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JMP

  • 15
  • reviews
  • 31
  • helpful votes
  • 38
  • ratings
  • Thomas Cromwell

  • The Untold Story of Henry VIII's Most Faithful Servant
  • By: Tracy Borman
  • Narrated by: Julian Elfer
  • Length: 14 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 332
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 304
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 302

Thomas Cromwell has long been reviled as a Machiavellian schemer who stopped at nothing in his quest for power. As Henry VIII's right-hand man, Cromwell was the architect of the English Reformation, secured Henry's divorce from Catherine of Aragon and plotted the downfall of Anne Boleyn, and upon his arrest, was accused of trying to usurp the King himself. But here Tracy Borman reveals a different side of one of the most notorious figures in history.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • "Behind the Scenes" of Wolf Hall!

  • By JMP on 11-23-16

"Behind the Scenes" of Wolf Hall!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-23-16

I came to appreciate the perspective of Thomas Cromwell through the fictional work of Hilary Mantle's Wolf Hall and the follow-up novel Bring up the Bodies. This drew me to this biography highly-touted and it did not disappoint!

This book combined with the perspective of Hillary Mantel and various other books that I've read has lent a broader perspective of the man who was or may have been Thomas Cromwell. I appreciated his Machiavellian approach to the world. It also gives me great pride to think that a man who came from nothing and yet achieved so much change in the world. He wasn't perfect. He was self described as a Ruffian, and I think that is appropriate. The days of protagonists being squeaky clean are over and I think that's appropriate. History is never squeaky clean.

I'm not a fan of revisionist history per say however I do believe that history should be revisited once new evidence is brought to light or new documentation reveals allows us to draw correlation and theorize a new direction for a person in history. Similar to Richard III, we are finding out so much that otherwise was left to propagandistic historical recording. Whereas today I think we try to use more factuality and are not scandalized as easily. I think the same has been allowed with Thomas Cromwell and I am glad for it because otherwise I would have believed he was a very foul human being otherwise.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Three Sisters, Three Queens

  • By: Philippa Gregory
  • Narrated by: Bianca Amato
  • Length: 21 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,239
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,925
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,916

From the number-one New York Times best-selling author behind the upcoming Starz original series The White Princess, a gripping new Tudor story featuring King Henry VIII's sisters Mary and Margaret, along with Katherine of Aragon, vividly revealing the pivotal roles the three queens played in Henry VIII's kingdom.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wonderful

  • By I like to shop on 10-05-16

P.G. is usually brain candy, but this was garbage.

Overall
1 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-16-16

Magy was written with little depth and generally unlikeable. Sadly this was not a pleasant book to listen too. I want to always remind the so called historical author that you cannot use today's lifestyle to judge the past. The vilification or extraordinary extrapolation on character development in her stories is why I cannot take her serious as a historian. Though her books are amusing. This was not amusing or entertainment.

Bianca is an excellent reader! Only good thing about listening to this book.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Fatal Colours

  • Towton 1461: England's Most Brutal Battle
  • By: George Goodwin
  • Narrated by: Roger Clark
  • Length: 9 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 35
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 31
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 31

Fatal Colours includes a cast of strong and compelling characters: a warrior queen, a ruthless king-making earl, even a papal legate who excommunicates an entire army. And at its center is the first full explanation for the crippling incapacity of the enduringly childlike Henry VI - founder of Eton and King's College, Cambridge. With a substantive and sparkling introduction by David Starkey, Fatal Colours brings to life a vibrant and violent age.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Well done

  • By Charles on 08-19-15

Exceptionally Detailed for advanced research!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-14-16

Superb, listening to this right after Conn Ingulden's War of The Roses series allowed for better visual understanding.

  • A Great and Terrible King

  • Edward I and the Forging of Britain
  • By: Marc Morris
  • Narrated by: Ralph Lister
  • Length: 18 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 558
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 512
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 507

Edward I is familiar to millions as "Longshanks", conqueror of Scotland and nemesis of Sir William Wallace (in Braveheart). Yet this story forms only the final chapter of the king's action-packed life. Earlier, Edward had defeated and killed the famous Simon de Montfort, traveled to the Holy Land, and conquered Wales. He raised the greatest armies of the Middle Ages and summoned the largest parliaments. Notoriously, he expelled all the Jews from his kingdom.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Thoroughly Entertaining

  • By muffie5450 on 05-18-15

Truth sans the cynicism, more believable.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-19-16

Many non Englishman drew their first introduction to Edward I from the film Braveheart, notwithstanding the horrid historical inaccuracies, bad accents, and Hollywood-ized depictions of characters, you could tell Edward was a force of nature.

