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4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 10 April 2010
John Guy's account of the relationship between Sir Thomas More and his daughter, Margaret, is utterly absorbing from the first page.

A devoted family man, Thomas More believed that his daughters should receive an education equal to that of his sons. With the greatest of care, he taught his children Greek and Latin, how to reason and how to form arguments. His eldest daughter, Margaret, proved the most apt scholar, such that she was feted by intellectuals throughout Europe. Within More's family, only she had the wit and learning to rival his sharp mind. Over the years, a deep and mutual respect grew between Margaret and her father based upon equality, love, and intellectual and spiritual understanding.

When Henry VIII demanded that all his subjects sign the Act of Supremacy and take an oath declaring Henry to be 'The Supreme Head of the Church in England', Sir Thomas More found that, in conscience, he could not sign since it would be a renunciation of his Christian duty to "first look unto God and after God unto the king". Imprisoned in the Tower by Thomas Cromwell, More's only aid came from his steadfast daughter.

In the wrong hands Guy's narrative could have been long and complex. It is, for example, often difficult to keep track of all the protagonists where such a large family is concerned, especially given the internecine complexities of extended families, marriages and re-marriages. However, Guy succeeds in making his subjects appear as fully rounded characters through his well structured and economic prose. The reader retains a clear idea of all the characters and issues so that there is little need for referring back to previous pages. The narrative is complete, moving, and compelling. The result is a page-turner which vividly brings the 16th Century to life.

Guy's brilliance is in refraining from speculation, allowing documentary evidence to speak for itself. His work is marked by the thoroughness and precision of his scholarly training. Perhaps the highest praise that can be given to 'A Daughter's Love' is that it makes the reader want to go to the original sources and read Thomas More and Margaret Roper in their own words.
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on 2 July 2009
A Daughter's Love: Thomas and Margaret More is an excellent and moving book. It is well written, well researched, interesting, useful (I found things in it that I will be quoting in my next book) and a window into an age that continues to fascinate us today: it was the 16th and 17th centuries that laid the foundations for our modern world. As an man of integrity More shines but the book also allows Margaret, as a brilliant and brave woman, to emerge from the shadows. The role of educated women in these centuries is emerging as researchers rediscover letters and lives: Guy is to be congratulated on this book's contribution to these studies.
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on 1 May 2013
John Guy's account of the lives of Thomas More and his beloved daughter Margaret paints a well-rounded picture of both, as well as his extended family and their shenanigans. The book describes an honest and scrupulous man, his correspondence and friendships with Erasmus and others but doesn't 'airbrush out' the unpleasant details of More's persecution of heretics. He was not the saintly person portrayed in the film, 'A Man for all Seasons,' but a man of his time, sincere in his beliefs.

The book is worth reading for the account of Margaret's life alone. This brilliant and highly intelligent woman has been almost forgotten by history, being 'a mere woman.' Without her efforts to preserve her father's work, we would know a great deal less today about the man behind the myth. More's posterity owes much to his belief in the importance of education for women.
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on 3 January 2016
I enjoyed 'A Daughter's Love'. I found it very interesting and learnt a lot I didn't know, particularly about More's unattractive in-laws. It's quite a short book, however, and a double biography so it left out a lot of the known detail of More's life while there isn't really enough material for a proper biography of Margaret Roper. Definitely worth reading, however.
I also thought that writing a biography as if it were a novel (as Guy explained was his intention) makes it more readable but it has its disadvantages, mainly that, writing in novel form, the biographer can't examine and dismiss accounts of his subject's life that differ from his own. There was, for instance, an incident I've read about in the (now distant) past: a would-be suitor asked More for the hand of one of his daughters. He took the young man up to the girls' bedroom, swept off the covering of the bed in which they were both sleeping naked and invited the young man to take a good look before making his choice. I don't know what the source of this story is, probably Roper's life of More but it seems to me too revealing not to be included in a book focussing on More's relationship with his daughter Margaret. Guy doesn't mention this incident, presumably thinking it apocryphal. This is, it seems to me, something that Guy should have dealt with in his notes but I didn't find it mentioned there though I suppose I may have missed it as I didn't plough through the notes (which are mostly references anyway) with any great care.
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on 9 April 2014
This is a well written, interesting book without being overly 'wordy'. For me it was a real page-turner. I always feel that I've learned more history since leaving school than I ever did while I was there!
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on 26 March 2013
A most readable historically packed book, that gives such insightful descriiption of Thomas and his daughter and the court l;ife that surrouinds the,
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on 21 August 2014
A gem of a book ..the standard I have come to expect from an author wit h an absolute gift for bringing the past to vibrant life.He is a scholar with the ability to weave basic facts...often overlooked or disregarded by other historians..into a human tapestry of breathtakingly reality.Buy it,and let Margaret Roper live again.
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on 22 October 2009
Guy's book does justice to 'Meg's' role in this part of history but overall the book is quite disappointing. Where Guy has little to say of Meg, he speculates on how she may have felt concerning events and upheavals in the family. The book is well researched but tends to rely on digressions for padding, (I'm not sure that the synopsis of More's Utopia was really necessary for example). The real problems that the book faces are not Guy's fault; it is an anomaly that such a character as More and his love for his family is so at odds with his zeal for hunting heretics. Even his Catholic colleagues found this alarming, and it seems that this made the final break with his 'best friend' Erasmus. No matter how beautiful the love story, for me, the burning of 'Lutherans' is a fly in the ointment. More died for the sake of conscience; he seems not to have taken into account the consciences of others.
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on 9 June 2016
A lovely story well written xx
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on 3 May 2015
Well written and researched although the author's veneration of Thomas More skimmed over the darker aspects of his character and added a very light touch to some of less than admirable escapades. Nonetheless the book was well researched enough that it is just possible to catch glimpses of the vainglorious legal thinker and zealot and that More undoubtedly was.
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