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The Tudors in Love

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I have read many books about the Tudors but this is like no other. Sarah Gristwood has researched extensively and traveled into the mystique of courtly love. 
The Tudor court was a myriad of desire, religion, power, politics and endless ambition to ensure the longevity and survival of the dynasty. Moving through the years from King Arthur, Lancelot and Guinevere to the ambitions of Henry VIII’s pursuit of Anne Boleyn and the conquests of Elizabeth I (as example) yet making the choice to reign alone, the reader gains greater insight into the foundation (if you will) of courtly love. There were obsessions, rigid rules, mistresses, and decisions made that revolved around gaining alliances with other countries to strengthen political power, performing acts of chivalry, acts of manipulation and dealing with the implications and often difficult outcomes.
This is a fresh look at the Tudors that is equally entertaining as captivating.
Thanks to NetGalley, Sarah Gristwood and St. Martins Press for an ARC in exchange for an honest book review.
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Excellent writing and a unique take on the Tudor Dynasty. Everytime I think there cannot be another angle to view the Tudors from, I'm proven wrong. Definitely a wonderful addition to the pantheon of Tudor history books!
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The Tudors in Love
By Sarah Gristwood

This is a work of nonfiction which sets out to explain the doings of the Tudors – predominantly Henry VIII and Elizabeth I – in their romantic relationships, marital and otherwise.

The author claims much of their motivations can be traced back to that period in Europe which started a couple of hundred years earlier, known as "courtly love".  This was a societal mindset – at least for those of the upper classes – which placed ladies on pedestals and left knights trying to perform tasks to win their ladies' favor. However, this love was to be unrequited on both sides.

There were two flaws to this mindset.  First the knight was supposed to love only from afar; second the lady, object of his devotion, was to remain pure and chaste on a pedestal.  Should either party carry their love into any physical arena, this was considered shameful – the downfall of courtly love.
While seeming to empower these ladies over there lovers, in fact, putting women on pedestals with unrealistic behaviors required served only to objectify them.

The author's premise of how courtly love affected the Tudor monarchs is interesting.  It gives the reader a different perspective on what shaped the customs of the times.
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Anything regarding the Tudors will always peak my interest. I will ready every book, watch every movie, tv show, documentary you name it! I don’t really think there’s anything here that’s new information, so if you’re looking for some revelation, you won’t find it here. 

This book is mainly about how courtly love influenced and affected the Tudor dynasty. The books spends a lot of time on the women of the era, particularly Anne Boleyn who is one of the most fascinating queens in all of English history. 

This is definitely an academic work and not a gossipy history of the era, though you could be forgiven thinking it was because of the title and the scandalous family themselves. Definitely enjoyable and well written.
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Publication Dec. 13, 2022

This one is not a casual read. I was alternately fascinated and intrigued, then I'd realize a bit later that my mind was wandering. Knowing quite a bit about not just the Tudor era but the players, so to speak, from Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn back to Eleanor of Aquitaine, not to mention the mythical legends of Sir Lancelot and Guinevere did give me a head start. In other words, having some concept of the history involved would benefit readers. 

I can't even begin to summarize the contents. It's very well researched and presented as what I'll call more of a historical work than one you'd pick up as a fun read. There are 24 chapters, each rather long, notes at the end of each, a postscript, appendix, and notes for further reading at the end which is where I found the photos in a digital copy. The intro to the book sets forth the idea that courtly love was more a literary fantasy than a reality. It was useful to those in power and hoping to retain or gain power. The author takes us from its earlier literary emergence, noting that the Lancelot and Queen Guinevere image of romance had its beginnings in a work by Chretien de Troyes in the late 12th century. A knight that would show his love by crawling over a bridge made of sharp sword blades....only to have his lady love disappointed that he hesitated? Uh, okay. 

The image, spread by troubadours, including trobairitz, the female version, grew and spread. Let's fact it, there's nothing like a good story to catch the imagination, especially at a time when females had little or not power and were often bartered as marriage objects to smooth the way of their family to power and prestige. Trust me, the author details how this works and gives examples from history. 

