Book Review No. 29 - The Private Lives of the Tudors by Tracy Borman
Come on in, sit and stay awhile. Grab some tea or coffee, I'm going to talk about a spectacular book about Tudor England. Tracy Borman's well researched book "The Private Lives of the Tudors" starts with Henry VII and goes through the Tudor monarchs until Elizabeth I.
If you are new to the blog, or if you haven't figured it out yet I adore everything British. This book is also about one my favorite time-periods. If you have ever read a a Phillipa Gregory novel, you know what I am talking about.
Now, I like reading tons of material about this time period. What I enjoyed about this book was that is didn't get bogged down in all the politics or agendas of the time. Granted, that stuff is important, but sometimes it get to be too much. Borman shows another side to English monarchs, what when on behind closed doors. She explores everything from what foods they like to eat, how they spent their money, and how much they loved clothing. She also takes a look at important supporting characters (spouses, lovers, confidants), and how hard they worked for their sovereigns.
This is a much more intimate look at their lives, and truly how much work it went into their royal appearance. They were expected to be perfection, the ideal, and that cost dearly. Not only the monetary cost, but it also played a hefty toll on their bodies and mental health. This has a lot of detailed information, some of it a tad gross (like the Groom of the Stool), but I guess that just shows how difference in cultural norms.
Borman writes a great narrative, although you are reading a history biography it doesn't really feel like it. She captures the personality of each monarch well, exploring how they influences the world around them in significant ways. I devoured this in about 4 days, staying up past my bedtime a few nights. I recommend for anyone interested in the Tudor dynasty, English history, or just a good peak at this historical period.