Thursday, September 8, 2016

REVIEW: The Other Tudors by Philippa Jones

The Other Tudors
by Philippa Jones

Publisher: Metro Books
Page Count: 327
Release Date: December 31, 2010
Format: Hardcover

How got: personal buy; from B&N

First attention getter: subject matter


From GoodReads:

'If you remember my love in your prayers as strongly as I adore you, I shall hardly be forgotten, for I am yours, Henry R forever.'- Henry VIII writing to Anne Boleyn in 1529

This devotion of the King did not endure, however, and in 1536 the once favoured Anne Boleyn was executed for treason. While Henry VIII has frequently been portrayed as a womaniser, The Other Tudors reveals a new side to his character. Henry spent his life in search of a perfect woman. He was a romantic who loved being in love, but none of his lovers ever fully satisfied him; all were ultimately replaced.

In The Other Tudors, Philippa Jones uncovers the intrigues behind Henry's many love affairs and illuminates the tumultuous lives of his many illegitimate offspring, whose paths often entwined with those of their royal siblings, Edward, Mary and Elizabeth Tudor.

My Thoughts:

Star Rating - 3

Henry VIII is one of those historical figures that most everyone has heard of, even those today not interested in history. He’s usually remembered for being the dude with six wives and being a really nasty tyrant. It’s intriguing to see him in a different light, through the different lenses of his different wives, mistresses, and illegitimate children. He’s still a tyrant but one who’s a bit more understandable and relatable.

It was interesting to examine the personage of Henry from the point of view of someone eternally looking for his definition of love. He sounds like a perfectionist that was always looking for an ideal that didn’t exist, not letting anything or anyone stand in the way of that pursuit. That balanced with the demands of his kingdom and ruling gives us one of the biggest names in history.

I love exploring obscure historical figures, and you can’t get more obscure than a royal mistress with no name (as one example of Henry’s many loves). This book goes into detail the lives of the women who shared his heard and bed, however little a time that may be. The children that resulted from those liaisons round out a picture of a man who felt deep, intensely, but briefly.

Despite the subject matter and the exploration of obscure historical figures, this book had a major flaw. The author tended to wordiness, to the point where I got bored to tears at times. She would spend pages after pages after pages on the minutiae of Henry’s children’s lives, up to old age, that I felt like we lost sight of the book’s intentions or goals.

The introduction led me to believe that we were exploring Henry’s loves and children as a reflection of him as a person and that goal was reached for the most of the book. Yet, at times, way too much information was included in the narrative, and I got lost in the shuffle.

A stimulating subject and the depth of knowledge and research behind this book grab the attention of readers. However, this book suffers by an overly-verbose delivery that drags it down. I got lost in a slew of facts and figures that seemed to deviate and meander away from the central topic. While interesting in their own right, I felt like some of the meanders were out of place and boring in this book. Now a bad work on this subject but not the best either.

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