Cover Image: The Tudors in Love

The Tudors in Love

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Member Reviews

*The publisher has provided me with an advance readers copy in exchange for an honest review.*

Sarah Gristwood is probably one of the best popular Tudor historians writing today. She's lively and entertaining enough to avoid stuffiness, but also clear-eyed about her subjects' faults and mindful of the potential biases in primary sources (Alison Weir, take note.) In "The Tudors In Love," she focuses on the love lives and political times of the Tudor dynasty through the prism of "courtly love," a literary/social practice that rose to prominence in the High Middle Ages and faltered towards the end of Elizabeth I's reign.

If this book has a flaw, it's that there's no real standard definition of "courtly love" as a concept, which means that it can be variably applied to just about anything. But Gristwood isn't writing an argumentative paper here: she's using the framework to examine why the various Tudors did what they did, and how literary convention was used to create political pageantry that kept them on the throne. Tudor enthusiasts won't find much in terms of new revelations - we all know the story of Anne Boleyn by now - but it's entirely worth reading just for the fresh take on a well-worn time period.
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Great book about history but I am suspicious to talk since I'm fascinating by the Tudors but in this book, the author writes really well and in a clear way that we can fully understand  the topics and create a bigger knowledge about the subject. It's not very easy to turn a history that a lot of people know about, even more interesting but the author does in a very clever way. Great book, I'd recommend always. The author provides examples of courtly love and some of the most famous players, including Anne Boleyn.

Thank you NG and St. Martin’s Press for this wonderful arc and in return I am submitting my unbiased and voluntary review and opinion.
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“The Tudors in Love” is a non-fiction book by Sarah Griswood, examining “courtly love” and what that meant during the reign of the British Tudors. I happen to greatly enjoy reading about Henry VIII and it’s been noted by other authors that Henry VIII highly regarded the Arthurian legends. Fortunately Ms. Griswood provides a lot of examples of Henry VIII’s “courtly love” actions and behaviors. To me, the queen of courtly love is Anne Boleyn, and Ms. Griswood spends a lot of time discussing Ms. Boleyn … as she should. While at times I found this book a bit too dry for my taste (though I did like a footnote observation about Richard III being discovered in what is now a car park), it is packed with information for those not familiar with the court of Henry VIII or Queen Elizabeth I — or even what “courtly love" entails (not just love!).
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The Tudors in Love by Sarah Gristwood dives right into the marriages and relationship arrangements both attempted and successful during the Tudor period, which spanned just over one hundred years.  Her writing is engaging and doesn't--in my opinion--tend toward the dryness that often plagues books dealing with historical texts.  The subject is, of course, fascinating; people generally perk up when Henry the VIII and his poor wives factor into a conversation.

The author's novel tries to show that courtly love influenced the monarchs down through the nobility and some of their subjects who dabbled in literary pursuits.  She makes a credible case for each of the Tudors, and it is fascinating to see how people played at such a game that allowed them more freedom than they were ordinarily granted.  I hadn't given it much reflection at all, so I found the premise to be interesting and gave me food for thought as I read and even after I finished!

I received a copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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This survey of the romantic cultural influences on the Tudor monarchs was an interesting approach to Tudor history. With the story beginning in the 1100s, the reader can follow the progression of the romantic ideal through time and come to a better understanding of how it affected the attitudes and behavior of the Tudor kings and queens. That being said, perhaps this was too narrow of a focus for such a long book. I felt my attention wandering and found myself skimming through some of the material because there really wasn't anything new presented. Overall, I would recommend the book as a supplemental approach to Tudor history.
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"The Tudors in Love" by Sarah Gristwood was such an interesting and well written book. Gristwood paints a very clear and vivid picture of the medival time period and life in the royal court. While very interesting some of the portions read very academic and came across brittle which was a stark contrast to how most of the book read. This is one of my favorite times in period and I already knew a lot but the book was still able to teach me even more and I greatly enjoyed it and would recommend it to any fans of history especially Tudor buffs.
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I enjoyed this fascinating exploration into the relationships forged during the last medieval dynasty, the Tudors. The Tudor court truly was a dazzling and dangerous world and it was obvious that the notion of courtly love coloured their behaviour. 

