Monday, June 18, 2012
The Divorce of Henry VIII (Review)
Catherine Fletcher's The Divorce of Henry VIII: The Untold History from Inside the Vatican finally focuses on the behind-the-scenes characters who did all the political schmoozing, financing, backstabbing, and running for their lives that made the final outcome possible. Fletcher is our eye on English concerns at the Vatican, which at the time was run in a manner indistinguishable from the other power states that surround it. The insults and bribery may or may not surprise readers, but they make for a great story.
Like most books of original historical research, this is dense with names, places and dates, but if the reader looks carefully, she will find all her favorite Tudor characters and many colorful Italian ones besides. It is written in a readable style with the kinds of conjectures about character motivation and the feel of place that will keep steadfast fiction readers involved to the very end.