May 6, 2013

The Tudor Book Blog Reading Challenge: May

We have had a few new people join the reading challenge this month:

Diane Haeger

Felipe Prospero de Asturias

Welcome to all of you! :)

April saw quite a few new reviews:

  • Shannon Pembroke reviewed Mademoiselle Boleyn by Robin MaxwellThe Lady of the Rivers, by Philippa Gregory, Secrets of the Tudor Court by D.L. Bogdan, The Sixth Wife by Suzannah Dunn, and The Queen's Sorrow by Suzannah Dunn on her blog The Most Happy Reader. 
  • Eva shared her reviews for The White Queen (The Cousin's War #1) by Philippa Gregory, The Red Queen (The Cousin's War #2) by Philippa Gregory 2010, The Lady of the Rivers by author Philippa Gregory, The Kingmaker's Daughter (The Cousins' War #4) by Philippa Gregory, The Other Queen (The Tudor Court #6) by Philippa Gregory, Katharine the Virgin Widow (Tudor Saga #2) by Jean Plaidy, The Constant Princess (The Tudor Court #1) by Philippa Gregory, The Other Boleyn Girl (Tudor Series,#2) by Philippa Gregory, The Boleyn Inheritance (Tudor Series #3)by Philippa Gregory (on GoodReads), The Queen's Fool (Tudor Court Series #4) by Philippa Gregory (on GoodReads), The Virgin's Lover (Tudor Court Series #5) by Philippa Gregory (on GoodReads), The Agincourt Bride (Catherine De Vois #1) by Joanna Hickson (on GoodReads), and The Rose Without a Thorn by Jean Plaidy (on GoodReads).
  • BanditQueen reviewed Mary, Bloody Mary: A Novel by Carol Anne Meyer. 
  • Esther shared her reviews for Jane Dunn's Elizabeth & Mary: Cousins, Rivals, QueensDerek Wilson's The Uncrowned Kings of EnglandEric Ive's Lady Jane Grey: A Tudor Mystery, and Diarmaid MacCulloch's The Boy King ... Edward VI and the Protestant Reformation.
  • Jaclyn reviewed both The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn and Mademoiselle Boleyn by Robin Maxwell, as well as The King's Pleasure by Norah Lofts. 
  • Jenn Deguzman shared her review for The Irish Princess by Karen Harper on her blog Book Worm's Love of Books.
  • Mer shared her review of Allison Weir's Mary Boleyn: The Mistress of Kings on GoodReads.
  • Colleen Turner reviewed Blood Between Queens by Barbara Kyle on her blog Luxury Reading.
  • Lisa reviewed Roanoke: Solving the Mystery of the Lost Colony by Lee Miller on her blog Sorority Life Army Wife.
I believe that is all of the reviews for April! Wow! You guys are really getting a lot of reading done :) 

Now that we are moving into May, please post your reviews (or a link to your reviews) here. If you wish to sign up for the Reading Challenge, go here

For those of you who have already left your May reviews on the April page, don't worry about moving them. Just post any future reviews here! 

Happy reading :)


  1. Review of The Concubine by Norah Lofts is available on my blog

  2. Just finished Julia Fox's biography "Jane Boleyn", wherein she exculpates "the infamous Lady Rochford" from charges of perjuring both her husband and sister-in-law to death. Very interesting ... but Fox's attempts at explaining Rochford's part in Catherine Howard's fall is comparatively weak (IMO), as it doesn't fit anyone else's view of Catherine.

    Esther Sorkin

  3. Review #17
    Queen of This Realm: The Tudor Queens (Queens of England #2) by Jean Plaidy
    Review at:

    Just a note: Several of the books listed on the April page were read during the months on January, February and March, but as I joined the club late, I listed them all in April. Dates read can be found on goodreads. Thanks!

    1. Thanks for letting me know! As long as they are read in 2013 you can post them on whichever page, especially if you joined the competition later. :)

  4. I finished reading Margaret Campbell Barnes' The Tudor Rose last week. I figured I'd start out my reading with the begining of the Tudor dynasty. I thought it was a nice portrait of Elizabeth of York, it dragged a bit at times, the begining and end of the book were more eventful than the middle section. However, I thought Barnes did a wonderful job of supposing what Elizabeth must have felt like, having agreed to marry Henry Tudor for the good of England. Unlike many "arranged" marriages portrayed in historical fiction, she allowed Elizabeth to admire Henry's skills as a statesmen and as a thrifty and profitable economist, but still find fault with him as a husband and lover. Overall, a very good read!


  5. Review #18
    Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
    Review on Goodreads

  6. Review #19
    Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel
    Review on Goodreads

  7. I really wanted to love Jean Plaidy’s “Murder Most Royal” (originally published in 1949), but was disappointed as her characters just seemed to lack depth - I felt I was only seeing one side of their personalities, which did not seem to change or grow, so they became a bit boring.

    Though portrayed as innocent, Anne’s colorful character fades as she discovers she no longer has a hold on the king; she blames herself for her downfall, siting her own ambition and excessive enjoyment of the attention of men. However, it is interesting to see how she is treated differently as a wife versus a mistress, and how she comes to realize just how dangerous and wicked her husband is. It is also interesting to get a glimpse of Henry’s mind, though he comes off as shallow - lusty, threatening, easy to anger, easy to offend, a man who blames everyone else for his evil deeds in order to clear his good conscience.

    I did like that Plaidy, in Henry’s self-reflections of how he was never to blame, essentially points the finger right back at him -- he ruined the lives of these women through his own lust, selfishness and envy, he caused the torture and death of many because he feared them or what they represented. Henry comes across spectacularly as a cruel, evil, selfish ruler - but again, seems just a bit flat. And while I liked Catherine Howard’s character - presented as the result of being stuck in a child-like state where she had no real parental figure to give her love and attention nor any real structure to her life - nothing to work for and no real education, though she has her looks and her charm; it is no wonder that she maintains an innocence as she seems to cling to anyone who gives her attention. Though her rather small role in the book is a bit mundane, it is easy to sympathize for her -- a scared child who has no idea what she is getting in to with no one who can really protect her.

    Plaidy does not glamorize the life under Henry’s rule - the descriptions of torture and execution are a bit repetitive, but overall important in understanding just how cruel and demented those in power were. An interesting read for sure, as it seems historically believable, but left me longing for more.

  8. Lisa Misak - I finished the book The Kingmakers Daughter by Phillippa Gregory. It was about Neville's two daughters Isabelle and Anne; Anne went on to be the wife of Richard III. In the book Elizabeth Woodville and her mother are seen as witches and Richard III is seen as benevolent and someone who would never have killed the two princes in the tower. This is the first book I have read where Richard III was portrayed as loving, kind, loyal to his brother the king. It was an interesting read and actually whetted my apetite for more reading about Anne Neville.

  9. Lisa Misak ... another good book that has an interesting light on both Richard III and Anne Neville is Sharon Kay Penman's "the Sunne in Splendor."

    This is my review of a non-fiction book, "The Wives of Henry VIII" by Antonia Fraser. A great introduction, directed more toward attacking the stereotypes about the six. Well worth reading.

    Esther Sorkin

  10. #3 book review - Mistress of Mourning by Karen Harper on my blog



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