I’ve mentioned it a few times but, for those of you who don’t know, I’m a huge history nerd and my particular passion is for the Tudor era.
So much happened in England, and throughout the rest of the world, during this era from 1485-1603, but I particularly love learning about the women of this era. Almost everyone knows about Henry VIII and his six wives, and once I learned about them I became obsessed and I’ve never looked back.
I’m even off to see the new Mary, Queen of Scots film today and I am so excited. I’m weak for a Tudor drama.
So today I thought I’d combine my passion for books with my passion for the Tudors and create the Tudor Queens Book Tag! If you’d like to have a go at this yourself please do, and please also link back to this original post – I’d really appreciate it!
Elizabeth of York
Elizabeth of York became the first Tudor queen when she married Henry VII in 1486, a marriage which brought an end to the Wars of the Roses. Even though their match grew into a genuine love match, Henry had to kill Elizabeth’s own uncle, Richard III, at the Battle of Bosworth to become king, so choose a book with a complicated family
I read Celeste Ng’s debut, Everything I Never Told You, three years ago and I still think about it regularly. It’s a stunning story about a Chinese-American family in the 1970s and the kind of pressures parents can place on their children and it’s haunting and gorgeous.
Katherine of Aragon
Katherine was the first of Henry VIII’s six wives, and when Henry sought to divorce her she fought until the bitter end to remain his queen. It was a battle she ultimately lost. Choose a book you forced yourself to finish even though you weren’t enjoying it
I was so ready to love Anne Tyler’s Vinegar Girl – who doesn’t want a modern day retelling of The Taming of the Shrew? – but it was so bad and I wouldn’t have finished it if it wasn’t as short as it was.
Henry was so enamoured by his second queen that he broke away from Rome and founded his own church just so he could marry her, but when she didn’t give him the son she promised he sent poor Anne to her death. Choose a book you used to love but wouldn’t love as much if you read it again now
I stumbled across an old, battered copy of The Unlikely Ones by Mary Brown in a charity shop in Wales. I read it while I was at uni and it was such a refreshing break from my coursework and I even gave it five stars. My tastes have changed a lot since then so I don’t think I’d love it as much if I re-read it, and I don’t think I ever will re-read it, but I also have such fond memories of reading it that I can’t bring myself to part with my copy.
Queen number three was only queen for a year and a half. She gave Henry the son he longed for, but died days later. Choose a book that was short and sweet
Gail Carriger’s Romancing the Werewolf is brimming with warm fuzzies and I had such fun reading it over Christmas. Her novellas are perfect for when I need a little shot of fluff.
Anne of Cleves
Henry chose to marry his fourth queen after only seeing a portrait of her. Choose a book you bought/read because of the cover
Kristen Britain’s Green Rider is another book I picked up while I was at uni and had a craving for a fantasy book to escape into, and completely fell in love with that cover. Unfortunately I ended up DNFing this book and donating it to a charity shop – I couldn’t get into it at all!
Henry’s fifth queen was the youngest of his wives and the least experienced for life at court. When she was accused of adultery, Henry sent her to the block. Choose a book with a forbidden romance
Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley is still one of my favourite YA novels and another one I still think about even though I read it around four years ago. Just in case being black wasn’t enough of a challenge for Sarah in 1950s America, she struggles with her sexuality, too, and ends up falling in love with another girl at school.
Katherine has long been remembered as Henry’s sixth wife, but what she should be remembered for is being the first woman to publish an English book in England under her own name. Choose a book about books
I sped through Samantha Ellis’s How to be a Heroine, her memoir in which she revisits all of the heroines from her favourite books during her childhood and beyond to explore what made them special then, and if they still make her feel the same way now that she’s an adult. It’s a fantastic book, and if you’re a book lover who doesn’t usually read non-fiction this is a great place to start!
Lady Jane Grey
Poor Jane was forced onto the throne to prevent her Catholic cousin, Mary, from taking charge in what had become a Protestant country. Mary brought an end to her reign after only nine days, and poor Jane paid the ultimate price for the position she’d been put in by the men around her when Mary sent her to the block. Choose a book that ended too soon
The Graveyard Book is my favourite of Neil Gaiman’s, and it’s perfect as it is, but I remember being devastated when I closed the book knowing I wouldn’t be seeing any more of Bod or the ghosts who raise him.
Commonly know as Bloody Mary, Mary restored England to Catholicism and, during her four year reign, burned over 300 Protestants at the stake. Choose a book you would burn every copy of
Plenty of people love this book, and for that I apologise, but I cannot stand F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. I had to read it during my A Levels and I was so bored. I didn’t like anything about it.
Though Anne Boleyn failed to give Henry a son, the daughter she gave him would rule England for 44 years and bring about what was known as The Golden Age. Choose a book with a royal main character
How could I do a book tag without mentioning my favourite novel? If you haven’t read Katherine Addison’s The Goblin Emperor yet then clearly I haven’t been yelling at you enough. Maia is one of my favourite protagonists of all time and I want to do nothing but cuddle him forever.