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Carpe Librum

Bookish conversation with author Samantha Wilcoxson.


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Historical Novel Society

Tudor Kings and Queens by Alex Woolf

The Tudor Kings & Queens - Alex Woolf

This brief introduction to the Tudor dynasty is a balanced and well organized summary of an era that can easily become confusing and overwhelming. Ideal for students, people who are new to the period, or those who would like a basic understanding without years of study, Woolf's Tudor Kings and Queens keeps things relatively simple and uses an easy to read narrative tone.


One of the elements that I appreciated about this book was the unbiased look at each monarch. It is so easy to fall into the trap of making a villain of one person to glorify another. Woolf treats each king and queen with the respect they deserve, pointing out both strengths and weaknesses, or when more time might have allowed them to prove themselves more satisfactorily.


I was somewhat disappointed to see Edward VI and Mary I joined together in one section, while the chapters on Elizabeth took up nearly 40% of the book. But, my own feelings for her aside, Elizabeth's reign was much longer than either of her unfortunate siblings. Though the attention given to Elizabeth is appropriately more substantial, she is not overly praised, and her mistakes and faults of character are included just as they are for the other Tudors.


At 128 pages, this book includes a treasure trove of information, including pictures, for one not familiar with the Tudor dynasty without reading like a textbook. 


Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for my copy of this book. Opinions expressed are my own.