new non-fiction in 2010

by Derek Wilson

Release Date:  June 22, 2010

The Tudor period was a time of massive social change in England with growing cities, increasing trade, and growing stability after the chaos of the Wars of the Roses. Despite military preparations in every county, and the establishment of a new navy, the country was generally at peace, and England and Wales were becoming more closely integrated. Religious changes affected every person, with the Reformation bringing change to most corners of the country, and the dissolution of the monasteries allowing those with cash to build new estates, and removing the traditional schools and hospitals.

Derek Wilson offers insight into the world of Tudor England - revealing what it was really like to live in a period of great growth, and the difference between living in the city and the country.

Crown, Orb & Sceptre: The True Stories of English Coronations
by David Hilliam

Release Date:  April 1, 2010

Coronations are very public occasions, typically seen as meticulously planned formal ceremonies where everything runs smoothly. But behind the scenes at Westminster Abbey lie extraordinary but true stories of mayhem, confusion and merriment. In this book we travel through over a thousand years of England's history to reveal the real character of its kings and queens. Also packed with facts about how the service, traditions and accessories have changed over the years, "Crown, Orb & Sceptre" provides both a compelling read and an accessible and irreverent reference guide to one of the most spectacular ceremonies in England's heritage.

by James Wilkinson & C.S. Knighton

Release Date:  March 31, 2010

Fifteen kings and fourteen queens are buried in Westminster Abbey, which is also the nation's coronation church; every coronation since that of William the Conqueror has taken place in the Abbey. The close relationship between 'Crown and Cloister' was forged when King Edward the Confessor built the first great church on this site (completed in 1065). Today, The Queen and her family come to the Abbey regularly, whether to celebrate or to mourn. 

Westminster Abbey has adapted well to the changing currents of history. It survived the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII in 1540, and Henry made it briefly a cathedral. His daughter Mary I restored the monastery in 1556, but in 1560 Elizabeth I re-founded it as a church, and since then the abbey has been directly answerable to the sovereign. With sumptuous photography of the abbey's architecture and art treasures, and stunning royal portraits from across the centuries, this book celebrates the enduring ties between 'Crown and Cloister'.

by Elizabeth Norton

Release Date:  January 31, 2010

Wife, widow, mother, survivor, the story of the last queen of Henry VIII. The sixth wife of Henry VIII was also the most married queen of England, outliving three husbands before finally marrying for love. Catherine Parr was enjoying her freedom after her first two arranged marriages when she caught the attention of the elderly Henry VIII. She was the most reluctant of all Henry's wives, offering to become his mistress rather than submit herself to the dangers of becoming Henry's queen. This only served to increase Henry's enthusiasm for the young widow and Catherine was forced to abandon her lover for the decrepit king. Whilst Catherine was reluctant to be a queen she quickly made the role a success, providing Henry VIII with a domestic tranquility that he had not known since the early days of his first marriage. For Henry, Catherine was a satisfactory choice but he never stopped considering a new marriage, to Catherine's terror. Catherine is remembered as the wife who survived but, without her strength of character it could have been very different. When informed that the king had ordered her arrest for heresy, she took decisive action, defusing the king's anger and once again becoming his 'own sweetheart'. It was a relief for Catherine when Henry finally died and she secretly married the man she had been forced to abandon for Henry, Thomas Seymour. During her retirement, Catherine's heart was broken by her discovery of a love affair between her stepdaughter, Princess Elizabeth, and her husband. She never recovered from the birth of her only child and, in her fever accused her husband of plotting her death. Catherine Parr is often portrayed as a matronly and dutiful figure. Her life was indeed one of duty but, throughout, she attempted to escape her destiny and find happiness for herself. Ultimately, Catherine was betrayed and her great love affair with Thomas Seymour turned sour.



  1. I am not really into history but you blogging about it makes me interested.

  2. They all look wonderful. It makes me long for a never ending book budget.

  3. Oh, thanks for these. They look wicked =)

  4. Oh, great post! I'm always on the lookout for great non-fiction. I especially like the looks of Crown, Orb and Sceptre.

  5. Crown Orb, and Sceptre sounds interesting. That whole ceremony and process amazes me. Everything has meaning and significance. I've seen B&W footage from QE II ceremony and was fascinated. Looking forward to the next one in all it's digital splendor. Thanks Amy!

  6. The Crown and The Cloister looks interesting. Westminster is so beautiful and the little tour book that we got when we were there doesn't really do it justice. I think I'll be getting this one for sure!

  7. Ooh, I might have to look into that Catherine Parr book...

  8. Both the book on Tudor England and the Katherine Parr book look really interesting and exciting. I will be keeping my eyes open for them. Thanks so much for posting this!

  9. What a great bunch of books! They look so interesting! :)


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