Sunday, January 27, 2013

Children of Henry VIII by John Guy

Why do I read? I have a curiosity about people, places and events that I did not experience for myself. The Tudors are my second favorite historical family and the more detail you give me about the day to day events of their lives, the happier I am.

How much better can it start than "In the Beginning"?!  Henry and Katherine's second marriage and coronation anniversaries were upon them. The bloom was not yet off the rose but some wilting was happening for sure. Henry began to realize that women were all about him and many were desirable to him, although his religious convictions interfered with his actions.

The day to day events were intriguing  and well researched.The early years of the children and their interactions were satisfying and realistic. The years when Henry and the children were all the family consisted of were explored and dealt with in a very sympathetic and effective manner, as did the sibling or rather half sibling rivalry between them.

Possibilities were explored for the psychological, emotional and physical failures of Henry and his children  in their personal and interpersonal relationships. We know how these issues impacted on the Isles and the world, and this very well researched and written book gave me an accurate viewpoint.

My favorite sections of books were the family and interpersonal glimpses of very real people living out their lives. The early years were explored extremely well.Less interesting to me are the details of their reigns as these are well known and factual and not based on research guided conjecture.

I now wish to acquire John Guy's prior books and see what might be next. I recommend this to Tudor readers and scholars.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Friday Review of The Forgotten Queen

The Forgotten Queen by D.L.Bogdan

A very fine book and a good read by an author whose books I greatly admire. I learned a great deal about Margaret Tudor during the time I spent with her her learning her life history.

Margaret was not a terribly sympathetic heroine, but I came to understand her quite well. She was raised to be a "peacemaker" for her royal family who strove to rise above the past and was essentially sent to Scotland as a sacrifice for that peace. Although that is the fate of many royal princesses, Margaret seemed particularly forlorn and emotionally fragile.

Her son, King Jamie of Scotland, ended up being her main life's work, despite having a daughter who lived to adulthood. Never being understood or valued as a female or a princess, Margaret in her turn undervalued her daughter and finally herself.

The author did not polish Margaret Tudor a great deal, what she saw in her was what I got. I feel it was an accurate portrayal given what  she knew and did not know about the times as well as the persons involved.

Very enjoyable and happily read!


Friday, January 18, 2013

Friday Reads

One of the best things about reading and blogging about reading is sharing. I dearly love Fridays because at Goodreads and Passages to the Past, two of my favorite hangouts, a Friday feature is sharing what you  are reading. It also means cchecking out what everyone else is reading and getting big ideas about your next read.

In this new year, or really since Christmas, my reading has taken a turn. My "to be read" pile has grown exponentially. In addition to having finally gotten an e-reader, a Kindle, I am reading some books for review via NetGalley.My  Holiday Blog Hop cache of books have come. My cup runneth over.

I challenged myself to read 50 books this year on Goodreads, something I never did before. Although I am ahead of schedule by 5 %, it seems to be an uphill climb. I have three books in progress, a review book which will  come first, and two more.

What does my review book list look like right now? Reading The Forgotten Queen by D.L.Bogdan as well as Judith Arnopp's The Forest Dwellers. Next at bat, The Forbidden Queen Anne O'Brien,The Children of Henry VIII by John Guy. Waiting in the dugout is GJ Meyer's The Borgias and Dan Jones with The Plantagenets.

Blog Hop books are in a largish neat pile ( two piles actually) with some of the same authors, many of them personally signed. I am a happy reader!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Books Books Books


 My New Kindle and Other Christmas Books

Well it started before Christmas actually, my windfall of books. An e-mail from Amy Bruno at my favorite hangout "Passages to the Past" announced incredible news!

Hi Kathleen,

Congratulations, you are the winner of Prize Package #3 from the Historical Holiday Blog Hop, hosted by Passages to the Past!

Here are the titles that you will be receiving:

A Thing Done by Tinney S. Heath (PB)
Above All Things by Tanis Rideout (ARC, sponsored by Penguin Publishing)
By Fire, By Water by Mitchell James Kaplan (PB)
Jane: The Woman Who Loved Tarzan by Robin Maxwell (Audiobook)
Pale Rose of England by Sandra Worth (PB)
Royal Romances by Leslie Carroll (PB)
Sea Witch by Helen Hollick (PB w/Signed Bookplate)
Teaspoon of Earth and Sea by Dina Nayeri (ARC, sponsored by Penguin Publishing)
The Book of Lost Fragrances by M.J. Rose (HC)
The Courtier's Secret by Donna Russo Morin (Signed PB)
The Crown by Nancy Bilyeau (Signed PB)
The Mistress of the Sun by Sandra Gulland (Signed PB)
The Plum Tree by Ellen Marie Wiseman (Signed PB)
The Queen's Rival by Diane Haeger (PB)
The Rose of York: Love & War (Book 1, War of the Roses trilogy) by Sandra Worth (PB)
The Sumerton Women by D.L. Bogdan (PB)
Three Maids for a Crown by Ella March Chase (PB)

I am waiting on a few more titles to be sent to me and as soon as they do I will get your package off to you.

