Posts Tagged ‘Tudor

02
Mar
11

Book Review: The Children of Henry VIII

I finished my book about “two princesses, a prince, and their cousin” and well, that is one of the less-accurate titles I’ve seen.  When I bought the book, I hoped it would cover the bastard children of Henry VIII.*  I mean, the guy got around – in a way that would make Hugh Grant and A-Rod blush – and birth control pretty much sucked in the sixteenth century.  Admittedly, H8 only acknowledged one of his illegitimate offspring, Henry FitzRoy.  The probability is high that he had others – some estimates are as high as 20-25. Based on its title, The Children of Henry VIII, I thought that this book was at least going to include FitzRoy.  I’ve read other books by Alison Weir, the author, in which she does not hesitate to look at available information and make an as-educated-as-possible conjecture.  (Princes in the Tower, I’m looking at you.)

Regardless of how many children Henry VIII actually fathered and who they were, this book didn’t even do a good job with the ones who spent at least some portion of their life as his legitimate offspring – and then it threw in a whole deal on Jane Grey.  Jane Grey, his grandniece.  The book did talk about the relationships between the siblings (Edward, Mary, Elizabeth) and the impact the same events had on their very different lives.  The book doesn’t really get going until Edward’s reign begins and it carries on, in a very linear order, until Elizabeth ascends to the throne.  The reigns of Mary and Edward, along with the debacle of Jane, are covered in detail.  Like many other scholars, Alison Weir has a couple of books (um, two that I own) that focus on Elizabeth I, so maybe she thought it would be too much or too redundant to cover it in this book as well.

This isn’t a bad book, it’s more that it’s a badly-named book.  It is only sort of about the children of Henry VIII, in that it is only about some of them and only some aspects of them.  Given the relative reigns, both with regard to time and achievement, of the Tudors, I think that a better name for this book would be “The Reigns of Minor Tudor Monarchs.”  Jane can stay, either as an acknowledged monarch or for the context she lends to both Edward VI and Mary I.  If that’s what you want to read about, this might be a really good book for you.  I generally enjoy Alison Weir’s writing style; it’s crisp and clear, with good flow.

I still want to read about the “other” offspring of Henry VIII.  I think I might try this book .  Admittedly, I am a little skeptical about the author, but perhaps I ought to avoid judging books by their covers and other titles by their authors.

*I’m counting Mary I and Elizabeth I as legitimate.

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17
Feb
11

Currently Reading…

One of the great things about my job is that it allows me a fair amount of “my choice” reading time – on the clock.  Because I’m a huge dork, I’m currently reading (yet another) book about Tudor England: The Children of Henry VIII by Alison Weir.  Yesterday, I got sidetracked and did not put my book away before getting the peanut up from her nap.  (Aside: Really glad I’m a huge dork.)

Ever aware, Peanut spotted it and asked me what was on her coffee table.  I make it a point to be as honest as possible with the kids, but also know my audience, so simplified my answer.  “That is the book I am reading.  It is about those two girls, who are princesses, and their brother, who is a prince.  The other girl is their cousin.”

one prince, two princesses, and their cousin

Peanut nodded and moved on to her own books…which just so happen to also about princes and princesses.   D’oh.  Whatever.  My prince, princesses, and their cousin are cooler.

Aside #2: I am aware that Jane Grey was the grandniece, not child, of Henry VIII and her inclusion on the cover bothers me.




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