Book Reviews/Sources List

Here is a list of Tudor books that I (and maybe you too) have read. In case you were wondering where the heck I get all my information, well, now you'll know. Think of it also as a bibliography. My thoughts and overall score are included along with the title and author. This page will be updated frequently so keep checking back!
  • The Lady in the Tower: the Fall of Anne Boleyn by: Alison Weir    I personally am a fan of Weir and this book is probably why. When i first started learning Tudor History Anne Boleyn was my favourite subject. I believe Weir has done Anne justice in this book and it is my go-to guide for the fall of Anne Boleyn overall score: 9.5/10
  • Anne of Cleves: Henry VIII's discarded bride by: Elizabeth Norton I believe this is the ONLY book that is dedicated entirely to Anne of Cleves and I recommend it highly. It will give you a solid picture on who Anne of Cleves was and her background. overall score: 9/10
  • Mary Queen of Scots by: Antonia Fraiser    I am not in any way an Antonia Fraiser fan. I found her book after i had been reading in the MQoS world for awhile and i was not impressed. If anything i thought the book was just restating the obvious with a bunch of useless adjectives! overall score: 5.9/10
  • Royal Blood: Richard III and the murder of the Princes by: Bertram Fields    I found this book at a used book store one day and I'm very glad it didn't let it sit on the shelf. When reading this, my hypothesis on the Princes in the Tower was entirely revised! I enjoyed how the author made it feel as though Richard III had been brought to a modern court, jury and all! I highly recommend it! Even though I'm not a Ricardian, There's still some great evidence discussed. overall score: 10/10
  • Queen of Scots: the True life of Mary Stuart by: John Guy    This one is my go-to guide for all things Mary Stewart! I enjoyed the writing style and how the author adressed both sides of each issue. I highly recomend the chapters about the Casket Letters! overall score: 9.9/10
  • The Princes in the Tower by: Elizabeth Jenkins      When reading this book i felt as if i was just being told everything i already knew. I found it quite boring and hard to believe. i recomend it IF you're just starting on the Princes as a subject, to get a general idea. Otherwise, you can forget about this one! overall score: 3.9/10
  • The First Queen of England: the Myth of Bloody Mary by: Linda Porter    I throughly enjoyed this book and found the author very believable! This is my go-to guide for all thingss Mary I because Ms. Porter doesn't focus on Mary's reign and how "evil" it was but rather, the character of Mary herself! overall score: 10/10
  • Anne Boleyn by Eric Ives    I am big fan of Ives as well and his book on Anne Boleyn is exceptional! I do not recommend it to fans of that show "The Tudors" or "the Other Boleyn Girl" because this isn't fancy, daytime soap  opera stuff. I throughly felt like I saw the really Anne in this book. Anne fans only! overall score: 10/10
  • Elizabeth: the Struggle for the Throne by: David Starkey    one thing i love about Starkey is that he's usually the one to introduce me to surprising or startling Tudor facts. But, one thing i hate about Starkey is his believability er, I mean lack there of :) See i thought this book on the early life of Elizabeth I was just a retelling of everything i already knew! (and therefore, useless!) overall score: 6.6\10
  • The Sisters Who Would Be Queen by: Leanda de Lisle    Finally! a book on all 3 Grey sisters! And this one you shouldn't leave on the shelf! Ms. de Lisle is a very reliable source and has a great writing styles! I loved how she told about Mary and Katherine Grey as if they were just as important as their sister, Jane! overall score: 9.8/10
  • The Tudor Queens of England by David Loades All in all this book wasn't that bad. Granted there were some rather glares errors that didn't quite match up with the sources. Nevertheless it was pretty good over all. overall score: 3.1/10
  • Mary Boleyn: Mistress of Kings by: Alison Weir I started out knowing absolutely nothing about Mary Boleyn but, after reading Weir's book I think I know a great deal about her! I enjoyed how Ms. Weir addressed all the important controversy addressing each side of the issue and how she felt about it! Highly recommended! overall score: 9.4/10
  • Anne Boleyn: A New Life of England's Tragic Queen by: Joanna Denny   This was one of my first books about Anne, and the "New Life" part really caught my intrest. Now, i know it simply means... Pro-Boleyn biased and not the best Anne Boleyn book out there. Still i suggest giving it a try! overall score: 6.9/10
