Category Archives: Book Reviews

George Boleyn: Tudor Poet, Courtier & Diplomat by Clare Cherry and Claire Ridgway

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The reader could be forgiven for assuming there is not enough left of George Boleyn to fill a book. After all his sister, the enigmatic Queen Anne Boleyn, has been the subject of centuries of debate, intense scrutiny and research. Even their eldest sister Mary, who left a single letter behind, is the subject of not one, but two biographies. The reader would also be forgiven for wondering what two historical researchers with a passion for Tudor history, one a first-time author, could offer us in regards to a man who lived in the shadow of his sisters for almost five centuries. What George Boleyn: Tudor Poet, Courtier & Diplomat offers us is not only an academic and exhaustive study of the life of George Boleyn, but a fascinating insight into the life of a courtier in the court of the notorious King Henry VIII.

The Third Plantagenet – George Duke of Clarence by John Ashdown-Hill

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Ενα παιδάκι είχε πέσει, λέει [το παραμύθι], σ’ένα πηγάδι κι είχε βρήκε μιάν πεντάμορφη πολιτεία – βαθιά περιβóλια, θυμούμαι, μέλι, ρυζóγαλο, παιχνιδάκια …

[The story] says that a little boy fell into a well, and there he found a wonderland – a city with great surrounding walls and, as I recall, honey, rice pudding, toys …

(N. Kazantzakis, Zorba the Greek (trans. J. Ashdown-Hill) 7th ed. (Athens: 1973, pp.212–13)

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There is something very poignant about the image of a little boy falling into a well and finding his heart’s desires, something that reminded John Ashdown-Hill of a young boy’s ambitions, but also his eventual tragic demise.

The Boleyn Deceit by Laura Andersen

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Note: Will contain spoilers for The Boleyn King.

The regency period is over and William Tudor, now King Henry IX, sits alone on the throne. But England must still contend with those who doubt his legitimacy, both in faraway lands and within his own family. To diffuse tensions and appease the Catholics, William is betrothed to a young princess from France, but still he has eyes for only his childhood friend Minuette, and court tongues are wagging.

Something Blue – Flick Books Come To iBooks

 

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The first in a series of digital ‘Flick Books’, Something Blue by C S Hughes, a Flick The Pages Quick! Book, is now available in the iBooks Store.

Something Blue, features a squishy blue monster that gets bigger and bigger, as you flick rapidly through the iPad pages. The images are accompanied by a rhyme, which, according to the author, is what might have happened if Edgar Allan Poe and Doctor Seuss got together and wrote a rhyme about a horrible blue monster. The book also takes advantage of the iBook’s media rich platform, and features animation, as well as various hidden ‘Easter Egg’ sounds, if pages are pressed in the right place. Although meant for 4 to 8 year olds, several parents have also been observed giggling at Blue’s antics.

Review: Pureheart by Cassandra Golds

9780143204275Gal and Deirdre have forgotten something.  something really, really important.

When her grandmother dies, Deirdre is left alone in a crumbling block of flats. Looking out the window one misty night, she sees a boy who seems familiar.  Together, he and Deirde must discover the secret of the old building, before it collapses and the secret is lost forever . . .

 

Deirdre and Gal have been friends for a lifetime. Brought together when they were five, they instantly developed a bond, a friendship that is tested sorely over the course of their tale, a bond broken and battered and reforged, like a magical sword from a medieval tale. When Gal finds Deirdre in the crumbling ruins of the once-grand Corbenic, he has gone to claim her. But perhaps it is Corbenic that will claim them both.

Review: The White Princess by Philippa Gregory

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The White Princess by Philippa Gregory. Published by Simon & Schuster

Somewhere beyond the shores of England, a Pretender is mustering an army. He claims to be brother to the queen, and the true heir to the throne. But is he the lost boy sent into the unknown by his mother, the White Queen? Or a counterfeit prince – a low-born enemy to Henry Tudor and his York princess wife?
When Henry Tudor picked up the crown of England from the mud of Bosworth Field he knew he would have to marry the princess of the rival house – Elizabeth of York – in an effort to unify a country divided by war for nearly two decades.
But his bride was still in love with his enemy – and her mother and half of England still dreamed of a missing heir and a triumphant return for the House of York.

Stormbringers by Philippa Gregory

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Stormbringers by Philippa Gregory. RRP $16.99. Published by Simon & Schuster

Luca Vero is a member of the secret Order of Darkness, tasked with searching out and reporting signs of the end of the world. Breaking his journey in Piccolo, he finds a place filled with superstitious fears: of the unknown, of the forces of the sea and sky, of strangers. With him are his loyal friend and servant, Frieze, and his clerk, Brother Peter, as well as the Lady Isolde and her mysterious servant-companion Ishraq. The five of them are followed into the town by a huge children’s crusade, led by a self-proclaimed saint. Its young leader promises that the sea will part before them, and allow them to walk dry-shod all the way to Jerusalem. Luca and Lady Isolde are swept up in the growing excitement; but something dangerous is brewing far out to sea…

A Dangerous Inheritance by Alison Weir

England’s Tower of London was the terrifying last stop for generations of English political prisoners. A Dangerous Inheritance weaves together the lives and fates of four of its youngest and most blameless: Lady Katherine Grey, Lady Jane’s younger sister; Kate Plantagenet, an English princess who lived nearly a century before her; and Edward and Richard, the boy princes imprisoned by their ruthless uncle, Richard III, never to be heard from again. Across the years, these four young royals shared the same small rooms in their dark prison, as all four shared the unfortunate role of being perceived as threats to the reigning monarch…

Sister Queens Katherine of Aragon and Juana Queen of Castile by Julia Fox

Katherine of Aragon, Henry VIII’s first bride, has become an icon: the betrayed wife, the revered Queen, the devoted mother, a woman callously cast aside by a selfish husband besotted by his strumpet of a mistress. Her sister, Juana of Castile, wife of Philip of Burgundy and mother of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, the most powerful man in Renaissance Europe, is still more of a legend. She is ‘Juana the Mad’, the wife so passionately in love with her husband that she could not bear to be parted from him even by death, keeping his coffin by her side for year upon year. They were Sister Queens – the accomplished daughters of Ferdinand and Isabella, the founders of a unified Spain.

Bring Up The Bodies by Hilary Mantel

Though he battled for seven years to marry her, Henry is disenchanted with Anne Boleyn. She has failed to give him a son and her sharp intelligence and audacious will alienate his old friends and the noble families of England. When the discarded Katherine dies in exile from the court, Anne stands starkly exposed, the focus of gossip and malice.

At the Mercy of the Queen by Anne Clinard Barnhill

Warning! This review contains spoilers.

At the innocent age of fifteen, Lady Margaret Shelton arrives at the court of Henry VIII and quickly becomes the confidante of her cousin, Queen Anne Boleyn. But she soon finds herself drawn into the perilous web of Anne’s ambition. Desperate to hold onto the king’s waning affection, Anne schemes to have him take her guileless young cousin as mistress, ensuring her husband’s new paramour will owe her loyalty to the queen. But Margaret has fallen deeply in love with a handsome young courtier. She is faced with a terrible dilemma: give herself to the king and betray the love of her life or refuse to become his mistress and jeopardise the life of her cousin, Queen Anne.