My ears figuratively perked up when Eleanor Neville, mother to two kings entered the story. According to this author, Sir Lancelot may have been modeled on Henry, the son of Eleanor Neville, mother to two kings, and Henry II of England. Unfortunately for young Henry, who one biographer called "Lancelot come to life," he died before he could take the throne. That didn't stop the Plantagenet dynasty, as one king claimed to discover Arthur and Guinevere's graves in Glastonbury. Even Excaliber gets a mention....and this is really just the very beginning of the book. Eleanor died in 1260 but the image of Guinevere she helped make popular spread and lives on today. 

Yes, I know you're waiting for me to explain what courtly love had to do with Tudor King Henry VIII chopping off Anne Boleyn's head. Nope, not telling, not that I could come even close to explaining it all without writing a much, much longer review. I mean, there are more than a few wars involved, you know, like the legendary War of the Roses. It was a deadly game, given a romantic tint by troubadours and the tapestries and artwork of the era. And, think of the imagery of "The Virgin Queen" Elizabeth. Flows right into the myths of courtly love. And, hmm, what was that supposed requirement a bride had to have to wed now King Charles? Wonder where that idea came from, hmm?

Oh, come on. Courtly love still grabs our imagination. How many stayed up into the wee hours even here in the decided non-royal United States to watch the "fairy tale" wedding? Ever read or seen a Shakespeare play? Oh, Romeo.... And, think of the movies that use it as the focus, whether the obvious, such as "Camelot" or even "Pretty Woman" and "Dirty Dancing". Courtly love, with its rigid rules and romantic obsessions, still has a hold on our imagination. This book, long though it may be, simply explains why and where that obsession came from. While not for the faint of heart given its length and depth of information, if you are interested in the period, and it spans over a thousand years now that I think about it, you'll find this a fascinating, thought provoking read. Thanks #NetGalley and #StMartinsPress for allowing me to wallow in the romance, blood thirsty though much of it was, and power struggles with the idea of where the heart came into play. Now, if I could just quit humming the tune of "Camelot"...
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Historically accurate, well-detailed and researched. I love learning more about this period in history, so I dove right in. It was interesting and kept me reading.
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It was engaging and I learned more than I was anticipating! I did feel like some chapters lulled but would recommend this for anyone who would like an overview of Tudor England!
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It's been a month of Tudor reading for me and this one was no different. I *loved* The Tudors In Love and was surprised by the deep nuance, mystery, and intrigue that went into courtly love of the time. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the free advanced copy.
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The idea that the Tudors brought down their dynasty for love is absolutely true in many ways.Henry VII nurtured it into existence,Henry VIII almost destroyed it while Elizabeth I rebuilt it and made it flourish.In all instances love figured prominently.But how did they really feel about it,how did they use it and how could it have really conquered the power behind the throne.
This book attempts an explanation.Well researched, detailed and written I really liked it.My only issue was that it was a bit too political for my taste other than that I would definitely recommend it.
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I wish to thank NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for allowing me to read an advanced copy of this book.  I have voluntarily read and reviewed it.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

This is a book that dives deeply into the royal families of the Tudors from the 12th Century to 1603.  I have always been curious about British royalty history but I have never been exposed to the extreme depth of research that awaits you within the pages of this book.  It is clear to me that Sarah Grist wood spent a lot of time digging through letters, manuscripts and all she could find to produce such a detailed account of life at that time with the Kings and Queens of England.  She covered them from the courtly love affairs point of view and left no stone unturned.  I did find it a little hard to follow and a little dry but totally interesting.  I was amazed at all the managed relationships and the many affairs of rulers such as Henry the VIII and Elizabeth I.  If you have any curiosity about the life at court in these times I urge you to read this book.  At the end of the book she has portraits of some of the great rulers that I really loved having just read about them. I found this a great addition to the book.  You will certainly learn the meaning of courtly love.  I do recommend this book to people really interested in a deep history of this time period.
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An impeccably researched and revealing glimpse into the private lives of the Tudor royals that sheds new light on British royal history
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*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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