Top positive review
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If you like the Tudors, you will LOVE this book!
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.