Saturday, July 23, 2011

Mary & Elizabeth

The Tudor Throne by Brandy Purdy
(published in the UK as Mary & Elizabeth by Emily Purdy)

While I always enjoy reading new historical fiction, at times it feels like I've read so much on the Tudor reign that it's difficult to read more. Not that I don't still enjoy that time period, but more that there only so many different ways one can reread the same basic story.

The Tudor Throne starts at the ends of Henry VIII's reign, and continues through both Edward VI's and Mary's reign. It's told from both Mary's and Elizabeth's points of view in alternating chapters, which means while I might have liked the story to continue through Elizabeth's reign, the fact that Mary's story would have to end means it would no longer be the same book.

It's interesting as I've read more from this period how I can pick out historical details and see how the author used them to their advantage. For example, we know that the order to Katherine Parr's arrest was dropped, and since someone found it she was able to go to the King and apologize, and thus was never actually arrested. But no one knows who actually found the note and warned the Queen. Here Purdy uses that story to show Elizabeth's loyalty to her stepmother as she is the one in the book who does this act.

One thing that stood out to me in the book is how almost bawdy it is. I think we read about the past Queens & Kings and expect them to act with the decorum befitting royalty today. And while I think they did act above the average person, I don't believe their behavior, if seen today, would come off as exactly dignified. That's not to say the characters come off as common in the book, but more some of the scenes and behaviors are almost lewd, in a way similar to what you'd find at a Renaissance Faire today.

Overall I did enjoy the book. I believe I've read books from this time period from Mary's & Elizabeth's points of view individually, but not necessarily within the same book. I do think that if this is a time period you're interested in, but haven't read a lot about, these books could be a great introduction to the story.


Disclosure: I was provided this book from the author for review. All opinions expressed are my own.


  1. Great review! Do you mean Katherine Parr?

  2. Haha, yes I do! But it sure would have been something if Katherine Howard was somehow saved yet? But its since been corrected

  3. Yes it would have! She almost had a chance when they thought it was just her precontract that nullified the marriage. Poor girl.

  4. I went through a Tudor phase and had to take a break. I'm curious about this one. I still love reading about the Tudors.

    You never know, there could be more bloggers in your area. It was a lot of fun. Happy Reading!