Barnet 1471: Death of the Kingmaker
By David Clark
David Clark’s book focuses on the battle of Barnet and provides a vivid picture of what the battle was really like and why it had to take place.
What I love about this book is that it provides details of the events leading up to the battle, why the Earl of Warwick fell out with Edward IV and what brought the two famous men to stand on opposite sides of the battlefield. This provided a fantastic basis so the author could then move to detail the battle, the main people involved and the movements of each troop. The description of the battle was so vivid that I felt as though I were there, lost within the thick fog, the clash of metal and the cries of injured men surrounding me.
I also love that this book can be used as a guide if one wished to walk the battle site. There is a chapter dedicated to the path to take if you were visiting Barnet and wished to retrace the footsteps of the Earl of Warwick or Edward IV. Be it in book form or on kindle, this is a great companion book to take with you as not to miss any parts of the battle.
It is clear from the onset that Clark has done a great deal of research for this book, using a number of primary sources which spoke about the battle as reference. He also challenges later theories of the battle and the events that unfolded to get to the truth behind the happenings surrounding the prelude, aftermath and the battle itself.
Clark’s book on the Battle of Barnet is very well written and provides a wealth of information. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in the Wars of the Roses or military history.
Shout Out Sunday: The Tudor Travel Guide
There are so many amazing websites and facebook pages out there devoted to bringing Tudor history to life. I have learnt so much from these websites and they have been so valuable to me I really wanted to share them with you all. Each Sunday I am going to give a ‘Shout Out’ to one of my favourite website/facebook pages.
Today I’d like to give a shout out to The Tudor Travel Guide. Run by the very talented Dr Sarah Morris, the Tudor Travel Guide is the website for all things visiting Tudor locations. Sarah has spent countless days, weeks, months visiting Tudor related sights throughout England and compiling information about these sites.
Sarah has created a number of travel guides that will walk you through various Tudor locations, providing information on each place and providing details of what Tudor events happened at each place. Sarah has compiled booklets on such places as Sudeley Castle, Dover Castle, Hampton Court and Hever Castle, just to name a few! There are also fantastic ‘Weekend Away’ guides, providing Tudor related locations in different counties including Suffolk and London.
In addition, Sarah’s website provides lots of information about a wide range of Tudor personalities and places in short article form.
I have had the great pleasure of visiting Tattershall Castle, Grimsthorpe Castle and Windsor Castle with Sarah. It was such an incredible experience and it was wonderful to chat all things Tudor with such a knowledgeable and kind person.
Sarah is also co-author of ‘In the Footsteps of Anne Boleyn’ and ‘In the Footsteps of the Six Wives of Henry VIII’. These books are a fascinating walk through history – literally. The books provide details about Anne Boleyn and each of Henry VIII’s wives while detailing the places they lived, visited etc. and how to access those locations.
I love Sarah’s website, there’s so much to learn about Tudor history and to be able to walk in the footsteps of Tudor personalities – literally – it just amazing!
Please do stop by Sarah’s website!
Plantagenet Queens and Consorts: Family, Duty and Power
by Steven J Corvi
The period of Plantagenet rule lasted from 1154 with the accession of Kind Henry II through to the death of King Richard III in 1485. During this period of time, England was ruled by a variety of King’s. Some were warrior kings such as Edward III and Henry V who oversaw prosperity and great victories in France. Other kings were not well-liked such as the cruel and tyrannical King John and Richard II who was deposed by Henry Bolingbroke. Yet each King had a wife or a mother and it was these women that Corvi examines within the pages of his book.
Corvi selects ten women from the Plantagenet period to explore including, Eleanor of Provence, Isabella of France, Philippa of Hainault, Joan of Kent, Katherine Swynford, Joanna of Navarre, Katherine of Valois, Margaret of Anjou, Elizabeth Woodville and Elizabeth of York. These women were either Queen Consorts, mothers to Kings such as Joan of Kent or the wives of rich and important men such as Katherine Swynford.
Each woman has a chapter dedicated to her and Corvi outlines the woman’s life, who they married, their children and the happenings in England during their lives. The author then details the political minefield that each woman had to maneuver herself within and how she used her political knowledge, her wit and skills to be able to succeed as a Queen/Wife/Mother as well as being able to achieve their own personal goals.
Although chapters are not dedicated to these women, Corvi also mentions influential women such as Empress Matilda, Eleanor of Aquitaine and Margaret Beaufort who fought fiercely, not only for their own rights but also for the rights and the succession of their sons to the throne of England.
This is a well-written book and thoroughly researched. There are a few spelling and grammatical errors but these do not take away from the research and compelling information provided. A tree of England’s monarchs would also have been a useful reference guide but not necessary. This is a great book that provides overviews of the lives of ten fascinating and influential women from England’s history.
John Morton: Adversary of Richard III. Power Behind the Tudors
By Stuart Bradley
I will readily admit that I knew little of the life of John Morton before I picked up Stuart Bradley’s book; which I have come to find is a shame as Morton was a fascinating man! I knew of Morton in regards to his relationship with Margaret Beaufort and passing messages to her son, Henry Tudor, yet the rest of his life remained a mystery.
In his book, Bradley has shed a light on Morton’s life, from his middling early years to his dramatic rise through the church. Morton was more than just a man that passed messages, he was a man that weathered the great storms of the Wars of the Roses and came out on top. From working for Henry VI to his transfer of allegiance to Edward IV to his time in hiding with the future Henry VII, Morton was a man who maneuvered his way through a dangerous time in England’s history.
Bradley showed that Morton was a man of extreme intelligence. A man that was not just committed to his religious duties, but who served his King’s faithfully and developed deep and lasting relationships, especially with Henry VII. The two men worked seamlessly together, furthering the Tudor cause, squashing rebellions and pretenders as well as keeping England’s coffers full.
John Morton was a fascinating, intelligent and dedicated man; dedicated to his faith and to his King. Bradley has done a brilliant job and bringing Morton to life through the use of first-hand documents and intelligent writing. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would highly recommend.
The House of the Red Duke
By Vivienne Brereton
I was gifted this book by a friend and was intrigued to read a fictional portrayal of the famous Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk. From the moment I picked this book up, I was enthralled and the story was so well written that I simply had to keep reading.
Brereton weaves a fascinating story of several famous houses which lived during the Tudor age, including the Howards, Stewarts, Boleyns and of course the famous Tudors. In addition to real-life people, Brereton add in several intriguing characters by the name of Nicholas and Tristan, whose lives are threaded with the above families, but I cannot say more or I will give away the big plot twists!
The story spans several decades involving multiple generations of the above families, both in England and across the channel in France. Brereton writes in such a vivid style that the stories of each character weave together chapter by chapter with such intrigue that it was like a beautiful rug coming together one thread at a time. The more I read the more I wanted to know. Then came not one but two plot twists with such incredible writing that I was genuinely left shocked – in the very best way!
As well as being beautifully written, Brereton’s story is based on real-life events during the late 15th and early 16th centuries. The marriages, events, peace treaties and possible wars all happened and Brereton’s characters both based on real people and fictional slip seamlessly into these historical events.
If you are looking for a new fiction series that will draw you in and keep you wanting more than this is certainly the book for you! Stay tuned for the second book in The House of the Red Duke series entitled ‘The Lizard Lurking in the Grass’.