Thursday, September 15, 2011

Dear Great Book Guru, Now that school year has begun, I feel the urge to learn, learn, and learn! I have always been interested in English history, especially the Tudors. While I was at the Sea Cliff Antiques Fair last week, someone mentioned a new take on Henry and his wives. Any thoughts? Youthful Antiquarian

Dear Youthful, The Antiques Fair was such fun! The Good of the Village Association did a fabulous job- I spent hours at the Kennedy-Biolsi-Marchese-DeMaio booth- their offerings were beautiful, well priced and artfully arranged- I can't wait for a reprise of this event. But let's get you started on your commendable pursuit of knowledge. WOLF HALL by Hilary Mantel is just the book for you. Winner of a multitude of historical and literary awards, it offers a fascinating look at Henry VIII's life from the perspective of his brilliant commoner- assistant Thomas Cromwell. The intrigues of court life, the harshness of everyday existence- the deprivations, the illnesses , and, yes, the decadent luxuries enjoyed by the very few- are all captured here. The saints (Thomas More most strikingly) are toppled from their pedestals while history's villains (Cardinal Wolsey and yes, even Henry himself) are shown as flawed but appealing human beings. The book is long and the family trees are formidable, but you will quickly find yourself transported to a long ago time with strange echoes of the present.

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