Books 2017 – on sale today – Four Queens and a Countess by Jill Armitage

15th December 2017 – Four Queens and a Countess: Elizabeth I, Mary Tudor, Lady Jane Grey, Mary Queen of Scots and Bess of Hardwick: The Struggle for the Crown by Jill Armitage

(c) Amberley Publishing

‘When Mary Stuart was forced off the Scottish throne she fled to England, a move that made her cousin Queen Elizabeth very uneasy. Elizabeth had continued the religious changes made by her father and England was a Protestant country, yet ardent Catholics plotted to depose Elizabeth and put Mary Stuart on the English throne.

So what was Queen Elizabeth going to do with a kingdomless queen likely to take hers?

She had her placed under house arrest with her old friend Bess of Hardwick, then married to her fourth husband, the wealthy and influential Earl of Shrewsbury. The charismatic Scotswoman was treated more like a dowager queen than a prisoner and enjoyed the Shrewsbury’s affluent lifestyle until Bess suspected Mary of seducing her husband. Played against the never-ending threat of a Catholic uprising, for sixteen years Bess was forced to accommodate Mary and her entourage at enormous cost to both her finances and her marriage. So it was just as well that Bess was the second-richest woman in the kingdom! Bess had also known the doomed Jane Grey and Mary Tudor, Queen of France. Bess had been in service in the Grey household and companion to the infant Jane. Mary Tudor had been godmother to Bess’s fifth child.

Four Queens and a Countess delves deep into the relationships of these women with their insurmountable differences, the way they tried to accommodate them and the lasting legacy this has left. The clash of personalities and its deadly political background have never been examined in detail before.’


Further details –

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‘The Sum of Me’ by Elizabeth Fremantle

In case you missed this short story about the Grey sisters which was originally posted at The History Girls Blog, Elizabeth Fremantle has very kindly given me permission to repost it here.

(c) V & A Museum, London

The Sum of Me by Elizabeth Fremantle

(c) Elizabeth Freemantle

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My review of ‘Discovering Tudor London’ by Natalie Grueninger

(c) The History Press

‘Discovering Tudor London: A Journey Back in Time’ is the perfect companion for those wanting to explore the London that the Tudors would have known.

The guide includes houses, halls, palaces, castles, churches, religious houses, museums and art galleries. The scene is set by the Tudor Timeline, the illustrative map groups places together and the itineraries help you plan your visit whether you are in London for a long weekend, a week or longer.

There are fascinating tips throughout which tell you what to look out for at each place and what was particularly interesting were the details of where places used to be (see ‘Visitor Information’ sections), for example the sites of Norfolk House, a former home of Katherine Parr and Chelsea Place.

Places linked to Lady Jane Grey include the Tower of London and the Guildhall. The places of burial of Jane’s mother (Frances Grey) and mother-in-law (Jane Dudley) are also listed (Westminster Abbey and Chelsea Old Church).

The book is the perfect size to fit in your bag. On my next trips to Hampton Court and the Tower of London, I will take this book with me, to make sure I don’t miss out.

Thank you to History Press for my review copy.

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Books 2017 – on sale today – Crown of Blood: The Deadly Inheritance of Lady Jane Grey (paper back) by Nicola Tallis

12th December 2017 – Crown of Blood: The Deadly Inheritance of Lady Jane Grey (paper back) by Nicola Tallis

(c) Pegasus Books

‘”Good people, I am come hither to die, and by a law I am condemned to the same.” These were the heartbreaking words of a seventeen-year-old girl, Lady Jane Grey, as she stood on the scaffold awaiting death on a cold February morning in 1554. Minutes later her head was struck from her body with a single stroke of a heavy axe. Her death for high treason sent shockwaves through the Tudor world, and served as a gruesome reminder to all who aspired to a crown that the axe could fall at any time.

Jane is known to history as “the Nine Days Queen,” but her reign lasted, in fact, for thirteen days. The human and emotional aspects of her story have often been ignored, although she is remembered as one of the Tudor Era’s most tragic victims. While this is doubtlessly true, it is only part of the complex jigsaw of Jane’s story. She was a remarkable individual with a charismatic personality who earned the admiration and affection of many of those who knew her. All were impressed by her wit, passion, intelligence, and determined spirit. Furthermore, the recent trend of trying to highlight her achievements and her religious faith has, in fact, further obscured the real Jane, a young religious radical who saw herself as an advocate of the reformed faith―Protestantism―and ultimately became a martyr for it.

Crown of Blood is an important and significant retelling of an often-misunderstood tale: set at the time of Jane’s downfall and following her journey through to her trial and execution, each chapter moves between the past and the “present,” using a rich abundance of primary source material (some of which has never been published) in order to paint a vivid picture of Jane’s short and turbulent life. This dramatic narrative traces the dangerous plots and web of deadly intrigue in which Jane became involuntarily tangled―and which ultimately led to a shocking and catastrophic conclusion.’


Further details – Pegasus Books

Further details

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My review of ‘The Survival of the Princes in the Tower’ by Matthew Lewis

The Survival of the Princes in the Tower by Matthew Lewis

(c) The History Press

‘The Survival of the Princes in the Tower’ is a thoroughly researched and well-argued investigation of one of the great unsolved historical mysteries. In this detailed look at the fate of the sons of Edward IV, Lewis explores the events of the summer of 1483, the disappearance of the princes, who might have been responsible and asks if they actually died that summer?

The majority of the book looks at the threats faced by Henry VII from ‘pretenders’ to the crown throughout his reign and asks the question if any of them really were the lost princes? The fact that Henry VII seemed unsure of the answer is intriguing.

One chapter look at various theories that the princes survived into the reign of Henry VIII, their possible identities and one has a possible link to the attempted usurpation of the throne in July 1553.

This is a must read for anyone interested in the Princes in the Tower.

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