This is now my go-to book on Catherine Howard. It is detailed, meticulously researched and well-referenced. It also has the benefit of Gareth's engagiThis is now my go-to book on Catherine Howard. It is detailed, meticulously researched and well-referenced. It also has the benefit of Gareth's engaging reading style....more
Le Temps Viendra: A Novel of Anne Boleyn Volume I was published back in August 2012, which seems a long time ago now, so I was relieved when Volume IILe Temps Viendra: A Novel of Anne Boleyn Volume I was published back in August 2012, which seems a long time ago now, so I was relieved when Volume II was released in December 2013. Obviously we all know how Anne Boleyn's story ends, so readers weren't left completely hanging, but Le Temps Viendra had two main characters - the modern day Anne, who was having a relationship with a married man, and the sixteenth century Anne Boleyn, who was having a relationship with the married Henry VIII - and I was desperate to know what would happen to modern Anne as Anne Boleyn's story reached its tragic end.
As readers of Volume I will know, Le Temps Viendra is two stories in one, a kind of parallel lives novel, and is about a modern day woman being transported into Anne Boleyn's shoes after being taken ill at Hever Castle, the Boleyn family home. Le Temps Viendra Volume I covered just one year in Anne Boleyn's life, from 31st May 1527 to June 1528, and ended with Anne Boleyn being taken ill with sweating sickness and the modern Anne leaving her. Volume II opens with the modern day Anne waking up as Anne Boleyn on 1st September 1532, the day that Anne Boleyn is made Marquis of Pembroke, and ends with Anne's execution on 19th May 1536. Although Anne Boleyn's life has fast-forwarded four years, the modern Anne has only been "stranded" in what she describes as "a colourless twenty-first century" for two years.
Although Volume II is much longer than Volume I (632 pages compared to 398 pages), I found it faster paced and more enjoyable. I don't know whether this was because the events of 1532-1536 are themselves more exciting or whether it was the writing style, but I found myself much more involved in the story. I was desperate to know how Sarah Morris would tie the two women's lives together. What would happen with modern Anne and her boyfriend? What would happen if the modern Anne was in Anne Boleyn's body when she was executed? Would things end happily for modern Anne or would she die too? Would modern Anne take any steps to change history because of her historical knowledge? So many questions and they were answered in a way that left me satisfied at the end of the book. I found the end very moving and it was very well written.
As I said in my review of the first volume, it doesn't seem quite right to call Le Temps Viendra a "novel" when Sarah Morris has worked so hard to make her story historically accurate. Obviously, Sarah has filled in the blanks and has used her imagination in bringing Anne Boleyn to life as a person vividly through the modern Anne's eyes, but it worked and it didn't "jar" with me at all. It all tied in with what we know and what she did with the story made sense. The length of the story and the incredible amount of detail, plus all the end notes, again makes it more of a novel for those who are "au fait" with Anne Boleyn's story and Tudor history, rather than those looking for a lighter historical read, but it's the detail Tudor history fans will love.
All in all, it was an enjoyable read and I loved how Sarah ended it.
I received a review copy from the publisher in return for an honest review....more
In the Footsteps of Anne Boleyn is described as "the visitor's companion to the palaces, castles and houses associated with Henry VIII's infamous wifeIn the Footsteps of Anne Boleyn is described as "the visitor's companion to the palaces, castles and houses associated with Henry VIII's infamous wife" and it really is just that. Unlike a normal guide book, it does not sort the places into geographical areas, although there are useful maps at the beginning to show the areas covered, it examines the places in relation to the chronology of Anne Boleyn's life. Sarah and Natalie give a detailed guide to each place, covering things like:
- The building's history - It's link to Anne Boleyn - When did she visit? What's the evidence? - What Tudor artefacts the place has - The must-see parts of it - Nearby attractions - eg. a church with the resting places of key Tudor people - Visitor information - Where to find it etc.
There is nothing left of some of the places Anne Boleyn knew and visited, but die-hard Tudor history fans will still enjoy walking in Anne Boleyn's footsteps and using the information in this book, and sometimes old drawings/plans, to help build a picture in their minds of what used to be there in Anne's lifetime.
What I loved about this book is that it didn't just focus on the main Anne Boleyn attractions like Hampton Court Palace, the Tower of London and Hever Castle, Sarah and Natalie have looked at all the places linked to Anne, many that readers will never have heard of. I know what many British readers will be doing at weekends now! It will also be an invaluable resource for those planning a history themed holiday in the UK. Of course, you don't need to go anywhere, you can simply enjoy reading about the history of these places from the comfort of your favourite chair.
All-in-all, this book is a must-read for anyone interested in Anne Boleyn and/or historic places. Well done, Sarah and Natalie.