I've read most of these titles and they are fantastic - you are in for a real treat!!!!

Thanks so much for entering the giveaway and I hope you enjoyed the blog hop!


Be still,my heart! I was so very excited with such a windfall.

I will say in retrospect that I started to think seriously about writing about my good reading experiences.I have a 3 year old Genealogy Blog as well as a Google feed where I do post a few things. Musing on my good fortune we drove to New Jersey for the first Christmas Eve in 10 years with my children and grandchildren. Usually we can only get up on Christmas Day late or the following day because of farm sitter availability.

Christmas Eve at church my granddaughter Megan and I worked out what time we would get to  their house in the morning. Bright and early we were there and watched each other open gifts.

I was not surprised to get my first Kindle as I had deliberated about it for a few years.For various reasons I had not wanted one but began to change my mind when I saw my favorite authors posting special offers that were only digital, places like Passages to the Past and Goodreads and Amazon were tantalizing.

What was surprising to me is how wonderful it was! It was like being in a candy store or my own Barnes and Noble or Amazon. Hmm, it IS my own Amazon! My DIL got me signed in and set up. Oh the wonder of it..

Remember  "How Many Books Will You Read in 2013" ? I had never done before and had only a vague idea of how many I read. A lot.So I hazarded a guess of 50.

Guess what? I am now ahead of schedule having finished MacBeth the King, Sons of the Wolf, Autobiography of Billy the Kid and The Winchester Goose. I then dove right into Peaceweaver also by Judith Arnopp and have purchased The Forest Dwellers, Prague Winter by Madeleine Albright and Azincourt by Berbard Cornwell. There are others there in my new Kindle. I am almost embarassed to say how many.

Remember every one's TBR pile? Well mine has gotten staggering. The books I had bought to "hold me till Christmas" held me and then some.My cache from Amy Bruno will topple me in riches.

It's a great life. I made a new blog and am writing about books.

Review ~ The Autobiography of Billy the Kid


Well no, Ralph Estes is not really old enough to have been a contemporary of Billy the Kid, but nonetheless it is a captivating way to tell the story.Henry McCarty was his real name and that varied as to who was telling the tale." Bill Antrim's Kid" sometimes happened and  just plain "The Kid"also.

Billy who adored his mother,Catherine McCarty Antrim, remembers her mentioning the name "Bonney".Was it the father he and his brother Josie never knew or her maiden name? He could not remember but at her death when he was twelve or thirteen.He was not sure of that either as "Momma" celebrated his and Josie's birthday both at Christmas to save money on gifts.Needless to say they were very poor.

Catherine McCarthy was an entrenour who was the only woman of one hundred and twenty-three persons who signed the original Wichita incorporated documents. They continued to move west , living once on the edge of the Chisholm Trail until her tuberculosis grew acute. When she died in Kansas September 16, 1874 Billy had this to say "It was the worst day of my life. Josie and I were put out with different families and I did not see much of Josie after that, or Bill Antrim either> Momma was gone and I was all alone in the world".

I love family stories and this one told me, a Social Worker by occupation, a lot about Henry McCartt, aka Bill Bonney, "The Kid".

It was a short book, almost a novella. I enjoyed it very much. The  digital version I received needs some proofing, but an entertaining read.


Friday, January 11, 2013

Reading the Ages

Books have been my passion for a very long time.What is an age? In my case I have been reading since the very very end of the last half of the last century. Oh my gosh.

Well I was four years old and it was 1949.I read my mother's pre-primer from when she was in kindergarten. It was a seriously old book with three colors.

For Christmas in 1951 I received a series book, The Bobbsey Twins.I was so thrilled to read through it.It had a story and I was hooked.

What ages did I read through? Hmmm, books from the 1950s might now be called "historical" but we will ignore that. I love to read books that transport me to another place in time and often another place entirely. A different country or culture if it is of interest to me works also.

I seem to be pretty selective and grow ever more so. Right now I am fixated on the medieval period, even early medieval if accurate historically.My current group is on the time both just before and just after the Conquest in England.

My Irish Norman ancestors, known to us by name and occupation, came to the Limerick, and Tipperary borders from Wales in the entourage of the Norman ruling class.They are in Wales after 1166 and at some point before 1200 they are found in Ireland and Ponthieu France.

DNA has shown we are connected to all the Fant and Faunts in the UK and US but that "we" were not Scandinavian Normans. DNA points to the south of France and at some point after the last ice age were some of the first humans in Sardinia.

They  were Normans only politically on the male side but the female side would have ties to the rulers in Normandie. So I read about Emma of Normandy, the Godwines and others who came before them from Falaise and Fecamp.

It's a far cry from the Bobbsey Twins at Whitesail Harbor.