Daily Archives: December 6, 2013

Book Review: Tudor: The Family Story by Leanda de Lisle

Tudor_Family_Story Title: Tudor: The Family Story
Author: Leanda de Lisle
Publisher: Chatto & Windus
ISBN: 9780701185886
Genre: Historical, British Royalty, Non-Fiction
Pages: 560
Source: Publisher
Rating: 5/5

There is a lot of reading material out there on the Tudor dynasty. I think every year some or the other book gets published and perhaps rightly so – given the scope and grandeur of this family. No other history has captured my interest the way the Tudor regime has and that is why I keep going back to it, time and again.

Tudor: The Family Story by Leanda de Lisle however was a different read for me. Leanda de Lisle talks of things not mentioned that often. She takes on characters that were a part of history and forgotten – a man who fell in the Queen’s bed and what happened to Henry VII. The book takes into parts that are normally not spoken of. After all, every family has its own secrets and Leanda just talks of those and the past in this book.

The writing is fact driven and yet reads like a fictional account, which works splendidly for the reader. The book opens before the War of the Roses and ends with the death of the Tudor dynasty (Elizabeth I to James I). The book can get confusing at most times, however it is up to the reader to watch out for the family trees and charts and keep track of events and people.

I am a keen follower of the Tudor dynasty. I love reading everything about that time and era. This book is heavily researched and yet so readable. It succeeds in portraying kings and queens as people and also making the reader see the lives they had. “Tudor: The Family History” is one non-fiction read which perhaps I could reread later. Though the book is a big read, it is extremely satisfying and interesting. A book not to be missed for hard-core lovers of history.

Book Review: The Animals: Love Letters Between Christopher Isherwood & Don Bachardy: Edited by Katherine Bucknell

The Animals - Edited by Katherine Bucknell Title: The Animals: Love Letters Between Christopher Isherwood & Don Bachardy
Edited by: Katherine Bucknell
Publisher: Chatto & Windus
ISBN: 9780701186784
Genre: Non-Fiction, Letters
Pages: 528
Source: Publisher
Rating: 5/5

This has to be one of the best non-fiction books I have read this year. Or rather one of the best books of letters which I have read in a very long time. “The Animals” – Love Letters between Christopher Isherwood and his long-standing lover Don Bachardy is a treat for anyone who loves being in love and reading about unconventional (so to say) love.

Christopher Isherwood was an acclaimed writer when he met Don Bachardy on a Santa Monica beach in 1952 and their love affair – or rather romance – or just love lasted until Chris’s death in 1986.

The book is about letters – they wrote to each other and the names they gave each other. Chris was Dobbins – the work horse while Don was Kitty – the young cat. The letters in themselves are sometimes calm and sometimes tumultuous and full of despair, jealousy and anger. It is the usual letters that lovers write and also somewhere down the line; they are unusual, given the nature of their relationship and the but obvious age-gap.

The letters make you ponder about the times they lived in, how they loved and how they did not fear to live as a couple – given the social thinking in the 50s. They wavered and fought like any other couple. They had their differences and yet somehow in the letters, you see the great love between them. Something that we all want to achieve. It did take me some time to get through the letters, however the experience has been extremely rewarding. The idea of getting to know Isherwood more and his relationships was intriguing for me and I am only glad that I read this book.

I will recommend it only to people who are interested in a book of this nature. Of a different love in a different time and age.