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Book Reviews: Arbella + The Best Horror of the Year Volume Six, part 1

Arbella: England’s Lost Queen by Sarah Gristwood
This biography covers the contumacious life and death of Arbella Stuart: niece to Mary, Queen of Scots, granddaughter of Bess of Hardwick and cousin of James I. She was born and bred in the sure and certain hope she would inherit her cousin Elizabeth I’s throne. Instead her fate was instead to die squalidly on hunger strike while imprisoned in the Tower of London. This is an excellent biography of a woman who had the ill-judgement of her aunt and no luck at all. She was prone to illness, damned as a near-hysteric and her royal blood and ill-timed ambitions disqualified her from living the life she wanted or even mattering during the twilight of Elizabeth I’s reign and the beginning of James I’s reign. Still she managed to make a mark until she was erased for flouting the will of the vile James I who never trusted her and seemed to hate her. He arranged her exclusion, imprisonment and death and Elizabeth I ignored her. This was a must read.

Best Lines:
“That beast Waad.”

“Much was unusual about Arbella’s captivity.”

“Very good bread rolls,”

“King, Court and Council forgot her all too happily.”

“Continues crackt in her brain.”

“Her career had been a series of mistakes.”

“It was never wise to cross a countess of Shrewsbury.”

The Best Horror of the Year Volume Six edited by Ellen Datlow, part 1
The cover of this year’s anthology is terrible.

I read this in ‘Black Static’ magazine and I didn’t like it then and I don’t like it now. A man looks up an old acquaintance for revenge. This was obvious.

Mr. Splitfoot
A tale of the foul blasphemy of the Modern Spiritualism movement as told by one of two infamous sisters. Very good.

The Good Husband
A man tires of his Black Hole of neediness wife and ignores her suicide. Then she re-animates as a zombie. Mediocre.

The Tiger
This is a ridiculous terrible tale of demon worshipping child molesters or something.

The House On Cobb Street
This is an excellent creepy tale of a ‘haunted’ house.

The Soul In The Bell Jar
A tale of filthy creation in an AU world. Okay.

Best Lines:
“You’ll freeze in the Abyss! Forever and ever! The second Ghost Scroll says -”
“Don’t quote scripture at me, girl it’s tiresome.”

Call Out
A vet is called to an unusual birth. Okay.

The Tiny Flutter Of The Heart I Used To Call Love
A boring tale of a crazy family and their sacrifices. This was so self-consciously arty it was painful.
Tags: 2nd hand book store find, book review, reign, the tudors

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