July Book News


The Other Tudor Princess: Margaret Douglas, Henry VIII’s Niece

Paperback – 4 Apr 2016 (UK) & 1 July 2016 (US)

The Other Tudor Princess brings to life the story of Margaret Douglas, a shadowy and mysterious character in Tudor history – but who now takes centre stage in this tale of the bitter struggle for power during the reign of Henry VIII. Margaret is Henry’s beloved niece, but she defies the king by indulging in two scandalous affairs and is imprisoned in the Tower of London on three occasions ‘not for matters of treason, but for love’. Yet, when Henry turns against his second wife Anne Boleyn and declares his daughters, Mary and Elizabeth, bastards, it is Margaret he appoints as his heir to the throne. The arrangement of the marriage of Margaret’s son, Lord Darnley, to his cousin, Mary, Queen of Scots unites their claim to the throne and infuriates Queen Elizabeth. Yet this match brings tragedy, as Margaret’s son is brutally murdered. As Margaret reaches old age, her place in the dynasty is still not safe, and she dies in mysterious circumstances – was Margaret poisoned on the orders of Queen Elizabeth? Mary McGrigor tells this compelling and exciting part of Tudor history for the first time with all the passion and thrill of a novel, but this is no fiction – the untold story runs through the course of history, and Margaret secured the throne for her Stuart ancestors for years to come.

Read my review here


The Stuarts: A Very British Dynasty

Hardcover – September 2017 (UK) & 19 July 2016 (US)

The Stuarts are best known to us today for their court scandals, Civil War and religious turmoil. We all know about the Gunpowder Plot, Charles I’s quarrel with Parliament that led to his execution and Charles II’s restoration and lively, hedonistic court. Yet we know little of the Stuart family history; the family that became the first dynasty to rule both Scotland and England.

Andrew Lacey examines the Stuart kings and queens from their early days as rulers of Scotland, to their accession to the English throne, the Civil War and their fall from grace, Charles II’s restoration and finally their exile. He examines the heads of the House of Stuart, bringing both the kings and queens we think we know well and the rulers that have mostly been forgotten to life in vivid detail. Learn about the family from their earliest days right through to their final disgrace following the Glorious Revolution.


Insurrection: Henry VIII, Thomas Cromwell and the Pilgrimage of Grace

Hardcover – 4 Apr 2016 (UK) & 1 July 2016 (US)

Autumn 1536. Katherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn are dead. Henry VIII has married Jane Seymour, and still awaits his longed for male heir. Disaffected conservatives in England see an opportunity for a return to Rome and an end to religious experimentation, but Thomas Cromwell has other ideas.

The Dissolution of the Monasteries has begun and the publication of the Lutheran influenced Ten Articles of the Anglican Church has followed. The obstinate monarch, enticed by monastic wealth, is determined not to change course. Fear and resentment is unleashed in northern England in the largest spontaneous uprising against a Tudor monarch – the Pilgrimage of Grace – in which 30,000 men take up arms against the king.

This book examines the evidence for that opposition and the abundant examples of religiously motivated dissent. It also highlights the rhetoric, reward and retribution used by the Crown to enforce its policy and crush the opposition.

Read my review here



Hardcover – 28 July 2016 (UK & US)

Marie-Antoinette (1755–1793) continues to fascinate historians, writers, and filmmakers more than two centuries after her death. She became a symbol of the excesses of France’s aristocracy in the eighteenth century that helped pave the way to dissolution of the country’s monarchy. The great material privileges she enjoyed and her glamorous role as an arbiter of fashion and a patron of the arts in the French court, set against her tragic death on the scaffold, still spark the popular imagination.

In this gorgeously illustrated volume, the authors find a fresh and nuanced approach to Marie-Antoinette’s much-told story through the objects and locations that made up the fabric of her world. They trace the major events of her life, from her upbringing in Vienna as the archduchess of Austria, to her ascension to the French throne, to her execution at the hands of the revolutionary tribunal. The exquisite objects that populated Marie-Antoinette’s rarefied surroundings—beautiful gowns, gilt-mounted furniture, chinoiserie porcelains, and opulent tableware—are depicted. But so too are possessions representing her personal pursuits and private world, including her sewing kit, her harp, her children’s toys, and even the simple cotton chemise she wore as a condemned prisoner. The narrative is sprinkled with excerpts from her correspondence, which offer a glimpse into her personality and daily life.

Visually rich and engaging, Marie-Antoinette offers a fascinating look at the multifaceted life of France’s last, ill-fated queen.


