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Hello, my name is Valorie. I have a Master's Degree in History and a license to teach-- I have been both university professor and public school teacher. Currently, I am a middle school social studies teacher. I love horror movies and spooky things. Every day is Halloween. I am also a passionate book blogger.

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Book Review: 23:27 by H.L. Roberts

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Book Review: The Tudor Rose by Margaret Campbell Barnes

Title: The Tudor Rose
Author: Margaret Campbell Barnes
Genre: Fiction - Historical
Finished: January 9, 2009

Tudor Rose follows the tumultuous events of the life of Elizabeth of York, one of the Plantagenet and the rightful heir to the throne after her father dies and her uncle Richard has her two brothers murdered. Once a young girl with high hopes of being married off to French royalty, dreams that are never realized as the nature of political alliance complicates happiness, Elizabeth (Bess) is thrown into drama and intrigue when, just as her young brother Edward is to be crowned King, he is sent to the Tower of London. Not soon after, so too is her brother Richard. With both sons out of the way, presumed and then verified dead, her father's brother, the noble Richard rises to the thrown. She is caught in the middle of an uncle she fears is a murderer and may soon either murder or wish to marry her, and a political alliance with one of the Tudor family in exile. In a plot to rid herself of her uncle, she promises young Henry that she will marry him and give him the crown if he kills her uncle. Yet it is no happily ever after for them as Elizabeth soon finds that their marriage will not be one of love. After a lifetime of disappointment and fear, she must now endure a husband who is not only ambitious, but entirely awkward at ways of love. His brand of affection is vexing for her indeed. Feeling unloved, Elizabeth must find reasons and things within her life to bring her pleasure. And, as she hopes, to make the husband she gave her crown and the power over all of England to love her finally. Amidst disappointment, fear, and grief, the two of them I very much enjoyed Tudor Rose, as it is one of my first forays into the realm of Tudor fiction, which is apparently all the rage. Not knowing much about the time period or the family itself, I cannot attest to the historical accuracy of the novel besides saying that the author has taken great pains to bring life and complexity into each and every character. Whether the personalities are true to the people, I liked that each and every one was distinct and evolving, not superficial. Though of course the "everyone loves Bess, she's perfect and no one can resist her charms and adores her" was a little bit annoying. It took it to that "romance novel" level of perfect lead female characters that I just cannot stand. She was your typical tragic female character who is perfect despite all and suffers through misfortune that only makes her ever more adored by those around her. Not my type of character. I was also a bit put off by how quickly certain events moved. It seemed throughout the novel that the author was setting us up for something big and climactic, but then it would all come to an end in the beginning of the first chapter with a few sentences to explain it was taken care of. It felt rather disappointing to be set up for so much drama, only to not get to witness it being played out. This was more common in the beginning on the novel, which I suppose is understandable because to cover everything would have made the book of considerable length. There was enough to fill up the pages, and not everything was brushed over anti-climactic. I read the book in its entirely in a hotel room in San Diego and very much enjoyed every moment of the experience. I even found myself looking forward to returning to the hotel room to finish the book.

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