Gristwood begins with allotting three chapters to the definition of courtly love, starting with the 12th century love story of Sir Lancelot and Queen Guinevere. She continues with the imbalance within the Tudor court, ten males to one female, and shows that winning a woman’s attention was prevalent. She concludes that there must have been a real emotional reality behind this notion or it wouldn’t have lasted through the centuries. If you thought courtly love was non-existent, Gristwood will remind you of commercials on TV and song lyrics that prove otherwise! 

I particularly enjoyed her exploration of courtly love at work in Henry’s wooing of Catherine of Aragon. I’d never considered Henry’s swooping in to marry his sister-in-law as courtly love. Yet, we see that it was her downfall. When she aged (she was older than Henry) and couldn’t give him what he needed, the rules of courtly love allowed him to look elsewhere! Courtly love allowed Anne Boleyn to sweep in but also allowed Henry to sweep her out again. The author examines the 16 love letters between Henry and Anne Boleyn in the Vatican Archives and points out Henry’s flexing of his courtly love muscle when he states, “my heart and I surrender ourselves to you.” Henry, she suggests, loved playing the part of the courtly suitor to the unattainable mistress. Anne must have bought into it as on her way to the Tower she was recorded as saying that Henry was just trying to test her! 

The author raised some points I hadn’t considered, mainly that courtly love ushered in the idea of nobility of worth not nobility of birth. I also had overlooked the symbols of courtly love in jousting tournaments. It was good to revisit this ritual tribute of admiration in England’s most famous dynasty through the lens of courtly love. 

I’ll admit to pretending my glass of wine was mead and reading aloud in a British accent. You may not go this far while you read, but I guarantee you’ll see evidence of courtly love everywhere after reading this book! 

I was gifted this advance copy by St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley and was under no obligation to provide a review.
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The Tudors in Love is such an interesting book! I really enjoyed Gristwood's take on the history and role of courtly love throughout the medieval and Tudor periods. Gristwood looks at not only how courtly love played out in romantic relationships at court (as one might expect), but she explains how courtly love affected everything from day-to-day and dynastic power dynamics, to the roles of men and women in daily life in court and beyond, to the stories that individuals tell and believe in this time period. This book is written in a rather academic manner, so some might find it to be a bit dry, but if the reader can go in with the right mindset, I think it's an incredibly informative and thought-provoking book.
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The Tudors in Love looks at the long reign of this family through the prism of social romantic constructs of love and gender through the eyes of the historical customs themselves.
The Tudors behaved according to custom and this fed into the relationships themselves.

I enjoyed this perspective and history lesson from Sarah Gristwood
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How Arthurian legend and lore shaped the future of love and marriage; of how love became another game to be played and won. 

Although very well researched, with loads of details, I unfortunately found this a bit dry and repetitive, with too much of a schoolwork-esque feel.
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Looking at the Tudor dynasty through the conventions of courtly love was an interesting spin on history. I'm not sure that I completely "bought" the concept, but interesting...
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The Tudors.  Who has not heard of them? King Henry VIII and his six marriages, Anne Boleyn (off with her head!) and all the other players. We have heard of them throughout history, read both fiction and non-fiction books about them, and if you are like me, may be watched The Tudors on Showtime. In this book, Sarah Gristwood looks at Courtly love and often uses the example of King Arthur, Guinevere, and Lancelot as examples of this.

She shows us how power, lust, power, romance, and marriage played out in court. The author provides examples of courtly love and some of the most famous players, including Anne Boleyn.  

I found the book to be interesting as I have always been fascinated by this time and treatment of women. I won’t lie, during my reading, I often found myself thinking, I knew this, that was on the Tudors, lol. But I appreciated how the author examined courtly love and how it affected not only the individuals involved, the politics at the time, but history as well.

Those interested in history, the Tudors or the theme of courtly love, will enjoy this well researched and written book.

