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Book Reviews: The Taming of the Queen + 4 others

The Taming Of The Queen by Philippa Gregory
This is the tale of Henry VIII’s sixth and final wife Kateryn Parr. The deeply ambiguous Henry marries the unwilling Kateryn who uses her new status to develop social skills and personality. Henry is no longer the golden prince and behaves in a deeply offensive way to a wife who he both beloves and resents. The court is a closed community inhospitable to outsiders and a setting for ugly confrontations, misconceptions, raging speculations and capitalist acquisitions.

Kateryn has to show striking deference and hide her self-conscious ennui as her husband’s hubristic catastrophes cause calamity. This is a good tale of self-serving passion. But Henry is portrayed as an OTT psychopath and Gregory’s inability to write in anything other than clichés is unchanged. Still we get evidence of Kateryn’s learning, her influence on the Church of England and on Jane Grey and Elizabeth I.

Best Lines:
“Made me promise to always be loyal to the queen. She never dreamed there would be six of them.”

“No Other Will But His had her lover in the jakes.”

“Anne Boleyn gave birth to her own fate.”

“Think of what he was, and what he is now.”

“You don’t stay a favourite for thirty years by telling the King what you think.”

“God knows William wasn’t appointed Warden of the Marches on his ability.”

“Is this a trap?”

“The Mouldwarp - a beast who was undermining his own kingdom.”

“This is the daughter of a woman who turned England upside down by letting a young king pet her breasts, parlaying lust into influence until she commanded the country.”

“All his honest advisors are dead or disgraced, he has killed all the friends of his childhood.”

“D’you think I can be cosseted by some fools twanging lutes?”

“Conveniently dead Jane.”

“Nobody wants to be in the court of a falling queen.”

Z For Zachariah by Robert C O’Brien
A girl who thinks she is the only survivor of a nuclear war encounters a rapacious fellow survivor. Okay.

Brother In The Land by Robert Swindells
In this 1984 novel, a boy survives nuclear war and encounters martial law, cannibalism, mutations and radiation sickness. This was grim.

Club Dead by Charlaine Harris
This 2003 novel is the 3rd in the ‘Southern Vampire’ saga and sees the spoilt and deluded Sookie meet Alcide, go on a trip and break up with Bill. Since Sookie is the type who’d turn up to the opening of a packet of crisps none of this is interesting.

Dead To The World by Charlaine Harris
This 2004 novel is the 4th in the renamed ’Sookie Stackhouse Mystery’ saga. Eric has amnesia thanks to witches. The pitiful, deluded, pompous loser Jason goes missing. Harris is a compulsive chronicler of the mundane and any intriguing plot possibilities are ignored. Even Sookie killing the vile Debbie Pelt with tectonic logic amounts to naught. This was unsatisfactory and to read this is be confronted with mediocrity.

Best Lines:
“I abjure you.”

“My kitchen looked like I’d been dismembering pig, pigs that’d put up a good fight.”
Tags: book review, the tudors, true blood

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