Reading the Tudors

Reading the Tudors

I have to admit to having really enjoyed immersing myself in the world of the Tudors in the last year or so. It all started with reading Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel which made me what to know more about the Boleyns. This led me to The Other Boleyn Girl, and on to the rest of Philippa Gregory’s Tudor Court series. From there I moved on to the more dastardly’s dealings of the Tudor court in the Cadfael series, which I’ve mentioned previously in my blog on crime fiction.

Wolf Hall most fascinated me in its depiction of Thomas Cromwell who I knew nothing about (my historical knowledge is patchy at best having given it up at school aged 13 – two languages and Geography meant there was no way to continue with History at my comprehensive). His rise to power from nobody to the power behind the throne is brilliantly told.

I also loved The Other Boleyn Girl. For those who’ve seen the film, the book is much better. The relationship between the two sisters is expertly portrayed, though it’s unimaginable to think of being put in the situation of having to watch your sister marry your lover, revolutionising church and state in the process.

Of the rest of the series, my favourites are The Queen’s Fool and The Other Queen. The Queen’s Fool tells the story of a beguiling girl sent to spy on Princess Mary and caught between loyalty for Elizabeth and Mary and fear for her own safety. The Other Queen is really the story of Bess of Hardwick who I’ve been interested in since visiting Hardwick Hall in Derbyshire. Her husband falls in love with Mary and they risk losing everything housing her.

Immersion in this world made me look at Richmond where I live with new eyes, as it was the site of one of Henry VIII’s major palaces. It also inspired me to spend my birthday at Hever Castle last year and I feel a trip to Hampton Court coming on. Next stop is reading the sequel to Wolf Hall Bringing Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel. Can’t wait.