European Royalty discussion


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message 1: by Sara W (new)

Sara W (sarawesq) | 2153 comments Hi everyone! It's great to see more people joining this group. I'd love to know what you all are interested in and what your favorite books might be on that subject.

message 2: by Sera (new)

Sera Hi, Sara.

I've recently purchased books on Louis XIV and Charles II. Have you read anything about either one of them?

message 3: by Sara W (new)

Sara W (sarawesq) | 2153 comments No, I haven't read anything about either of them. I know that Louis XIV is the Sun King (did he build Versailles? I think so, but I'm not sure), and I think Charles II is the Merry Monarch. I'm working my way to reading some fiction books (Jean Plaidy, of course) about Charles II. I took a break after making my way through Elizabeth I, so I'm almost there! I think the 1600s is what I know the least about. I dabble with the Tudors and the Georgians, but somehow I miss the Stuarts and their era. The only French history I've read about so far is Marie Antoinette.

This is really dorky, and would take a ton of paper, but what I would like to do is start making my own family tree of these monarchs as I read about them and just keep filling it in as I go with little comments to help me remember who they are. I think it would help me keep track of how they all connect together. I have a book about the heredity of the royal houses of Europe that has family tree type diagrams, but it doesn't help me much. The type of information they put in it isn't what I really care about (and it doesn't help that the "tables" of the family lines each refer to about five other "tables", so it's impossible to keep it all straight). I read about these people, but a few books later I can't remember them very well (stupid memory!).

message 4: by Sera (new)

Sera Your idea is not dorky at all! My friend and I did the same thing over lunch one day with Henry VIII. It's so much fun, and it is a great way to really commit the connections to memory.

Between the Rory book club and my neighborhood one, I don't know when I'll be able to read the 30 books that I just bought. Oh well, I'll just have to squeeze them in somehow :)

message 5: by Sara W (new)

Sara W (sarawesq) | 2153 comments Oh God, I know, I need to quit buying books (which will never happen)! I have so many that I've bought over the years and haven't read yet.

I think I will start some sort of family tree to keep all of these people straight. I'm interested in how the different European royal families married between themselves, so I think this would help.

message 6: by Sara W (new)

Sara W (sarawesq) | 2153 comments Yippee, more new people!! Welcome to the group! What are you interested in? What are you reading right now? We've got some Tudor and Romanov fans so far. Feel free to start a thread if your royal dynasty of choice isn't listed yet. The more the merrier!

message 7: by Sara W (new)

Sara W (sarawesq) | 2153 comments Oh, and please feel free to add any books to the bookshelf that you have enjoyed regarding European royalty. I've just been adding books that I have already read (and one that Sera read) that people might enjoy. Right now it's kind of heavy on Jean Plaidy, but that's because I've been reading a lot of her books lately. I'll try to get a broader variety in there soon, but in the meantime, feel free to add some that you like!

Marie, thanks again for the Evelyn Anthony lead - I've never heard of her, but it seems like she wrote a lot of books that I would be interested in reading. I've added that trilogy to my to-read shelf.

message 8: by Sera (new)

Sera Sara, I added a few more books to the bookshelves. I haven't read any of them yet, but I am looking forward to doing so.

message 9: by MBP (new)

MBP Hi everyone - This is my first post to this group, but I've been reading the messages and getting some great suggestions! I'm mainly interested in the Tudors; I've read a lot of historical fiction about them, and that leads me to reading history (I get curious about the truth of what happened, and enjoy the different interpretations). I'm adding a few recent Tudor reads to the bookshelf.

message 10: by Sara W (new)

Sara W (sarawesq) | 2153 comments Hi MBP! I absolutely LOVE the Tudors as well (if you didn't realize, the picture for this group is a portrait of Anne Boleyn). I'm the same way with wanting to know what really happened - I just finished reading the fiction novel Katherine by Anya Seton (about Katherine Swynford and John of Gaunt), and I've been on various websites trying to find out what really happened (plus I've got some non-fiction books added to my to-read shelf about her).

I'm really excited about everyone joining in to add some books to the shelf - as I look at what is added, I find myself thinking "how did that book escape my notice for so long?" and "how will I find time to read them all?!?!"

