June 28, 2011

Anne Boleyn: The Young Queen to Be

Author Josephine Wilkinson has recently released a new biography, Anne Boleyn: The Young Queen to Be. According to the publisher:

"The story of Anne Boleyn's early life, told in detail for the first time. Anne Boleyn is perhaps the most engaging of Henry VIII's Queens. For her he would divorce his wife of some twenty years standing, he would take on the might of the Roman Church and the Holy Roman Empire; he would even alienate his own people in order to win her favour and, eventually, her hand.

But before Henry came into her life Anne Boleyn had already wandered down love's winding path. She had learned its twists and turns during her youth spent at the courts of the Low Countries and France, where she had been sent as a result of her scandalous behaviour with her father's butler and chaplain. Here her education had been directed by two of the strongest women of the age - and one of the weakest."

Here's the amazon link!

June 27, 2011

Tudor Book Blog Reviews: Pale Rose of England

Pale Rose of England by Sandra Worth

I. Background

This novel is set during the reign of Henry VII. It follows Catherine and Richard (Perkin Warbeck) as they attempt to seize the English throne. Richard claims to be Richard, Duke of York, the youngest of the Princes in the Tower. Catherine, the daughter of a Scottish noble and cousin to King James, marries Richard and, after his defeat, joins the English court as a lady-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth. The novel follows Catherine through her next three marriages, to her death in 1537.

II. Review

Overall, I really enjoyed this novel. Personally, I am a huge fan of third-person novels. However, a lot of people prefer first-person because you really get inside the main character's head. Though Pale Rose... is in third-person, Worth did a good job of relating the story through Catherine's point of view. For example, Catherine firmly believes, without a shadow of a doubt, that Richard is Richard, Duke of York, thus you believe it too.

I also really liked how one can tell Worth has done her research. The time period comes alive in the smallest details. Worth even provides an author's note at the end of the story to explain the history behind her novel. I feel this is extremely important when writing historical fiction.

Perkin Warbeck
Another highlight of the novel is how Worth shows Perkin Warbeck as, without a doubt, the youngest of the Princes in the Tower. Few historians believe that Perkin Warbeck was Richard, Duke of York. However, Worth offers a few valid arguments to support he was. She goes into detail about his handsome appearance (which greatly resembled the real Richard's father, King Edward IV, including his "Plantagenet eye"), his courtly and royal air (quite unlike the uneducated peasant Henry VII makes him out to be), and the fact that many European monarchs supported him (including James of Scotland, who allowed Warbeck to marry his niece) even after he was captured and was of no political use to them.

Though two bodies were found in the Tower in the 1600's, and thought to be the two Princes, DNA testing has not been performed, and the mystery remains unsolved.

Lastly, I really liked how Worth chose a time period few Tudor authors venture to. Her characters are barely mentioned in other Tudor novels (or even history books), but are well developed in hers. She barely mentions Henry VIII and "The Great Matter," but focuses on Richard and his quest to take the English Throne. Just think, if he had there would have been no "Great Matter!"

Henry VII
One thing I did not like about the story was how the author seemed to skim over Catherine's later life. Each chapter became a whole new chunk of time in her life. I would have rather the author break the novel into two novels, and focus more attention on Catherine's life before and during her marriage to Richard. The novel picks up right before their defeat by Henry VII. I would have rather had a few chapters going into more detail about their meeting, marriage, etc.

Worth also attempts to show that Henry VII was in love with Catherine. Of course, this makes for a great story, but it is not factual. Firstly, most Tudor historians do not think Henry VII had extramarital affairs. Secondly, looking at Henry VII's treatment of Catherine, there isn't much cause to think he thought anything of her. He did give her large gifts of clothing, but this was about the time his daughter married the King of Scotland. Of course he wanted to treat the King of Scotland's niece well...

Worth also shows Catherine and Richard as having a son. There is no historical evidence of this.

Ok, I will admit that these last two can't really be counted as "dislikes." This is a fictional account, and it makes for a good story :)
Overall, I really enjoyed this novel and give it Four Tudor Roses.

Though I am not fully convinced that Perkin Warbeck was Richard, Duke of York, this novel has really gotten me thinking and reading. That, to me, is the sign of good historical fiction.


*Note: A huge thank you to author Sandra Worth for providing me with a copy of her wonderful novel!

June 24, 2011

The Crown

According to author Nancy Bilyeau, her new novel The Crown is set to be released Jan 10, 2012.

According to the synopsis:

Joanna Stafford, "a young nun, learns her cousin is about to be burned at the stake for rebelling against Henry VIII. She makes a decision that will change not only her life, but quite possibly the fate of a nation.  

Joanna breaks the sacred rule of enclosure and runs away from Dartford Priory. But when Joanna and her father are arrested and sent to the Tower of London, she finds herself a pawn in a deadly power struggle. Those closest to the throne are locked in a fierce fight against those desperate to save England's monasteries from destruction.

Charged with a mission to find a hidden relic believed to possess a mystical power that has slain three Englishmen of royal blood in the last 300 years, Joanna and a troubled young friar, Brother Edmund, must seek answers across England. Once she learns the true secret of her quest, Joanna must finally determine who to trust, and how far she’s willing to go to protect her life, her family and everything she holds dear."
I can't wait to get my hands on this one! Read more about the author and the book here!

June 21, 2011

June Giveaway!

I apologize for the lack of giveaways (and activity) on the site. As most of you know, I have been having a lot of behind-the-scenes problems with hosting, etc. and have now moved the Tudor Book Blog to a new domain. To celebrate, I am hosting a new giveaway!

The prizes: A copy of Alison Weir's The Children of Henry VIII AND a $25.00 voucher to the Everything Tudor Store.