Disclosure: I received an Arc of this book in return for a review....more
I've read a few of Melissa Foster's books and they were all thrillers so I was surprised when I started reading this, it's very different.
The novel tI've read a few of Melissa Foster's books and they were all thrillers so I was surprised when I started reading this, it's very different.
The novel tells the story of eighteen year-old Alison Tillman, known to her family as Pixie, who lives with her parents on a farm in a small town in Arkansas in the late 1960s. There, she is sheltered from the real world and just accepts the bigotry and prejudice aimed at black people as part of life. Her life is turned upside down, however, when she discovers the body of a black man in the river. She is struck by the fact that he is not 'just' a black man, he is someone's father, husband and son. Alison re-evaluates her life and things change even further when she strikes up a friendship with Jackson, a young black man, and her sister visits home and tells her how things are changing in other states.
I can't say any more without ruining the story, but it is a wonderfully poignant novel which brings home the reality of living in a world of oppression, violence and hatred, and risking everything to try and change it. ...more
John Guy is one of my favourite historians. He is so thorough in his research, his books are always fully referenced, allowing the reader to check theJohn Guy is one of my favourite historians. He is so thorough in his research, his books are always fully referenced, allowing the reader to check the sources for themselves, and he writes in a very 'readable' style. This means that anyone from the casual history fan to a history scholar can appreciate his work.
From the title of this book, I was expecting it to be mini biographies of each of Henry VIII's children in turn with very separate sections on each of them, but it's not like that at all. Guy looks Henry's family chronologically, from the birth of Henry, Duke of Cornwall in January 1510 to Elizabeth I's death in 1603, he tells their stories. It works really well because the reader can see the interaction between Henry's children, the relationships they had with each other. As another reviewer noted on Amazon, the book focuses more on the early years of Henry's children and when it does cover their reigns it concentrates "more on the personal than the political except where they were intertwined". There are plenty of books on Henry's children's reigns, so I enjoyed this look at them as people and members of a family.
The book isn't a heavy tome. It is 198 pages, not counting the notes and bibliography, so is a relatively quick read. It gives just enough information, without bogging the reader down with detail. I loved the extras like the family trees, the notes on units of currency, and the photographs of letters written by Henry's children when they were young - very interesting, particularly the difference between the styles of Mary's handwriting and that of Henry's other children, who were taught the more fashionable Italic script.
It is an excellent book and was a pleasure to read. I recommend it to anyone wanting to know more about Henry VIII's struggle to produce a legitimate heir, his four children and the nature of their relationships with each other....more
This is the second Melissa Foster novel I've read and both novels gripped me from the start. Foster knows just which buttons to press with a reader toThis is the second Melissa Foster novel I've read and both novels gripped me from the start. Foster knows just which buttons to press with a reader to get you hooked from the outset. My family can always tell when a book has me under its spell because I disappear for hours, hiding away with my kindle.
I don't want to give away any of the storyline and ruin the suspense, but Traces of Kara is a psychological thriller featuring a young woman who is being stalked by a disturbed man searching for his twin sister. Can Kara's mother save her? Who is this man and what is his link to Kara?
A gripping thriller full of twists, turns and edge-of-the-seat moments....more
A truly humbling book about a down-to-earth man who had an amazing life - missionary work in China, a chaplain in Stalag Luft III and an Italian prisoA truly humbling book about a down-to-earth man who had an amazing life - missionary work in China, a chaplain in Stalag Luft III and an Italian prisoner of war camp in WW II, Methodist ministry and President of Conference. Moving and inspiring. I'm proud that he was my grandfather-in-law....more
I'm biased because I was involved in the publishing of the book, having persuaded the author to finally publish her spoofs, and I was honoured to writI'm biased because I was involved in the publishing of the book, having persuaded the author to finally publish her spoofs, and I was honoured to write the foreward. It is hilarious and had me laughing out loud. So clever!...more
Lady Jane Grey’s story will always be a tragic one, no matter how you look at it, but what I loved about “Her Highness, the Traitor” was that the storLady Jane Grey’s story will always be a tragic one, no matter how you look at it, but what I loved about “Her Highness, the Traitor” was that the story was told through the eyes of the two mothers involved in the events of 1553: Frances Grey, mother of Lady Jane Grey, and Jane Dudley, mother of Guildford Dudley and wife of John Dudley. Higginbotham explores the impact of the events of 1547-1554 on both the Greys and Dudleys: Edward VI’s reign, the rise and fall of Protector Somerset, the rise of John Dudley and the short reign of Lady Jane Grey. Both Frances and Jane lost children and husbands in 1554, and fought to survive and put their families back together.
