Thanks to Pen and Sword for giving me a copy of this to review.
Anyone who follows me on Instagram @tudorblogger would have seen this morning that I was asked to take part in the InstaTour for this book, and I was thrilled to be asked!
I really loved this book, it’s a little gem full of titbits about authors like Arthur Conan Doyle, Oscar Wilde, Geoffrey Chaucer, Charles Dickens, and George Orwell, some of the greats of literary history, and their connections to London. It discusses not only the connections of the authors to London, but their characters as well.
The book divides London down into sections including south, north, west, east, and central, and then into areas inside that including Bridewell, Clerkenwell, Holborn, Kensington, and Whitechapel. There are also some lovely images demonstrating the places in and around London, including blue plaques marking the places where famous writers lived or worked.
There is a very handy list in the back of the book of all of the books mentioned in the main text, classics and modern texts listed alphabetically by author. Reading this book has certainly expanded by want to read list; and that’s already miles long.
It’s amazing all the places and things that you can walk past in London without realising their significance but now I certainly won’t miss any of the bookish spots in London when I’m wandering around with the help of this guide. It’s a little pocket gem!
Thanks to Pen and Sword Books for sending me a copy of this to review.
I really enjoyed this book, and I thought that the conception of 100 objects that could explain Henry VIII and his reign was an interesting one. What didn’t quite work for me, however, was that they aren’t all objects – there are people like Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, and whole places like Eltham Palace.
The book was generally well-researched and much of the information matched what I had read in other places. However, there were several errors which concerned me hence I would give it a 3-star rating rather than the 4-star rating I would otherwise have given. It was said at one point that Anne Boleyn was arrested in 1533 but it was actually 1536, and Margaret Beaufort was described as the Duchess of Richmond when she was actually Countess of Richmond. There were several other similar errors which made me question how much I could believe.
The way the text was written was clear and concise, easy to understand even for those not versed in Tudor history. There were a huge number of images, on almost every page, highlighting the objects described; many from the author’s own collection, which demonstrates that the research was done, and that Kendall has visited and seen many of the places and objects that he describes.
The objects are listed chronologically from Henry VIII’s birth at Greenwich Palace to his burial at Windsor Castle. Each object is accompanied by a description of the events that accompany each object through Henry VIII’s life. It’s a very interesting way to explore the king’s life.
I would recommend this to any Tudor enthusiast, but you need to be aware of the errors throughout. What is particularly interesting about this is the information about the objects rather than the general history. Really well-written and illustrated.
- Page 14 – Anne Boleyn arrested in 1533 but it should be 1536.
- Page 23 – Margaret Beaufort as Duchess of Richmond but should be Countess of Richmond.
- Page 56 – James VI of Scotland killed at Flodden but should be James IV.
- Page 144 – Henry VIII and Jane Seymour married on 20th May but actually betrothed on 20th and married on 30th May.
- Page 184 – Mark Seaton, should be Mark Smeaton.
- Page 208 – Smeaton was hanged but he was actually beheaded.
- Page 265 – Anne of Cleves betrothed to the Marquis of Lorraine, but it was actually the Duke of Lorraine.
- Page 285 – Katherine Howard having an affair with Culpeper aided by Lady Rochford in 1533 but should be 1541.
- Page 296 – Katherine Howard taken to the Tower in 1532 but should be 1542.
- Page 329 – Henry VIII died on 8 January 1547 but should be 28 January 1547.