August 6, 2013

The Tudor Book Blog Reading Challenge: August

Hello Tudor Reading Challenge competitors!

A big welcome to our two new courtiers DeAnna and Anjula! So glad you joined us for this challenge!

Along with our two new entries, July also featured quite a few new reviews - probably all that beach/pool side reading :)

  • evaevaeva923 reviewed Katherine the Queen: The Remarkable Life of Katherine Parr, the Last Wife of Henry VIII by Linda Porter on Goodreads. She also posted The Lady Elizabeth by Alison Weir and The First Marie and the Queen of Scots by Linda Root.
  • Fencing Mom reviewed The Six Wives of Henry VIII by Alison Weir, The Plantagenets: The Warrior Kings and Queens Who Made England by Dan Jones here on The Tudor Book Blog.
  • Esther posted Maria Perry's The Word of a Prince and The Children of Henry VIII by Alison Weir here on The Tudor Book Blog.
  • Sarah reviewed Witchstruck by Victoria Lamb, The Boleyn King by Laura Andersen and Witchfall by Victoria Lamb on her blog.
  • Jenn D posted Death and the Virgin Queen by Chris Skidmore and Queen's Own Fool by Jane Yolen & Robert J. Harrison her blog.
  • Chrissy posted a review of My Lady of Cleves by Margaret Campbell Barnes, At The Mercy of the Queen by Anne Clinard Barnhill, and The Virgin's Lover by Phillipa Gregory here on The Tudor Book Blog.
  • Colleen Turner reviewed The Tudor Secret at Goodreads and The Tudor Conspiracy on her blog.
  • Lisa reviewed The White Queen, The Lady of the Rivers, and The Pirate Queen at her blog.

If I missed anyone or any reviews, please let me know! 

You may now start posting your August reviews here. You guys are amazing, and are really rocking this reading challenge! For those of you who have just stumbled across the challenge or have yet to sign up, you can sign up until mid-December here.


  1. Review for "The Creation of Anne Boleyn"

    I won this book on an Internet competition and I really enjoyed it. It is not a real biography, but it narrated how opinions of Anne Boleyn have changed and have been formed through the aged, from the 1530's since nowadays. I found the idea fresh and original, as I had never read anything like this before. The author makes us see how Anne "lived" a thousand lived, after her death, and was viewed as a saint, whore, mean girl, martyr, feminist etc by different generations.

  2. Review of "The Arrow Chest", by Robert Parry.

    This book is set in the Victorian times, but has many glimpses (ghostly ones!) for the Tudor era. I thoroughly enjoyed the moments when certain spirits (no major spoilers here!) made their appearanced throughout the book and I also enjoyed making the connections between the Victorian storyline and the very well known Tudor one, as well as the connections between the protagonists of the 2 stories. Like in "Virgin and the Crab", Parry manages to create a magical, unique atmoshpere that draws you in his story. Excellent.

  3. Sarah Gristwood's "Elizabeth and Leicester" is an excellent study of the relationship between the Queen and her favorite,and how it changed over time, without getting bogged down in pseudo-psychology and the question of "who killed Amy?"

    Esther Sorkin

  4. Review of "The Anne Boleyn Collection", by Claire Ridgway

    I am a member and visitor of The Anne Boleyn Files since its appearence of the web and I have read all the articles published there. Nevertheless, I enjoyed re-reading them in this book. Claire Ridgway is an expert on all things related to Anne Boleyn, she has made a thorough research into the primary sources and her articles contain everything one needs to know about Anne Boleyn. I enjoyed her debunking some myths that still surround Anne's name. A must-read!

  5. Review of "On this day in Tudor History", by Claire Ridgway

    I really liked this book and all the information I found in it. I learned about interesting people in Tudor times, that I hadn't known before. Every day is the mark of some anniversary- a birth, a death, a wedding, an important battle or event and so on. Although there are no major Tudor events on my birthday (disappointed! ;-)) I love reading what happened on this day, every day. Very informative and readable.

  6. This review is for “My Lady of Cleves” by Margaret Campbell Barnes.

    I love Barnes’ writing, which is so fluid and descriptive, particularly with what her characters are thinking, and the thoughtful dialogue which further develops their personalities.

    You cannot help but adore Anne, who, shocked by the beauty revealed in Holbein’s portrait of her, comes to realize she can be and wants to be loved. A flame begins to burn, but is soon smoldered as Henry makes his selection for wife number five. Her journey to England is unsettling, but exciting. She begins to see herself as a queen, and is honored and touched by her welcome. Too soon, however, Henry lays his eyes upon her and is unable to hide his disappointment. Her confidence is shattered, and she suffers further humiliation as it appears Henry is repulsed by her, takes little interest in her comfort, and seeks to replace her.

    However, the people love her. Henry demotes her to role of ‘sister’, and foolishly pursues Katherine Howard who is loved by his dear gentleman, Thomas Culpepper.

    Henry’s selfishness, his focus only on his owns desires, allows him to almost ‘innocently’ destroy the lives around him. But Anne always makes the most of her situation, and avoids the wrath of Henry. She tries to improve herself at first just to be tolerated by him, but eventually does so to actually make him regret divorcing her. In her effort, she becomes emotionally attached to England and the Tudor children, and even learns to feel sympathy for the man who had referred to her as a “Flemish Mare”.

    Very interesting, wonderful novel.

  7. Happy August Everyone.
    Review #22
    Jane Boleyn: The True Story of the Infamous Lady Rochford by Julia Fox

  8. Took a long trip in July, so got a lot of reading done. First book finished was John Guy's biography of Mary, Queen of Scots, "My Heart is My Own". Excellent -- very detailed, including an analysis of how the Casket Letters came to be forged. However, there are some points that IMO are highly disputable. First, his view of Mary strikes me as inconsistent. He first tries to show that Mary was Elizabeth's equal, but accepts that she was completely ignorant of the plot to kill Darnley. IMO, anyone as politically aware as Elizabeth could not have been ignorant of such a widespread plot (Elizabeth caught on early to a much less dangerous plot to get rid of Cecil). Second, he claims that the Casket Letters are the only evidence implicating Mary ... a strong case can be made out of her motive and that she went to Glasgow, luring Darnley out of safety and bringing him to where he would be killed. Third, in arguing for Cecil's culpability, he seems to minimize the real threat of a religiously grounded civil war over Mary's claim to the throne. However, despite the defects, it is a great biography.

    Esther Sorkin

  9. Next: David Starkey's "Elizabeth: Struggle for the Throne". Covers Elizabeth from birth to accession, especially her life during Mary's reign. Includes a discussion on the reasons for suspecting her, and, how this treatment affected Elizabeth, notably in connection with her treatment of Mary Queen of Scots. Superlative.

    Esther Sorkin

  10. Last one: Garrett Mattingly's "Catherine of Aragon". He's a wonderful writer (his book on the Armada is brilliant), but it is a little on the hagiographic side. A good introduction to Henry's first wife, though.

    Esther Sorkin

  11. Review #23 The White Princess by Philippa Gregory

    Hope everyone is enjoying their summer.

  12. My 6th book review: Plain Jane by Laurien Gardner on my blog:

  13. I reviewed:
    The Wives of Henry VIII by Antonia Fraser

    The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory

    The Life of Elizabeth I by Alison Weir


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