Juicy royal history that may or may not be true. Either way, the story of Thomas’ comeuppance and Elizabeth’s reaction makes...

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THE TEMPTATION OF ELIZABETH TUDOR

ELIZABETH I, THOMAS SEYMOUR, AND THE MAKING OF A VIRGIN QUEEN

Tudor historian Norton (The Tudor Miscellany, 2014, etc.) looks at Henry VIII’s daughter and widow, but the real story here is Thomas Seymour.

Thomas was the brother of Henry’s third wife, Jane. As uncle to the king, he felt he should have a much more important place, both in the Parliament and in the young king’s care. Machinations were the key to just about everything during the reign of the Tudors; spying, plotting, and backstabbing were the norm. Thomas, who had wooed Catherine Parr before she married Henry, quickly picked up their romance when she was widowed; in fact, they were married just over a month after the king’s death. Thomas hoped his marriage might give him more authority as he sought the governance of the young king, his wife’s stepson. His brother Edward gained increasing amounts of power and made him Lord High Admiral as a concession. Before Parr, he had sued for the hands of both Elizabeth and Mary Tudor, both in the line of succession. Elizabeth’s closest attendant, Katherine Ashley, inexplicably decided that the teenager no longer needed a protective woman sleeping near her bed. That left Elizabeth exposed to Thomas’ morning ritual of entering half-dressed and playing a little “slap and tickle” with the future queen. Whether Elizabeth enjoyed it or whether Catherine might even have cooperated in the game are left to the imagination. “When she was a teenager,” writes the author, “there was one man who had caught her fancy enough to tempt her to abandon herself to him. The Virgin Queen was born out of the ashes of his fall.” Regardless, Catherine, six months pregnant, caught the couple in an embrace and sent Elizabeth packing. The author tells of rumors of Elizabeth’s “illness” that summer, hinting at pregnancy.

Juicy royal history that may or may not be true. Either way, the story of Thomas’ comeuppance and Elizabeth’s reaction makes for a quick, enjoyable read.

Pub Date: Jan. 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-60598-948-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Pegasus

Review Posted Online: Oct. 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2015

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Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

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More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.

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The debut memoir from the pop and fashion star.

Early on, Simpson describes the book she didn’t write: “a motivational manual telling you how to live your best life.” Though having committed to the lucrative deal years before, she “walked away,” fearing any sort of self-help advice she might give would be hypocritical. Outwardly, Simpson was at the peak of her success, with her fashion line generating “one billion dollars in annual sales.” However, anxiety was getting the better of her, and she admits she’d become a “feelings addict,” just needing “enough noise to distract me from the pain I’d been avoiding since childhood. The demons of traumatic abuse that refused to let me sleep at night—Tylenol PM at age twelve, red wine and Ambien as a grown, scared woman. Those same demons who perched on my shoulder, and when they saw a man as dark as them, leaned in to my ear to whisper, ‘Just give him your light. See if it saves him…’ ” On Halloween 2017, Simpson hit rock bottom, and, with the intervention of her devoted friends and husband, began to address her addictions and underlying fears. In this readable but overlong narrative, the author traces her childhood as a Baptist preacher’s daughter moving 18 times before she “hit fifth grade,” and follows her remarkable rise to fame as a singer. She reveals the psychological trauma resulting from years of sexual abuse by a family friend, experiences that drew her repeatedly into bad relationships with men, most publicly with ex-husband Nick Lachey. Admitting that she was attracted to the validating power of an audience, Simpson analyzes how her failings and triumphs have enabled her to take control of her life, even as she was hounded by the press and various music and movie executives about her weight. Simpson’s memoir contains plenty of personal and professional moments for fans to savor.

An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-289996-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Dey Street/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2020

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