Henry VIII – Cause for Celebration?

Henry VIIINicola here. Today is the 510th anniversary of the coronation of Henry VIII. Despite my very mixed feelings about Henry and his Dad, it feels like the sort of occasion I can’t ignore, particularly as my next timeslip is set in the Tudor period, albeit later in the reign of Henry’s younger daughter, Elizabeth. A decade ago, when it was the quincentenary of Henry's coronation, there were a number of celebrations to mark the occasion. But is Henry someone who we want to celebrate?

Henry VIII bestrides English history like a colossus both in terms of physical size and reputation. Not many kings or queens can compete with his fame. Was this solely down to the fact that he had six wives and beheaded two of them? A number of other British monarchs have had more than one spouse but none of them make the headlines (sorry, bad pun) like Henry still does. As someone who enjoys exploring the myths and legends about historical characters as much as I enjoy the “real” history, I thought I’d take a look at “Why is Henry VIII still so big” (in the sense of popular culture.) I call it “the afterlife” of Henry VIII.

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What We’re Reading in March

 … and what a medley it is.

Joanna here, with some lovely book suggestions from all of us.Wench bujold

I’m rereading one of Lois MlcMaster Bujold’s books. The Curse of Chalion. I picked it up at the library because the librarian had it out on the Recommended Shelf and I was reminded of it. 

When we reread books we sometimes come at them a little differently or, at least, I do. This time, when I approached Bujold’s broken, exhausted, emotionally and psychically destroyed protagonist I was better able to see the honorable man beneath. It’s a new way for me to look at heroism and I’m hoping to learn from it.

This is not a Romance, but it’s a satisfying portrayal of a complex protagonist and — yes — a bit of a love story.

 

Andrea writes:

I’m a big fan of Charles Finch’s historical mysteries—I find his Charles Lenox series, set in early Victorian England, an absolute delight. So it’s always a treat when a new one comes out.

Now, Finch has done something really interesting with the series. In the first book, A Beautiful Blue Death, which came out 12 years ago, we meet Lenox as an established amateur detective. He’s a cultured, erudite, clever younger son, so his slightly “black sheep” profession is tolerated by family and friends (it helps that he’s such a lovely, sensitive fellow) And throughout the next nine books, we see him develop, take on new challenges, dabble in politics, get married, have a child . . . all while unraveling some very intriguing mysteries.

Wench vanishing manThen lo and behold, like the clever mystery writer he is, Finch suddenly surprised his readers with a unexpected plot twist. In his previous book, The Woman in the Water, the 11th in the series, he started writing a “prequel to the series—we meed Charles as a green cub, just down from Oxford, trying to decide what he wants to do in life. He loves solving conundrums, but everyone thinks he’s a fool to consider it as a possible career. Nonetheless, he keeps reading the papers about crime, and finds he has an idea he thinks may help solve one. The police, of course, dismiss him as fop and

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