As a Tutor fan myself, I look for many writings that cover the rein of the Tudors and their successors, and thus I nabbed this book by Judith Jones. I cannot say that I am in love with this book, because I simply am not.
This book, like many of the others I have reviewed, is a reference book more than a novel type book. I contains many of the picture references expected of a Sterling Metro Book and informational side tables; much like those of A World History by Phillip Parker, for which I also did a review.
However, where Parker’s book offers cohesive and well timed reference panels, John’s book does not. This book offers great information in terms of the early years of the Tutor rein and circumstances and of the dynasty as a whole, however it is not put together well, or written in a way that flows well.
This book is written in a fashion, as to say, a writer who has so many collected thoughts and wants to express them to you, but stops every so often to talk about something else, as not to forget it later. While this works well in a conversation, it is horrible in a book. Constantly bouncing back and fourth between the main text and “oh let me just tell you this detail before I continue”, just makes it seem like the author did not properly outline her work well before she started and was just writing off the top of her head. And I am astonished that an editor at Sterling Publishing did not capture this.
Again, the information offered is good and different from what most books have in ways, but it does not offer a compelling difference, enough to endure the torturous lack of formatting.
The information panels in this book are also horribly formatted, often starting in the middle of a sentient on one page, to locate the panel on the next page, and then finishing the sentence in the following page; rather than locating the panels at the end of sections, or paragraphs like most Metro Books.
Some of the information is inaccurate as well; the production team on this book did not bother to fact check. On one page a photograph of a letter is described by the author as a letter from King Henry VII to Queen Isabella, in reference to the betrothed of their children. When in fact, any Spanish, Italian, Latin, Portuguese, or French speaking person can read on the document, that it is a love letter to Catherine of Aragon by Prince Arthur.
Anyone who is a fan of medieval and Renaissance history must encounter the Tutors somewhere along the way; and whether partial to them or not, it cannot be said that this family was not a staple in the word history itself. It saddens me that this book is available for sale to readers who may not know much of the Tutors and are going to be fed erroneous information within bad, confusing formatting.
My final thought: this book needs an overhaul. I do not recommend it. Purchase a more accurate reference book that flows well. This is a sad addition to the “A Dark History” collection and a sad day for the Tutors.
© C. J. Leger October 16, 2014