I am in the very pleasant position of having too much to read, for over the past few days, I’ve added several new nonfiction books to my collection. So, taking a cue from Kathryn’s post, I thought I would mention some of them.
First and foremost is Michael Hicks’ The Wars of the Roses. I was reading this last night, and from what I’ve seen so far, it’s excellent–a balanced, well-researched account of the wars and the men and women involved in the conflict. Hicks has his share of detractors, mainly those unhappy about his unfavorable portrayal of Richard III, but I would recommend this book even to those readers, as no one, including Henry VII, is whitewashed here from what I’ve seen from reading selected portions of it.
Next, I got a copy of Elizabeth Norton’s new book, Margaret Beaufort: Mother of the Tudor Dynasty. On a skim, I’ve seen some glitches (such as Norton’s having Margaret of Anjou present at the Battle of Wakefield), but on the whole this seems to be a decent, if not ground-breaking, introduction to Margaret Beaufort’s life. I like the fact that Norton included an appendix of Margaret’s letters.
I also received a copy of Desmond Seward’s The Last White Rose, about the rebellions that dogged Henry VII and Henry VIII, but I haven’t had a chance to give it even a skim.
Moving away from England to France for the moment, I’ve received a review copy of Tracy Adams’ The Life and Afterlife of Isabeau of Bavaria, which explores the myths that have grown up around Isabeau of Bavaria, wife to Charles VI of France. I’m particularly interested in reading this book because of the parallels between Isabeau and Margaret of Anjou, who married Isabeau’s grandson Henry VI: both were married to kings who went mad, thrusting their queens into roles of power, and both have been treated badly by history.
I can’t forget my Kindle! I’ve downloaded Kate Williams’ Becoming Queen Victoria, which is about not only the young Victoria but about Princess Charlotte, whose tragic death paved the way for Victoria to become queen. I also have 1536: The Year That Changed Henry VIII by Suzannah Lipscomb on my Kindle.
Finally, I’m anticipating receiving John Goodall’s God’s House at Ewelme, about the almshouse that was established in 1437 by William de la Pole and his wife Alice Chaucer, then the Earl and Countess of Suffolk, and that still exists today, administered by the Ewelme Trust. The book, which I checked out from the library a while back but, alas, had to return, has a great deal of information about the history of the foundation, so I’m looking forward to re-reading it and discussing it on this blog.
Despite all of these books, I went to Borders yesterday and felt unfulfilled when I walked out without buying any new ones. It’s a disease–what else can I say?