Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Troubled Queen (The Marwood Family Tudor Saga) by Amy Licence

Available as: Kindle, Paperback

Amazon Blurb: Two powerful women are vying for the king’s attention…


Escaping from her family’s scandalous involvement with Anne Boleyn’s circle, Thomasin Marwood is beginning a new life in the service of Queen Catherine of Aragon.

Thomasin is trying to forget Rafe Danvers, the man who stole her heart and then betrayed her, and when a group of Venetians arrive at court, she is drawn to the sophisticated Nico.

But a great danger is lurking. The dreaded sweating sickness has returned, which claimed the life of Catherine’s first husband, Prince Arthur, many years ago.

Catherine and her ladies are forced to flee, and their shared isolation with King Henry brings the couple closer again.

But Anne Boleyn will not let herself be forgotten.

Thomasin finds herself torn between new friends and old loyalties as Rafe comes back into her life.

Who will win Thomasin’s heart? Will she survive the dreaded sickness?

And will Anne Boleyn become victorious in her quest for the throne?

TROUBLED QUEEN is a page-turning historical drama set at the court of King Henry VIII and featuring Anne Boleyn. It is the second book in the Marwood Family Tudor Saga Series.

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Urban Society and Monastic Lordship in Reading 1350-1600 by Joe Chick

Available as: Kindle, Hardcover

Amazon Blurb: Interrogates the standard view of turbulent and violent town-abbey relations through a combination of traditional and new research techniques.

The power of the medieval Church stretched far beyond the religious sphere. Bishops and monasteries held lordship over vast areas of the realm, often wielding political and judicial powers beyond those of secular lords. Early twentieth-century scholarship tended to view towns with monastic lords as highly distinctive, characterised by robust lordship and violent town-abbey relations, and though subsequent studies have done much to modify this view of relationships between towns and their monastic lords, the shadow of this dramatic interpretation still colours our understanding of these situations.

Conversely, through a detailed examination of the governmental, guild, parish, and testamentary records of Reading, one of the more populous monastic towns of the period, this book presents a view of town-abbey relations as largely non-violent, thus problematising the more traditional characterisation and interrogating its universality. Uncovering a remarkably swift transition from monastic lordship to self-government, it illuminates how urban society functioned under two very different regimes, both before and after the dissolution of the monasteries. By combining traditional research methods with Social Network Analysis, the author moves beyond a focus on the political elites and institutionalised bodies, such as the corporation, to look at lower-status members of society and how they interacted with the successive governing authorities. In particular, it investigates what continuities and changes to local governance they experienced during this turbulent period.

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Armada: The Spanish Enterprise and England’s Deliverance in 1588 by Colin Martin and Geoffrey Parker

Available as: Hardcover

Amazon Blurb: In July 1588 the Spanish Armada sailed from Corunna to conquer England. Three weeks later an English fireship attack in the Channel―and then a fierce naval battle―foiled the planned invasion. Many myths still surround these events. The genius of Sir Francis Drake is exalted, while Spain’s efforts are belittled. But what really happened during that fateful encounter?

Drawing on archives from around the world, Colin Martin and Geoffrey Parker also deploy vital new evidence from Armada shipwrecks off the coasts of Ireland and Scotland. Their gripping, beautifully illustrated account provides a fresh understanding of how the rival fleets came into being; how they looked, sounded, and smelled; and what happened when they finally clashed.

Looking beyond the events of 1588 to the complex politics which made war between England and Spain inevitable, and at the political and dynastic aftermath, Armada deconstructs the many legends to reveal why, ultimately, the bold Spanish mission failed.

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Friday, December 9, 2022

The Woodville Women: 100 Years of Plantagenet and Tudor History by Sarah J Hodder

Available as: Hardcover

Amazon Blurb: Elizabeth Woodville, queen to Edward IV and mother of the Princes in the Tower. Elizabeth of York, daughter of Elizabeth Woodville and the first Tudor queen of England. Elizabeth Grey, granddaughter of Elizabeth Woodville and Countess of Kildare, whose life both in England and across the Irish sea was closely entwined with the Tudor Court. This is the tale of three generations of women, linked by their name, Elizabeth, and by their family relationship. The story begins in the reign of the great Plantagenet Kings with the life of Elizabeth Woodville and ends in the reign of perhaps England’s most famous dynasty, that of the Tudor kings and queens. Through the life of Elizabeth of York, the first Tudor queen and Elizabeth Grey, cousin to Henry VIII and Mary Tudor, we explore the Tudor court and its dealings with the Earls of Kildare. From the birth of our first Elizabeth to the death of our last, these three women lived through wars and coronations, births and deaths, celebration and tragedy and between them they experienced some of the most exciting and troubled times in English history. Mother, daughter and granddaughter: individually they each have their own fascinating story to tell; together their combined stories take us on a journey through a century of English life.

