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The Tower Of London
William Harrison Ainsworth
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The Tower Of London

3.50  ·  Rating details ·  34 ratings  ·  9 reviews
The Tower of London is a novel by William Harrison Ainsworth serially published in 1840. It is a historical romance that describes the history of Lady Jane Grey from her short-lived time as Queen of England to her execution.
Hardcover, 558 pages
Published 1974 by Chivers (first published 1840)
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3.50  · 
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 ·  34 ratings  ·  9 reviews

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Debbie Zapata
Jul 10, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gutenberg
From the author's preface:

"It has been, for years, the cherished wish of the writer of the following pages, to make the Tower of London—the proudest monument of antiquity, considered with reference to its historical associations, which this country or any other possesses,—the groundwork of a Romance; and it was no slight satisfaction to him, that circumstances, at length, enabled him to carry into effect his favourite project, in conjunction with the inimitable Artist, whose designs accompany th
Y.K. Willemse
Oct 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book was very dense linguistically, but a rich read overall. All characters were explored in complex detail, and even Bloody Mary was portrayed as a "mixed bag". The reader's sympathies are all with Lady Jane Grey by the end though. It seems painfully cruel that such an innocent seventeen-year-old died by beheading. Certainly a deeper look into this period of England's history.
[These notes were made in 1986. I read a 19th-century edition with George Cruikshank's illustrations:]. George Cruikshank's illustrations - and there is an extraordinary number of them - play a very large part in this novel, tho' a somewhat disorienting one, rather like Ainsworth's text itself. For the plates have to do with the 16th-century 'story,' both the historical one of the rise and fall of Lady Jane Grey, and the fictional ones of Cholmondely/Cicely and the downstairs people; the wood en ...more
Jay Pees
Aug 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read the Kindle version. It was full of typographical errors, on almost every page and sometimes several on a page. So many that I tired of commenting on them and correcting them. As was previously noted, sometimes the characters spoke in terribly complex sentences, which i doubt even royalty spoke. For all the misspellings it was sometimes difficult to read. The extrememly detailed descriptions were also rather tedious and unnecessary.

With the above being said , I enjoyed the book and feel i
Rob Best
Nov 13, 2014 rated it liked it
"The Tower of London" is an interesting, easy read, but definitely not the greatest achievement of storytelling. Ainsworth wrote the novel as a serial and a labor of love about the Tower. He succeeds in exploring some of the values and ways of life of 1500s England, but fails to create likeable characters or an intriguing plot. In part to stay to some semblance of historical accuracy, the characters of nobility in the book are very poorly defined and explored. More liberty is taken with the lowe ...more
Robert Hepple
Jun 28, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Originally published in 1840, The Tower of London is a novel set against a background of unrest and insurrection following changes to the monarchy in 1553-1554. Ainsworth's writing style means that the story pauses often so that any moments of pomp and ceremony can be described in sumptuous and repetitive detail, whilst longer pauses occur occasionally so that an almost travelog description of the surrounding area can take place, as well as very long sequences where the story stops dead while a ...more
This was the condensed version and it was interesting. The writing was not particularly stellar (seemed like it was written in haste or by a young person) but the story was fun. If you like castle intrigue and murder and torture, this is a good one for a quick read.

Boy meets girl, they fall in love but are parted by jealous suitor of girl. Boy gets thrown in dungeon, escapes, thwarts plan to kill the much hated new queen, gets re-arrested, escapes several more times, gets tortured, finally marr
Apr 17, 2015 rated it liked it
The author's characters often spoke in complex compound sentences, sounding like legal briefs from lawyers rather than spontaneous dialog. And the detailed setting descriptions -- of tower after tower at The Tower -- would have been easier to follow with an accompanying floor plan. But the tale is informative of the intrigue of the Crown, the Inquisition, and not a little on the tortures of the day. At one point I broke out in a clammy sweat reading of one victim's time on The Rack (and we think ...more
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William Harrison Ainsworth was educated at Manchester Grammar School and later articled to a solicitor, deserting this profession for literature.

Among his best known novels are The Tower of London (1840), Old St. Paul's (1841), Windsor Castle (1843) and The Lancashire Witches (1848).