Oh, and I just want to add that I really like your cat picture MBP!

message 11: by Sara W (new)

Sara W (sarawesq) | 2153 comments Would people be interested in picking a topic or book to discuss? We could pick something around the beginning of the month and start a discussion around mid-month so people would have time to get acquainted with the topic or book. I know some of you are involved in other book clubs (as I myself am), so I thought picking a topic might be easier on you than actually reading a specific book. It also could be interesting to see different perspectives (such as if a couple people are reading non-fiction and others fiction). We could pick either a specific event or specific person. Let me know what you think, and definitely let me know if you have any other ideas to get people involved in discussions! I'm open to any and all suggestions.

message 12: by Sara W (new)

Sara W (sarawesq) | 2153 comments Yeah, we can definitely pick a book! I like your idea of someone each month picking three books and then we vote on one. This group is small enough where that should work out fine.

Why don't we start in alphabetical order (based on people's goodreads name)? If everyone who is interested in picking books that we could read as a group could just leave a quick comment here saying they are interested, we'll put those names in alphabetical order to start off. The first person can pick three books and then the rest of us can vote which one to read. In the event of a tie, I think the tie-breaking vote should go to the person who choose the three books. As people join the group, we can add their name to the bottom of the list if they are interested in picking books. If this group gets too big, we can always change the process (like we all nominate a book and then vote), but right now there are only 13 of us, and 3 of those are personal friends of mine who I think joined b/c they felt sorry for me! ;)

If you don't feel like picking the books, you don't need to reply to this. You can still feel free to vote on a book and read along with us. Right now our list for picking books is:


If you want to be added, just leave a comment here by around 5pm Central time. At that time, whoever is at the top of the list can pick three books (I'll post who that person is for everyone's convenience). I'll also start a new thread at that time called "How the group works" or something like that for any new people who come along. Then we can take a couple days to vote, start reading and discuss!

message 13: by Sara W (new)

Sara W (sarawesq) | 2153 comments BTW, Despina, I hope you end up liking Jean Plaidy's books as much as I do! I really enjoyed the Norman trilogy (i've read it twice already). I own practically all of her books because they are the type that I can read over and over. Definitely let me know what you think!

message 14: by Sara W (new)

Sara W (sarawesq) | 2153 comments It seems like we're juggling books doesn't it? I don't know how I'm going to find the time to read them all! I've been reading the RedEye in the morning while on the bus (for those of you not from Chicago, it's a newspaper here), but I think I'm going to just read a book from now on so I can get through them quicker.

We can be flexible with our start time, especially if it's just the two of us and we'll both be reading Jane Eyre and The Eyre Affair. I would not mind reading the Plaidy book again, so definitely feel free to nominate it. We could tentatively plan to start reading something mid-month or so (so maybe nominate books on the 10th or so and start reading on the 15th or so). That'll allow people time to join if they want, and we'll have gotten through (or almost gotten through) those other books. It would actually help us a lot to have the start date for this group in the middle of the month since Rory's Book Club starts at the beginning of the month.

Ha ha, I can't wait to read the Philippa Gregory books I have that she wrote about the Tudors. I've read a lot about them, so it'll kind of be fun to see what kind of crazy story she comes up with (either that, or I'll throw the book across the room in disgust).

message 15: by MBP (new)

MBP I think the monthly reading group is a great idea, and I'd be willing to be one of the people who makes the 3 picks to vote on.

I just led a book discussion on The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory, and it was very interesting. I enjoyed the book because of her writing style, and the way she conveys the splendor and brutality of the Tudor court. She does take some liberties with the historical facts though. To some readers this interferes with their enjoyment of the book, and others (including me) can enjoy it as a great story regardless of its historical accuracy. I do think it's a higher art form to write something that's both historically accurate and a compelling read, like the Sharon Kay Penman books I've read.

