European Royalty discussion

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message 1: by Robin (new)

Robin | 298 comments ..."what if" stories?

For example, if someone wrote a novel about "what if" Catherine of Aragon had given Henry the divorce without a fuss, what would've happened? Something like that. I remember reading one many years ago that dealt with the Civil War I think and I was just wondering how others felt about novels based on a "what if."


message 2: by Barbara (new)

Barbara (sema4dogz) | 143 comments Robin wrote: "..."what if" stories?

What a good idea! What if Mary Queen of Scots had not made her disastrous marriages..or if Elizabeth had married. Or if Eleanore ( of Aquitaine) son Richard Coeur de Lion had brought his wife Berengaria to England and settled down with her and had children...



message 3: by Mandy (new)

Mandy Moody | 544 comments I love to think about the "what if's" - but I don't think I'd like reading it.
Alternate history is so complicated - you have to determine every single event to get an outcome. For example, what if Catherine of Aragon had give Henry his divorce - what if Anne Boleyn had given him a son, what if he hadn't had that accident that hurt his leg and made him so damn cranky and so determined to prove he was still virile and desirable?
If all those things had happened would he ever have split from the church? I think eventually he might have even without all his marriage troubles, because there were so many people that wanted reform - and Henry was very impressionable. Chances are that eventually someone would have talked him into believing it was his idea and he would split no matter what.
Anyway, I love all that conjecture when it's part of a discussion or my own thoughts, but if it were just some author's thoughts I'm willing to bet it would bug me. Doesn't that sound hypocritical! LOL


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 378 comments I have a couple of very interesting books that are short essays by historians on "What If" something had happened a little differently.


message 5: by Cathie (new)

Cathie | 38 comments Robert Harris's Fatherland is a novel that fits this category. It is about Hilter winning World War II and the aftermath of such.


message 6: by Robin (new)

Robin | 298 comments Cathie wrote: "Robert Harris's Fatherland is a novel that fits this category. It is about Hilter winning World War II and the aftermath of such."

That would be an interesting read. I think the one I read was like that except it was what if the South had won the Civil War.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 378 comments I think Harry Turtledove has written a lot of alternate history. Guns of the South comes to mind.

I've read Fatherland, and it's an interesting read. Did they make a movie of it?


message 8: by Tisha (last edited Aug 25, 2009 10:26AM) (new)

Tisha | 72 comments There is a dystopic novel like that about what if Germany had not been defeated in WW2. It's called The Man in the High Castle. I've never read, but sounds intriguing.


message 9: by Emily (new)

Emily | 53 comments All those books about Germany and the World War sound very interesting...adding to the TBR list. I am a huge fan of the "what if" scenerio.

I just read a book that was all about the "what if". The Romanov Prophecy by Steve Berry (not my usual read but I picked it up off a $1 sale). The storyline involves the well discussed topic of what if some of the Romanovs survived the massacre and there are living heirs to the Russian title of Tsar. Berry did a pretty good job with it I think.


message 10: by Robin (new)

Robin | 298 comments Interesting. I have that on my TBR pile as well but other things come before it. Hahahaha.


message 11: by Mandy (new)

Mandy Moody | 544 comments Okay - some of these books may have changed my mind.
I have The Guns of the South on hold at the library now - it sounds like a fun follow up to Gone With the Wind (which I recently re-read and husband is reading now)
I'm excited for it :)


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 378 comments I think technically Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, by Susanna Clarke, would sort-of fall into this category.


message 13: by Frances (new)

Frances | 25 comments I've read a couple of alternate history books about the Tsar escaping the Soviets, being smuggled out or whatever. And as someone said there have been several about Hitler winning WWII. The Tsar escaping wouldn''t really change history, so doesn't bother me so much, but overall I find alternate histories are very unsatisfying, just like wasting time on real-life 'what ifs.' If an author is going to change history, why not just create something new?


message 14: by Sara W (new)

Sara W (sarawesq) | 2153 comments I like the idea of "what if" books, but I've never read one, so I'm not sure how I'd really react to it. I think I would want to have a good solid foundation of what really happened first so I could better understand the consequences of the "what if" scenario. The "what if" Anne Boleyn had given Henry VIII a son has always intrigued me - no beheading? no more wives? no Queen Elizabeth?


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 378 comments Or, for that matter, what if Princess Mary had been a Prince Henry, and survived to adulthood. I doubt in that case that Henry VIII would ever have divorced Katherine of Aragon.


message 16: by Laura (new)

Laura | 99 comments Susanna wrote: "Or, for that matter, what if Princess Mary had been a Prince Henry, and survived to adulthood. I doubt in that case that Henry VIII would ever have divorced Katherine of Aragon."

