Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More

Mary Tudor had a very hard life as a child.  First she was the object of her father’s, King Henry VIII affection.  Then cast out as a illegitimate child with her mother Catherine of Aragon.  She went from Princess to Lady and was to be re-trained to accept her new rank and the new religion. 
When Henry married Jane, Mary was finally returned to the Castle and reunited with her father but still as a Lady not a princess.  Before his death, Henry VIII reinstated Mary as princess and was to be queen in the event that her half brother Edward VI died.  Edward carried forth the new religion at the bidding of his counsel and the practice of Catholicism was outlawed, even for Mary.
Mary defied this order however and was threatened by Edwards council.  The threats turned out empty and eventually, when the ailing Edward died, she became Queen Mary.  She vowed to return England to the old faith. 
Today, Queen Mary is often referred to as Bloody Mary because of all the burnings of so called heretics in her land.  Julianne Lee wrote this book in an attempt to humanize Mary and show her point of view.  She succeeded in this.  She brought Mary to life.  We got to see how hard her up bring was and her continued devotion to her faith even when her life was threatened for it. 
The opening of the story was some modern day children at a slumber party.  One of the kids is dared to stare into a mirror and repeat the words “bloody Mary”.  This summons Mary and she recalls her life in flashback fashion.  Each chapter begins with her narration and the falls into third person narration.  This technique worked for me but I didn’t care for the modern day slumber party scene.  It made me think of a “B” movie from the 10970’s.  LOL!
Julianne Lee also focuses on Mary’s devote religious beliefs which was important to the story but seemed to drag on a bit for me.  I got the point, now let’s move on a bit.  That said, most of the parts of this novel were first rate.  Lee succeeds in bring Queen Mary Tudor to life and gains some of the reader’s sympathy for her.
This is the first book by Julianne Lee that I have read but I am interested in reading more by her.
Thanks to Kaitlyn Kennedy of Penguin Books, USA for a copy of this book.
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Copyright 2007-2010: All the posts within this blog were originally posted by Teddy Rose and should not be reproduced without express written permission.
Elizabeth is daughter of Edward IV and niece to Richard III. When her father dies, it is her brother who is to take the crown. However, Richard III decides that the only one suitable to be King is himself. He sends both of Elizabeth’s brothers to the tower to be held. Richard has his coronation and all of a sudden Elizabeth’s brothers go missing and are presumed dead.
Many think that Richard III ordered their disposal . Now Elisabeth is the only living descendent to Edward IV and should be the rightful Queen. Elizabeth is horrified when Richard III proposes marriage to her. Not only is she convinced that he murdered her brothers but he is her uncle, after all!
There is much plotting and it is decided that she must marry Henry Tudor and that he must fight Richard III for the crown. The first attempt fails but eventually Richard III is killed and Henry Tudor becomes Henry VII. However, he doesn’t hold up his end of the bargain to marry Elizabeth and give her a coronation to become queen of England. Eventually, due to public and private pressure he makes good and marries Elisabeth. However, he does not make her queen until after she has their first son.
The marriage itself, is loveless. Elizabeth has romantic notions that they would grow to love each other and have a passionate one. Henry doesn’t seem to know what romance is and seems incapable of love. He couples with her only to produce heirs. Poor Elizabeth longs for more out of life.
This book was first published in 1953. Sourcebooks has re-published it and it is due out in the United States on October 1, 2009. I’m glad they did. Barnes has a way with words and I love some of her descriptions of the time and place. I must admit, that there are a few places that I would nod off to sleep while reading it. Some of the time that Elizabeth interacted with her mother seemed boring to me. It took me a good 50 pages to finally get drawn into the story.
That said, I am glad I stuck with it. I learned more about the period and really enjoyed it, once it got going. If you like historical fiction and are interested in this important period in English history, you will enjoy this book.
Copyright 2007-2010: All the posts within this blog were originally posted by Teddy Rose and should not be reproduced without express written permission.

He’s No Fool

Will Somers starts out with a dull life in the country on the family farm. Even his family admits that he doesn’t make a good farmer. That doesn’t leave him with any real options, until an option lands in his lap.

Will is one of the few lucky country children that had an education. He is given to a merchant, Richard Fermer , to work for. He has a good head for numbers and he must do the books and take inventory. He is good at what he does, but it bores him. The one shining light in his new life is Joanna, Master Fermer’s daughter. He knows that it would not be possible to marry her, yet he dreams of a life with her.

One day Master Fermer told Will that he would be going to Court with him to conduct business. He meets King Henry and while the king and other royalty bowl, Will cracks a joke. With that, Henry scoops up Will to be his royal fool.

Will witnesses everything at court. The six wives, Henry’s mood swings, everything. He become King Henry’s companion and confidante and stand by him through it all. However, he still pines for Joanna through the years.

I could go on and on about this wonderful book but I wouldn’t want to give you any spoilers. This book was first published in 1959. It is now being re-published by Source Books and is coming out this month. Though it was out in 1959, I didn’t find it dated by today’s standards.

My only small complaint is that I would have liked it a bit longer. Some of King Henry’s six wives are barely touched upon.

Margaret Campbell Barnes envelopes the reader into the pages of her book. It is a compelling read and captures the period and Will Somers well. This book is hard to put down! Highly recommended!


Thanks to Danielle L. Jackson for a ARC of this wonderful book.

Also reviewed by:

Passages to the Past
The Tome Traveller’s Weblog
Devourer of Books
A Hoyden’s Look at Literature

Copyright 2007-2010: All the posts within this blog were originally posted by Teddy Rose and should not be reproduced without express written permission.