"I'm Henry VIII, I am, I'm Henry VIII I am, I am!"
Wow! There's never a dull moment with old Henry. Teenage King, always warring with France, cuts ti "I'm Henry VIII, I am, I'm Henry VIII I am, I am!"
Wow! There's never a dull moment with old Henry. Teenage King, always warring with France, cuts ties with Rome and changes the course of history just so he can get a divorce, six wives - two have their heads lopped off, one dies in childbirth, one is too ugly, one won't provide him with a son (tsk! what was she thinking?) and the other gets to mop up his gangrenous leg until he dies. Phew!!!
This is a fabulous book: long, but so worth it. Written from Henry's point of view so we get to see his life as he sees it. We all know what a bad-tempered tyrant he was supposed to have been, but in this book we get a glimpse at what may have made Henry make the decisions he made. He was born into royalty, taught to believe that he is above others (and boy, does he!) but we also see another side to him. There are times when I actually felt sorry for him; to be surrounded all your life by "yes-men" and never really knowing who you can trust must have been pretty tough even if you are surrounded by jewels and banquets all day long.
Not surprisingly, his poor wives come in for a pretty raw deal; but again it is written from Henry's point of view. Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard never stood a chance and Katherine of Aragon was treated appallingly in later life when the King decided that he wanted to move on to a younger model. No wonder when it came to searching for a new wife 4th time around, all the eligable young European princesses were hiding in the shadows.
This is a real tome of a book and one I enjoyed immensley. The fact that it took the author 15 years to research, I knew I was in safe hands with getting a wonderful peice of fiction based entirely on fact. I would highly recommend this to history fans. Big thumbs up for this one!...more
Spain in the 15th & 16th century: Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand are on the throne. This book is the 3rd in the Spain series but I didn't feelSpain in the 15th & 16th century: Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand are on the throne. This book is the 3rd in the Spain series but I didn't feel I'd missed out not reading the frist two as this is a story in its own right.
The book centres on the 4 daughters (and one son) of the King and Queen, the most famous of these being Katherine of Aragon (or Catalina as she was known in Spain). It is also a time of huge unrest with Jews and Moors being expelled from the country.
I really enjoyed this book. It was my first Plaidy and I found it very accessable and was a good introduction to this time and place that I didn't really know anything about. It has certainly left me wanting to know more....more
What a con this book is. The title and the blurb lead you to believe that this book is all about Queen Mary and her marriage to Prince Philip of SpainWhat a con this book is. The title and the blurb lead you to believe that this book is all about Queen Mary and her marriage to Prince Philip of Spain. I was really looking forward to getting more behind the skin of Bloody Mary and her phantom pregnancy etc but if she appears in more than 10 pages overall I'd be surpirsed. As for Prince Philip - well, I'm still waiting for his entrance.
This story is told through the eyes of Rafael Prado, a Spanish sundial maker who is one of Philip's entourage brought over to England when the Prince and Mary marry. He is made up. The household he lives in is made up. The English woman he falls in love with, and her son, are made up. This whole book is about made up people, with a story that never happened and a few fleeting appearances by Queen Mary that make her look like some pathetic, desperate old woman. Gah!
I gave it 2 stars, because having said all that the story of Rafael and Cecily (his Englsih love) is sweet enough (even if it is made up) but I did find myself speed reading trying to get the actual historical facts (of which there are precious few). I wouldn't bother with this one, especially if you are a real history buff....more
Wow! I loved this! It was like watching a series of Shameless but with posh people. Greed, bad mothers, bad fathers, plotting, bitching, murderingWow! I loved this! It was like watching a series of Shameless but with posh people. Greed, bad mothers, bad fathers, plotting, bitching, murdering, affairs, rape......phew! Really, you couldn't make this stuff up!
Seriously though, this is such a well written account of Lady Jane Grey, the young 16 year old Queen of England who only ruled for 9 days. It starts at her birth (to a mother who would have been carted off by social services today) and follows her throughout her 16 years by her own account and by accounts of those closest to her. Poor girl! She really was just a pawn in her parents greedy plans and ultimately met her death because of it. Lady Jane Grey was a complete surprise to me too: she was wilfull, feisty, somewhat precocious and very pious. For a girl to speak her mind so much in those days must have been incredibly difficult but speak it she does. The other big surprise for me was Queen Mary who was kind and compassionate in a way that I never knew.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book - my first Weir. Never a dull moment, it rips along making you unwilling to put it down. An amazing period in history has been brought vibrantly to life. Stunningly good read!...more
This is a really well written, clear and concise account of Henry VIII's six wives. I actually used it as a companion to [Book: The Autobiography of HThis is a really well written, clear and concise account of Henry VIII's six wives. I actually used it as a companion to [Book: The Autobiography of Henry VIII with Notes by His Fool Will Somers] just incase I lost my way with who's who.
With it being non-fiction I found it easy to dip in and out of and Weir clearly know her stuff. I never once felt either out of my depth or partonised (which can piss me off badly) and Weir always gives unbiased information. I partiularly liked the introduction which gave the reader an overview of many of the customs of the Tudor period, including the marriage bed ritual for newly-weds. Apparantly the man and woman (or girl and boy as they mainly were in thoses days) were udressed by their families and then they had to climb into bed together for the first time while all thier family and friends stood around watching. Then they would be left alone for a few hours before having the sheets checked for signs of nookie. Can you imagine the humiliation????? Your Dad standing over you while you hop into bed with your man for the first time. Mortification!
Great book. A must for anyone wanting background on those 6 famous ladies....more