudite woman for a time when women were not supposed to be ... interesting how Thomas More was ready to kill or to die for his Catholic principles... he did prosecute heretics.. while Erasmus believed that life was more important than principles... was he in fact smarter than Thomas?
Gregory House
This is for me a difficult book to talk about, firstly I have studied More for several years and unlike a number of contemporary authors and historians I am not impressed with the Tudor figure now viewed through rose tinted glasses. This is not to say that John Guy hasn’t done a splendid job in highlighting More’s career view the lens of his daughter. Guy is one of the most thorough Tudor period historians and his work on More’s public career is excellent. However I still find it annoying that t...more
L Greyfort
A solid rendering of Thomas More's life and thought. While the tone is basically one of scholarly history, it is not quite as dense as Peter Ackroyd's biography of More. Therefore, it is easier to comprehend More's thought and principles.

One thing though: the thorough explication of More's reason for refusing King Henry's oath - namely, refusing to betray his conscience and thereby damn his soul - sounds sort of, well, um, Protestant...until you can get your head around the idea (a) he believed...more
Andrew
This was a really good read - John Guy really brings the Tudor world to life. Before I started this book, I was aware of the paradoxes that surround Sir Thomas More ( I definitely won't call him a saint!) - the enlightened renaissance man compared to that of the religious zealot who burnt heretics and Guy's book seems to deal with them in a fairly comprehensive way. Some of the other reviews on this site feel that Guy has glossed over somewhat More's heretic burning side, and whilst, it does bri...more
Miranda Kaufmann
My TLS review:

Martyr's child: ‘John Guy: A DAUGHTER'S LOVE: THOMAS AND MARGARET MORE’ Review, TLS, 27 February 2009, p. 10.

Thomas More was beheaded on July 6, 1535. His story is well known. The role of his daughter Margaret Roper in that story, less so. John Guy, whose last subject was Mary Queen of Scots, has found a new tragic heroine in Margaret. She seems to be his ideal woman, so much so that his treatment of her husband William Roper seems written from the perspective of a jealous lover. P...more
Mimi
While not absorbing by any stretch of the imagination, this was an interesting and solidly researched insight into Sir, later Saint, Thomas More and his oldest daughter, Margaret. Due to lack of a historical record about her, it really focuses more on Thomas than on Meg.

One thing that I felt was a bit odd was the fact that, even though the motivation for many of his decisions was religious, it was for the most part a very secular book, and in fact, had an odd descriptive tone towards the sacram...more
Renee
I enjoyed this book a lot, but was disappointed that I didn't close it having a really good picture of Margaret in my head. I guess that this was part of the author's point. In the end, Margaret gave much of what she had to make sure that her father's memory - and especially his writings - didn't die with him. This is a beautiful account of two lives and how closely interconnected father and daughter were, spiritually and intellectually, but I heard more in the end about father than daughter. St...more
Laurence
A riveting read that held my attention throughout. It brought to life the daily life of the Moore household, and in doing so sheds a new light on this much misunderstood character, Sir Thomas Moore. A great historical biography, thoroughly researched.
Chandra
In A Daughter's Love: Thomas and His Dearest Meg, Guy sheds light on a lesser-known, female player in Tudor history. As per usual, he uses primary and secondary source material to paint a clear picture of both Thomas More and Margaret Roper that is very readable. Margaret was arguably one of *the* leading, female academics of her time, often called the Tudor Hortensia. It is refreshing that she is finally getting the recognition she deserves not only as the devoted daughter of Sir Thomas More, b...more
Claire
This was a good biography of Thomas and Margaret More, and, while it includes a lot of information, the book only goes for 274 pages. The rest is full of notes, bibliography and references. Which, essential to any history book, should have been annotated a bit I think.

