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Saturday, September 24, 2011

My review of The Tudor Throne by Brandy Purdy

About the book:

In the wake of King Henry VIII's death, England's throne is left in a precarious state—as is the peculiar relationship between his two daughters. Mary, the elder, once treasured, had been declared a bastard in favor of her flame-haired half-sister, Elizabeth, born of the doomed Anne Boleyn. Yet the bond between the sisters was palpable from the start. Now reinstated, Mary eventually assumes her place as queen. But as Mary's religious zeal evolves into a reign of terror, young Elizabeth gains the people's favor. Gripped by a tormenting paranoia, Mary is soon convinced that her beloved Elizabeth is in fact her worst enemy. And the virginal Elizabeth, whose true love is her country, must defy her tyrannical sister to make way for a new era. . .

My review:

I'm a big fan of Tudor era novels...usually. There were some excellent portrayals in this novel, like the characterization of the two sisters' beliefs and how they saw the world through varied lenses, that made it compelling at times. I had to admire Elizabeth's love for England and pity Mary for being fooled by Prince Philip into thinking she actually meant something to him. What a sad thing to say in your last days... "All I ever wanted was to be loved." The portrayal of their differences when it came to England's salvation or ruin was compelling too. So many people died needlessly and with such cruelty done to them for worshiping God in their own way. Many people were persecuted for their faith in those days and it always saddens me when leaders crush their own people for reasons such as this. 

Now on to the stuff I didn't like. I had a hard time buying all of the sexual stuff. The cakes and ale guy was annoying and disgusting. I don't know if what he had done in this story actually happened to Elizabeth in real life, but if it had then he was even more of a scum than this story portrays. The way this was written reminded me of a Middle Ages version of Lolita and that sordid tale. Ick is all I have to say about that. 

If the editor had cut the explicit sex scenes that didn't add to the story but made it seem cheap, then this novel would have ranked higher in my mind. The author has a real knack for writing the first person point of view. It's clearly her strength. But adding so much erotic content to make it feel like a lewd novel with modernized debased behavior in the story left a lot to be desired for me. Thankfully that wasn't the entire book. 

Sometimes I'd be reading along and think the story was a great portrayal of history, then something nasty or erotic happened and I lost my enthusiasm for the story. This is a great example of how explicit sexual content in a book can ruin it for me. The three star rating is for the parts of the story that were insightful and in good taste. The rest...yuck. I would rather read Elizabeth Chadwick or Philippa Gregory's novels, which are done in better taste. That's my two cents.

The Tudor Throne was published by Kensington and released in July 2011.

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