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18 thoughts on “Submit a book review

  1. I just read Philippa Gregory’s latest historical novel about Margaret Pole,and her battles with Henry V111…I enjoy reading about this time in history but have to agree with, think it was Hilary Mantel who said, some of these books are ‘chicklit with wimples’ It is a far cry from ‘Bring up the Bodies’ Though they all rely on fleshing out characters who to some extent are unknown quantities.
    Still a good read It’s the final novel in the Cousins’ War series, The White Queen on TV was based on these.
    Margaret Pole is actually the cousin of the “White Princess,” Elizabeth of York (I think she’s the Duke of Clarence’s daughter).. Through her lineage, she is a threat to Henry and is initially married off to live quietly away from court. When Henry marries Katherine of Aragon, Margaret is summoned to back to court, where she becomes the chief lady-in-waiting to Queen Katherine. Then comes Anne Boleyn, and Margaret’s position changes again ….

  2. A Natural History of Ghosts: 500 years of Hunting for Proof / Roger Clarke

    In this fascinating book the “hunting” is more important than the “proof”. That is to say, Clarke is more interested in exploring why people–at various times and in various places–believed that they had perceived things that evaded explanation. The mocking disbelief of modern readers in those events is not the point: in place of ironic laughter the intellectual pleasure lie in the distance that time affords to see those ‘supernatural’ occurrences in their proper historical context. As such, this book truly gathers weight from the 18th-century–witnesses since then leaving sufficient testimony that the particular alchemy of social forces can be seen clearly. As with all texts on this subject, the sections on the 19th-century are by far the most gripping; the cast an eclectic cross-section of Victorian society, culminating in the curious figure of the ‘medium’ Daniel Dunglas Home: “a uniquely unexplained individual”. These chapters can be read as a warning against teleological notions of progress from ‘barbaric’ ancestor-worship to atheistic ‘sophistication’; portraying, instead, a peculiarly Victorian rationalism where the ‘spirit world’ was placed under the same microscope as any other ‘natural’ phenomena. Not a book, then, for sceptics, nor one for believers – but instead a book for anyone interested in the myriad cracks and crannies of the very-much earth-bound human soul.

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