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Monday, May 11, 2009

Uneasy Lies the Head by Jean Plaidy

Copyright: 1982
Pages: 446

This is the first novel in the Tudor series and it begins with Henry VII already on the throne in 1486. As we know, the Tudors took the throne from the Yorks, so Henry spent most of his reign worrying about losing it. Henry VII (formerly Henry Tudor) was born January 28, 1457, he became King in 1485 and died aged 52. He was the King of England for 24 years and was succeeded by his youngest son Henry VIII.

Henry VII's paternal grandfather, Owen Tudor, is said to have secretly married the widow of Henry V, Catherine of Valois. The result of their union was Edmund Tudor, 1st Earl of Richmond, father of Henry VII. Henry's claim to the throne, however, derived from his mother, Lady Margaret Beaufort. His claim was somewhat tenuous. It was through a woman, and based on a lineage of illegitimate succession. Henry's mother, Lady Margaret Beaufort, claimed royal blood as a great-granddaughter of John of Gaunt, third son of Edward III, and Gaunt's third wife Katherine Swynford, Duchess of Lancaster. Katherine had been John's mistress for 25 years and they had four children; John, Henry, Thomas and Joan Beaufort, by the time they married in 1396. The throne became Henry's by right of conquest.

In December 1486 Henry married Elizabeth of York, daughter and heir of King Edward IV. They were third cousins. The marriage unified the warring houses and would give Henry's children a stronger claim to the throne. Henry and Elizabeth had 7 children, Arthur their eldest married Catherine of Aragon but died before his 16th birthday, Margaret married James IV (King of Scotland) and they had 6 children, Henry VIII became the King of England, he married 6 times and had 3 legitimate children, Elizabeth (died as a young child), Mary married Louis XII (King of France), Edmond (died as a young child) and Katherine died at birth. Elizabeth of York died as a result of Katherine's birth.

Uneasy Lies the Head is a well told story of the first Tudor King and his family. According to Jean Plaidy he had an over-bearing mother whom he worshipped and adored and was the only person he trusted completely. Elizabeth of York was a passive, well-behaved wife who performed her duty of providing heirs and caused Henry no trouble, despite the fact that most believed he had something to do with the death of her brothers in the tower.

I like to put historical facts in my reviews because I sometimes get so confused reading these books and I have to say that I did with this one. I'm up to book 7 in Jean Plaidy's Plantagenet series and because I haven't read anything about the Yorks I was often confused while reading this book which is the first in the Tudor series. It did give some back information but not enough for me to confidently understand the previous history. So now I'm going to go back to the Plantagenets.

About the Author: Jean Plaidy whose real name was Eleanor Hibbert used 5 pseudonyms and wrote 211 books. The most well known of these pseudonyms being Jean Plaidy and Victoria Holt.

Royal Rating:


dolleygurl said...

I haven't read this one yet, but it's on my TBR list. Good to know I might want to prep with some outside info tho.

Alaine - Queen of Happy Endings said...

Hi Dolleygurl, it definitely helps to understand the backgroud info.

ibeeeg said...

I so enjoy reading these type of books. I, as well, easily get lost in the history aspect of who is who and who is with who...

I read The King's Daughter last month and loved it. This book focused on Elizabeth of York so her marriage to Henry VII was included. It was very interesting and I was very glad that there was a family tree chart in the front. I referred back to that chart many times.
This is my review, if you are curious:

I am most defiantly going to read Uneasy Lies the Head as The King's Daughter has made me very curious about the Tudors.

Alaine - Queen of Happy Endings said...

That's great Sheree, then you get to reduce your TBR at the same time.

Blodeuedd said...

She is Victoria Holt...didn't know that, but the library do have those books.

lilly said...

First of, let me just say that I absolutely love your new layout. It is lovely! Second of, I own a few books by Plaidy but haven't read any yet. Hopefully I'll get to them soon (my TBR pile keeps growing larger instead of smaller, sigh). Thanks for the review, I like historical fiction but also can get confused a lot of times about the facts and characters, sometimes it seems as if every characters introduced into the story becomes a major player.

Caffey said...

I've read her books as Victoria Holt, everyone of them in HS!! But I never read her books as Jean Plaidy and I love historicals! So I do have down to check out her books so this is perfect.

Alaine - Queen of Happy Endings said...

Hi Caffey, I'd recommend you start with The Plantagenet series. That's where I started and I'm up to book six of that series. I'm really enjoying it.

Teddy Rose said...

Sounds like another great Plaidy! I must get to her!

Shannansbooks said...

I have this book on my shelf and TBR list. How did you get a hold of the entire Plantagenet series. Those books are hard to find. I learned a lot about them through War of the Roses by Alison Weir. I will learn about the little princes and Richard III in Princes in the Tower next month. Let me know how you obtained them. I have been looking for them for years.

Alaine - Queen of Happy Endings said...

Hi Shannon, I have been buying all the Jean Plaidy books from The Book Depository in the UK, they have free shipping to most of the world. Not all of her books have been re-released but they are releasing a couple a year. Here is the link http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/

gaby317 said...

I haven't read Jean Plaidy in years and this review makes me realize I should look her up again.

This sounds particularly interesting! I just watched Mary Stuart on Broadway this last weekend and am becoming more interested in getting the facts straight. So, I too, appreciate the background info! It just helps give us a better appreciation of the book.


Marie Burton said...

Plaidy has been around for so long and witht he reprints some of the titles change which drives me up a wall.. This one, Uneasy lies the Head, has been Reprinted in the USA as 'To Hold the Crown'. I almost bought another copy due to the name change. I have it sitting on shelf waiting patiently for me to read.. As far as Henry VII and his tenuous link to the crown, with the Perkin Warbeck as the missing Prince Problem, I think that paranoia helped along Henry VIII's intense desire for a son to carry on the name. There were probably a few more people that felt that perhaps Henry VII did not have as much of a right to the throne as others could have.
Anyway I didn't mean to get into a historical discussion, my fingers just ramble away sometimes.