Here are the rules:

1) Using random.org, I will choose a name from the comment list on this post. To enter, leave a comment.

2) To increase your chances of winning, share the new domain for The Tudor Book Blog on one of the following:

Blogger (your own blog)

If you share on all three, you will get your name in the virtual "pot" three times.

3) If you become a "Follower" on Blogger, Twitter, or "Like" on Facebook, that will also count towards your entry. If you do any (or all) of these, mention it in the comment.

4) Once you have shared the new address and/or Followed/Liked, leave your comment entering the giveaway with links to where you shared.

You have until midnight on June 30th to enter the giveaway. The winner will be announced on July 1st.

This giveaway is open to EVERYONE!

You have 7 possible ways to get your name into the drawing (simply commenting, sharing, following, and/or liking). Good luck!!!

June 16, 2011

State Papers Online, Henry VIII's Love Letters, and Anne of Cleves

Good news! The State Papers are now fully online! The only problem, you cannot access them unless you are affiliated with an organization that has access to them. I am currently trying to get the library I work for to get a subscription, but we shall see...Eventually you will be able to get individual access, but until then check with you local library (especially if you live in the UK).

Here's the link for more info!

I can't remember if I posted this or not (and would be surprised if I didn't!) but Virginia and I have finished our latest joint episode of Tudor Talk. In this episode, we are reading all the known letters between Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn.

Listen here!

We are going to record our next episode together some time this week. We will be discussing the chapters on Anne of Cleves from Six Wives by David Starkey. I will post when it is up!

I have a lot of backed up mail in my inbox, including a few Q&A's. I apologize for not getting them up/answering them in a timely manner. I am moving into a new apartment this week, so I am super busy! I promise next week, after the move, I will have a lot more free time to get things up and running smoothly again! Thanks for your patience!

June 10, 2011

Book of the Week: The Jewel Book of Anna of Bavaria

I stummbled across this lovely book while I was searching around the web for Sims 2 Tudor and Medieval downloads (yes, my nerdiness continues to grow). This stunning book is titled "The Jewel Book of Anna of Bavaria." Anna (originally from Austria) lived from 1528-1590. She was married to Albrecht V or Bavaria. She had an amazing  collection of jewels. This book "was commissioned in 1552 by Duke Albrecht V of Bavaria...an inventory of the jewelry owned by the duke and his wife, Duchess Anna, a member of the Habsburg dynasty and a daughter of Emperor Ferdinand I. The work contains 110 magnificent drawings by the Munich court painter Hans Mielich."

Here's the link to the main descriptor page. Here's the link to look inside this beautiful manuscript.

The description also points out one of the most intriguing Tudor-era pictures I have seen. It states, "One of the most impressive of these drawings is the front page miniature showing Albrecht and Anna playing chess, with Albrecht portrayed as a Knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece."

How did this book survive to the present day? According to the site, it is "because of its outstanding importance as a work of art, the manuscript was kept in the private ducal and electoral Chamber of Artifacts for almost three centuries—long after the originals of the jewelry depicted had been lost. Only in 1843 was the work presented to the Bavarian State Library by King Ludwig I."

This book is extremely rare and offers a stunning glimpse into the world that few of that time had access to. It is also important because books like this rarely survived to modern times. I be that Henry VIII had a very similar book, as did his wives. Speaking of which, check out page 81. Look familiar?

The Real Ophelia?

ElizabethW102, a follower on Twitter, was kind enough to point out this fascinating article to me!
Recent research into old coroners reports from Tudor England has revealed a possible link between Shakespeare and a girl who could have been his inspiration for the tragic Ophelia. According to the article, "Dr Steven Gunn has found a coroner's report into the drowning of a Jane Shaxspere in 1569. The girl, possibly a young cousin of William Shakespeare, had been picking flowers when she fell into a millpond near Stratford upon Avon..." Gunn concludes that the similarities between Jane and Ophelia are "tantalising."
Here's an excerpt from the coroner's report:
"By reason of collecting and holding out certain flowers called 'yellow boddles' growing on the bank of a certain small channel at Upton aforesaid called Upton millpond - the same Jane Shaxspere the said sixteenth day of June about the eighth hour after noon of the same day suddenly and by misfortune fell into the same small channel and was drowned in the aforesaid small channel; and then and there she instantly died.
And thus the aforesaid flowers were the cause of the death of the aforesaid Jane."
It is certainly a fascinating discovery! The article does point out, however, that other historians do not necessarily agree with Gunn. For example, there are other "theories about the inspiration for Ophelia, including the story of Katharine Hamlet, who drowned in the river Avon, not far from Stratford upon Avon, in 1579 - a decade after Jane Shaxspere."

Like many things with Shakespeare, it is likely it will remain a mystery.

Here's the link to the full article. It is well worth the read! Thanks again ElizabethW102!

June 2, 2011

Several New Q&A's

1) Who did Henry VIII execute, who was considered his good friend previously? Obviously Cromwell, Carew, Neville, Norris and More, but any others?

2) Which Englishwomen became the friends of Anne of Cleves?

3) Who attended the wedding of Henry VIII and Lady Anne of Cleves?

4) Is it true that Henry VIII started Valentine's Day being celebrated?

5)Who were Henry VIII's closest friends at the start of his reign?

6)I am interested in Renaissance poetry, women's in particular, and have just come across Anne Locke. I don't know how well-known she was, but she was a sixteenth-century poet. What I want to known is: what she the first ever to write a sonnet sequence? And was she the first woman to write a sonnet?

7)Does anyone know any historically accurate computer games, ones that teach you about the Tudors as you're playing them?

Thanks for this!