Higginbotham’s Lady Jane Grey is very different to the usual tragic victim we’re used to. Jane is a highly intelligent and pious girl who can be proud, haughty and abrasive. She is close to her father, Henry Grey, but her mother struggles to understand her. Although Frances and Jane are not close, Frances is far from the strict, hunting-loving monster depicted by some authors; she loves her daughter and wants the best for her. Jane and Guildford’s relationship is certainly not a love match but Guildford is a warm, fun-loving young man who cares for his wife and her family, and who goes to his death with courage and dignity. He wants the crown as Jane’s consort, but he certainly is not power hungry. As for John Dudley, well, I must admit to falling in love with him in the book! He is a wonderfully warm character who loves his family and who wants to do his duty to his monarch. He is a man of principle and conscience. I also loved the opportunity of getting to know minor characters such as Mary Dudley and Henry Sidney.
Higginbotham’s idea of telling the story through the eyes of these women is a wonderful way of bringing these events and characters to life. You feel you’re there with them and you cannot help but be moved by the events as they unfold. We all know how it ends, but we often forget the impact and legacy of those bloody days and that’s what is explored here. Next time I visit the Chapel of St Peter ad Vincula, I won’t just think of the fallen queens who lie at rest there, I will also pay my respects to the fallen dukes and Guildford Dudley. ...more
I was kindly sent a copy of Catherine Fletcher's "The Divorce of Henry VIII: The Untold Story from Inside the Vatican" by the publisher, Palgrave MacmI was kindly sent a copy of Catherine Fletcher's "The Divorce of Henry VIII: The Untold Story from Inside the Vatican" by the publisher, Palgrave Macmillan, and I'm so glad that they sent me a copy.
I have been researching Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII for three years now, but I must admit to only looking at the English sources and the letters of men like Eustace Chapuys, in Letters and Papers or the Spanish Calendar of State Papers, when digging into Henry's Great Matter, the struggle for the annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon. I had never looked in depth into the Italian side of things, what was going on in Rome at this time, so without realising it I had a very one-sided account of things. This book has corrected that and I am indebted to Catherine Fletcher's meticulous research.
You only have to look at the book's bibliography of archives, manuscript sources and printed works (11 pages of small type) to see just how much research has gone into this book. Catherine Fletcher used the archives of Bologna, Florence, Modena, Rome, Venice and the Vatican, amongst others, as well as the archives of the Casali family, the descendants of diplomat Gregorio Casali, Henry VIII's man in Rome at this time. Her research has led to a book which gives a detailed account of what was going on in Rome in the late 1520s and early to mid 1530s, who the key players were, what they were doing, how they were playing people off against each other and using stalling tactics and white lies, and also what life was like for them there. Here were men having to cope with the demands of a King and the lobbying of a pope, while also trying to survive on insufficient funds in a rather treacherous climate where bribery, corruption and kidnap were rife. These were dangerous times, as we know from the Sack of Rome.
In Catherine Fletcher's book, the reader is introduced to Gregorio Casali, Henry VIII's resident diplomat in Rome, and also other key players like his brother, Giambattista, and his cousin, Vicenzo; Sir Francis Bryan, Stephen Gardiner, Edward Fox, Pope Clement VII, Pietro Vanni, Charles V, Richard Croke, Sir Nicholas Carew and Dr Richard Sampson. Gregorio is the main character, yet he is a man who most Tudor history lovers will not have heard of, and I enjoyed getting to know him, his wife, his family and the life that he led.
Book highlights for me included:
- The different perspective on the annulment proceedings. - The insight into "sexual service" in Renaissance Rome and the snippet about Pope Leo X and his affair with courtesan Imperia, which resulted in the birth of a daughter. - The mention of Anne Boleyn sending cramp rings with a letter to Stephen Gardiner, Gregorio Casali and Pietro Vanni in 1529. - The Casali brothers' relationship with Richard Croke, "the colleague from hell" and the accusations he levelled at the brothers. - Learning about the diplomatic tactics that ambassadors used; for example, they tried to keep it quiet in Italy that the legatine court had started in England. - The insights into what life was like as an ambassador.
As you read all about the efforts of these men to secure the annulment, you cannot help but think of what a waste it all was. Henry VIII was married to Anne Boleyn for just three years! As Catherine Fletcher points out, no diplomat lost his head for the cause but they did put themselves at risk: "the natural hazards of disease and the multiple dangers of early modern travel caused far more untimely deaths".
I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in Henry VIII's reign. You can tell when I've found a book useful because I fill it with post it notes and turn down the corners of the pages - sorry to those who think that's sacrilege! I also found it readable and interesting. Congratulations to Catherine Fletcher on a wonderful book.
Review from Advance Reader's Edition, an uncorrected paperback version. Originally published on reviews.theanneboleynfiles.com...more