Book Reviews

The Private Lives of the Tudors: Uncovering the Secrets of Britain's Greatest Dynasty by Tracy Borman

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List Price: £10.99


Paperback: 464 Pages.

Published: 09 March 2017 by Hodder Paperbacks

ISBN: 1444782924

EAN: 9781444782929

The Tudor monarchs were constantly surrounded by an army of attendants, courtiers and ministers. Even in their most private moments, they were accompanied by a servant specifically appointed for the task. A groom of the stool would stand patiently by as Henry VIII performed his daily purges, and when Elizabeth I retired for the evening, one of her female servants would sleep at the end of her bed.

These attendants knew the truth behind the glamorous exterior. They saw the tears shed by Henry VII upon the death of his son Arthur. They knew the tragic secret behind 'Bloody' Mary's phantom pregnancies. And they saw the 'crooked carcass' beneath Elizabeth I's carefully applied makeup, gowns and accessories.

It is the accounts of these eyewitnesses, as well as a rich array of other contemporary sources that historian Tracy Borman has examined more closely than ever before.


4.0 Stars4.0 Stars4.0 Stars4.0 Stars  by Anne

Nothing very new here but an interesting read

The book aims to tell its readers about the private and seemingly unimportant details of the lives of the Tudor monarchs. In that it does succeed and it is interesting to concentrate on the minutia of their lives. The author gives a brief overview of the politics and main events of the time but she concentrates on the aspects of the lives of royalty which are often a footnote or just alluded to in other books with a different focus. Having said this I did find that she really revealed to me nothing that I didn't already know. There are no surprises here if you know anything at all about how sixteenth century people lived - and I'm by no means an expert. What I did like was the way that the book concentrated on what they wore, how they bathed, who slept where and so on rather than on the bigger picture stuff and made it the focus.

The book is very readable and full of the sort of information you will want to share with others as soon as you read it. It makes a great companion piece to a more political history of the time and reminds you that they were all just people irrespective of their rank. Tracy Borman is an historian so the book is written in a sensible style and the content is backed up with evidence - the subject matter may seem frivolous but it is treated seriously and although readable the book avoids being superficial.

I enjoyed this book and found it very interesting. I received a free copy from the publishers via NetGalley.

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