3.5 stars

#TheTudorsinLove #NetGalley

Thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All the thoughts and opinions are my own.
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This is scholarly history of the Tudors also drawing on King Arthur and his times.  Two of my favorite periods of history and definitely some of the most interesting.  
Thanks to NetGalley and St Martin's Press for the opportunity to read this work in exchange for a honest review. 
The author reworks history from the viewpoint of courtly love as a theme driving the historical characters.  This does add a bit of a feminist touch the the story.  I very much appreciated this point of view especially with respect to Anne Boleyn and Elizabeth 1.  
The writing seemed more like a dissertation to me and was sometimes repetitive and yet hard to follow.  I definitely felt I was reading for schoolwork.  It is a long book and definitely not light reading. 
The work also seems to presuppose some knowledge of the period and the characters involved.  
Overall I did enjoy the book and its unique perspective, recommended for historians and those passionate about English history.  
Publication date expected 12/13/22.  Review to Goodreads now and later Amazon/B and N/Instagram upon publication
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I don’t believe I have ever thought about courtly love, but now that I have, it makes sense. I think we have all been a bit in love with the Tudors and all of their many marriages and betrayals. It all seems romantic but much of it was convenience and alliances. Although did Henry VIII really have to kill his wife before marrying again? I mean, set her up somewhere. Death seems a bit extreme. To Henry, women seem to be disposable. This is odd since Elizabeth, his daughter, was hailed as a goddess!!

Ms. Gristwood has delved into the Tudors and their relationships thoroughly. Love, desire, power, all were in play. Did Henry really love Anne Boleyn as he declared? Maybe love meant something different then. But obsession is not love. Desire is not love.

Power and the lack of power were powerful motivators to fall in love. And the same things were powerful motivators to fall out of love.

A very good history of the Tudors and how we all look at love in all of its many forms.

NetGalley/December 13th, 2022 by St. Martin’s Press
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Tudors in Love: Passion & Politics in the Age of England’s Most Famous Dynasty

Thank you to @stmartins, @netgalley @sarah for my e-ARC! 

🔜 Coming December 13th, 2022 

I’ve been fascinated by the Tudors for as long as I can remember so I was really excited when I got my e-ARC for this. I thought I had a basic understanding of some of the Tudor history but Gristwood showed me I barely scratched the surface!

I can’t fathom the amount of research that went into this biographical account. I really liked that the chapters were broken up by time periods. Gristwood uses citations from prior historians but takes it a step further by analyzing what’s known with what she’s discovered through her extensive research.

If you’re a history-buff, Tudor fan, or simply love the drama that the monarchy is then this is for you!
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The Tudors in Love is an interesting book that promotes an interesting premise of how 'courtly love" impacted the Tudor reign beginning in the 12th Century and ending in the 1600s. The author is very knowledgeable about the Tudors and their history. The book is told in six parts covering specific time periods and corresponding events. The stories covered include wars, religious struggles, mistresses, and illnesses. As successions take place, the author conveys how the next is effected by courtly love.  Some of the examples are stronger than others, however, I liked the author's voice and all of the events related were interesting in there own right. 

Thanks you Netgalley and St. Martin's Press for the eArc in exchange for my honest review.
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I just didn’t buy the lens of courtly love as a way to re examine the tudors. The premise was plausible for Henry VIII and even Mary, but not for his father or Elizabeth. It just stretched and tried too hard. The book was well researched and well written and was a good read, but I got the sense that the author just wanted to write about H8 and his wives and should have just done that.
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The Tudors in Love is a well written and researched book by Sarah Gristwood. The book is very interesting and an insight into the life and times of the Tudors. Thank you Netgalley for the opportunity to read this book.
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The Tudors in Love stands as a history primer for readers wanting to encounter the royalty of England.  Much is included on war, illnesses, succession, beheadings, taking mistresses and struggles with the Catholic Church.  Courtly love appears to be a stretch throughout the book with references to Arthur, Guinevere and Lancelot almost forced onto the page.

One intriguing aspect of the book is the mention of the Devonshire Manuscript compiled in the 1500s by three women in the court of Anne Boleyn with many verses written by Thomas Wyatt.  A deeper delve into this manuscript and incorporation into the book would have added to its agency and perhaps made more of a connection with courtly love.
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The Tudors In Love by Sarah Gristwoodis an in-depth look at the House of Tudor.  The arranged marriages, the love interests and the general life in court.  If you've read the fictional tales of Henry VIII or Mary, Queen of Scots, this is interesting information on the time period.
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