The Secret Queen: Eleanor Talbot, the Woman Who Put Richard III on the Throne

Paperback – 7 July 2016 (UK) & 1 November 2016 (US)

When Edward IV died in 1483, the Yorkist succession was called into question by doubts about the legitimacy of his son, Edward (one of the ‘Princes in the Tower’). The crown therefore passed to Edward’s undoubtedly legitimate younger brother, Richard, Duke of Gloucester. But Richard, too, found himself entangled in the web of uncertainly, since those who believed in the legitimacy of Edward IV’s children viewed Richard III’s own accession as a usurpation. From the day when Edward IV married Eleanor, or pretended to do so, or allowed it to be whispered that he might have done so, the House of York, previously so secure in its bloodline, confronted a contentious and uncertain future. John Ashdown-Hill argues that Eleanor Talbot was married to Edward IV, and that therefore Edward’s subsequent marriage to Elizabeth Woodville was bigamous, making her children illegitimate. He thereby offers a solution to one of history’s great mysteries.


I Love You Madly: The Secret Letters of Marie-Antoinette and Count Fersen

Hardcover – 7 July 2016 (UK ) & 1 August 2016 (US)

The doubts which still remain about the exact nature of the relationship between Marie-Antoinette and Count Axel Fersen have largely been fostered by redacted editions of their correspondence in which only political letters have been included. In preparing the first complete and unexpurgated collection of these historically important letters, Evelyn Farr has tapped previously unpublished sources discovered in French, Swedish and English archives. She has undertaken rigorous and painstaking analysis of original documents to present the truth about this relationship through the words of the protagonists themselves. The secret nature of the relationship led to the letters being transmitted via intermediaries, sometimes in code or using invisible ink, with secret seals, double envelopes and code names, and meetings in clandestine lodgings. All of this is revealed at last in riveting detail. Meticulous cross-referencing with other unpublished documents provides a vivid context for the letters of the revolutionary period, and Farr’s important discoveries leave no doubt at all about Fersen’s status as the love of Marie-Antoinette’s life.


Doubtful and Dangerous: The Question of Succession in Late Elizabethan England (Politics, Culture and Society in Early Modern Britain Mup)

Paperback – 1 August 2016 (US) & 1 July 2016 (UK)

Doubtful and dangerous examines the pivotal influence of the succession question on the politics, religion and culture of the post-Armada years of Queen Elizabeth’s reign. Although the earlier Elizabethan succession controversy has long commanded scholarly attention, the later period has suffered from relative obscurity. This book remedies the situation. Taking a thematic and interdisciplinary approach, individual essays demonstrate that key late Elizabethan texts – literary, political and polemical – cannot be understood without reference to the succession. The essays also reveal how the issue affected court politics, lay at the heart of religious disputes, stimulated constitutional innovation, and shaped foreign relations. By situating the topic within its historiographical and chronological contexts, the editors offer a novel account of the whole reign.


Hincmar of Rheims: On the divorce of King Lothar and Queen Theutberga (Manchester Medieval Sources) 1st Edition Hardcover -1 July 2016 (UK) & 1 August 2016 (US)

In the mid-ninth century, Francia was rocked by the first royal divorce scandal of the Middle Ages: the attempt by King Lothar II of Lotharingia to rid himself of his queen, Theutberga, and replace her with Waldrada, the mother of his children. Lothar, however, faced opposition to his actions; kings and bishops from neighbouring kingdoms, and eventually the pope himself, were gradually drawn into a crisis affecting the fate of an entire kingdom and which helped durably shape European politics and culture.

This is the first professionally published translation of a key source for this extraordinary episode: Archbishop Hincmar of Rheims’s De divortio Lotharii regis et Theutbergae reginae. Surviving in a single manuscript produced under Hincmar’s own guidance, On the divorce of King Lothar and Queen Theutberga offers eye-opening insight not only on the political wrangling of the time (in which Hincmar was a major participant), but also on early medieval attitudes towards a host of issues including magic, penance, gender, the ordeal, marriage, sodomy, the role of bishops, and kingship. The translation is cross-referenced to Letha Böhringer’s MGH edition and includes a substantial introduction and annotations which put the case into its early medieval context and explain Hincmar’s sometimes-dubious methods of argument.

The text provides fascinating insights into Carolingian society and will make an ideal source text for many undergraduate courses on medieval gender and sexuality, magic or kingship. It will also appeal to all academics and non-specialists interested in this most lurid of cases.


Mistress of everything:: Queen Victoria in Indigenous worlds (Studies in Imperialism MUP)

1st Edition – 1 September 2016 (US) & 1 July 2016 (UK)

Mistress of everything examines how indigenous people across Britain’s settler colonies engaged with Queen Victoria in their lives and predicaments, incorporated her into their political repertoires, and implicated her as they sought redress for the effects of imperial expansion during her long reign. It draws together empirically rich studies from Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Southern Africa, to provide scope for comparative and transnational analysis.

The book includes chapters on a Maori visit to Queen Victoria in 1863, meetings between African leaders and the Queen’s son Prince Alfred in 1860, gift-giving in the Queen’s name on colonial frontiers in Canada and Australia, and Maori women’s references to Queen Victoria in support of their own chiefly status and rights. The collection offers an innovative approach to interpreting and including indigenous perspectives within broader histories of British imperialism and settler colonialism.

About Moniek Bloks 2662 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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