“I am in fact, a hobbit in all but size” J.R.R Tolkien
I have been enjoying a rather Hobbity holiday. This is usually the time of the year I start reading Lord of the Rings, and watching the movies (my new Blu Ray boxed set this year) but I don’t always read The Hobbit before I start LOTR, in fact I will usually read it later. Having read it directly before I started Fellowship of the Ring I was able to enjoy it more as a prequel, more than usual in any case. I sometimes forget the references to Dale and the Mountain during Bilbo’s birthday party, the last chapter in The Lord of the Rings in which we are still allowed to be children.
The first full biography of Jane Seymour written by Elizabeth Norton comes in at 158 pages. Technically it is the first biography dedicated entirely to Jane Seymour, but the page count will give you an idea of exactly how much we know about Queen Jane, which is of course, very little.
She does make a challenging subject for a biography. While Jane had a place at court with both Katherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn during their reigns, with nothing really recorded about her at the time, she seems to have been quite an unremarkable figure. That is, of course, until she caught the attention of King Henry VIII and was instrumental in one of the most infamous marriage breakdowns in history.
The infamous love of King Henry VIII and the mother of Queen Elizabeth I, Anne Boleyn undertook a rocky journey from innocent courtier to powerful Queen of England. A meticulous researcher, Margaret Campbell Barnes immerses readers in this intrigue and in the lush, glittery world of the Tudor Court. The beauty and charms of Anne Boleyn bewitched the most powerful man in the world, King Henry VIII, but her resourcefulness and cleverness were not enough to stop the malice of her enemies. Her swift rise to power quickly became her own undoing.
I’ve spent the last month reading three major modern books on Henry VIII’s wives. I had initially planned to just read David Starkey and Alison Weir’s books but someone on a Tudor History forum I’m a member of recommended I try Antonia Fraser’s book as well. I did have it, but I might have thought it too “old” to read (although it was actually published a year after Weir’s so I was incorrect there) It might be because I’ve seen so many of Fraser’s books around I assumed they’ve all been in print for more than 20 years. I read some absolutely terrible books on Anne Boleyn last year that were published in the 1970′s and had decided I’d stick to more modern ones at present.
The Norah Lofts Anne Boleyn book was not even of my to-read pile. I found it when I went hunting through some boxes for a small pile of Tudor books I knew I had somewhere. I opened it to show Craig some of the colour plates, of which there are many. That is easily the best feature of the book, it contains several of Holbein’s portraits and a few Tudor artifacts thrown in here and there.
I decided to read the first page and this caught my eye