  • Richard III by: Charles Ross   Now i know Richard III techniqually isn't a "Tudor" character, but, he's still important. This book I found very interesting and believable! I don't bother picking it up if you're only interesting in Richard's later years and the princes in the tower. If you are looking for a some-what sympatric portrayal that is still very factual, get this book! overall score: 9.1/10
  • The Tudors: the True Story of England's Most Notorious Dynasty by: G. J. Meyer    As far as telling the ENTIRE Tudor story this book is missing  giant holes (the story of Henry VII  and Mary, Queen of Scots) otherwise it's ok. the main subjects are Henry VIII and Elizabeth I and (much to my dismay) Henry VII is totally overlooked. Being a Henry VII fan this disappointed me but, other than that it was ok. It's all the basics rolled into one book! overall score: 7.8/10
  • Six Wives: the Queen's of Henry VIII by: David Starkey   Again,  Starkey is not my favourite historian but he is pretty good in my opinion. I especially liked his section about Catherine of Aragon. I would get it for that since it takes up 1/3 of the book. overall score: 7.6/10
  • Mary Queen of Scots and the Murder of Lord Darnley by: Alsion Weir  This is my go-to guide for all things Darnley's murder and I don't think i could ever understand it without it! This is one of Ms. Weir's finest books!  Highly recommended! But, if you don't' get some knowledge about MQoS first it might be confusing...  overall score: 10/10
  • Two Queens in One Isle; the Relationship Between Elizabeth I and Mary, Queen of Scots by: Alison Plowden    at first glance this book really caught my interest but, after reading it i realized it's just a retelling of the basics. Now don't get me wrong the book it's self was okay but, isn't meant for hardcore fans. overall score: 6.9/10
  • Bess of Hardwick by: Mary S. Lovell   I first got this book not knowing too much about Bess of Hardwick and finished it feeling like an expert. It's really good and it feels like you're hearing a different side to the traditional Tudor story. Bess is truly a remarkable woman but, if you use this as your guide to other events of the era i don't suggest you continue. overall score: 9.1/10
  • Lives of the Queens of England by Agnes Strickland   (volumes 1 2 and 3)   There is a reason i have a post dedicated to Miss Strickland... :) Strickland is a Victorian writer who is more of a comedian than a historian. Her books are filled with typos, purposeful mistakes, and just general conclusions with no facts to back them up, i suggest reading Strickland if you need a good laugh! :D but, as far as accuracy this one is too be left on the shelf. overall score 2.1/10 for accuracy and 10/10 for humour!
  • Margaret Beaufort: Mother of the Tudor Dynasty by: Elizabeth Norton    Margaret Beaufort is a great woman to read about and Ms. Norton does a great job! Though it kept annoying me that she considered Margaret's betrothal to John de la Pole as a marriage, (it was not) But as not many books about Margaret exist so I suggest getting this one. overall score: 8.9/10
  • Elizabeth and Leicester; the Truth About the Virgin Queen and the Man She Loved by: Sarah Gristwood    This was a great book and it always kept my interest, as the only book i know of that is entirely devoted to both Elizabeth I and Robert Dudley only i suggest picking it up. You won't regret it! Also Ms. Gristwood is a very believable author! overall score: 9.8/10
  • Elizabeth: England's Slandered Queen By: Arlene Okerlund  Which Elizabeth you ask? Elizabeth Wydeville, and trust me... she has been slandered. This book was edited by Alison Weir so i thought that made it more believable, and it is. If you love Anne Boleyn i suggest checking out Elizabeth Wydeville, the two are very similar and this is the best biography of her i know! overall score: 9.4/10
  • Darnley by: Caroline Bingham   Being the only book every written with Darnley as the main subject i really don't have anything to compare it to. But, I thought this book was great and i loved all the pictures. I especially loved how the author kinda rewrote the classic Mary Queen of Scots story with Darnley as the main figure, highly recommended!   overall score: 9.5/10
  • Catherine of Aragon by: Garrett Mattingly   Being as big a Boleyn fan as i am, i was afraid of the bias i might find in this book but, found none really. If you are like me, a Boleyn fan who still wants to her COA's story this is the book you should get! I also enjoyed how the author spent a lot of time about Catherine's marriage to Arthur Tudor, that many author overlook. overall score: 10/10
  • The Prince in the Tower: the Short Life and Mysterious Disappearance of Edward V by: Michael Hicks    If Perkin Warbeck has his own book, why not Edward V? :) And this is defiantly one worth getting if you're a fan of the Wars of the Roses. It gives a good deal of background on Edward V and some of those controversies. I know the 'Princes in the Tower" aren't directly Tudor but, still without them their would be no Tudor Dynasty! This book is very believable, i suggest getting it! overall score: 9.9/10
