Tuesday 4 February 2020

THE HERETIC WIND by Judith Arnopp @JudithArnopp

5 out of 5 stars

On Amazon UK
On Amazon.com
On Goodreads

How I discovered this book:  I've read quite a few of this author's books, which speaks for itself.  Originally discovered her via Twitter.

In a Nutshell: Fictional telling of the life of Mary Tudor

I've been so looking forward to reading this book, and I was not disappointed.  It tells the story of Mary Tudor, daughter of Henry VIII and sister of Elizabeth I, in the first person, and alternates between chronological events and instances just before her death; in these, she talks about the events of her life, which are then expanded upon in the main chapters.  The format worked very well; I was engrossed throughout.

Mary has always had a bad press, for being a religious fanatic and burning so many at the stake for heresy, but this book made painfully evident how tragic and lonely her life was, right from childhood, when her father all but abandoned her.  I've always been Team Boleyn, but one could not help having great sympathy for Mary after reading this.  Some think that she was actually insane during the later years of her reign; I am not sure that she wasn't driven to it before that - and, as I read in the author's notes, we can't try to understand her brutal, inhuman actions by relating them to the world we live in now.  I daresay she really did think she was doing God's will.

In all other fiction I've read about her, she is shown to have been besotted with her husband, Phillip of Spain, and her infamous phantom pregnancies being, in part, a deranged attempt to bind her to him; in this book, however, Judith Arnopp illustrates her as being as lukewarm about the marriage as he was.  That she only knew just a hint of real love, with Phillip of Bavaria for just the odd brief day when she was young, is so, so sad.

This is not a very long book, and is a very 'easy read', which I liked, with scant detail surrounding some aspects, but I thought this was cleverly done, because the book is written from Mary's point of view.  Some events would not have been paramount in her thoughts, or she simply might not have known a great deal about them.  For instance, when she is placed in a position to overhear a conversation, in order to let the reader know what was going on, Ms Arnopp does not over-egg the pudding, making it unrealistic.  Snatches of conversation are all she hears.

Highly recommended if you are as much of a Tudor addict as I am!

1 comment:

  1. What a wonderful review! I will definitely be reading this book next.. It is the only one of her booked I haven't read yet.