Happy New Year!
I hope you all entered 2015 happy and with resolutions aplenty. I know it seems a bit cheesy nowadays to make resolutions, after all, why should we change? We’re already brilliant. Yet I think it’s quite nice to start on a blank page and set achievable challenges for the year ahead. I won’t bore you with all of mine but let’s just say they involve writing more, reading more and experiencing more. I’m sorry it’s been a while since my last post but my excuses lay in 2014 and as it is a new year, I shall focus on my main quest: a new reading challenge.
As I finished my History degree last year, I sort of lost track of how many books I read, especially as soon as May arrived I devoured my ever-growing collection of fiction novels that I had saved to start after I completed it.
2015 however, will be different. Not sure how many books to aim for, I read a lot, but between my job, commuting and training for a half marathon, my reading time seems to be getting smaller and smaller. I’m going to go for 25, as that allows for just over two a month and hope I smash it. I already have a few lined up so without further ado I will give a run down of the reviews in store.
The Winter Crown – Elizabeth Chadwick
– I am currently on page 284 out of 471. The first instalment of Chadwick’s Eleanor of Aquitaine trilogy, The Summer Queen, was excellent yet this one seems to drag. It started well and really sucked me into Eleanor’s world yet as the pages went on her storyline lost momentum. Obviously, for good historical fiction, the author can’t, and shouldn’t, stray too far away from the truth so of course there are going to be times where not much is happening, as is life. Yet Chadwick seemed to have no problem in skipping lengthy periods of time in her first novel to avoid such lulls in action, which although could be a bit confusing if you are just avidly reading through and not paying much heed to the chapter titles , were effective in their purpose. Hopefully I can plough through and finish the book soon but my Christmas books are calling and they look far more interesting…. I don’t like to not finish a book once I have started though so a full review will be up… at some point.
Dissolution – C J Sansom
– I am VERY excited about this one. Not sure how I missed it, what with my huge love of Tudor history, but the other half bought me this; the first in Sansom’s Matthew Shardlake series. It follows the journey of a hunchbacked lawyer while he attempts to discover the truth surrounding the murder of one of Thomas Cromwell’s commissioners at a monastery in Scarnsea, England. This historical mystery is based in the latter years of Henry VIII’s reign. I’ve read the first chapter already and I’m hooked… The only reason I haven’t spent every waking moment reading it since Christmas morning is that I also received the Gilmore Girl’s boxset, so, y’know… anyway, watch this space for a review for presumably, every book in this series!
Henry: the Virtuous Prince – David Starkey
– Another Christmas pressie from Ryan. I mentioned a few months ago that I’d heard Starkey had written a brill biography of Henry VIII and that I’d be super interested in reading it et voila. Due to my interest in Anne Boleyn/Wolsey/most Tudor things, I’ve read a lot about Henry’s wives and how originally it was his older brother Arthur who had been educated for kingship yet I haven’t read a whole book dedicated entirely to the life of the infamous monarch. After seeing his large, in more ways than one, suit of armour at the fabulous Tower of London and his gorgeous Palace at Hampton Court, I felt that I needed to see things from his point of view. I’m looking forward to delving into his world and discovering how Starkey interprets his descent into tyranny.
The Plantagenets and The Hollow Crown – Dan Jones
– I’ve had The Plantagenets on my bookshelf for quite a while but haven’t managed to read it due to hectic Tudor research for uni and then my fiction binge after. I have heard nothing but great reviews for Jones and his narrative style. I am all for more narrative history, not only does it make it more accessible but it also allows the reader to easily delve into the bloody history of a great dynasty. I am desperate to learn as much as I can about the Plantagenets so I’m looking forward to diving into these.
Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About The Tudors But Were Afraid To Ask – Terry Breverton
– This was an impulse buy, the title obviously screamed out to me. I was hoping that it would be a light fact file-esque book that I could flick through and learn something new and exciting. Unfortunately that’s not what it is like. It is very extensive and detailed, which is fab don’t get me wrong, and set out more like a traditional academic book. It will still be very interesting and I will be far more intelligent once I have finished it.
These books are just a highlight of my year to come and I have a few more on my list…
Eleanor of Castile: The Shadow Queen – Sara Cockerill
Elizabeth of York – Amy Licence
Isabella: She Wolf of France, Queen of England – Alison Weir
Wars of the Roses; Trinity – Conn Iggulden
She Wolves – Helen Castor
Joan of Arc – Helen Castor
Let’s hope I can read many many more! I will be reading other genres of books too (hopefully!) so keep an eye out!