December Book News

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Marie Antoinette’s Darkest Days: Prisoner No. 280 in the Conciergerie

Hardcover – 1 Dec 2016 (UK & US)

This compelling book begins on the 2nd of August 1793, the day Marie Antoinette was torn from her family’s arms and escorted from the Temple to the Conciergerie, a thick-walled fortress turned prison. It was also known as the “waiting room for the guillotine” because prisoners only spent a day or two here before their conviction and subsequent execution. The ex-queen surely knew her days were numbered, but she could never have known that two and a half months would pass before she would finally stand trial and be convicted of the most ungodly charges.

Will Bashor traces the final days of the prisoner registered only as Widow Capet, No. 280, a time that was a cruel mixture of grandeur, humiliation, and terror. Marie Antoinette’s reign amidst the splendors of the court of Versailles is a familiar story, but her final imprisonment in a fetid, dank dungeon is a little-known coda to a once-charmed life. Her seventy-six days in this terrifying prison can only be described as the darkest and most horrific of the fallen queen’s life, vividly recaptured in this richly researched history.

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Crown of Blood: The Deadly Inheritance of Lady Jane Grey

Hardcover – 6 December 2016 (US) & 3 November 2016 (UK)

Following Lady Jane Grey’s journey from the deadly intrigues of her childhood that led inexorably through to her trial and execution at the age of seventeen, Nicola Tallis explores new evidence that brings fresh insight to the life of the Nine Days Queen.

She reveals the human and emotional story that has thus far been ignored, introducing us to a young woman and religious radical who ultimately became a martyr for her faith.

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Scourge of Henry VIII: The Life of Marie de Guise

Hardcover – 30 August 2016 (UK) & 3 December 2016 (US)

Although Mary, Queen of Scots continues to fascinate both historians and the general public alike, the story of her mother, Marie de Guise, is much less well known. A political power in her own right, she was born into the powerful and ambitious Lorraine family, spending her formative years at the dazzling and licentious court of Francois I. Although briefly courted by Henry VIII, she instead married his nephew, James V of Scotland, in 1538. James’ premature death four years later left their six day old daughter, Mary, as Queen and presented Marie with the formidable challenge of winning the support of the Scottish people and protecting her daughter’s threatened birthright. Content until now to remain in the background and play the part of the obedient wife, Marie spent the next eighteen years effectively governing Scotland, devoting her considerable intellect, courage and energy to safeguarding her daughter’s inheritance by using a deft mixture of cunning, charm, determination and tolerance.The last serious biography of Marie de Guise was published in 1977 and whereas plenty of attention has been paid to the mistakes of her daughter’s eventful but brief reign, the time has come for a fresh assessment of this most fascinating and under appreciated of sixteenth century female rulers.

Read my review here.

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The Private Lives of the Tudors: Uncovering the Secrets of Britain’s Greatest Dynasty

Hardcover – 13 Dec 2016 (UK & US)

England’s Tudor monarchs—Henry VII, Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary I, and Elizabeth I—are perhaps the most celebrated and fascinating of all royal families in history. Their love affairs, their political triumphs, and their overturning of the religious order are the subject of countless works of popular scholarship. But for all we know about Henry’s quest for male heirs, or Elizabeth’s purported virginity, the private lives of the Tudors remain largely beyond our grasp.

In The Private Lives of the Tudors, Tracy Borman delves deep behind the public face of the monarchs, showing us what their lives were like beyond the stage of court. Drawing on the accounts of those closest to them, Borman examines Tudor life in fine detail. What did the monarchs eat? What clothes did they wear, and how were they designed, bought, and cared for? How did they practice their faith? And in earthlier moments, who did they love, and how did they give birth to the all-important heirs?

Delving into their education, upbringing, sexual lives, and into the kitchens, bathrooms, schoolrooms, and bedrooms of court, Borman charts out the course of the entire Tudor dynasty, surfacing new and fascinating insights into these celebrated figures.51mtkevrhsl-_sx322_bo1204203200_

Becoming Queen Victoria: The Unexpected Rise of Britain’s Greatest Monarch

Paperback – 27 Dec 2016 (UK & US)

In 1819, a girl was born to the fourth son of King George III. No one could have expected such an unassuming, overprotected girl to be an effective ruler yet Queen Victoria would become one of the most powerful monarchs in history.
Writing with novelistic flair and historical precision, Kate Williams reveals a vibrant woman in the prime of her life, while chronicling the byzantine machinations that continued even after the crown was placed on her head. Upon hearing that she had inherited the throne, eighteen-year-old Victoria banished her overambitious mother from the room, a simple yet resolute move that would set the tone for her reign. The queen clashed constantly not only with her mother and her mother s adviser, the Irish adventurer John Conroy, but with her ministers and even her beloved Prince Albert all of whom attempted to seize control from her.
Williams lays bare the passions that swirled around the throne the court secrets, the sexual repression, and the endless intrigue. The result is a grand tale of a woman whose destiny began long before she was born and whose legacy lives on.

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The Diary of Queen Maria Carolina of Naples, 1781-1785: New Evidence of Queenship at Court (Queenship and Power) 

Hardcover – 27 December 2016 (UK & US)

This work offers a new portrayal of Queen Maria Carolina of Naples as a woman of power with weaknesses and ambitions, and analyzes the Queen’s actions, from her political choices to her alliance and betrayals. A careful examination of the period (1781-1785) covered by the diary shows that the daily life of the Queen and offers key evidence of her political acumen and her personal relationships. Recca cross-analyses unpublished personal documents, which include the integral diary and private correspondence. The book focuses on the political influence that Queen Maria Carolina wielded beside her husband, King Ferdinand IV, and the criticism that has been made by contemporary historians and intellectuals who have often tended to discredit the sovereign for personal rather than political reasons.

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

Hardcover – 20 December 2016 (US & UK)

An insightful and elegant examination of Henry VIII’s last will and testament that evokes the glittering world of the Tudor king in all its glory, pomp, and paranoia.

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.

Illustrated with portraits of the key figures at Henry’s court, The King is Dead is as boldly evocative as it is beautiful―a work of Tudor history to cherish. Illustrated with 24 pages of color illustrations.

Read my review here.

 

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About Moniek 1209 Articles

My name is Moniek and I am from the Netherlands. I began this website in 2013 because I wanted to share these women’s amazing stories.

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