Author Topic: Books/Movies on the Tudors and Plantagenets  (Read 80493 times)

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Offline Elisabeth

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Re: Books/Movies on the Tudors and Plantagenets
« Reply #105 on: November 12, 2005, 01:01:12 PM »
I agree that Philippa Gregory's Tudor novels are unreadable, with the sole exception of The Other Boleyn Girl, which seemed to me noteworthy if only because it was so completely over the top... Anne Boleyn is portrayed as the ultimate villainess, not only a witch, but an evil temptress who would seduce her very own brother if it would give her an heir to the throne... Sorry, can't take this seriously as historical fiction at all, but it made for a very good read. You just have to suspend your disbelief entirely (out with historical facts and probabilities) and go along for the ride. It's a melodrama, a soap opera, with a heavy dose of the Gothic, like "Dark Shadows" or something. In other words, don't read it for the  historical nuance, because there is none - no: just enjoy the camp. ;)

As for me, I have just finished rereading Anya Seton's Green Darkness, a novel about reincarnation set in Tudor times (which are brilliantly portrayed indeed!), with brief cameo appearances by our very own Ed, Mary and Lizzy. And currently I am reading, for the first time, on the strong recommendation of our dear Prince and others here, Katherine, by the same author. What can I say, it's superb! Even better than Green Darkness. In fact, I can't believe I've never read this novel before - how much I've missed out on! Seton is absolutely the exemplary historical novelist, I can't even imagine how much research time went into both these books... not to mention the fact that she's a brilliant storyteller. She makes writers like Gregory and even George and Jarman seem pale and inadequate by comparison. She is truly a master of her genre. I can't recommend these books highly enough... read them both! You will not be disappointed, in fact, you will be elated! What a pity that Seton didn't write more historical novels set during the Plantagenet and Tudor eras! What a loss! I wish she were still alive so that I could send her a fan letter. Yes, she's utterly brilliant, my current fave rave.    
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Offline Prince_Lieven

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Re: Books/Movies on the Tudors and Plantagenets
« Reply #106 on: November 12, 2005, 01:14:54 PM »
Hurrah! We successfully converted Elisabeth to Anya Seton!  ;) Glad you like it. I think the characters are wonderfully portrayed, though sometimes I wondered why Katherine loved John so much! And it was a little irksome that although Blanche of Lancaster was beautiful, no other women wear, even the Fair Maid of Kent, so as not to overshadow Katherine. But a fab book!  :D

BTW, I just bought 'When Christ and His Saints Slept' and 'Time and Chance' today, as well as 'The Last Medieval Queens' about the roles of Elizabeth of York and her three immediate predeccessors.
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Offline bell_the_cat

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Re: Books/Movies on the Tudors and Plantagenets
« Reply #107 on: November 12, 2005, 01:23:22 PM »
Quote
as well as 'The Last Medieval Queens' about the roles of Elizabeth of York and her three immediate predeccessors.


Is this the one by Joanna Laynesmith? It's a scholarly study of late mediaeval "queenship". It sounds very good indeed.
Never put off until tomorrow what you can put off until the day after tomorrow. (Mark Twain)

Offline Prince_Lieven

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Re: Books/Movies on the Tudors and Plantagenets
« Reply #108 on: November 12, 2005, 01:49:04 PM »
Yes, that's the one, I can't wait to read it but I have a long waiting list! I also bought 'The Image of the King' - a character study in contrast about Charles I and Charles II, and a book about the Valois kings of France, so I have a lot to read!  ;)
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Prince_Lieven »
"How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?"
-Sherlock Holmes

"Men forget, but never forgive; women forgive, but never forget."

Offline bell_the_cat

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Re: Books/Movies on the Tudors and Plantagenets
« Reply #109 on: November 12, 2005, 01:56:17 PM »
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Yes, that's the one, I can't wait to read it but I have a long waiting list! I also bought 'The Image of the King' - a character study in contrast about Charles I and Charles II, and a book about the Valois kings of France, so I have a lot to read!  ;)


There's a review of it here:

http://www.history.ac.uk/reviews/paper/gibbons.html


Never put off until tomorrow what you can put off until the day after tomorrow. (Mark Twain)

Offline Helen_Azar

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Re: Books/Movies on the Tudors and Plantagenets
« Reply #110 on: November 12, 2005, 02:15:57 PM »
I just added two of the Seton books to my library request list, I hope I can get through the others I plan on reading soon... Thanks Elisabeth and PL for the recommendations!

P.S. Green Darkness is listed in my library under 'Young Adult', is it supposed to be for teenagers, or is it just a mistake?
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by helenazar »

Offline Helen_Azar

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Re: Books/Movies on the Tudors and Plantagenets
« Reply #111 on: November 12, 2005, 02:27:04 PM »
Did you guys know that in Seton's "Katherine" there is a forward by... Philippa Gregory - AAAHHH!  :o  






Offline Elisabeth

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Re: Books/Movies on the Tudors and Plantagenets
« Reply #112 on: November 12, 2005, 03:23:20 PM »
Quote
I just added two of the Seton books to my library request list, I hope I can get through the others I plan on reading soon... Thanks Elisabeth and PL for the recommendations!

