September 3, 2013

The Tudor Book Blog Reading Challenge: September

Firstly, I'd like to welcome Erica to the Challenge! She is currently a Lowly Squire, but with ambitions to become Queen.

We had quite a few reviews in August:
  • Eliza N. reviewed The Creation of Anne Boleyn, The Arrow Chest by Robert Parry, The Anne Boleyn Collection by Claire Ridgway and On this day in Tudor History by Claire Ridgway on the Reading Challenge page.
  • Esther Sorkin  reviewed Sarah Gristwood's Elizabeth and Leicester, John Guy's My Heart is My Own, a biography of Mary, Queen of Scots, David Starkey's Elizabeth: Struggle for the Throne, and Garrett Mattingly's Catherine of Aragon on the Reading Challenge page.
  • Jaclyn reviewed My Lady of Cleves by Margaret Campbell Barnes on the Reading Challenge page.
  • evaevaeva923 shared her reviews on Jane Boleyn: The True Story of the Infamous Lady Rochford by Julia Fox and The White Princess by Philippa Gregory, both on Goodreads.
  • Jenn D. reviewed Plain Jane by Laurien Gardner on her blog.
  • Lisa reviewed The Wives of Henry VIII by Antonia Fraser, The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory, and The Life of Elizabeth I by Alison Weir on her blog.

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

You may now start posting your September reviews in the comments section below. 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. I reviewed Roots of Betrayal on Goodreads here: I read this one months ago but am just now posting the review : )!

  2. Happy September everyone. This year is going by fast.

    Rival to the Queen by Carolly Erickson. Review on Goodreads:

  3. 2 Very short light reads. Fifty Shades of Lady Catherine Grey: The Sex Scandals that Shook the Tudor Court and Fifty Shades of Lady Mary Grey: More Sex Scandals That Shook The Tudor Court both by T.S. Wiseman. Reviews on Goodreads:

  4. The Plantagenets: The Warrior Kings and Queens Who Made England by Dan Jones
    Review on Goodreads:

  5. Jenny Wormald's "Mary Queen of Scots: Politics, Passion and a Kingdom Lost" is the counter to John Guy's biography in that she asserts that Mary was an incompetent ruler (and guilty as sin of involvement with Darnley's murder). . Her discussion about the Scottish monarchy in general is a completely different slant ... arguing that the different, less centralized nature of that monarchy did not mean that the nobility was more difficult for a monarch to rule than was the nobility of any other kingdom. Contains good background material on various issues (such as how Mary's childhood in France became a much greater problem than anyone could have anticipated)

    Esther Sorkin.

  6. I read two books by Philippa Jones. I wouldn't really recommend either one. Their titles are: "The Other Tudors: Henry VIII's Mistresses and Bastards" and "Elizabeth: Virgin Queen." Both books rely a lot on maybes and could haves and I was surprised and horrified to discover that one of the sources in the bibliography of "The Other Tudors" was WIKIPEDIA. As a teacher who constantly explains and re-explains why Wikipedia is not a scholarly source I couldn't believe it was listed in a history book. There is so much speculation in both books: when Elizabeth could have had and hidden a child, and a total of five extra illegitimate children for Henry VIII. Even if all that didn't bother me the bizarre lack of chronology wouldn't have made me like the books either. I definitely won't be keeping these two books. (These are my first two reviews on the way to being a Lady in Waiting!)

  7. We are reading this in the Tudor Book Club on Goodreads, but my reviews are short and contain no spoilers.
    Winter King: Henry VII and The Dawn of Tudor England.
    Review on Goodreads:

  8. Garrett Mattingly's book on "The Armada" is a great introduction to Elizabeth's most famous victory, although it paints a one sided picture (correctly giving her credit for keeping the fleet close to home -- important since admirals on both sides vastly underestimated the powder and shot that would be needed, but only one could get more; but he fails to mention that Elizabeth never paid the sailors). It attempts to do justice to all ... especially to the Duke of Medina Sidonia, whose main problem was that he was asked to do the impossible.


  9. I reviewed Royal Inheritance here:

  10. The Queen's Lover by Vanora Bennett. This historical novel is about the original Owen Tudor and Queen Katherine. Interesting read.
    Review on Goodreads

  11. Maria Perry's "Sisters of Henry VIII" is an excellent introduction to two fascinating women.

    Esther Sorkin

  12. All of these books were read in August and September, partially as I was laid up after surgery. I decided to review them all after discovering this challenge. Here are links to my reviews on Goodreads.
    First, the novels I read about Anne Boleyn:

    1. Mademoiselle Boleyn by Robin Maxwell

    2. Brief Gaudy Hour by Margaret Campbell Barnes

    3. The Queen of Subtleties by Suzannah Dunn

    Novels about Elizabeth or featuring E as a secondary character:
    4. The Lady Elizabeth by Alison Weir

    5. The Queen's Command: A Novel of Elizabethan England by Maggie Osborne

    6. The Queen's Handmaiden by Jennifer Ashley

    7. The Tudor Secret by C.W. Gortner

    And a book about Mary I:
    8. Her Mother's Daughter by Julianne Lee

    I also review two books by Philippa Jones above, but haven't done so on Goodreads yet. From here on out I will review as a I finish the books! ---Maria S.

  13. I reviewed:

    1536: The Year That Changed Henry VIII

    Blood Sisters

  14. Hello again!

    I know I've been away for a while, but I finished two more books. I figured I would start with Innocent Traitor: A Novel of Lady Jane Grey by Alison Weir.

    This book was wonderful. It painted a perfect picture of Jane Grey. She was not weak as she if often depicted in the historical accounts, but due to her position as a women at the time, she was still the tool of ambitious men's plots. Weir guides you through Jane's intelligent thoughts and inner life, as well as those of her mother, John Dudley, Mrs. Ellen (Jane's Nurse) and Queen Mary.

    The book is fairly well-paced and emotionally gripping. Each character narrates with a unique voice that rationalizes their actions, thereby making the book fascinating in its character study. By the end of the novel, I wept at the portrayal of Jane's relationship with the confessor Mary sends for her. Despite their disagreement, the respect and admiration between them in Jane's last hours fairly bleeds off the page.

    I would highly recommend this book. Just don't read the end while you're in a public waiting room, or you might scare some unknowing watchers.


  15. Have been missing for a few months but will be back on the challenge in the next few days as have a catch up session to do so will be reviewing 8 books for October. Cheers for now




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