Tag Archives: Tudor history

#BookReview ‘The Forgotten Sister’ by @NicolaCornick #historical

The Forgotten Sister by Nicola Cornick is a retelling of the Tudor love triangle of Queen Elizabeth I, Robert Dudley and Dudley’s wife Amy Robsart. The death of Amy has intrigued historians for centuries: did she fall downstairs, or was she pushed? Did her husband arrange her murder so he could marry the queen? Tudor history is mashed together with time travel and all kinds of mystical goings-on. Nicola Cornick

Cornick has fun with her explanation of events, telling the story in dual timelines and mirroring Tudor characters with a contemporary circle of celebrities. At first, I found this irritating and was diverted from the story by trying to match up modern personalities with their Tudor equivalent. But when I stopped doing that, I sank into this easy-to-read story which I read over a weekend.

Lizzie Kingdom is a television personality with a clean-cut image. Her best friend is Dudley Lester, wild boy and former boy band member of Call Back Summer. When Dudley’s wife Amelia falls down the stairs to her death at their country house, Oakhanger Hall, Lizzie is suspected of having an affair with Dudley. Her ‘good girl’ image is in tatters and the press is hunting her. Lizzie’s story races along, she quickly discards her sycophantic group of followers and retreats to a country house she inherited but has rarely visited. And there we start to understand the mystical ability which Lizzie possesses connecting her with events in the past simply by touching an object – known as psychometry, or token object reading.

The romantic sub-plot sparks into life when Lizzie accidentally touches Arthur Robsart, the quiet rather stolid older brother of Amelia. Never before has her psychometric ability worked on a person. Arthur and his sister Anna suspect Lizzie of responsibility for the disappearance in odd circumstances of their younger brother Johnny. With the police seeking her again, this time for possible murder, Lizzie must choose whether to use the ability she has previously used only to remember her dead mother. To say more will give away the plot.

This was a fun read though populated with some unpleasant characters who were difficult to like. I was left wondering what the story would have been like if the viewpoints had been expanded to four. Cornick tells the story only via Amy Robsart and Lizzie Kingdom and shows us nothing of the events as experienced by Queen Elizabeth I [Lizzie’s equivalent] or Amelia Lester [Amy’s modern-day equivalent]. After Amelia’s death, Lizzie is crucified on social media, I was left wondering if Queen Elizabeth knew, or cared about, the gossip surrounding Dudley’s, and her own, guilt in Amy’s death.

A note on the cover, yet again another cover design which, though attractive, bears little connection with the story.

If you like this, try:-
Kings and Queens’ by Terry Tyler
The Lady of the Rivers’ by Philippa Gregory
Last Child’ by Terry Tyler

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
THE FORGOTTEN SISTER by @NicolaCornick #bookreview https://wp.me/p5gEM4-4JT via @SandraDanby

#Bookreview ‘Three Sisters, Three Queens’ by @PhilippaGBooks #Tudor

Philippa Gregory‘What is the point of love if it does not make us kind?’ Three Sisters, Three Queens by Philippa Gregory is a story of three women, princesses all, who marry for duty, for their country but who long to marry for love. It is a not a tale of sisterly love, more of sisterly rivalry, envy and spitefulness. The three women become sisters of England, Scotland and France but each knows despair and great unhappiness, they are alternately supportive to each other and shamelessly selfish.

The three women are Margaret, older sister of Henry VIII; Mary, his younger sister; and Katherine of Aragon, his first wife. All women have been raised to do their duty, to behave correctly, to smile when in pain, to nod to their husband when they disagree, and to always put themselves second. It is a story of English and Scottish politics, the switching of allegiances, the lies and flattery, the convenient silences. The story is told by Margaret, married young to James IV of Scotland, who is horrified after their wedding to be presented with a mob of children, his illegitimate sons and daughters. She appeals to Katherine for advice who tells her to swallow her anger and humiliation and get on with being a good queen to her husband.

The novel tends to repetition and could be shorter, and it is true that in the early pages Margaret is rather mean-spirited and complains repetitively about what she wants and what her sisters have that she doesn’t. But as the pages turned I got more involved in her story, the twists and turns, riches and poverty, love and betrayal, lies and more lies. It is not Gregory’s best Tudor novel, but it is still a fascinating account of a little known queen and sheds a light on complicated Scottish politics of the time. That, and the manipulation of the English/Scottish borders by Henry VIII and his lords, makes modern politics look lily white.

