I’m Henry the Eighth I Am. Henry the Eighth I Am, I Am

I'm more or less through my reading block. Wolf Hall is good—it's interesting and immediate and strange. And I was starting to think that I was learning a fair amount about the Tudors and early 16th century England.

Or I thought I was, until I started talking to Chestnut. It turns out Chestnut has read extensively on the subject. "I'm just very interested in the Tudors," she said, except she pronounced it Two-Doors.

What has she read? Well, this:


And this:


And then this, too:


This last one, she warns, isn't very interesting.

But: what's the whole thing with the Tudors anyway? It's the oddest sensation, having the historical period you're reading about overlap with what your kid is reading about. I mean, normally she stays squarely in Colonial America, where girls were pure and true, or stout-hearted tomboys, etc. And they're just not a whole lot of grownup books about that (though I must take a moment to recommend the crazy One Story piece by Jim Shepard, which is, in fact, a grownup story about this period).

Anyway, it just seemed odd to me. Also humbling. I think the whole "Royal Diaries" phenomenon is a more acceptable to older kids extension of the princess obsession of youth. But maybe there's a whole other side to it? Maybe it's about finding ways in which women had power? But maybe that's what the princess thing is about too, somehow?

I will tell you this: no tween books about Cromwell. YET.

6 thoughts on “I’m Henry the Eighth I Am. Henry the Eighth I Am, I Am

  1. I remember going through a Henry the VIII phase myself, but I also went through a Harlequin Romance phase as well, so I have no idea. I’m glad to hear that you’ve cracked through the Mantel barrier. So, it’s possible?


  2. True, those plain, anti-holiday Roundheads were not very romantic, were they?
    I’ve just been reading about that time period–Clare Tomalin’s biography of Samuel Pepys. Great book, but royalty don’t come out looking good. Not scandalously-fun bad either, but just dully so, as being spoiled, fickle, and poor administrators.


  3. If Master Cremuel were alive, and by some quirk residing in NYC, would he need to wait in line to gas up his late-model Tudor sedan? Or would he have found a workaround?


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