• Valerie Nijssen

What I Read - February 2018

Updated: Apr 28, 2019

Hi everyone!

It is the end of the month already which means I can say proudly that I also achieved my goal of reading 4 books this month! These are the books I have read and enjoyed this month.

I have loved reading Giovanna Fletcher's Somekind of Wonderful which is a tale of self reliance and how tragedy of life's unexpected changes can ultimately be a blessing in disquise. I also loved reading 'Pamela'or 'A virtue restored'by Samuel Richardson which is a classic. But one book has been my absolute favorite this month.

Lucy Worsley - Eliza Rose

Lucy Worsley is a woman I admire a lot, she is a historian, a curator at historic royal palaces and a brilliant writer. I love her tv documentaries and her non fiction books. Recently though Lucy fentured into the world of fiction and Eliza Rose is the result of that. Being categorized as a children's book I was hesitant to pick this up but I am very happy that this did not refrain me from doing it any way as it really is suitable for grown ups as well. 

Now one thing to keep in mind is that this book is not a 100% historically accurate. If it would be then it would not be fiction either. I want to clarify this as I always see so many reviews on historic fiction claiming that readers did not like the book because of this. If you prefer historic books that are completely informative and accurate then this may not be your cup of tea. 

In her book we meet Eliza Rose or officially Elizabeth Rose Camperdowne at the age of 12 when she is living in Stoneton castle with her father, Baron of Stone and her aunt Margaret. Elizabeth is the only child of Baron Stone and therefore the heir of Stoneton Castle. Due to most of the family's wealth being taken away by the crown due to her uncle (who was a trator), Elizabeth is expected to make a laventatious marriage in order to rise in station and for the good of Stoneton. 

 This novel takes us from Stoneton Castle to Trumpton Hall, where Eliza is sent to be educated with other girls, including her cousin, Katherine Howard, and then on to Court. Although Eliza never existed she is very much a real and vibrant character in the books. She is teased a lot at Trumpton Hall due to her country ways and her somewhat fallen family. Eliza is proud, sometimes snobbish, speaks before she thinks but also kind and really smart. We get to see the evolving relationship of Eliza with her cousin Katherine Howard, Katherine is the beautiful, flirtatious and popular girl everyone looks up to, and Elizabeth kind of stands in her shadow. There is rivalry between the girls and their opposite characters makes their bond so dynamic.

We follow the two cousins to court as they serve as maids of honour to the kings German princess Anne Of Cleves. We meet a lot of courtiers such as Will Somers the kings fool and jester and the relationships they have with the two ladies.  Ultimately we all know how Katherine Howard catched the eye of Henry VIII and how she became his fifth queen, what I really loved though is that Lucy gave a new dynamic point of view behind Katherine's questionable actions as queen. In pretty much every book about Henry's queens Katherine is villivied and perceived as a adulterous pleasure loving airhead, and it is refreshing (eventhough it is fiction) to see a different motivation behind Katherine's actions.

Eliza's courage is put to the test when she is left as the only maid to serve Katherine at her imprisonment at Syon Abbey. With no news from court as to where the trial was heading we see a hopefull Katherine slowly accepting the fact that her fate would lead to execution. Eliza gets a full account from Katherine as to what actually happened and what the motivations were for the dangerous choices Katherine had made. It is really heartbreaking to find the two woman in this tense and traumatic situation and how Eliza eventually recovers from that.

In the months after Katherine's execution Eliza is left with a choise as the king now starts to presuit her. Will she choose for the future of her family at the cost of her own happiness and maybe even her life? Or does she choose her own happiness?

I absolutely loved this book, although fictional, it is great to know that most of the facts about the timing of certain events and the surroundings are very much true to fact. If you love Lucy's storytelling on screen then I am sure you will love this book. As I finished the last page of this book I immediately went online to order her second novel about Queen Victoria. I am thrilled that there is a third book about Princess Mary Tudor available for preorder as well and I am sure that if this book is anything to go on that I will love those as well.

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