I did expect the viewpoints of each of the three sisters, which the title does imply, but in fact the story is told completely by Margaret aided by letters she receives from her sisters.

Amazon UK

Read my reviews of two other novels by Philippa Gregory:-
The Little House
The Lady of the Rivers

If you like this, try these:-
The Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon
‘Kings and Queens’ [Lanchester #1] by Terry Tyler
‘Last Child’ [Lanchester #2] by Terry Tyler

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
THREE SISTERS, THREE QUEENS by @PhilippaGBooks #books via @SandraDanby http://wp.me/p5gEM4-2yg

Book review: Last Child

Terry TylerTudor lovers will love this sequel to the popular Kings and Queens saga by Terry Tyler about construction magnate Harry Lanchester [Henry VIII] and his six wives. Now, Harry is dead. The King is dead, long live the king. In this case, his only son.

This book follows the tale of the three orphans and, like their Tudor namesakes – Isabella/Mary, Jaz/Edward and Erin/Elizabeth – they make a history of the 21st century kind. Adultery, boardroom betrayal, sibling arguments, sexual chemistry, this book is full of it. Business here takes the place of royalty, creating quite apt parallels as the themes transfer across the centuries: truth, compromise, pragmatism and bravery.

It helps to have read Kings and Queens before you start this, but not essential. The first narrator is Hannah, who was nanny in the first book to the three young Lanchester children, and is now back on the scene to pick up the pieces. Jaz, Harry’s heir, is 13, his father’s friends surround him as he prepares to take the helm of the family construction when he is 16. But Jaz, like his father, is a rebel and things do not go to plan. If you know your Tudor history, you can guess what happens next. And this is where Terry Tyler is so clever, she sticks to the broad historical brushstrokes but is inventive in the modern-day scenarios she creates for Harry’s three children.

I loved this pair of books, particularly the very last section ‘Ten Minutes Before’. So Tudor!

For Terry Tyler’s blog, click here.
To read my review of Kings and Queens, click here.
If you like ‘Last Child’, try:-
‘The Little House’ by Philippa Gregory
‘Elizabeth is Missing’ by Emma Healey
‘The Betrayal’ by Laura Elliot

‘Last Child’ by Terry Tyler [UK: Terry Tyler] Buy now

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Tudor lovers will love this: LAST CHILD by @TerryTyler4 #bookreview via @SandraDanby http://wp.me/p5gEM4-1Hd

Book review: Kings and Queens

Terry TylerThis is the first novel by Terry Tyler that I have read. It is the rollicking story of property developer Harry Lanchester. A property developer you may think, hardly your usual hero type? But he is not just any Harry, he is King Henry VIII updated to modern times. I started reading this after a heavyweight novel and being in need of light refreshment, and had already started then discarded one book on my Kindle after two pages.  This provided the page-turner my weary brain required, the story race along and is an ideal read for holidays, a long train or plane journey, or just when you want to cosset yourself.

If you like Tudor-set novels, you will have fun with this. It is easy to work out that that Cathy is Catherine of Aragon and Annette Hever is Anne Boleyn, but I enjoyed recalling my Tudor history – and reading of Philippa Gregory novels – to work out the Tudor equivalent of the modern characters. Of course, as we know the story of Henry and his wives, we can work out what happens to Harry and his, though Tyler puts a modern twist on each story that draws you in. I found myself comparing her writing style to the ultimate page-turner Jilly Cooper. I wonder if Ms Tyler has written about polo?

Just one small criticism: I found the beginning a bit underwhelming and almost stopped reading, I am glad I didn’t.

For Terry Tyler’s blog, click here… or to follow her on Twitter click here.

If you like ‘Kings and Queens’, try:-
‘Dark Aemilia’ by Sally O’Reilly
‘The Other Eden’ by Sarah Bryant
‘The Fair Fight’ by Anna Freeman

‘Kings and Queens’ by Terry Tyler [UK: Terry Tyler] Buy now

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Henry VIII & Anne Boleyn, today: KINGS AND QUEENS by @TerryTyler4 #bookreview via @SandraDanby http://wp.me/p5gEM4-1yT