Did you know there's a movie version of The Other Boleyn Girl coming out at the end of the month, with Natalie Portman as Anne Boleyn and Scarlett Johanson as Mary? It might be an option if you can't make it through the book (either for lack of time, or because it's been thrown across the room... :)

message 16: by Sara W (new)

Sara W (sarawesq) | 2153 comments I only realized there was a movie coming out on The Other Boleyn Girl when I went to buy the book and saw the movie poster plastered on it. I am excited to read it (I bought the ones on Katherine of Aragon and Anne of Cleves, Katherine Howard and Jane Boleyn as well - I figured I might as well make a little trilogy out of them). I'm hoping I'll be able to enjoy them. I think I may have an easier time since I have read so much about them previously. I just read a fiction book on Katherine Swynford and John of Gaunt, who I know pretty much nothing about, and I kept going online and digging through my general non-fiction books on England trying to figure out the "real" story. I know, I need to just relax and enjoy the story! I was a history major in college, so maybe that's why I want to know the "truth" (which, honestly, how much do we really know went on in the daily lives of these people?).

I'm going to mark down that Penman name as well. I'm getting so many great recommendations from this group!

message 17: by Sera (last edited Feb 02, 2008 06:05AM) (new)

Sera I'm up for trying to read a book a month. It's funny, because there is a potential to read 4 books for the GG if you count Rebecca and The Wide Sargesso Sea. I just need to be careful that my husband doesn't divorce me for neglect.

I thought that the The Other Boleyn Girl was alright, but the gratuitous sex put the novel for me more in trash column. With so many other great authors out there who write about the Tudors, I likely won't read Gregory again.

Thank you for the Penman recommendation!

message 18: by Sara W (new)

Sara W (sarawesq) | 2153 comments Sera, it's funny, i just had a co-worker complain to me yesterday about the sex in Philippa Gregory's books. I bought my co-worker (bet you'll never guess!) a Jean Plaidy book for Christmas (the Katherine of Aragon one), and she told me she preferred it since it didn't have all the sex involved. I had past co-workers who absolutely loved Gregory though.

Wouldn't it be great to be independently wealthy and not have to work? I would love to just read all day like I did as a kid during the summers (I grew up in the middle of nowhere, so there wasn't anything else to do until I got my driver's license). I don't know how I'm going to read all these books!

message 19: by Sera (new)

Sera Sara, I'm no prude, but the gratuity of sex, and especially violence, is disturbing to me on some level. I also share your fondness for history so the sensationalism of some historical fiction is off-putting to me. And, I know that many people love Gregoy so good for them. I don't begrudge it - it's just not really my cup of tea.

Yeh, the whole work thing really interferes with life, although I try not to complain about it. I'm lucky that I have a good job for which I am well-paid, but at the same time, it cuts into so many other things that I would like to do, especially reading. I loved when we had summer's off as kids, too. Even when going college and law school, I looked forward to when the summer came. After my last final, I want go right to the book store and load up. Now, I just load up all the time, and the more that I look around, the more books that I find that interest me. Well, one day at a time, they say. For now, it's Jane Eyre, which I am surprised by how much I am enjoying it.

message 20: by Jamie (new)

Jamie Collins (jamie_goodreads) | 10 comments I really like Sharon Kay Penman, too.

The Other Boleyn Girl is well written, but I really disliked it because of the ending. It was a terrible, sordid portrayal of Anne Boleyn. Isn't her story exciting enough without giving credence to Henry's ridiculous accusations? Between that and the horrific Wideacre I won't read any more of Gregory's books. And it's a shame, because I love the Tudors.

message 21: by Sera (new)

Sera Have no fear, Eleanor, there are many books out there on this topic that you may enjoy more than Gregory's novels. Our bookshelf for this discussion group are filled with ones that many readers have enjoyed.

message 22: by Sara W (new)

Sara W (sarawesq) | 2153 comments Welcome Eleanor! There are a lot of great non-fiction books on Henry VIII and his wives (and like Sera said, I think a lot have made it onto this group's bookshelf). Off the top of my head are books by Antonia Fraser, David Starkey and (I'm almost positive) Allison Weir.

As for fiction, I live and die by Jean Plaidy. Her Tudor books are great, and most have just been republished in the last couple of years with the most beautiful covers (I was sad that I bought most of them used before these came out because I would love to have my bookshelf filled with them instead of the hodge-podge of old paperbacks and ex-library copies that I currently have). I've read a Norah Loft fiction novel about Eleanor of Aquitaine which was good - she may have written on the Tudors. I'm sure there must be more!