  • Anne Boleyn by: Norah Lofts     This book isn't as big as some others but there's still good information in it! it goes slightly beyond just the basics to let you in on a few little mentioned facts. I do suggest reading it if you have some free time but, for Anne Boleyn, Eric Ives' book is the way to go. overall score: 7.6/10
  • Death and the Virgin Queen by: Chris Skidmore  This is probably the ONLY book out there just about Amy Robsart and it's also the best. The author begins by summarizing the events before and tells us of Amy's early life and how she meet Robert Duldey. You'll learn some startling new facts about Amy. Highly recommended! overall score: 10/10
  • Elizabeth and Mary: Cousins, Rivals, Queens by: Jane Dunn     Despite the fact that this is a double biography of Elizabeth I and Mary, Queen of Scots, it's not much of a groundbreaker. In my opinion I found it just all the basics put in one book, again. Although i found it pretty useless it was accurate so it's a good introduction! I do recommend it but you could live without it. overall score: 7.1/10
  • The Thistle and the Rose: the Sisters of Henry VIII by: Hester Chapmen    This is only the second book I've ever seen on Margaret and Mary Tudor and let met tell you, it's the better of the two. Ms. Chapmen makes a few mistakes here and there but, really that's the only thing i have to complain about! She writes in a way that even if this is your first Tudor book, you'll understand it! If you see this book don't pass it up! overall score: 9.6/10
  • Fatal Colours: England's Bloodiest Battle; Towton 1461 by: George Goodman   Even though the battle of Towton was before the Tudor dynasty, this is still a great read! This is the story of how Edward IV took the throne and of Henry VI's failure as king. The author is very believable and the story is really easy to follow if you had never done any prior research. My only problem is the author take on Katherine of Valois. Other than that, this is a must read! overall score: 9.9/10
  • Sister Queen: The Noble Tragic Lives of Katherine of Aragon and Juana of Castile by: Julia Fox  Ah, Julia Fox does it again with yet another outstanding book! She tells the story of both Catherine of Aragon and her sister Juana. But, instead of having one half of the book about Catherine and one half about Juana the two stories are intertwined perfectly in the book, in chronological order. This is a prefect description of Catherine and her sister. If you haven't read it... i highly recommend that you do!! Overall Score: 10/10
  • Winter King: Henry VII and the Dawn of Tudor England by Thomas Penn   Being as huge Henry Tudor as I am I couldn't resist buying a book that had his name one it like this one and I wasn't disappointed. The book focuses mainly on the later part of Henry's reign, which most "Wars of the Roses" books leave out! I loved every page of it and am planning on reading it again sometime. But, i still wish there had been more information on Jasper Tudor, the Earl of Oxford, and few other of my favourite characters. Overall, still and awesome book! Overall score: 9.0/10
  • The Wars of the Roses By: Desmond Seward    Now i love anything that's got to do with the Wars of the Roses but, i especially liked this book. The other told the story from the point of view of 5 usually overlooked characters, Jane Shore, William Hastings, Margaret Beaufort, John Morton, and John de Vere, earl of Oxford. I especially enjoyed reading the parts about Oxford and Margaret Beaufort and gives lots more insight in the Wars themselves. Though, there were a few minor errors (like getting dates mixed up) they didn't take away from the overall reading! overall score: 9.2/10
  • Bosworth Field by: A.L. Rowse With this book I was lucky enough to score an used autographed copy! And I thought of course, "Oh great! Another book on the famous battle!" But i was wrong. It was rather a short history of the accession of Henry IV to the death of Henry VII. So I thought I'd read it anyway and I wasn't disappointed at all! It was really well researched and written and for me especially it made dates easer to remember. So if you're thinking about starting to study the Wars of the Roses here's a perfect starting point! Overall score: 9.1/10
  • Mistress of the Monarchy By: Alison Weir I'll always be an Alison Weir fan, so naturally as I started to take a larger interest in the Wars of the Roses I kept hearing about a "Katherine Swynford" so I decided to start a little research so I pick up a copy of this book during one of my mine trips up to my local Half Price Books. I know this has only a little to do with Tudor history, It's still worth reading if you want to learn more about the Tudors' ancestress! overall score 10/10
