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A little disappointing
on 5 June 2012
I have read four recent books by David Loades and it seems he is turning into the male Elizabeth Norton of Amberley Publishing; releasing three or so, in my opinion, lightweight books a year while the publisher ticks off from their wish list of Tudor personalities they would like written about. This is even more disappointing when you consider someone of Loades' reputation.
On the one hand the book is not badly written but it does not engage you either. Loades just does enough to keep your interest. The main problem is that there is not enough known about Mary Rose to justify a biography solely about her. True, Loades describes her being a pawn played by her elder brother Henry VIII in European politics with her betrothal to Charles of Castile, later Charles V, and marriage to Louis XII of France but after her marriage to Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, she takes a backseat. Charles is now the centre of the book, albeit influenced by Mary Rose in his pro-French policy. You are treated to brief family histories and Mary Rose's view on her brother's divorce from Catherine of Aragon and marriage to Anne Boleyn. Again, he just writes enough.
The last book written on Mary Rose was Maria Perry's 'Sisters to the King' which Loades dismisses as 'popular'. You would expect then that Loades would write a more scholarly effort. He hasn't really.