Anyway, welcome to the group! Are you interested in picking books for what we read as a group? We're going to try to read one book a month as a group. One of us will pick three books for the month, and the rest will vote on one of them to read. Then next month, someone else will pick three books, we'll all vote, etc. For the time, we're just going to go in alphabetical order. If your interested, I'll add you to the list. If you don't feel like picking the book choices, don't sweat it - you can definitely still vote for the book you would like to read and participate in any discussions.

message 23: by Jamie (new)

Jamie Collins (jamie_goodreads) | 10 comments Thanks, Sara. I've read lots of Fraser and Weir, and also Starkey's book on the wives. I'm just a little obsessed with Henry VIII.

I don't think I want to pick any books just yet, but I may participate in the group read.

message 24: by Sara W (new)

Sara W (sarawesq) | 2153 comments No problem! A couple of us have started (or will be starting) to watch The Tudors series from showtime and will probably be discussing it in the near future, so that might be of interest to you (I'm quite obsessed about Henry VIII and his wives as well!).

message 25: by Jamie (last edited Feb 04, 2008 06:41AM) (new)

Jamie Collins (jamie_goodreads) | 10 comments I watched about half of the first season of The Tudors. There are some good people in it but Jonathan Rhys Meyers is terribly wrong for the part.

I do like the 1970 Masterpiece Theater mini-series, The Six Wives of Henry VIII, with Keith Mitchell as Henry. It's available at Netflix now. The 2003 drama with Ray Winstone was pretty good, too.

Also the 1971 Elizabeth R, starring Glenda Jackson.

message 26: by Sara W (new)

Sara W (sarawesq) | 2153 comments Thanks for the movies! I'll be sure to add them to my Netflix account.

I enjoyed Anne of the Thousand Days (1969) starring Richard Burton and Lady Jane (1986 - about Jane Grey) starring Helena Bonham Carter.

message 27: by Lynn (new)

Lynn Hi, I'm new to the group.

Anya Seton's Katherine is absolutely my favorite novel of all-time. I discovered it about five years ago, and have spent a lot of spare time since then trying to find out "the real story" behind it (which, I think, Seton got pretty close to emotionally, even if some of her details were off). I hope all of you who mentioned that book have discovered The Katherine Swynford Society and the Katherine Swynford/John of Gaunt Yahoo Discussion group at

I'm just now reading The Other Boleyn Girl. I'd kind of been turned off on that author before, which is why it's taken me so long to get to it. But the trailer for the movie looks good, and, ultimately, I have a hard time turning down any good story about the Tudors - although I'd rather take a Plantagenet or Lancastrian tale, if it came right down to it.

(By the way, I have to second the recommendation I saw for Susan Howatch's The Wheel of Fortune. It's an odd book - that transfers the courts of Edward III, Richard II, Henry IV, and Henry V to a 20th Century Welsh setting - but it does work. Howatch wrote some other books (Sins of the Fathers, Penmarric, and Cashelmara, to name a few), that do the same sort of thing with other royals.

message 28: by Sara W (new)

Sara W (sarawesq) | 2153 comments Welcome to the group Lynn! I just finished reading Anya Seton's Katherine about a month ago. Some parts dragged on a little bit for me, but other sections were really great. Overall I liked it and would like to read some more books by Seton. I was like you and tried to find out "the real story" as well, so I think I did come across the Katherine Swynford Society page. I didn't realize yahoo had a group though! I loved how all the websites I came across said "You must be here because you read Katherine by Anya Seton" - it's funny how they knew! There are some non-fiction (I think) books about her that I have in my to-read shelf, but I don't know if they are good or not.