This book does a great job of shedding lights on the positives and negatives of his reign and tries to shed perspective as to the WHYS Edward made certain decisions.

Absolute triumph of work.

  • Katherine of Aragon, the True Queen

  • A Novel
  • By: Alison Weir
  • Narrated by: Rosalyn Landor
  • Length: 22 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 793
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 728
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 728

A princess of Spain, Catalina is only 16 years old when she sets foot on the shores of England. The youngest daughter of the powerful monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella, Catalina is a coveted prize for a royal marriage - and Arthur, Prince of Wales and heir to the English throne, has won her hand. But tragedy strikes, and Catalina, now Princess Katherine, is betrothed to the future Henry VIII.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Absolutely Wonderful!

  • By DebaDeb on 08-23-16

Stellar, Stoic, & Stupendous

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-29-16

This covers a very similar timeframe and format to the Constant Princess by Philippa Gregory. This is a far more elegant explanation and description of events. I agreed entirely with the speculations of what could have happened. This was less gaudy than Gregory's attempt to describe a similar period.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • The Confessions of Catherine de Medici

  • A Novel
  • By: C. W. Gortner
  • Narrated by: Cassandra Campbell
  • Length: 15 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 737
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 632
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 632

In this brilliantly imagined novel, acclaimed author C. W. Gortner brings Catherine to life in her own voice, allowing us to enter the intimate world of a woman whose determination to protect her family’s throne and realm plunged her into a lethal struggle for power. From the fairy-tale chateaux of the Loire Valley to the battlefields of the wars of religion to the mob-filled streets of Paris, this is the extraordinary untold journey of one of the most maligned and misunderstood women ever to be queen.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Pretty good but historical details are terrible

  • By Rania Melhem on 07-10-11

Cassandra Campbell voice & inflection too teenbop

Overall
1 out of 5 stars
Performance
1 out of 5 stars
Story
1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-14-16

Could not get beyond more than 15 minutes because I could not take the reader serious as the Queen Mother of French Court Intrigue.

She sounded far too much like she was reading a child's boom or a tween romance.

Will read the book instead of listen because CW Gortner stories deserve a good read, what it doesn't deserve is this awful child-like voice with little to no believability of inflection.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • The Rival Queens

  • Catherine de' Medici, Her Daughter Marguerite de Valois, and the Betrayal That Ignited a Kingdom
  • By: Nancy Goldstone
  • Narrated by: Suzanne Toren
  • Length: 16 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 565
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 520
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 520

Catherine de' Medici was a ruthless pragmatist and powerbroker who dominated the throne for 30 years. Her youngest daughter, Marguerite, the glamorous "Queen Margot," was a passionate free spirit, the only adversary whom her mother could neither intimidate nor control.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Definitely not a dull bio!

  • By Nella on 07-04-15

Overtakes Richard III Reputation For Being Evil

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-16-16

Would you listen to The Rival Queens again? Why?

I want to try to understand why the French Court needed to be as it was. I want to understand the cruelty. I am ashamed of this Mother / Daughter relationship. So I would listen to it, to make me feel a tad better about my terrible relationship with both a bio mom and an adopted mother. Catherine makes my Mothers look like un-abusiveness saints.

What other book might you compare The Rival Queens to and why?

G J Meyer has a level of candor as I just finished his The Tudors: The Most Notorious Family, I would say this book captures a level of frankness about the realities of what these people were dealing with. It is not sugar coated and I like that.

Which character – as performed by Suzanne Toren – was your favorite?

Neither woman is my favorite. But if I had to pick, I would say it would be Margarite. Margo despite her abandonment and frivolity, does what no other can do. She survives without a drop of love or compassion from her own family.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Who needs enemies when you have family.

  • Isabella

  • The Warrior Queen
  • By: Kirstin Downey
  • Narrated by: Kimberly Farr
  • Length: 21 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 417
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 375
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 377

Whether saintly or satanic, no female leader has done more to shape our modern world, in which millions of people in two hemispheres speak Spanish and practice Catholicism. Yet history has all but forgotten Isabella's influence, due to hundreds of years of misreporting that often attributed her accomplishments to Ferdinand, the bold and philandering husband she adored.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Good Biography! Learned so much about the Queen

  • By Linda Erlich on 12-03-14

Connecting the Dot's - May Contain Spoilers

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-11-16

I went into this book with a well respected ideal of Isabella and a roguish impression of Ferdinand. I left the book with an even stronger appreciation for Isabella's character reasons in contact to her environment and I found myself further enamored with her strength against all odds of being a woman in that time frame. Her only failing was that she did not raise all of her daughters to be as she was. Though I believe the political circumstances were right for her, Isabella to grasp the reins of power.