I think books focused around Henvry VIII would be interesting. The course of British history changed because of his desire to have a legitmate son. As Sara W pointed out, no Queen Elizabeth. Would she have married Dudley then? How would the Reformation have affected England? Would England be a Catholic country today like Spain?


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 378 comments Would she even have been born in the first place, even.


message 18: by Sara W (new)

Sara W (sarawesq) | 2153 comments Susanna wrote: "Or, for that matter, what if Princess Mary had been a Prince Henry, and survived to adulthood. I doubt in that case that Henry VIII would ever have divorced Katherine of Aragon."

Good call! I don't think he would have divorced Katherine either if she had given him a son. He probably would have continued to have the occasional mistress and that would have been it. That leads to Laura's point about a potentially Catholic England - Henry was the Defender of the Faith afterall.

Henry VIII what-ifs are fun! If Katherine gave him a son, would we even be talking about him now or would he just be one of many Henrys to sit on the English throne? He'd be kind of dull with just a wife and a son.


message 19: by Frances (new)

Frances | 25 comments Well, even without the wives, Henry VIII did destroy all the abbeys and steal (oops, confiscate) all their possessions and property--though I guess he wouldn't have had an excuse for all these appropriations if he hadn't broken with Rome.



message 20: by Mandy (new)

Mandy Moody | 544 comments I agree with Frances - Henry was so power hungry - the break with the Catholic church was coming with or without all the wife issues.
Protestant reform came to France, too.

Here's a great what if...
What if Arthur had lived? What if Henry gone into the church, as he was meant to, and Arthur and Katherine had had babies together?
Do we think Henry would have turned on his brother, like so many second sons have done?
Or would he have been content as an Archbishop?


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 378 comments I think he would have been ambitious to be Pope.


message 22: by Lindz (new)

Lindz (miss_bovary00) What is Mary Tudor had, had a son, that had lived? What would have happened to Elizabeth?

What kind of England would it be if it had been catholic again? No Sturats in England no civil war. Would the French Revolution had been so successful if Charles I the first had not been executed?

Or would there still be a civil war, but more a religious one, Elizabeth rising up under Protestant flag. Elizabeth would have done it if she thought she could get away with it.

Hmmmmmmmm


message 23: by Marci (new)

Marci (bookjunkie71) | 17 comments what if Elizabeth said "screw everyone" and married Dudley, and had sons? maybe she wouldn't have had to execute Mary Stuart?


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 378 comments I think Mary Stuart was doomed as soon as she was idiotic enough to flee into English territory. It just took 20 years to play out.


message 25: by Lindz (new)

Lindz (miss_bovary00) Yeah I am just finishing a bio on Mary now. I just don't understand how she made the decision to go to England, when Elizabeth I was still ignoring her as next to the throne. Everything about it screamed GO TO FRANCE, GO TO FRANCE. And that is without hindsight.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 378 comments I call her "The Notorious Bad Picker," because if there was a bad decision to be made, she made it.


message 27: by Lindz (new)

Lindz (miss_bovary00) This is very true. Darnely is hot, and with some Tudor blood lets marry him, but he's a weed, lets go to England and be imprisoned for 20 years. What is Bothwell was able to fight against the parliament and was able to be king, then went on to be king of England? He would have made an excellent Black Adder Character.


message 28: by Danielle (new)

Danielle (danielledore) What if the plot to keep Lady Jane Grey on the throne suceeded?


message 29: by Robin (new)

Robin | 298 comments Danielle wrote: "What if the plot to keep Lady Jane Grey on the throne suceeded?"

Interesting!


message 30: by Aly (new)

Aly (Alygator) Danielle wrote: "What if the plot to keep Lady Jane Grey on the throne suceeded?"

O my gosh!!! that would've been disasterous!! Of course, Lady Jane would have theoretically lived longer. But the Dudleys would have had control of England and John Dudley especially, was drunk with power and was starting to make some very bad decisions!!!

I LOVE WHATIFS!!!!!!!!!!!! :)




message 31: by Lindz (new)

Lindz (miss_bovary00) What is Elizabeth I had married Robert Dudley?

Why am I seeing sudden Darnely parallels? Would Dudley have ended up in the bad end of an explosion?


message 32: by Paula (new)

Paula I used to think I detested what-ifs, but then I read "The Plot Against America," by Philip Roth, and loved it!

I think if they are well-done, and relatively plausible, they can be interesting and engaging. Oh, and as long as they are only ever fiction! I had a student once who submitted a history paper based on what-ifs, and that drove me crazy.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 378 comments Ew, I would imagine so!


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