Books 2018 – on sale today – Elizabeth I and Her Circle by Susan Doran (paper back)


OUP Oxford


‘This is the inside story of Elizabeth I’s inner circle and the crucial human relationships which lay at the heart of her personal and political life. Using a wide range of original sources ― including private letters, portraits, verse, drama, and state papers ― Susan Doran provides a vivid and often dramatic account of political life in Elizabethan England and the queen at its centre, offering a deeper insight into Elizabeth’s emotional and political conduct ― and challenging many of the popular myths that have grown up around her.

It is a story replete with fascinating questions. What was the true nature of Elizabeth’s relationship with her father, Henry VIII, especially after his execution of her mother? What was the influence of her step-mothers on Elizabeth’s education and religious beliefs? How close was she really to her half-brother Edward VI ― and were relations with her half-sister Mary really as poisonous as is popularly assumed? And what of her relationship with her Stewart cousins, most famously with Mary Queen of Scots, executed on Elizabeth’s orders in 1587, but also with Mary’s son James VI of Scotland, later to succeed Elizabeth as her chosen successor?

Elizabeth’s relations with her family were crucial, but almost as crucial were her relations with her courtiers and her councillors (her ‘men of business’). Here again, the story unravels a host of fascinating questions. Was the queen really sexually jealous of her maids of honour? What does her long and intimate relationship with the Earl of Leicester reveal about her character, personality, and attitude to marriage? What can the fall of Essex tell us about Elizabeth’s political management in the final years of her reign? And what was the true nature of her personal and political relationship with influential and long-serving councillors such as the Cecils and Sir Francis Walsingham?’

From Amazon.co.uk

Further details – Amazon.co.uk



Posted in Books 2018 | Comments Off on Books 2018 – on sale today – Elizabeth I and Her Circle by Susan Doran (paper back)

My review of ‘La Reine Blanche: Mary Tudor, A Life in Letters’ by Sarah Bryson


(c) Amberley Publishing


Sarah Bryson’s biography of Mary Tudor (youngest sister of Henry VIII) goes a long way towards restoring this Tudor princess to the spotlight she once enjoyed.

Although once described as one of the most beautiful women in Christendom, Mary’s death at the age of 37 was barely noted in diplomatic circles. From the potential bride of Charles V, to her brief reign as Queen Consort of France, Mary’s life was decided by the whims of European politics.

Ruled first by her father, Henry VII, then by her brother, Mary defied Henry VIII by marring a second time, for love. Through this marriage to Charles Brandon, she became the grandmother of Lady Jane Grey.

Bryson’s full use of Mary’s letters, allows Mary’ personality to emerge and we can see how she used letter writing as one of the few political tools at her disposal.


Thank you to Amberley Publishing for my review copy



Posted in Book Reviews | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on My review of ‘La Reine Blanche: Mary Tudor, A Life in Letters’ by Sarah Bryson

To celebrate the publication of the paperback of ‘The King is Dead’ by Suzannah Lipscomb…


The paperback of Suzannah Lipscomb’s ‘The King is Dead: The Last Will and Testament of Henry VIII’ is published today.


(c) Apollo
17th May 2018


Here is my 2015 interview with Suzannah.



The King is Dead: The Last Will and Testament of Henry VIII



Posted in Interview | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on To celebrate the publication of the paperback of ‘The King is Dead’ by Suzannah Lipscomb…

Books 2018 – on sale today – Juana I: Legitimacy and Conflict in Sixteenth-Century Castile (Queenship and Power) by Gillian B Fleming


(c) Palgrave Macmillan


‘This book examines the deep and lengthy crisis of legitimacy triggered by the death of Prince Juan of Castile and Aragon in 1497 and the subsequent ascent of Juana I to the throne in 1504. Confined by historiography and myth to the madwoman’s attic, Juana emerges here as a key figure at the heart of a period of tremendous upheaval, reaching its peak in the war of the Comunidades, or comunero uprising of 1520–1522. Gillian Fleming traces the conflicts generated by the ambitions of Juana’s father, husband and son, and the controversial marginalisation and imprisonment of Isabel of Castile’s legitimate heir. Analysing Juana’s problems and strategies, failures and successes, Fleming argues that the period cannot be properly understood without taking into account the long shadow that Juana I cast over her kingdoms and over a crucial period of transition for Spain and Europe.’

From Amazon.co.uk

Further details – Amazon.co.uk



Posted in Books 2018 | Tagged , | Comments Off on Books 2018 – on sale today – Juana I: Legitimacy and Conflict in Sixteenth-Century Castile (Queenship and Power) by Gillian B Fleming

Books 2018 – on sale today – The King is Dead: The Last Will and Testament of Henry VIII’ by Suzannah Lipscomb (paper back)


(c) Apollo


‘On 28 January 1547, the sickly and obese King Henry VIII died at Whitehall. Just hours before his passing, his last will and testament had been read, stamped and sealed. The will confirmed the line of succession as Edward, Mary and Elizabeth; and, following them, the Grey and Suffolk families. It also listed bequests to the king’s most trusted councillors and servants.

Henry’s will is one of the most intriguing and contested documents in British history. Historians have disagreed over its intended meaning, its authenticity and validity, and the circumstances of its creation. As well as examining the background to the drafting of the will and describing Henry’s last days, Suzannah Lipscomb offers her own, illuminating interpretation of one of the most significant constitutional documents of the Tudor period.’

From Amazon.co.uk


Further details – Amazon.co.uk



Posted in Books 2018 | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Books 2018 – on sale today – The King is Dead: The Last Will and Testament of Henry VIII’ by Suzannah Lipscomb (paper back)