I have not seen a trailer yet for The Other Boleyn Girl. I'll have to try and find it. My copy of the book (which I haven't read yet) has the movie poster on the cover, so I have seen that. I love the look of the costumes! I think I would see the movie just for that.

message 29: by Kim (new)

Kim Hi everyone...I just joined your group tonight and I am so excited. If you review my books and interests you'll see that this group is right up my alley! I am currently reading world without end by Ken Follett with my other group "morning coffee group" but I was reading innocent traitor when I started this group. is on hold for now..but I have read all of Phillipa Gregory...and some of Jean Plaidy...I read Henry VIII and his 6 wives..and I just got so hooked...I drive my husband crazy talking about this I am so happy that I can drive someone else crazy now!!!None of my friends read these types of historical romance and historical fiction....they are more the jo beverly types...or the mystery types (which I also LOVE...don't get me wrong) after I had read The other boelyn girl...I went to london and went to the tower of london....i was driving everyone nuts talking about Henry and his wives...and the gates that they brought Anne in and on and on...I was looking for everyone's graves ..Anne is not was just amazing! Anyway... I will be very interested to see what your next book is ...and hopefully will be done with World Without end (which is about England in 1300 by the by!!) Anyway...I am a stay at home mom in Southern California (The OC) I have 2 kids 14 and 11 and a husband of 17.5 years. I have 2 rescue dogs...a jindo mix and a jack russel mix and a cat that is 17 years old. My only real hobby besides my family and pets is I do it alot. Well I guess my other guilty pleasure is reality tv....I am a junky! it is so sad...I know it is rotting my brain..but I tell you it is a train wreck and I can not look away! I am hoping to go and see the other boelyn this weekend...can't wait. I own both Elizabeth movies...and think Cate Blanchett should have one...she is marvelous as Elizabeth...Glad to meet you all!

message 30: by Sara W (new)

Sara W (sarawesq) | 2153 comments Kim - welcome, welcome, welcome!! You are in the right group! I love talking about this stuff too, and my husband has absolutely no interest in it either. I don't think you'll be able to drive us crazy with this stuff (at least not me) because I could talk about it non-stop.

I want to get to England sometime and do exactly what you did - I want to see all the places where this stuff happened! I think there's a marker somewhere on a floor of a church for Anne - I'm not sure if she's buried beneath it - I have a book at home that shows a picture of it, so I'll have to check.

I'm actually going to be posting the next nominated books sometime today, so you found us at a great time! Ha, ha, I loved the show The OC! I've never been to southern California, so all my knowledge of it is from that show, which I'm sure is totally accurate! :) I'm also a big fan of reality tv - I figure the books I read balance it out.

message 31: by Sera (new)

Sera Welcome, Kim! I think that you will enjoy this group. It's fairly new, but we have been new members, and we are all nutty for this stuff :)


message 32: by Kim (new)

Kim wow ..the group is growing! This is fun. Can't wait to have a new book picked so I can join in on the discussions..

message 33: by Sara W (new)

Sara W (sarawesq) | 2153 comments hee, hee, I know, I can't believe how many people have joined! Everyday I tell my husband the new total (I think he's a little tired of it, because his only response now is to tell me I'm obsessed with goodreads). It is a lot of fun though!

message 34: by Sera (new)

Sera I'm excited about our growing membership as well, and I look forward to many "good reads" over time.

message 35: by Monica (last edited Mar 06, 2008 10:40AM) (new)

Monica | 6 comments Hi all! I just joined the group and am really excited. I love anything on royalty- histories, plays - I'm a major Shakespeare junky and have read all of his histories. I look forward to reading the monthly picks and discussing along with the group. I actually memorized the below rhyming list to keep all the English monarchs straight in my head for a history class I was taking on the U.K.

Willie, Willie, Harry, Steve,
Harry, Dick, John, then Harry Three,
Edward One, Two, Three, Dick Two,
Henry Four, Five, Six, then who?
Edward Four, Five, Dick the Bad,
Harry’s twain and Ned the Lad.
Mary, Lizzie, James the Vain,
Charlie, Charlie, then James again.
William and Mary, Anne o'Gloria,
Four Georges, William and Victoria.
Edward Seven, Georgie Five,
Edward, George and Liz alive.

message 36: by Sara W (new)

Sara W (sarawesq) | 2153 comments OMG Monica, that rhyming list is awesome! I'm absolutely going to try to memorize it. I can list off groupings here and there (the Normans, the Tudors) but there are so many holes where I forget the order of people (or just the people entirely). I don't think I've read any of the Shakespeare histories, but I definitely want to (especially Richard III).

