Yet to Read is the weekly meme where I take a look at books on my shelves (physical and digital) that I haven’t gotten around to reading yet and books on my wishlist that I’ve wanted to add to my shelves for a while. I link these posts up to Can’t Wait Wednesday and Shelf Control!
Welcome back to my little take on Can’t Wait Wednesday where we look at all of the books and sigh at how many unread books we’ve allowed ourselves to store and pine after. This week, the theme is “less known Tudor period stories”… well… at least parts of them are in the Tudor period, the stories are less known than others, not necessarily the books, and sometimes it’s tough to think of a snappy heading. These two historical fiction books are certainly in the right time period and cover some interesting stories, so close enough for me!
Historical fiction is a rare treat for me. Usually, I like my fiction with a little more magic and otherworldliness but occasionally, it’s nice to dip into our distant past and see how different yet how similar things were.
From the Shelves
A wrenching novel about the life and death of Lady Jane Grey, one of the most complex and sympathetic figures in Tudor England, by popular historian Alison Weir: ideal for fans of Wolf Hall
Lady Jane Grey was born into times of extreme danger. Child of a scheming father and a ruthless mother, for whom she was merely a pawn in a dynastic power game with the highest stakes, she lived a life in thrall to political machinations and lethal religious fervour.
Jane’s astonishing and essentially tragic story was played out during one of the most momentous periods of English history. As a great-niece of Henry VIII, and the cousin of Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I, she grew up to realize that she could never throw off the chains of her destiny. Her honesty, intelligence and strength of character carry the reader through all the vicious twists of Tudor power politics, to her nine-day reign and its unbearably poignant conclusion.
This is one of those books I still have packed away in a box because I have nowhere near enough shelving. Years ago, when I was gathering Philippa Gregory books, and looking for other historical fiction that might tickle my interest, I was told about Alison Weir. This was back when I volunteered in the charity shop in Leicester, and I found a copy of Innocent Traitor among the donations.
Lady Jane Grey was always a big interest to me. We used to visit Bradgate Park a lot and my nanny would tell us about the “nine-day queen” who lived there. I really should read this someday.
From the Wishlist
Drawing on Maggie O’Farrell’s long-term fascination with the little-known story behind Shakespeare’s most enigmatic play, HAMNET is a luminous portrait of a marriage, at its heart the loss of a beloved child.
Warwickshire in the 1580s. Agnes is a woman as feared as she is sought after for her unusual gifts. She settles with her husband in Henley street, Stratford, and has three children: a daughter, Susanna, and then twins, Hamnet and Judith. The boy, Hamnet, dies in 1596, aged eleven. Four years or so later, the husband writes a play called Hamlet.
Award-winning author Maggie O’Farrell’s new novel breathes full-blooded life into the story of a loss usually consigned to literary footnotes, and provides an unforgettable vindication of Agnes, a woman intriguingly absent from history.
Apparently, Hamnet is one of those books dubbed as “literary fiction” (quite frankly I still don’t get what is and isn’t literary but whatever) but it’s certainly historical fiction and with a look behind the story of Shakespeare’s Hamlet I am immediately intrigued. Also, that cover art is stunning.
Have you read either of these? What’s on your list this week? Let me know in the comments!