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'New' books I have read during 2012

Sarah
 
Lionheart
Lionheart
"Sharon Penman's books are magnificently researched. Not on the same level as earlier books with regard characterisation, but an enjoyable account of Richard I's early years as King, and the failure of the Third Crusade"
Matilda: Wife of the Conqueror, First Queen of England
Matilda: Wife of the Conqueror, First Queen of England
"This is a very easy to read and engaging history - the author did seem to have unearthed an extraordinary amount of information about a woman who lived one thousand years ago, making me wonder how much was speculative"
Mary Boleyn: 'The Great and Infamous Whore'
Mary Boleyn: 'The Great and Infamous Whore'
"I approached this book with some trepidation - so little is known about Mary Boleyn, I wondered how a whole biography could be written. I expected it to be a thinly-veilled history of Anne Boleyn and the Tudor court, which was pretty accurate. Mary stays in the shadows."
The Tea Rose
The Tea Rose
"I bought this book because of positive reviews. I did enjoy the early parts set in Victorian London, but to my mind the storyline is hugely flawed by a mass of incredible coincidences that really stretch the credibility too far - I struggled to make it through to the end! The "Cockney" accents did grate after a while, too."
Cavalier Queen
Cavalier Queen
"Interesting read with regard to Henrietta-Maria's life and times. It did descend into Mills and Boon/soft porn from time to time, and I found the secret relationship between Henrietta-Maria and Henry Jermyn rather unbelievable given the queen's strong religious beliefs (and the fact that royal persons were accompanied by a considerable entourage at all times!)"
The Boleyns: The Rise & Fall of a Tudor Family
The Boleyns: The Rise & Fall of a Tudor Family
"Strictly routine account of the Boleyn families lives"
A Dangerous Inheritance
A Dangerous Inheritance
"Alison Weir is a biographer, not a novelist, and this is reflected in a rather laboured style of writing and two-dimensional characters - she's never going to win a Booker Prize! On the positive side, she adheres closely to the historical facts, and her novels are packed with authentic detail."
Graven With Diamonds
Graven With Diamonds
"As one of the reviewers on Amazon has commented, this is a mix of a biography, Tudor history, and a critical analysis of Wyatt's poetry. The author has an engaging style, and spends a lot of time "rehabilitating" her subject's literary reputation (not that I realised he needed it), however I did find the book hard going in places, I have to admit to struggling with court politics!"
My Last Duchess
My Last Duchess
"A light, but enjoyable story set in 19th century England. It tells the story of a brash young American heiress and her ambitious mother's attempts to find her a titled English husband. Not great literature, but better than some one-star reviews suggest!"
The Secret Life of William Shakespeare
The Secret Life of William Shakespeare
"I love Jude Morgan's historical novels, and was really looking forward to his "take" on Shakespeare. I actually found the novel a little disappointing - although the language is beautiful, some of the book was a little obscure, and I wonder if Morgan was a little intimidated by his subject matter - the main character was very shadowy, and difficult to relate to"
River of Destiny
River of Destiny
"Barbara Erskine writes time-slip/ghost novels so for fans of historical fiction and the supernatural. An enjoyable novel."
Rebels and Traitors
Rebels and Traitors
"This is an epic novel of the English Civil War - well written in a slightly tongue-in-cheek style. It provides a very good "history of the times" for those who are interested along with some engaging characters who keep the reader's interest - it has a very unusual ending, though, with more than a few loose ends!!"