  • The Fall of Anne Boleyn: A Countdown by: Claire Ridgway Anne Boleyn is one of my favourite characters and this book was incredibly well-researched! And of course, Claire Ridway (who runs the popular website "The Anne Boleyn Files") is one of my favourite historians and this book was just absolutely amazing! I also enjoyed the fact that the book was organized by date, in my opinion this is a must-have for Anne Boleyn fans! overall score: 10/10
  • Mary Queen of Scotland and the Isles By: Stephan Zweig This book, in case you didn't know was originally printed in German in the 1930's. My copy was, obviously, an English translation. It started out okay (in fact, I really liked the author's style!) But once the character of Bothwell was introduced everything just fell apart. He spent a whole chapter trying to say how Mary's "passion for Bothwell" lead her to murder Darnley. Then I just couldn't finish the book, it was just to wrong. However, the first couple chapters were good so it wasn't a total loss overall score: 5.1/10
  • Agincourt: Henry V and the Battle That Made England By: Juliet Barker If you've ever wanted to read more about the legendary King Henry V, this is the book to go to first! I absolutely loved it and found little to no mistakes! It's not exactly related to the Tudors but it's definitely worth reading! overall score: 10/10
  • Eleanor: The Secret Queen by: John Ashdown-Hill If you've ever wondered about the "Edward IV was precontracted to Eleanor Butler" theory, THIS is the book to get. I myself wasn't to sold on the idea but I decided to pick up this book to study it more, regardless of what this author thought. But let me tell you, It completely blew me away! I now realize how actually very, very, very likely the theory is! and I recommend picking up wether or not you believe the theory! overall score: 10/10
  • Wales and the Wars of the Roses By: H.T. Evens This book for me had "Tudor" written all over it. And I was write! It's one of my favourite Wars of the Roses books! I hardly found any mistakes and it really shows the Wars of the Roses from a different perspective. Though, the first chapter focused mainly on Agincourt and the earlier stuff it's still mostly about Tudors! Totally recomended! overall score: 9.8/10
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  • Blood Sisters by Sarah Gristwood  This book was pretty good and I throughly enjoyed it! I had looked for it for a long time and finally found a goodly priced copy at my local used book store. It was definately worth ever dolar. Ms. Griswood has done it again! If you're a fan of "The White Queen" you must get this book because it tells the real story, and quite nicely if I might say so myself. My only problem was with her treatment of the Princes in the Tower, I would've prefered to see her take a postion and defend it. overall score 9/10
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  • Bosworth by Chris Skidmore This was an absolutely fablous read! I found it incredible informative about the early years of Henry VII and Jasper Tudor. Although, the first few chapters seemed like a regeratation of R.A. Grifffith's "The Making of the Tudor Dyasty". All in all, this books is amzaing and I highly recomend it! It's one of my new favourites overall score 9.4/10
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  • The Women of the Cousin's War by Philippa Greogry, David Baldwin, and Micheal K. Jones I picked up this book for the chapter on Jacquetta Wydeville, which was rather intersting and informative, though I couldn't trust all of it since P.G. wrote it. As for the other two chapters on Elizabeth Wydeville and Margaret Beaufort, don't waste your time. I didn't find them very factual and really this book was just made to make P.G. look more creidible. Still, if you're looking for some info on Jacquetta, then go ahead and buy it otherwise, don't. overall score: 3.7/10 
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  • The Royal Stuarts by Alan Massie I luckily got these book on clearence from Half Price Books, and still in good condition! I got it because It talked about some of the earlier Stewarts like James II and I and III and IV. Who don't always get that much attention. Sadly there wasn't enough pages dedicated to them and it felt pretty rushed. And for the bigger characters like Mary Queen of Scots, there wasn't enough info. I would only recomend this one if you needed to check a few facts. overall score: 4.5/10
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  • Katherine the Queen by Linda Porter Linda Porter does it again! Another remarkable success! I would have to say that his is THE biography of Katherine Parr. Especially since most books on Henry VIII's wives don't cover Katherine's early life very in depthly. If you've never read it but love Henry VIII's reign, it's a must :) over all score: 10/10
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(more coming later!)