I appreciate the author taking the time to explain the background of why things came to pass as they did. & I even more so appreciate the appendix which explains how she came about writing this book, why she wrote it, and the stance of which she chose. Her background as an investigative international reporter lends itself to a little bit more credibility than a traditional historian or novelist. This is not to say that traditional historians are any less investigative is simply to say that the combination of someone so meticulous with an ability of good storytelling lends to an excellent combination. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is sincerely interested in the events surrounding, during and post battle ridden life of Isabella of Castile and the incredible dynasty of the House of Trastramra.

Katherine Swynford
    
    
        By:
        












    





    





    
        
            
            
                
            
        
        Alison Weir
    
    


    
    
        Narrated by:
        












    





    





    
        
            
            
                
            
        
        Judith Boyd
    
    


    
    Length: 16 hrs and 34 mins
    151 ratings
    Overall 3.8
  • Katherine Swynford

  • By: Alison Weir
  • Narrated by: Judith Boyd
  • Length: 16 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 151
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 102
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 99

New York Times best-selling author Alison Weir is renowned around the world for her chronicles of Britain's royal families. Here she turns her focus to the enigmatic former mistress of John of Gaunt, Katherine Swynford, who would go on to marry her lover and become Queen of England. Through Weir's captivating prose, listeners are treated to a rousing profile of a dynamic historical figure.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Loaded with facts.

  • By Kathryn on 01-10-12

Filled the gaps on the beginnings of the Beauforts

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-10-16

I absolutely loved this novel. I always had assumed that the Cousins War was a manifestation of the two siblings of John of Gaunt and his youngest brother the Edmund of Langley Duke of York, descendants warring against each other. To find out that Anne Mortimer was linchpin between the two brothers that gave Cecily Neville the self righteousness that she wore is absolutely wonderful. To see that they all came from the same place with very little to distinguish them other than which side of the country.

I find it extremely amusing that Warwick would call himself the kingmaker, when in reality and historically it has been John of Gaunt and his beloved mistress Katherine that truly were the kingmakers.

Alison Weir is an exceptional talent and the production of this book was quite enjoyable. I particularly enjoyed the narrator's inflection when she was reading things as if she found a naughty passage of notes between lovers. Exceptionally fun but very well thought out and laid out.

The beginning started a little slow with giving the origin story of Katherines humble beginnings. However it picks up speed once that John of Gaunt reaches adolescence and married his first wife Blanche of Lancaster. Excellent work Ms. Alison Weir! I highly recommend this to anyone who is interested in understanding the feudal world in the Hundred Years War.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Tudors

  • The Complete Story of England's Most Notorious Dynasty
  • By: G. J. Meyer
  • Narrated by: Robin Sachs
  • Length: 24 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 498
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 397
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 399

For the first time in decades, here, in a single volume, is a fresh look at the fabled Tudor dynasty, comprising some of the most enigmatic figures ever to rule a country. Acclaimed historian G. J. Meyer reveals the flesh-and-bone reality in all its wild excess.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • OUTSTANDING!

  • By The Louligan on 03-15-10

Doesn't pull his punches

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
2 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-20-15

Would you listen to The Tudors again? Why?

No, the book made me feel sick inside when you realize how crazy the Tudors really were. G. J. Meyer takes away the glossy photo paper and lets you see them all as they were.

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

Can't change history. I am grateful for the insights. I'm still rather taken aback at how self posessed and vain they all were.

Have you listened to any of Robin Sachs’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No this is my first time listening. He didn't sound all that enthusiastic in his topic, and I think it is reflected in his inflection. Also the tone of this voice is a little to "bassy" and hurt my ear drums, so I could only listen to him for a couple of hours at a time. This was after I fixed the audio out on various radios to tone down how deep he sounded.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes, but the narrator prevented me from doing so.

Any additional comments?

Other than Norman Cantor, I have never had my eyes opened more about the underbelly of that reality. As Cantor reviled "honour & chivalry as tools to convince men to go to battle for little to no gain" Meyer showed me how very little acclaim and worth the Tudors. Their fame similar to the Borgias is not out of good deeds and solemnity, but due to their notorious and mercurial natures. Meyer even managers to take the darling Gloriana and prove what a terror and shallow human being she really was. I used to think that I would have loved to have met her, now I think I'd rather watch from the sidelines. None of them were "great leaders" other than Henry VII. He managed to get the world in order again for England (even if he taxed and financially penalized them to death), but he provided stability with the lack of vanity that was so normal for the day.Meyer has opened my eyes to at least continue my research in text that show less favorable light for the Tudor Era.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful