I've been meaning to read The Princes Of The Tower for quite a while, so it's about time I actually read it! I liked it but not as much as I thought II've been meaning to read The Princes Of The Tower for quite a while, so it's about time I actually read it! I liked it but not as much as I thought I would.
As much as I love Weir, it's a book you need to go into with some knowledge of the time period and the people. I've read several books about the Tudors, but I know very little of the events that led to the Tudors taking the throne, so for a few chapters, I felt really confused by all of the names and events.
It definitely felt like Weir set out to prove that Richard III was the one behind the mysterious murders of the two Princes, and it did feel like Weir didn't go into this as objectively as one would think. She does make some good points, and Richard III does seem like the likeliest suspect, but I don't know that he's as evil as Weir would make him out to be.
Still, it's a really good overview of the time, and the events that led to the reign of Henry VII. There is quite a bit of information, and I like that Weir mentions sources from that time period. I did get the sense that there's not a lot we know, and that some of the sources may be sketchy. Still, with some of the things that have come out over the last few years, with the discovery of Richard III's grave, I'd be curious to see a more updated book.
Let's Rate It: The Princes In The Tower was an interesting read, and it's a good overview of the time. It did seem slightly biased against Richard III and it's not the best for people who aren't super familiar with the time period. It still has some interesting things to think about. The Princes In The Tower get 3 stars....more
*I got Witchfall from netgalley.com in exchange for an honest and fair review.
I'm really enjoying this series! It's such a refreshing take on the time*I got Witchfall from netgalley.com in exchange for an honest and fair review.
I'm really enjoying this series! It's such a refreshing take on the time period, and I love reading about Meg and Alejandro. Witchfall is such a good continuation of the series, and it's such a good middle book!
Everything I loved about Witchstruck is why I loved Witchfall. I thought Meg's abilities in Witchfall were even more interesting in Witchfall, especially given some of the things that happen in the book. Like, Meg's been having some problems with her powers because of things that happened in Witchstruck. And I like Meg's relationship with Alejandro and how different they are (but also how much I want things to work out for them).
There's a lot of mystery and intrigue as Meg deals with Marcus Dent and John Dee and his apprentice, Richard. Meg and Richard working together seems to make Alejandro uncomfortable- and I don't blame him at all- but it did make me wonder if a love triangle is going to pop up at all, because Meg and Richard do have things in common. It doesn't seem headed in a love triangle sort of direction, so I think I'd be slightly surprised if it did happen...things are still very much the same between Meg and Alejandro, but I'm hoping that the events of Witchfall will change things between them.
I'm really looking forward to seeing if Meg really does marry Alejandro and how she'll defeat Marcus Dent. I have quite a few questions I'm hoping are answered in the last book besides the two things I just mentioned. Like, whether Elizabeth will be queen by the end of the series and what her relationship with Meg will be like, and if Meg keeps her magic or gives it up. And if she'll be caught using her magic, resulting in something really bad for her.
I really like how everything comes together, and Meg being a witch in service to Elizabeth, while Mary is queen, works so well for this time period, and really makes the Inquisition come alive because it's like you're seeing what could happen first hand.
Let's Rate It: I really liked Witchfall! I love how well the magical elements blend with the historical elements, and the magical elements work really well with what's going on during this time. Witchfall gets 4 stars. ...more
I was really overwhelmed by the amount of information! As much as I love Alison Weir, I just couldn't get into it. I love her non-fiction, and what'sI was really overwhelmed by the amount of information! As much as I love Alison Weir, I just couldn't get into it. I love her non-fiction, and what's really cool about her historical fiction is that it comes from people she's researched a lot for her non-fiction. So her historical fiction is always pretty historically accurate/authentic, because she's done all the research. (By the way, I definitely recommend her historical fiction if you're a stickler for historical accuracy). Katherine Grey's story wasn't that bad in terms of the details, but Kate Plantagent's story was. Part of it is that I'm not too familiar with the Wars Of The Roses, and the events that lead to the Tudor Monarchy. Which might be why Kate's story felt so overwhelming.
I found that I just couldn't care about Kate or Katherine- it was hard to care when I felt like facts were being thrown at me. I just wasn't a point where I wanted to get past all of the details to get to the rest of the story. And while Kate and Katherine both narrate, I felt like it was a little clunky- it felt like the book was randomly switching between the two women. It changed frequently enough that I couldn't really get into either character. Just as I was getting into one narrative, it would switch to the other. After about 50-60 pages, I got frustrated and knew it was time to just walk away. ...more
After reading Gilt a couple years ago and really liking it, I knew that I would really like Tarnish. Which I did!
Tarnish focuses on Anne Boleyn, wellAfter reading Gilt a couple years ago and really liking it, I knew that I would really like Tarnish. Which I did!
Tarnish focuses on Anne Boleyn, well before she gets involved with Henry VIII. Which was actually really refreshing, since so much out there seems to focus on her time with him. I really liked seeing Anne as a teen, and her time at court, especially since she's newly arrived at the English court after coming over from France. Knowing how everything ends for Anne made Tarnish so much more interesting, because I feel like it starts at such a good place for Anne, and how she became the woman she was.
I thought Longshore did such a great job at showing how Anne really was a product of her time, and how marriage really was her only choice...and that her marriage prospects grew dimmer, because of some decisions she made. I did like how her relationship with Thomas Wyatt progressed, and that it went much deeper than anyone else seemed to realize. I think it allowed Anne to figure out what she really wanted, and how much more confident she was by the end of the book.
The family dynamics of the Boleyn family were really interesting in Tarnish. I don't typically think of her family, and how her relationship with them shaped her, but through her relationships with her sister, brother and father, you that some of what Anne has done has been influenced by them. Her sister being the mistress to the king likely had a big impact on Anne's relationship with Henry, and you have to wonder if that's why she held out for so long with him. I'm still not sure how her brother or father influenced Anne as a person, but by the end of the book, you start to see hints of how manipulative Anne could be.
I loved how Henry's court was portrayed, and how much innocent flirtation there was. One thing that I noticed in Gilt- which also really came through in Tarnish- was that Longshore took some liberties with history while creating this world and story that seemed really accurate. She has a way of writing about people we all know and showing how complicated they really are, while making them easy to relate to. I felt like I was transported back to Tudor England and dropped right in the center of Anne's world. I also really liked the author's note at the end of the book, explaining where she got her inspiration and why she wrote the story the way she did.
Let's Rate It: I didn't fall in love with Tarnish, but I really liked that Tarnish focused on a teenage Anne Boleyn who was insecure. I also liked that it was at the very beginnings of what would be her relationship with Henry VIII. Tarnish gets 4 stars....more
*Elizabeth of York is an ARC from netgalley.com, which hasn't influenced my review in any way.
I'm super-fascinated by the Tudors, and I'm also a huge*Elizabeth of York is an ARC from netgalley.com, which hasn't influenced my review in any way.
I'm super-fascinated by the Tudors, and I'm also a huge fan of Alison Weir, so I knew I had to read Elizabeth Of York. I don't know much about her, or the Wars Of The Roses, since I tend to read about Henry VIII and his wives and children. It was great reading about Elizabeth, since I didn't know a lot about her.
The first few chapters...they were a little hard to go through, mostly because I found it hard to keep up with all of the people and events Weir writes about. It's fairly easy to understand, but it's a lot to take in, and I think I need to read the book a few more times with pen and paper to have a better grasp of everything. It's very readable, but my head swam with names and such.
One thing I thought was interesting was how Henry VII kind of needed her to make his role as king legitimate. It's not surprising, given there was a war over who should be king, but it's still interesting that marrying someone like Elizabeth neutralized some claims to the throne. Not completely, of course, and some of them must have taken their toll on her.
Another interesting thing was the possibility that Henry VIII named his daughter Elizabeth after his mother. I don't know why it didn't occur to me before, but it does make sense. I also thought that Henry would want to have a relationship like the one his parents had to be interesting. It seems like Elizabeth and Henry VII had a really good relationship and marriage, so Henry had a relationship to look up to. I don't know why that surprises me, but it does. Of course, trying to find someone like his mother wasn't conclusive or anything, since having heirs was really important.
While I found the first chapters confusing, they were also really interesting. I liked reading about her childhood, and you could easily focus in on that part of her life. Having to live somewhere really secure because of living in uncertainty, and losing her 2 brothers and not knowing if they were dead or alive, and holding out hope...I do have a lot of sympathy for her.
A lot of the book, especially those early years, focus on what was going on around Elizabeth, since there isn't a lot we know of that time in her life. So I don't mind that part of the book is more about the people around her, because it shows how she became the person she did, and why things went the way they did.
Final Thoughts: Overall, Elizabeth Of York was very readable, and I liked learning more about her. It was hard to keep track of what was going on at the beginning, but in the end, I learned a lot! Elizabeth Of York gets 4 stars. ...more
If there's something I love, it's Tudor history, and when I saw Witchstruck, I knew I had to read it! I love the element of witches and magic in thisIf there's something I love, it's Tudor history, and when I saw Witchstruck, I knew I had to read it! I love the element of witches and magic in this book, and given that Mary is still Queen...I just love that Elizabeth has a lady-in-waiting who is a witch. I actually found it all really believable!
Lamb definitely had some elements that I wasn't expecting- one being Meg being a witch, which worked really well with the book. Also interesting was her love interest- a priest-in-training from Spain, so there's an element of a very-forbidden romance. And yet, it didn't feel overdone and was actually believable. Especially because his order does allow priests to get married. Which sounds like it wouldn't work or be believable, but I really thought it was something that worked really well.
Alejandro is a great character, and I loved that he was so willing to help Meg, even though he knew what she was capable of and even knowing of her magical abilities. They have their differences (obviously) but I liked that there was such differences between them.
Even though Meg is a lady-in-waiting to Elizabeth I, it's much more about Meg and her journey. Still, Elizabeth is interesting in this book, and I liked her relationship with Meg. I do like that Lamb doesn't seem to take sides in Witchstruck. The book felt pretty neutral towards both Elizabeth and Mary, and you don't really get a lot of the conflict between them that you'd see in other historical fiction about them. I'm not sure if it's because they're not in the same place for most of the book, or if there's another reason for it, but I liked that the conflict between them was minimized.
Let's Rate It: I found Witchstruck to be really believable, even with the paranormal/magical elements of the book. They really did work well with the book and everything going on during this time period. I love all of the historical details in the book, and I really feel like Lamb knows her stuff in regards to the history. Witchstruck gets 4 stars....more
I really liked Gilt. I'm a big fan of Tudor history, and it was nice reading about Katherine Howard, because she tends to be overlooked in both non-fiI really liked Gilt. I'm a big fan of Tudor history, and it was nice reading about Katherine Howard, because she tends to be overlooked in both non-fiction and historical fiction alike.
I liked that it focused on Katherine Howard and her circle of "friends." I found them to be irritating, especially Katherine and her best friend Kitty, who narrated the novel. Katherine was definitely ambitious and self-absorbed, while Kitty would do anything to make Katherine happy. Despite being annoyed with both girls, I thought that Longshore did a great job writing them. It just goes to show that some things never change.
Back to Katherine for a minute. She knew what she wanted, but couldn't really see the consequences of her actions. If she did, she certainly didn't care, but then again, Katherine thought she was invincible because she was queen. As for Kitty, she was loyal to the point of almost losing her head. But I also understand her going with everything too, especially when Katherine became queen.
I also liked her attention to detail, and described everything beautifully. I especially liked her descriptions of the places and the clothing. You can tell Longshore is interested in Tudor history, and of Henry's 6 wives, Katherine Howard is probably the one teens would most relate to. I'll admit that the language was a bit modern, but I wasn't really bothered by it. And with so many other details being there, I'm willing to overlook it.
My rating would be a 4 out of 5. It was pretty accurate, and fans of The Luxe by Anna Godbersen will love this book....more
Tudor England is one of my favorite periods in history, so when I saw this book, I knew I had to get it.
It definitely wasn't what I was expecting. TheTudor England is one of my favorite periods in history, so when I saw this book, I knew I had to get it.
It definitely wasn't what I was expecting. The thing with Mary is that very little is known about her, so it was of Weir trying to dispel all the myths surrounding her. It was more along the lines of what we know and think we know about her and why they're correct (or not correct). We learn a lot about her family and how she didn't seem to have a huge impact in a time that had a lot going on. It really was more about what we don't know than what we do know.
Mary, as a person, was pretty unremarkable, especially with how little information there is about her, but Weir did the best she could. Learning more about her 2 husbands was really interesting, but she spent a little too much time on possible birth dates for both Anne and Mary. It really seemed like their ages were going to be important- only for it to not be as important as I expected.
I did like this book, but it was just too much of a stretch. There just isn't enough to fill pages upon pages. I found myself getting slightly frustrated with how pop culture gets history wrong. It has to be frustrating to see t.v. shows and movies take liberties with history, but at the same time, it was frustrating to see her take it so seriously. She is very readable, and she has an eye for detail, but I really felt like she lost something with this one.
I think the part about how she wasn't this great and infamous whore was the most interesting part of the book. Weir goes into quite a bit of detail, and the idea that if she had such a reputation, there would probably be more in terms of records.
Final thoughts: I liked it, but it was more speculation and debunking of myths than anything else. I think it would have worked slightly better as a biography of the Boleyn family as a whole. It gets 3 stars....more
I liked this book, and I really liked reading about Mary. It was a nice change from reading about Henry VIII's wives and about Elizabeth I.
I really lI liked this book, and I really liked reading about Mary. It was a nice change from reading about Henry VIII's wives and about Elizabeth I.
I really liked that it didn't focus too much on her childhood, her dislike of Anne Boleyn and her relationship with her sister. It is a very good overview of Mary's life and what was going on during her lifetime. There were plenty of details about Mary without getting bogged down in them.
The one thing I noticed is that Porter sees Mary in a very positive light. Porter is not completely objective in this biography, but I can appreciate that she is portraying Mary in a different way than what we're used to. I don't see Mary any differently after reading this book, but you get a very good sense of who Mary is and the different people and events that influenced her.
It gets a 3 out of 5. I liked it, and while it isn't too detailed, it is a really good introduction to Mary Tudor. ...more
It's an interesting novel, but I feel like it could have been a little longer. Erickson pretty much glossed over different events from Catherine's lifIt's an interesting novel, but I feel like it could have been a little longer. Erickson pretty much glossed over different events from Catherine's life, and it went by far too quickly. I would have liked more of her marriage to Henry, since it is titled The Last Wife Of Henry VIII, but no such luck.
I love the people and all, and Tudor England is one of my favorite historical periods ever, but I couldn't get into it. However, it was interesting to see the court and Henry's other wives through the eyes of Catherine. It just wasn't as interesting as I thought it would be, given she was one of two wives (the other being Anne of Cleves) to survive Henry relatively unscathed. Erickson's version was a tad boring for me, but she is free to write her as she sees fit.
There certainly was not a lot of detail about clothing or food or what the different castles and homes looked like. It would have made the book feel more real and give the book some life.
Overall, it gets a 3 out of 5. While not bad or amazing, it was a good, enjoyable read. ...more
I thought Matilda was most interesting, and Isabella was pretty interesting too. Margaret's section was the most familiar to me, so I ended up glossinI thought Matilda was most interesting, and Isabella was pretty interesting too. Margaret's section was the most familiar to me, so I ended up glossing over it. Eleanor was also interesting, and while I knew of her, and probably learned about her at some point, I was a bit fuzzy on her life's story.
It was dry, and pretty dense. It was hard to get through, and the only reason I managed to do it in one sitting was because I had nothing else to do. She managed to connect Matilda, Eleanor, Isabella and Margaret to both Elizabeth I and her sister Mary (a queen in her own right) rather well, and it was at that point that her interest seemed to shine through.
It is a very good overview of 4 women, and she does a good job at condensing the information, especially in the Margaret of Anjou/Wars Of The Roses section. If you've read about any of them, then you might be bored. But if you want an overview, this is the book for you.
I give it a 2 out of 5. It was just okay for me, but has some good information in it. ...more
I really liked it. Fraser was relatively unbiased, and it was a very impartial look at each of his wives. Henry is rarely mentioned, and it's a greatI really liked it. Fraser was relatively unbiased, and it was a very impartial look at each of his wives. Henry is rarely mentioned, and it's a great look at each of his wives, with their own identity and personality. It gives you a good overview of their lives and who they were as people. I really appreciate the fact that it was more about the women as individuals as opposed to the men surrounding them.
But in all honesty, I had some trouble sitting down and reading it. It's nothing against the book or Antonia Fraser, but this is the 3rd different book I've read about Henry's wives, so at times, it was pretty repetitive. However, it is the most readable of the 3 I've read, so I'm not sure if I could pick between Fraser's book and Alison Weir's book.
Fraser attempted to break down the stereotypes and myths of each woman, which I thought was an interesting take on them. It worked okay, and for the most part, her telling seemed to be pretty standard.
The narrative itself flowed pretty well, and it was also organized fairly well. Some of the chapter divides were somewhat strange, and things included in one chapter (or section in some cases) were better suited being in the previous one.
Overall, it gets a 4 out of 5. It's well-researched and pretty unbiased. ...more
It’s taken me quite a while to get through this book for a couple reasons. 1- the length was an obvious factor, and if you add in the index and biblioIt’s taken me quite a while to get through this book for a couple reasons. 1- the length was an obvious factor, and if you add in the index and bibliography, the book is an astounding 852 pages. 2- it was really tedious, and there was an overwhelming amount of detail in certain parts of the book. Those two reasons combined made it slightly difficult to read more than a few pages at a time.
I found the introduction to be slightly off-putting because I felt Starkey came across as arrogrant. I felt like he thought his biography was the best one because he managed to access all these different documents that no one else was able to access and translate some documents that no one else has been able to translate. In addition to that, he seems to not like any other Tudor historian because they weren’t digging deep enough, and all stuck to the same formula.
Starkey decided to structure the book according to the time each woman was married to Henry as well as the number of materials about each one. This means most of the book is devoted to Catherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn, with a few chapters on Catherine Parr, and one chapter each for Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves and Katherine Howard. Theoretically, it makes sense. We know more about Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn and Catherine Parr than we do about the other three, so a good chunk of the book is going to be devoted to them. In practice, it didn’t work out that well.
For one thing, most of the Anne Boleyn section was devoted to the divorce from Catherine of Aragon. I’m not kidding when I say that Henry didn’t marry Anne until 500 or so pages in, and had her executed a mere 85 pages after that! Furthermore, he talked about Henry VIII’s divorce from Catherine of Aragon twice- once in Catherine’s section, and once again in Anne Boleyn’s section.
Some of the details were repeated, making it boring. I get that it’s a very important event in British history, because that was a major factor in the break from the Catholic Church. But if he’s going to devote several hundreds of pages to the “Great Matter,” he should just write a book on that.
There was so much detail on Henry’s divorce from Catherine- it was all “such-and-such a person went to this place to deliver a letter” and ”this group of people went to this one place to figure out how Henry can divorce Catherine.” It did get better once he married Anne…kind of.
There was barely any overlap between any of the queens, which I thought was slightly odd, considering that there was a considerable overlap between Catherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn, some overlap between Anne and Jane Seymour, and then some overlap between Anne Of Cleves and Katherine Howard. I got the definite sense that he was more interested in Catherine of Aragon and her subsequent divorce from Henry, and that everything else was just an afterthought. I also didn’t notice anything groundbreaking or special about it, despite his ”access to special documents.”
It gets a 2.5 out of 5. It was more about Catherine of Aragon and The Great Matter than anything else. For a book about Henry’s wives, it was more about the politcal aspects of his marriages and the important men around his wives as opposed to his actual wives. I also felt like his marriage to Anne Boleyn and his subsequent wives were an afterthought. Overall, it was a disappointing book. I was definitely glad I checked it out from the library....more
I really liked it. It covers Henry’s life and what his court was like.
It was interesting to learn more about Henry himself, since I tend to read aboutI really liked it. It covers Henry’s life and what his court was like.
It was interesting to learn more about Henry himself, since I tend to read about everyone else from that time period. I learned a few things: he was obsessed with cleanliness, discreet, and had an increasing desire for privacy. Also interesting was that Will Somers, who was the court fool, never tried to take advantage of his friendship with the king.
It was hard to get through, mostly because it was long. It helped that Weir didn’t go into his marriages in too much detail, although it wasn’t that big of a surprise since she covered that in one of her other books. She did cover it, focusing more on Katherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn, than anyone else, and only talking about the marriages as they related to Henry.
While I found myself bored at times, Weir made it a lot less boring than it could have been. I’m indifferent towards Henry, even after reading about him. As much as I loved Tudor England, Henry isn’t my favorite person, but since he’s such an integral figure to the time period, having insight into who he was is important.
Rating: 4 out 5. Her attention to detail is amazing, but sometimes it was a little too detailed for my tastes....more
It was really interesting. The book focuses solely on Anne Boleyn’s last few months, and goes into depth the reasons for her downfall, as well as evenIt was really interesting. The book focuses solely on Anne Boleyn’s last few months, and goes into depth the reasons for her downfall, as well as events leading up to her arrest, and the aftermath of her death.
It was extremely readable, and had a lot of detail. Weir also takes a look at people who supported Anne as well as those who hated her, as well as the other men who were also put on trial for having affairs with Anne. It’s definitely not as one-sided as I thought it would be. It moved pretty fast, which is due to the fact that it is solely devoted to her last months.
I also liked how she talked about how historians interpreted the different events in the book, and how they changed over time. Also interesting was the chapter about different legends and ghost stories surrounding Anne Boleyn. It was unexpected, but shows how important a figure she really is.
It’s really aimed for those who are at least somewhat familiar with the time period because there’s not a lot of background information on Anne Boleyn’s childhood, or her life leading up to her final few months.
Rating: 4 out of 5. There are a lot of good things about the book, and it’s certainly more readable than some of her other books, but it’s certainly not aimed at the average person who might not have a background on the subject....more