If you like photos of bebe goats and hamsters and other assorted pampered pets -- as well as kick-ass spinning and knitting -- check out Mindy's new blog.
Meanwhile, I'm trying to catch up with the monthly book reports.
March Book Report: A Tudor Trifecta
Okay, you're gonna laugh, but it was a Tudor Trifecta last month. A couple of different people recommended The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregoy. Now I recall seeing this book at Borders but passed it by, thinking it was a mindless throbbing-member/bodice-ripper. But when more than two people said it was pretty good, I decided to check it out.
The book is a fictionalized biography of Mary and Anne Boleyn, sisters in Tudor England who both became the mistresses of King Henry VIII. Although Henry's queen Katharine is a faithful and devoted wife, she has failed to give birth to a son that would ensure the succession of the Tudor Line. Henry has a wandering eye and frequently takes Katharine's ladies-in-waiting as his mistresses including first Mary and then Anne. Henry manages to get his marriage to Katharine annulled, breaking with the Catholic Church and starting the Anglican Church to make it happen. He marries Anne Boleyn and has her crowned queen. However, Anne also fails to give him the son he so desperately needs. The book ends with the beheading of Anne, based on (probably) trumped-up charges of witchcraft and incest, just as Henry is turning his attention to Jane Seymour...
Although I know that this book is only based on history, and that even the historians do not agree as to what the "historical truth" is (for example, Gregory suggests that Anne Boleyn slept with her brother because she so badly wanted to give Henry VIII a son, and had concluded that Henry was too old or unhealthy to father one), it was still a greatly entertaining read.
Conveniently, Gregory wrote a sequel called The Boleyn Inheritance which picks up just after Jane Seymour dies in childbirth. This book follows Henry's brief marriage to wife No. 4, Anne of Cleves; his annulment of their marriage; and his marriage to No. 5 Katherine Howard (yet another nubile lady-in-waiting). Poor Katherine, who was quite young, ended up on the chopping block, which is where the book ends. Again, although not necessarily true to history, or what we can glean of it, the book was fascinating and entertaining and if nothing else, I now know more about the Tudors then I ever imagined I would.
I was kind of annoyed that there was no sequel to the sequel, because I was wondering about Henry's last wife, Catherine Parr. Lo and behold, I was shopping at Target and saw a book titled The Last Wife of Henry VIII by Carrolly Erickson. Sure enough, it was a fictionalized account of Henry VIII and his last wife, Catherine Parr, the only one who outlived him. It wasn't as well-written as the Gregory books, but it did satisfy my anal-retentive need to finish out the saga of the wives.
I then ended up watching Elizabeth - The Golden Age on cable On Demand. I enjoyed the movie, although it was a bit more melodramatic than I expected. The costumes and scenery were amazing, and Cate Blanchett is a truly wonderful actress. Since Elizabeth I was the daughter of King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, it was interesting to learn a bit more about her life after reading about her parents' ill-fated marriage (again, taking into account that the movie was fictionalized and not always 100% accurate).
After Tudorama, I breezed through Fatal Remedies, by Donna Leon, the latest in her Guido Brunetti series set in Venice.