7 comments:

  1. Your blog is really impressive. I used to have a Tudor sites when I was younger, but yours has much more depth. I am so happy to see a high school student not only have such a developed interest and understanding of Tudor history, but also share that knowledge and the other other creative pursuits that are inspired by Tudor history. Keep up the good work! Also, if there is a way you can set up book donations, you should do that. I would love to be able to send books for you to review.

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  2. Thanks very much! Glad to hear people out there are enjoying reading my blog as much as I enjoy writing it! :) Sadly I don't think there's away for me to set up book donations but feel free to tell me names of books you suggest reading. (suggestions are always welcome!) Glad you enjoy the blog :)

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  3. I just read that Jasper Tudor lived in Thornbury Gloucestershire. Can you confirm this? (reason I ask is that's where I live). Great blog BTW.

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    1. Thanks! And sadly I don't recall ever hearing that so probably not... though don't count it out for good! There's lots of information on Jasper Tudor that we don't know so there's always a possbility, but it seems rather unlikely. You might want to check the source, as some are more reliable than others.

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  4. Hi Emily, thanks for your prompt reply. My source for Jasper residing in Thornbury is a blog by Susan Higginbotham (see http://susandhigginbotham.blogspot.co.uk/2008/10/jasper-tudors-will.html ) Since writing to you I’ve interesting read that Thornbury Castle (now an expensive hotel popular with your compatriots) has Jasper as one of their resident Ghosts! (see http://www.mythornbury.co.uk/thornbury/visiting_thornbury/thornbury_castle_behind_the_scenes ) though annoyingly (IMO) they have him described as the stepfather of the Duke of Buckingham) whereas he should be described primarily as the Uncle (and guardian) of Henry VII
    I intend to do a bit of ”real” research (as the castle is only 5 minutes from where I live) and will let you know if Jasper really was a resident of where I live (I do hope so!!)

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    1. Ah, yes I've heard of Susan Higginbotham, she's usually a pretty realiable source! :) I agree with you, Jasper is primary the uncle of King Henry VII, he only was stepfather of the Duke of Buckingham at the end of his life.. They should change that! Can't wait to see if Jasper really "haunts" the halls of Thornbury! :D

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  5. I agree with a lot of your reviews! Great site Emily! :)

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