A deeply researched work that allows this historic personage to live and breathe.

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UNCROWNED QUEEN

THE LIFE OF MARGARET BEAUFORT, MOTHER OF THE TUDORS

A fresh biography of the woman who ushered in the Tudor dynasty.

In this intricate and intimate work, Tallis manages to cut through the dizzying ties of royal ancestry to get at the steely personality of Lady Margaret Beaufort (1443-1509), a beleaguered mother whose single-minded purpose was to redeem the status of her son—and herself in the bargain. The author, who has previously written about Queen Elizabeth and Lady Jane Grey, presents a fully fleshed portrait of a justly celebrated woman who weathered several marriages and royal wars to prevail with the accession of her son, Henry VII, to the throne of England as the first Tudor. One of Margaret’s ancestors was the founder of the house of Lancaster, whose ties would come to define all of her dealings. Wealthy and well-connected, she was a prime pawn in the marriage market, betrothed twice as a child and married to Edmund Tudor at age 12. The author clearly renders this early marriage as a traumatic experience; Margaret got pregnant immediately, and Edmund died in battle less than two years later. Nonetheless, she was a devoted mother, and, through two more advantageous marriages, to Henry Stafford and Thomas Stanley, she skillfully positioned herself during the War of the Roses between the supporters of the Lancasters and Yorks. With Richard III’s usurpation of power in 1483, Margaret actively plotted to render her exiled son to the throne and arrange his marriage to Elizabeth of York, the eldest daughter of Edward IV, in order to claim legitimacy. Despite a perilous period of being branded “mother of the king’s great rebel and traitor,” it actually came to pass. In 1485 at the Battle of Bosworth, Henry defeated Richard to become king. For fans of British royal history, Tallis is a reliable guide, and the timeline and dramatis personae are highly useful.

A deeply researched work that allows this historic personage to live and breathe.

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5416-1787-2

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Basic

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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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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UNTAMED

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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