P.S. Green Darkness is listed in my library under 'Young Adult', is it supposed to be for teenagers, or is it just a mistake?


Well, it's true that I myself first read Green Darkness as a teenager, but now, two decades later, I can honestly say I found it just as enjoyable the second time around. Maybe part of this pleasure is due to nostalgia, who knows, but I think Seton's historical research and her storytelling gift speak for themselves... IMO if you can get around the kind of "juvenile" narrative "frame" of Green Darkness (the 1960s characters and setting that begin and end the book, and the whole reincarnation theme, which I admit I actually liked), then the bulk of the book, set in Tudor times, is intensely pleasurable... I just can't think of another author who so ably knits together the historical and fictional. Most of the settings in this book are actual places that you can visit, including Ightham Mote, the castle where the skeleton of a "walled up girl" was found in the 1870s. This story provided the inspiration to Seton for Green Darkness, a tale of forbidden love and its fatal consequences.
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Offline Prince_Lieven

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Re: Books/Movies on the Tudors and Plantagenets
« Reply #113 on: November 12, 2005, 03:33:53 PM »
BTW, has anyone heard of a book 'A Bloody Field at Shrewsbury' or something like that? I can't remember the author, but I think it is about Henry V and Sir Henry 'Hotspur' Percy. Anyone read it?
"How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?"
-Sherlock Holmes

"Men forget, but never forgive; women forgive, but never forget."

Offline Kimberly

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Re: Books/Movies on the Tudors and Plantagenets
« Reply #114 on: November 12, 2005, 03:34:59 PM »
Oh Elisabeth, what a joy to discuss books. I loved Green Darkness and also give her "Avalon" a try, it is wonderful. Also on your wishlist must go Barbara Erskine's "Child of the Phoenix", I couldn't put it down. Neither of these are Tudor/Plantagenet history but both are superb.
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Offline Prince_Lieven

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Re: Books/Movies on the Tudors and Plantagenets
« Reply #115 on: November 12, 2005, 03:43:14 PM »
Well, Child of the Phoenix is sort of Plantagenet history. I'm reading it at the moment (bought it at Kim's insistence  ;)) and I'm loving it! :)
"How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?"
-Sherlock Holmes

"Men forget, but never forgive; women forgive, but never forget."

Offline Elisabeth

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Re: Books/Movies on the Tudors and Plantagenets
« Reply #116 on: November 12, 2005, 03:43:27 PM »
Oh, Kim, what a pleasure to meet another fan of Green Darkness! I was beginning to think I was alone in appreciating this book... I guess I have a strong sentimental attachment to it.

And many thanks for all the recommendations. I didn't know about Avalon and will definitely try to find it. I want to read everything by Seton now... the only other book I've located by her is set in Stuart times and is called Devil Water, but I haven't started it yet (still busy devouring Katherine!).  
... I love my poor earth
because I have seen no other

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Offline elena_maria_vidal

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Re: Books/Movies on the Tudors and Plantagenets
« Reply #117 on: November 13, 2005, 08:14:52 PM »
Right now, I am watching the new BBC"The Virgin Queen" with Ann-Marie Duff. She is good and looks the part. However, I am not really liking the show. But I am only 15 minutes into it. I would appreciate some feedback if any of you Tudor experts happen to see it....

Offline Kimberly

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Re: Books/Movies on the Tudors and Plantagenets
« Reply #118 on: November 19, 2005, 01:40:53 PM »
This one applies especially to my friend Helen A..... hey on BBC Radio 5 next thursday, the divine Ms. Gregory is discussing her "noo bess sella" The Constant Princess. I will be sure and listen to what the lady has to say ;)  (3pm onwards GMT)
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Kimberly »
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Offline Elisabeth

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Re: Books/Movies on the Tudors and Plantagenets
« Reply #119 on: November 22, 2005, 03:28:01 PM »
Dear Kim, I hope you and Helen will tune us in to the interview on BBC Radio with Ms. Gregory... I want to hear all about it, especially since it appears to be scheduled for Thanksgiving Day here in the US (a day of overeating, overindulgence and ultimately major boredom, unless you like football, IMO).

Just to keep you posted on my Anya Seton craze, currently I am reading her book "The Winthrop Woman," which is not admittedly about Tudor times but constantly harkens back to them (the good old days, when you could dance and sing and bring in the May to your heart's content, that sort of thing, before the dreary Puritans took hold). The heroine, Elizabeth Fones Winthrop, is, as always with Seton's heroines, superlatively beautiful, not a dreary Puritan although she does her best. She is obviously meant to leave Charles I's increasingly repressive England and emigrate to the New World, that is, New England - no doubt to find greater scope for her beauty and sex appeal if not her religious principles - only I haven't got so far in the book yet. It's rather long. Has anyone else here read it? Yeah, in case you haven't guessed I'm totally hooked on Anya Seton at the moment. Can't find "Avalon" anywhere but will keep looking... as a matter of principle! LOL and thanks again for all the recommendations. ;)
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Elisabeth »
... I love my poor earth
because I have seen no other

-- Osip Mandelshtam