Not a Tudor fan? by Mary LawrenceChoosing a time period or special locale matters as much to the feel of a story as it does to an author’s comfort zone. Part of the reason why I’ve set my Bianca Goddard mysteries in Tudor London at the end of Henry VIII’s reign, is that I’ve been reading fiction and nonfiction set in the 1500s for over twenty-five years. I never tire learning about the period. So what draws me to Tudor England?
I like that the period is far enough in the past that it isn’t familiar. Most folks don’t have a preconceived notion of what it must have been like. The period is inherently mysterious and it makes it easy for me to inject a little creep and superstition into the story. The majority of books about this period are centered on politics or court machinations. But I began to wonder what it must have been like for the commoners.
The Tudor era was short, lasting just over 100 years, but during that time, the Tudor monarchs changed how England was perceived by the rest of the world. It was no longer an insignificant island raising sheep under perpetually cloudy skies. This was the beginning of the modern era. This was the start of the British Empire.
Parliament was formed and the rudiments of the secret service were instituted. Henry started the Royal Navy in response to the rebel-rousing Scots and threats from France. He heavily taxed his people and conscripted them into his army and navy.
Personally, I find Henry VIII the most interesting Tudor monarch. Henry broke away from the power of the Vatican and effectively made himself pope of a church that he created. He dissolved the monasteries and pocketed the sale of their considerable valuables. That takes a massive ego.
And Henry certainly had one. Ascending the throne in his youth, at first, he was adored by his people. He was handsome, athletic, generous, and fun loving. He stood 6’2” in a country where the average height of a man was 5’7”. But by the end of his reign in 1547, he was arguably the most hated and feared of monarchs. More than 72,000 people were sent to their death under Henry. No other British monarch executed more people.
But if Henry isn’t your cup of tea, there are plenty of other interesting characters with big personalities whose influences are still felt 500 years later. Besides Henry VIII, Bloody Mary, and Elizabeth I, the period produced important literary figures--William Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe, Ben Jonson; and political players--Thomas Cromwell, Cardinal Wolsey,and Sir Walter Raleigh, who left their mark on modern England and Western culture.
So, if you haven’t considered reading a book set in Tudor England, give one a try. You might discover a whole ‘new’ world of fascinating characters. There is someone for everyone in Tudor England.
Question for readers: Of the three longest reigning Tudor Monarchs, Henry VIII, Mary, and Elizabeth I, who is your favorite and why?
Death of an Alchemist: A Bianca Goddard Mystery (Bianca Goddard Mysteries, Book 2) by Mary Lawrence
Publication Date: January 26, 2016
Hardcover & eBook; 304 Pages
Genre: Historical Mystery
In the mid sixteenth century, Henry VIII sits on the throne, and Bianca Goddard tends to the sick and suffering in London’s slums, where disease can take a life as quickly as murder…
For years, alchemist Ferris Stannum has devoted himself to developing the Elixir of Life, the reputed serum of immortality. Having tested his remedy successfully on an animal, Stannum intends to send his alchemy journal to a colleague in Cairo for confirmation. But the next day his body is found and the journal is gone.
Bianca, the daughter of an alchemist, is well acquainted with the mystical healing arts. When her husband John falls ill with the sweating sickness, she dares to hope Stannum’s journal could contain the secret to his recovery. But first she must solve the alchemist’s murder. As she ventures into a world of treachery and deceit, Stannum’s death is only the first in a series of murders—and Bianca’s quest becomes a matter of life and death, not only for her husband, but for herself…
Praise for The Alchemist’s Daughter (Bianca Goddard Mysteries, Book 1)“A realistic evocation of 16th century London’s underside. The various strands of the plot are so skillfully plaited together.” —Fiona Buckley
“Mystery and Tudor fans alike will raise a glass to this new series.” —Karen Harper
For more information please visit Mary's website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads.
Blog Tour ScheduleMonday, March 21
Review at Broken Teepee
Tuesday, March 22
Review at With Her Nose Stuck In A Book
Guest Post at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More
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Review at A Book Geek
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Interview at Books and Benches
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Review at Book Nerd
Interview at The Book Connection
Monday, March 28
Review at Eclectic Ramblings of Author Heather Osborne
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Review at Ageless Pages Reviews
Review at History From a Woman's Perspective
Wednesday, March 30
Review at A Holland Reads
Thursday, March 31
Interview at Author Dianne Ascroft's Blog
Friday, April 1
Guest Post at Passages to the Past