Welcome to the group! I'm glad you'll be reading with us. Discussion on Innocent Traitor will begin on March 15, so I hope you're able to get a copy of the book and join us! This group is pretty new, but it's been a lot of fun so far.

message 37: by Sara W (new)

Sara W (sarawesq) | 2153 comments Welcome to all the new people! I was so excited when we got over 50! I knew I loved reading about European royalty, so it's exciting to see that others do as well. I want to thank everyone who has joined, and I want to thank everyone for all the great comments. My husband probably also thanks you because I don't have to bore him anymore with my love of this subject.

message 38: by Kim (new)

Kim your welcome.....and I too am happy that there are other strangeo's out there that want to talk about this stuff...but my husband is feeling a little left out because I spend so much time on goodreads NOW!!!!! But it is fun, fun, fun!

message 39: by Liz (new)

Liz W (starrsmile) | 1 comments Hi there. My name is Liz... obviously.

I've always been a fan of Elizabeth and all the Tudors (as obvious many of the books I have on my bookshelf), but I've recently been branching out to the French royalty of the 15th, 16th, and 17th century.

message 40: by Sara W (new)

Sara W (sarawesq) | 2153 comments Welcome to the group Liz! I'm a big fan of English royalty, but I really want to start reading some books about the French and Russian royalty. Do you have any books on French royalty that you've enjoyed? I'd love some recommendations (and feel free to add them to the group's bookshelf).

message 41: by Chandel (new)

Chandel | 4 comments Hey Sara, i love the story about England, france and Ireland.

message 42: by Sara W (new)

Sara W (sarawesq) | 2153 comments Welcome to the group Chandel! I know absolutely nothing about Irish royalty and/or nobility and/or leaders (forgive my ignorance, I have no idea if there is an Irish royal family(ies?) or if it's clans or what). Do you have any books you could recommend? And if you (or anyone) could clear up my lack of knowledge about the Irish, please do so! I live in this little English royalty bubble and could certainly do with some enlightenment!

message 43: by Marci (new)

Marci (bookjunkie71) | 17 comments hi josephine , it is a great book u will love it!

message 44: by Sara W (new)

Sara W (sarawesq) | 2153 comments Hi Josephine, welcome to the group! Innocent Traitor was great. Feel free to join the discussion on it once you start reading. We have a lot of Tudor fans here, so you're in the right place!

message 45: by Sara W (last edited Apr 11, 2008 03:51PM) (new)

Sara W (sarawesq) | 2153 comments Hey everyone, I've created more shelves (british royalty, french royalty, etc.) so that it's easier to find books that you're interested in. When you add books, if you could mark one of the specialty shelves while you're at it that would be great! Feel free to mark more than one if you think it covers more (such as putting Catherine deMedici books under both Italian and French). If you're not sure where to put it, just use the "misc." tag.

(Note to myself - I've added books from the French Royalty, Welcome and Favorite Author threads to the bookshelf)

message 46: by Catherine (new)

Catherine Delors (CatherineDelors) | 36 comments Hi Sara and everyone! I just discovered this group - great idea - and will post a comment on French royalty.

message 47: by Sara W (new)

Sara W (sarawesq) | 2153 comments Welcome to the group Catherine! We're glad you found us!

message 48: by Sara W (last edited Apr 25, 2008 02:22PM) (new)

Sara W (sarawesq) | 2153 comments Hurray!!! (is that spelled correctly - it looks weird to me) We have 100 people in the group! That's awesome! Welcome to all the newcomers!!

message 49: by Emily (new)

Emily (ohmagichour) | 181 comments Hi there! I'm new to the group, having quasi-recently become interested in royalty lit after reading The Other Boleyn Girl and now I can't get enough! :) Between that and The Tudors, I'm excited to get involved in conversations with all of you! I'm going to try to get the book for the next month's read, but since I'm a library girl rather than a bookstore girl I'm going to have to see if I can get it on time.

Also, I saw someone's taking the bar this summer? I'm an attorney, and don't worry, it's not as bad as it sounds. Just relax and don't stress out until July, work hard, and you'll be fine!


message 50: by Sara W (new)

Sara W (sarawesq) | 2153 comments Welcome to the group Emily! I hope you're able to get a copy of the book so you can read with us.

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