Book Review: Six Tudor Queens – Katherine of Aragon by Alison Weir

I was ecstatic to receive a hardback copy of Katherine of Aragon The True Queen by Alison Weir in the post the other week from Bookbridgr. I am a huge fan of British history especially the Tudor era. I get my love of history from my mum. She has hundreds of history books and I’m definitely going to pass this book onto her. 
I have never heard of the author Alison Weir before I came upon this book. I am more familiar with Philippa Gregory’s series of books. I am so glad I discovered  the first book of The Six Tudor Queen series. That’s right, this book is the first of six, detailing the lives of all Henry VIII’s six wives. 
Do you remember the rhyme from school to remember how they all died? It’s one of the things I still remember from history class funnily enough. 
Katherine of Aragon – Divorced
Anne Boleyn – Beheaded
Jane Seymour – Died
Anne of Cleves – Divorced
Catherine Howard – Beheaded
Catherine Parr – Survived
Six Tudor Queens - Katherine of Aragon The True Queen by Alison Weir

Book Description

A Spanish princess. Raised to be modest, obedient and devout. Destined to be an English Queen.
Six weeks from home across treacherous seas, everything is different: the language, the food, the weather. And for her there is no comfort in any of it. At sixteen years-old, Catalina is alone among strangers.
She misses her mother. She mourns her lost brother.
She cannot trust even those assigned to her protection.
KATHERINE OF ARAGON. The first of Henry’s Queens. Her story.
Six Tudor Queens - Katherine of Aragon The True Queen by Alison Weir
My Review

Katherine of Aragon The True Queen is a very beautiful book. My first impression was wow! It’s got a stunning inside cover beautifully designed. A lovely portrait of Katherine of Aragon. As you turn the first couple of pages you come across her family tree. One side is of her Spanish ancestors and the other is of the English Tudor period of 1501. This book tells us her life story from when she first came to England in 1501 to marry Henry VII’s son Arthur who wasn’t a very well person.
She then moves on to marry Henry VIII of course and they have a daughter Mary. Katherine tries to give him a son but is unsuccessful. So Henry decides to divorce her and move on to someone who can. Anne Bolelyn.

Alison Weir is a fantastic historian writer. She makes you feel as if your are right there in the book. You must remember though its a novel not a non-fiction book. Weir puts her own spin on Katherine of Aragon and makes her the centre of the story. This is her journey not Henry VIII’s which I really love. 
I really cannot wait until the next book is out. Anne Bolelyn’s story is probably the most famous one and I have to admit my favourite.
Thanks to Bookbridgr for my advanced copy.
I have given Six Tudor Queens: Katherine of Aragon by Alison Weir 5 out of 5 stars.
Hardback Edition 597 pages
Published 5th May by Headline Review

Are you a fan of The Tudors?


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Book Review: The Lost Concerto by Helaine Mario

I love a good thriller, in fact it’s one of my favourite genres, and The Lost Concerto by Helaine Mario mixes classical music, with mystery and intrigue. 
I am not a huge classical music fan but, I was willing to give this book a go as it looks like a great thrill. The jacket on the hardback version which I received to review from Oceanview Publishing, does not give much way picture wise. This makes it very visually appealing and wanting the reader to find out what it’s all about. 
                     

Book Description

A woman and her young son flee to a convent on a remote island off the Breton coast of France. Generations of seafarers have named the place Ile de la Brume, or Fog Island. In a chapel high on a cliff, a tragic death occurs and a terrified child vanishes into the mist.

The child’s godmother, Maggie O’Shea, haunted by the violent deaths of her husband and best friend, has withdrawn from her life as a classical pianist. But then a recording of unforgettable music and a grainy photograph surface, connecting her missing godson to a long-lost first love.

The photograph will draw Maggie inexorably into a collision course with criminal forces, decades-long secrets, stolen art and musical artifacts, and deadly terrorists. Her search will take her to the Festival de Musique, Aix-en-Provence, France, where she discovers answers to the mystery surrounding her husband’s death, an unexpected love—and a musical masterpiece lost for centuries.

             

My Review

It didn’t take me very long to read this book. The chapters are very short and well written. The author has written this book in a very beautiful way, describing the locations with an artistic feel. 
The main character Maggie, a concert pianist, is a strong female lead and has been through a great deal of heartache with the deaths of her husband and best friend, and now her godson missing. This has led her to give up on music and go in search of her missing godson Tommy. Maggie embarks on a journey that takes her into a world of stolen art, music and terrorism, and not all is what it seems. There is also a romantic element to the book in the form of Maggie’s ex-lover, and this gives us another dimension into her character.
There are many twists and turns along the way, that made it a bit hard to keep up. Especially as I was turning each page quickly to see what happens next! 
I would really recommend this book to thriller/mystery fans even if you are not fans of classical music/art. I know that I will re-read it one day so I have more time to take it all in and not speed through it at 100mph like I did this time. I think this book deserves it.
I have given The Lost Concerto by Helaine Mario 5 out of 5 stars.
Hardback Edition 443 pages
Published 1st July 2015 by Oceanview Publishing
Rachel xx
Disclaimer I was given this hardback copy to read and review free of charge from Oceanview Publishing through Tomoson. All opinions and views expressed are my own. Book description taken from Tomoson.com for purpose for this review only.

Book Review: The Confession of Thomas Hawkins by Antonia Hodgson

My first thoughts on this book was that it looked like a really interesting read. I haven’t read that many historical crime fiction, but was totally absorbed and intrigued by the cover of this one. 
Book Description

Spring, 1728. A young, well-dressed man is dragged through the streets of London to the gallows at Tyburn. The crowds jeer and curse as he passes, calling him a murderer. He tries to remain calm. His name is Tom Hawkins and he is innocent. Somehow he has to prove it, before the rope squeezes the life out of him.



It is, of course, all his own fault. He was happy with Kitty Sparks. Life was good. He should never have told the most dangerous criminal in London that he was ‘bored and looking for adventure’. He should never have offered to help Henrietta Howard, the king’s mistress, in her desperate struggles with a brutal husband. And most of all, he should never have trusted the witty, calculating Queen Caroline. She has promised him a royal pardon if he holds his tongue but then again, there is nothing more silent than a hanged man.

Based loosely on actual events, Antonia Hodgson’s new novel is both a sequel to The Devil in the Marshalsea and a standalone historical mystery. From the gilded cage of the Court to the wicked freedoms of the slums, it reveals a world both seductive and deadly. And it continues the rake’s progress of Tom Hawkins – assuming he can find a way to survive the noose…
           

When I decided I wanted to read this novel, I didn’t realise that it was a sequel to The Devil in the Marshalsea, but anyway I decided to give it a go. I am really glad I did, and felt that it didn’t matter that I hadn’t read the previous novel. 
The setting of the novel is in the deep grotty slums of London in the 1700’s. The way the book is written gives you a great picture of this time with the corruption and violence that seems to be all around you. The main character Thomas is such a likable character, and I was rooting for him all the time as we try to discover who actually dunnit?
The one thing I enjoyed about the book was that it is actually loosely based on real events, this to me gives it a sense of reality and truth behind the story.
My overall thoughts is that you will be taken on a fabulous ride with this thriller through grimy London and be guessing all the way! I have enjoyed it very much and look forward to going back and reading The Devil in the Marshalsea.
I have given The Confession of Thomas Hawkins by Antonia Hodgson 4 out of 5 stars.
Hardback Edition
Published 4th June 2015 by Hodder & Stoughton
Rachel xx
Disclaimer I was given this hardback edition to read and review free of charge from Bookbridgr. All opinions and views expressed are my own.