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4.6 out of 5 stars
Tudor: The Family Story
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 18 January 2015
Over the years I have indulged in numerous books covering Henry VIII, the War of the Roses (Lancasters vs. Yorks), Mary Queen of Scots, and the like. It is a remarkable period in English history that captures my interest and imagination.

Add to that list Tudor: The Family Story. As the cover quote from Julian Fellowes reads, "I couldn't put it down!" Truer words have never been spoken. I was deeply absorbed by it and looked forward to going to bed early so I could immerse myself in the thrilling world of court intrigue.

What I enjoyed best about this meaty tome was the straightforward approach to the writing style. It wasn't fluffed up with fictionalized conversations, or overly dramatic for the sake of being dramatic, but a non-fiction accounting of events as they unfolded. There was a huge amount of territory to cover between Owen Tudor and his descendant Elizabeth I but it moved swiftly without getting bogged down in minutiae. Personally, I find the years Henry VIII tried to annul his marriage to Katherine lengthy and a bit tedious but it didn't drag on here.

I appreciated the bird's eye view of the entire dynastic story and found it more fulfilling than the individual character accounts. Seeing how everything hung together and how events from earlier generations shaped outcomes later helped to clarify this entangled tale. It certainly was confusing at times, with so many individuals of similar names. This was where the family tree at the beginning of the book really paid off. I visited it and studied it carefully more times than I would care to admit. You will find it is worth its weight in gold.

I could go on and on with praise for this book. There simply were no negatives for me other than the fact that it had to end. I do feel a certain sense of sadness for these monarchs and the struggles they endured. A number of them served well, but even more caused strife, died badly or inflicted much pain on the populous. It's all truly amazing when you think about it.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 4 November 2014
Leanda de Lisle's biography of Lady Jane Grey and her sisters Katherine and Mary is one of my favourite historical biographies and I loved this take on the well-trodden story of England's most famous ruling family. De Lisle's writing style is wonderful and her refusal to play favourites guarantees fair treatment for all. I'm sure it would be enjoyed by anyone interested in the Tudors or in those who simply enjoy a very well-written piece of non-fiction.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 16 November 2013
Whilst much of the story of the Tudors was well known to me this book provides some fascinating insight and context to the period. would definitely recommend it to others.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 1 December 2014
Excellent history of the Tudor family. Leanda De Lisle gives a detailed accounting of each of the Tudors making sure to include fascinating details. I had often wondered about the Flodden aftermath, when Catherine was responsible for the death of her brother in law, James V. She includes letters of condolence to James's widow, Margaret, Henry's sister. Her description of Mary and Henry's parting conversation as she left to become queen of France is so vivid, you can picture it in your mind's eye. She has a sharp eye for details and sprinkles tidbits of information making the history become three dimensional and alive. This is entertaining history, a book to take time and savor while you read it.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on 29 September 2013
Brilliant, really brilliant. I've read everything and anything on the Tudors and this is the best this year. Loved it, well written and well researched. A must buy for any Tudor fan.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 25 August 2014
I've read plenty of books on the Tudors but this one still contained plenty of things I didn't know. Me de Lisle comes at the story from a different angle and offers a fresh perspective, debunking myths as she goes. As usual her writing style is clear and entertaining. I couldn't put this book down, highly recommend.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 27 October 2013
Very well written historyof the Tudors....based on evidence, story flows along like a historical drama. Strongly recommended for history lovers.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 3 January 2014
The best of the many books I have read about this period. The author gives a lot of fascinating detail about the political situation and possible motivations of those involved. Written in a very accessible way, but obviously extremely well researched.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on 27 September 2013
5 out of 5 for this reader folks!

WOW .. JUST WOW! I have to admit/proclaim right here and now that am completely fascinated with the Tudor Dynasty. Actually my fascination seems to spreading deeper and deeper into history. When I saw this book available for review I knew I immediately wanted to read it.

Tudor: The Family Story by Leandra de Lisle is a well written history book that spans just before the War of the Roses and ends with the death of the Tudor Dynasty (Elizabeth I to James I). There are complete illustrated charts to follow the family history (let's face it, it can all get very confusing with the repeat of royal names like Henry, Edward, Margaret, Elizabeth, Anne ... etc). Whenever a reference was to be made it was easily outlined with numbers/letters leading the reader to further investigate the source if they choose to.

Leanda de Lise goes about writing this book by approaching it like a huge fairytale (at least this is how I followed it as I do with most of the history I read), but never once leaving me to think it was unbelievable. While she states facts, she provides a vivid picture of dress, deportment, relationships, characters, politics and history that make it easy to follow. Never once was I ever confused reading this book and if you are familiar with medieval history, where the families married cousins and such,and many were addressed by titles that are used over an over again, it can be very confusing indeed.

I am not a historian, but an average woman who loves to read about the past of this world. I am not qualified to dissect this book and express what is right or wrong, pick at the details one by one, scorn, critique and/or debate truth. I am qualified however, to tell you it didn't put me to sleep in the way that many history books do. My attention was captured, I looked forward to my reading time and I felt I walked away once finished, with a little bit more understanding of that era. I am looking forward to reading not just more about this time in history, but to reading another book by this author.

If you are interested in a somewhat lengthy read about The War of the Roses, also known as the cousins war between the Lancaster's and York's, the mystery of the Prince's in the Tower, the fall of Richard III by Henry VII, the reign of Henry VIII and his six wives, England's separation from the church of Rome and the Reign of Edward V, Bloody Mary and the Virgin Queen Elizabeth I, READ THIS BOOK! It covers it all! :)

HAPPY READING! :)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 28 June 2014
This is a fascinating and informative book which is very easy to read.
However, it was impossible to read the family trees which are vital to the understanding of the various relationships, and I resorted to looking on the internet. It is a problem I find with Kindle and I have found problems with other books where there are maps etc.
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