John Guy writes in almost a favourable light to Thomas More, which, in all fairness, he probably deserved. But the fact that he burned people at the stake was a bit glossed over, and not much information given on his sinister side...more
Heather Domin
I almost gave this book 4 stars because it's not as much a biography of Margaret as the cover advertises - it's a biography of Thomas plus a cultural history of Tudor London used to bring what little is known of Margaret to light. Still, the author takes that little bit and spins it into gold. The writing style is what gives this book 5 stars: effortlessly readable, and so many clever turns of phrase it makes me green with envy. Definitely putting this book in the to-own list.
Margaret Sankey
Sympathetic and carefully done reconstruction of the intellectual and familial relationship between Sir Thomas More and his brilliant daughter, Margaret (who was largely written out of the record by later Catholic scholars who ignored women and focused on More as a lonely saint). John Guy is a master of the Tudor court world and early 16th century London, so the book is a rich view of the dangerous, exhilarating and rapidly changing times of Henry VIII's reign.
Sarah
A good history of the life of Margaret Roper, a woman who, in different times might have outdone her father, Thomas More, in scholarship. Guy must occasionally conjecture about what Margaret was feeling, but he imagines himself int the position well. What I learned from this book was extremely helpful for me when visiting the Tower of London a few weeks ago--knowing that Margaret paid to go by boat and collect her her father's head added poignancy to the place.
Elaine Dowling
An interesting idea, this book is the story of St. Thomas More and his relationship with his oldest daughter. It is not a full bio of either of them, and it is a better study of him than it is of her. I don't really think the source material exists to always justify (let alone flesh out) the author's ideas, and the limited scope seems ungainly in places. The book is worth reading, but it is not without significant limitations.
2bnallegory
Although this was a good and interesting book to read it was mostly about Sir Thomas More. I had hoped for the story of Margaret More, and there was much on dry facts; born, married, visited, died. The rest was mostly inferred, she must have felt, at this time she would have done, etc. There were some nice plates of color pictures of those involved but the pages were a stark white, giving it a feel of a textbook.
Kay
A well-written book about Thomas More and his daughter Margaret. More is not sympathetically portrayed in "Wolf Hall" but here he comes across as a humane, family man drawn into the court of Henry VIII and then confronted with having to decide between his conscience and his king. Margaret supported him during his imprisonment and collected his works for publication when the times allowed.
Catherine McClelland
I felt like when I finished this book I had to come up for air. All I have to say is what a waste of a good person in the person of Sir Thomas More and what a loving Daughter. I can't imagine the heartbreak of losing a father in such a fashion. I cried when I read of their final embrace. What lives! What incredible people! I give it four stars because it made me too sad for five.
Sskous
my next book club selection and a real joy to read. Have always loved Thomas More for his worldly and other-worldly balance. Meg is truly his daughter, and Guy captures her beautifully. Glad to have this. It's also an interesting juxtaposition for Catherine of Siena, whose bio I'm also reading now. Two great and very different women, headed in the same direction. Wonderful!
Margareth8537
An interesting book as it looks at Thomas More from a different perspective and goes into the importance of his daughter, Margaret, who is more of a passing mention in many other books. Her scholarship and her devotion to her father is mentioned, but rarely her importance in smuggling out letters and keeping his memory alive after his execution for treason
Elizabeth McCollum
Excellent book. I do wish there'd been more about Margaret herself, rather than all the stuff about Sir Thomas, but there just isn't enough in the archives about her. But it was fascinating, nonetheless. Very well-written and documented. It's nice to put personalities to the faces in Holbein's famous family portrait of the Mores.
Marylou
Such an interesting history of Thomas More and his family, his relationship to King Henry VIII, the way he lived. He spent much time writing. He is famous for Utopia. I thought he was incredibly cruel in that he burned any peron who was a heretic to his belief as a Catholic. He taught his children well. He believed in education.
Zoe
Oct 26, 2009 Zoe rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: history
This was really more a biography of Thomas More than it was of Margaret More, but I did very much appreciate Guy´s efforts to show how Margaret´s role in establishing her father´s name was ignored by history precisely because she was a woman.
Dawn
Jun 23, 2009 Dawn added it
Shelves: coudn-t-finish
Couldn't finish. If you like British history, especially Thomas More and Henry VIII British history, you might like this. I didn't, because I thought it was going to be a lot more about Meg.
Ruth
Excellent biography. John Guy has successfully integrated Sir Thomas More & his daughter Margaret with the political and religious turmoil of their time.
Fiona
Struggled with this after reading Mary, Queen of Scots. It's not as engaging or as interesting for me and I struggled to finish it.
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John Guy studied medieval and Tudor history and is acknowledged as a leading authority on castles.
More about John Guy...
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