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Thursday, December 1, 2022

The Final Year of Anne Boleyn by Natalie Grueninger

Available as: Kindle and Hardcover

Amazon Blurb: There are few women in English history more famous or controversial than Queen Anne Boleyn. She was the second wife of Henry VIII, mother of Elizabeth I and the first English queen to be publicly executed. Much of what we think we know about her is coloured by myth and legend, and does not stand up to close scrutiny. Reinvented by each new generation, Anne is buried beneath centuries of labels: homewrecker, seductress, opportunist, witch, romantic victim, Protestant martyr, feminist. In this vivid and engaging account of the triumphant and harrowing final year of Queen Anne Boleyn’s life, the author reveals a very human portrait of a brilliant, passionate and complex woman.

The last twelve months of Anne’s life contained both joy and heartbreak. This telling period bore witness to one of the longest and most politically significant progresses of Henry VIII’s reign, improved relations between the royal couple, and Anne’s longed-for pregnancy. With the dawning of the new year, the pendulum swung. In late January 1536, Anne received news that her husband had been thrown from his horse in his tiltyard at Greenwich. Just days later, tragedy struck. As the body of Anne’s predecessor, Katherine of Aragon, was being prepared for burial, Anne miscarried her son. The promise of a new beginning dashed, the months that followed were a rollercoaster of anguish and hope, marked by betrayal, brutality and rumour. What began with so much promise, ended in silent dignity, amid a whirlwind of scandal, on a scaffold at the Tower of London.

Through close examination of these intriguing events considered in their social and historical context, readers will gain a fresh perspective into the life and death of the woman behind the tantalising tale.

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Botany and Gardens in Early Modern Ireland by Charles Nelson et al

Available as: Hardcover

Amazon Blurb: This beautifully illustrated book explores sources for botany and gardening in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Ireland. It investigates the contributions of individuals such as Philip O’Sullivan Beare and Thomas Molyneux in the seventeenth century, and, for the eighteenth century, focuses on the Revd Caleb Threlkeld, whose Synopsis stirpium Hibernicarum (Dublin, 1726) was the first botanical book published in Ireland. Chapters shed light on the books in early eighteenth-century libraries, such as that of Dr. Edward Worth and of Marsh’s Library in Dublin, and demonstrate the impact of the explorations of the Dutch East India Company on knowledge of the flora of distant lands. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the glorious botanical works in the Fagel Collection, bought by Trinity College Dublin in 1802. The changing nature of eighteenth-century gardens and landscapes and the factors affecting their growth and renown bring the book to a close.

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Sea Dogs: Life Aboard an English Galleon by James Seay Dean

Available as: Kindle and Paperback

Amazon Blurb: From jacktar to captain, what was life like aboard an Elizabethan ship? How did the men survive tropical heat, storms, bad water, rotten food, disease, poor navigation, shifting cargoes and enemy fire? Would a sailor return alive?
Sea Dogs follows in the footsteps of the average sailor, drawing from the accounts of sixteenth-century and early seventeenth-century ocean voyages to convey the realities of everyday life aboard the galleons sailing between England and the West Indies and beyond. Celebrating the extraordinary drive and courage of those early sailors who left the familiarity of their English estuaries for the dangers of the Cabo Verde and the Caribbean, the Rivers Amazonas and Orinoco, and the Strait of Magellan, and their remarkable achievements, Sea Dogs is essential reading for anyone with an interest in English maritime heritage.

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All the Queen’s Jewels, 1445–1548: Power, Majesty and Display by Nicola Tallis

Available as: Kindle, Paperback and Hardcover

Amazon Blurb: From Margaret of Anjou to Katherine Parr, All the Queen’s Jewels examines the jewellery collections of the ten queen consorts of England between 1445–1548 and investigates the collections of jewels a queen had access to, as well as the varying contexts in which queens used and wore jewels.

The jewellery worn by queens reflected both their gender and their status as the first lady of the realm. Jewels were more than decorative adornments; they were an explicit display of wealth, majesty and authority. They were often given to queens by those who wished to seek her favour or influence and were also associated with key moments in their lifecycle. These included courtship and marriage, successfully negotiating childbirth (and thus providing dynastic continuity), and their elevation to queenly status or coronation. This book explores the way that queens acquired jewels, whether via their predecessor, their own commission or through gift giving. It underscores that jewels were a vital tool that enabled queens to shape their identities as consort, and to fashion images of power that could be seen by their households, court and contemporaries.

This book is perfect for anyone interested in medieval and Tudor history, queenship, jewellery and the history of material culture.

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