December 9, 2013

Tudor Book Blog Reading Challenge: December

Hello Lovely Readers!

This is the last month for the 2013 Reading Challenge. I cannot believe how fast this year has flown by!

As you may remember, one lucky winner will be drawn randomly from those who complete their "goal." This winner will receive several Tudor-related items. I will be posting a list of these prized soon. A separate prize will be given to the person who reads/reviews the most books.

You have until Dec. 30th to get your reviews in and complete your goal. You may post any remaining reviews on this post. On Dec. 31st I will tally up everyone's entries and post them. You will have a few days to review what I've tallied to make sure it is correct. On Jan. 2nd, I will post the winners.

Now back to the present - November's Reading Challenge Summary:

  • Eliza reviewed Amy Licence's In Bed with the Tudors on TTBB.
  • Esther reviewed Queen Elizabeth in the Garden by Thea Martin and Alison Weir's The Life of Elizabeth I on TTBB.
  • Fencing Mom reviewed Tudor: Passion. Manipulation. Murder. The Story of England's Most Notorious Royal Family by Leanda de Lisle on TTBB.

A HUGE thank you to everyone who has participated this year! There have been some amazing books and reviews to grace this blog this year, thanks to you guys! If you have any questions, let me know! Happy Reading :)


  1. I forgot to link this up last month, but here is a review of The Boleyn Deceit by Laura Andersen

  2. Review of Tudor: the family story by Leanda de Lisle.

    All the Tudor history, all the basic facts of the Tudor era in one book. I found it really interesting, especially the part about Henry VII and later about Elizabeth, because these are the Monarchs I know the least about, compared to Henry VIII. If anybody wants to read about the Tudors and find a lot of information in one book, it's a great choice!

  3. Review of Anne Boleyn-the Queen of controversy by Lacey Baldwin Smith

    Anne Boleyn is my favourite Tudor (and historical) figure and although I had already read two biographies of her, I decided to buy this book and I didn't regret it. This is an account of many scholars' views on Anne Boleyn and her life and the author's writing style was really appealing to me. It kept me interested throughout the book and I liked making comparisons between different theories. I understand that Lacey Baldwin Smith is in this late eighties- his work is remarkable and I would read his other books, too.

  4. Woo! Cutting it close, but sliding into home!

    I thought I posted my review of Innocent Traitor by Alison Weir, but I didn't see it, so here goes.

    This book was marvelously well-written. It details the story of Jane Grey, how she finds inner strength after being used as a puppet in the struggle for the crown, and finds purpose. It is a detailed character study of how women were either master manipulators, or the manipulated at the time, and is narrated through the eyes of several female characters, some cold and calculating, like Jane's mother, others nurturing and stalwart, like Jane's nurse, and Jane herself, a breed apart due to her love of learning. The relationship developed between the protestant Jane and the Catholic confessor Queen Mary sends her at the end of the book had me crying ugly tears in the tire shop. This is an excellent read overall.

    The next book I read was I, Elizabeth by Rosalind Miles. It's a behemouth, so don't undertake it lightly. Of all the Elizabeth books, I read, this was my favorite. It doesn't sugar coat her into "Glorianna" but neither does it make her the simpering pawn some historians find her to be. In it, Elizabeth is strong willed, weak to her desire to be loved first by Dudley, then by Essex. But always, she plays the suitor game, pitting one against another and remaining free to rule. I love this portrayal of Elizabeth because she fights constantly between what she wants and what she wants more (England) and consistently chooses England. A fascinating read, this paints a portrait of a queen who was a product of both her parents, and in a political league all her own.

    Finally, I read the Queen's Rival by Diane Haegar. It's about Bessie Blount, Henry's infamous first Mistress and how she enters court young, and naive, and learns to navigate around court. It focuses on her developing affair with Henry, her friendship with Elizabeth Bryan (another former mistress) and Gil Talbois, Wolsely's footman. While a few parts were a little slow, I found this to be an enjoyable read which humanizes one of the "other women" in Henry's life without villainizing her and managing to keep Katherine sympathetic and determined. A lovely read, if you wish to devle into the lives of Bess and young King Herny, and our favorite corrupt Cardinal before his fall.

    Finally, I read a wonderful book called The Quality of Mercy by Faye Kellerman. I don't know if it counted toward the challenge, as it is set in Elizabeth's England, but focuses on Shakespeare. In it, Shakespeare meets a young converso (a secret Jewess, daughter of the queen's physician) and the two have an exciting affair involving smuggling Jews out of the inquisition, Shakespeare tracking his mentor's murderer, women in disguise as men, and Elizabeth as I have never seen her before. In her brief, but distinctive appearence, Elizabeth is portrayed as a no-nonsens queen who takes what she wants (surprisingly, a night with Rebecca and yes, in the romantic sense), puts Essex to heel in front of the court when he oversteps his bounds, even though she plans on forgiving him when the time is right for her, and sympathetic to the plight of a young woman brave enough to step forward and plead her case. It takes a while to get through, but is overall lovely to read. Shakespeare is well-written, as it is before his prime, and you can see the poetry start to sprout in some fo his dialogue.

    Well, there we are! Seven total if the last one doesn't count, and eight otherwise. That means I have officially met my goal of becoming a noble knight! I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here, and look forward to checking out everyone's reccomendations in 2014. Happy New Year!


  5. The Boleyn Women


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