Read To Hold the Crown by Jean Plaidy Online


From exile and war to love and loss--every dynasty has a beginning.Henry Tudor was not born to the throne of England. Having come of age in a time of political turmoil and danger, the man who would become Henry VII spent fourteen years in exile in Brittany before returning triumphantly to the Dorset coast with a small army and decisively winning the Battle of Bosworth FielFrom exile and war to love and loss--every dynasty has a beginning.Henry Tudor was not born to the throne of England. Having come of age in a time of political turmoil and danger, the man who would become Henry VII spent fourteen years in exile in Brittany before returning triumphantly to the Dorset coast with a small army and decisively winning the Battle of Bosworth Field--ending the War of the Roses once and for all and launching the infamous Tudor dynasty.As Henry's claim to the throne was tenuous, his marriage to Elizabeth of York, daughter and direct heir of King Edward IV, not only served to unify the warring houses, it also helped Henry secure the throne for himself and for generations to come. And though their union was born from political necessity, it became a wonderful love story that led to seven children and twenty happy years together.Sweeping and dramatic, To Hold the Crown brings readers inside the genesis of the great Tudor empire: through Henry and Elizabeth's troubled ascensions to the throne, their marriage and rule, the heartbreak caused by the death of their son Arthur, and, ultimately, to the crowning of their younger son, King Henry VIII."Plaidy excels at blending history with romance and drama." --New York Times...

Title : To Hold the Crown
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780307346193
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 416 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

To Hold the Crown Reviews

  • Ami
    2019-06-07 11:08

    It is quite clear that the person who wrote the synopsis of the story found on the back cover of this book never actually read it. It reads: "As Henry’s claim to the throne was tenuous, his marriage to Elizabeth of York, daughter and direct heir of King Edward IV, not only served to unify the warring houses, it also helped Henry secure the throne for himself and for generations to come. And though their union was born from political necessity, it became a wonderful love story that led to seven children and twenty happy years together." I am not sure where they hid the wonderful love story, but it wasn't in this book. I am not sure it qualifies as a wonderful love story if one of the participants doesn't even realize how good he had it until after she dies. It seemed from this narrative that Henry was happy as long as Elizabeth didn't ever challenge any of his thinking, didn't get in his way or didn't take up any of his time. They scarcely spend any time together in this book and none of those fleeting moments would qualify as part of a love story.The book does an adequate job of conveying historical accuaracies and providing alternative motivations for events for which we do not have specific information. I almost stopped reading during the first chapters: the beginning of the story plods along. In introducing all the main characters (with all the POV movement) we understand only one thing: that Henry Tudor's claim to the throne is tenuous at best. Every single character says or thinks it multiple times. All they do when they meet each other is talk about it. Unfortunately, they all use almost the same, exact language every time. After the first four or five characters I was ready to be done with the whole story. After the first half of the book (when every blessed living thing has exhausted the thought of King Henry's legitimacy) the narrative tightens and the rest of the story unfolds.

  • Kavita
    2019-06-03 02:44

    Evil Henry Tudor. He only thinks of what would be best for Henry Tudor, and hence pardons Lambert Simnel. Henry Tudor is very self centred, and hence errr ... pardons most of the Cornish rebels. Henry Tudor concentrates solely on what is good for Henry Tudor and ummm ... was against war. Oh yes, Henry Tudor knew what was good for Henry Tudor, never mind that it benefited the masses. It’s not as if he was even interested in them!I am sick and tired of pro-Ricardian crap and while I would never judge a historical fiction book based on historical accuracy, the characters aren’t even human. I am frankly surprised that Jean Plaidy wrote this. Most characters are one dimensional and have no depth. They exist for one single purpose alone, and that purpose whatever it is, is continuously hammered into the readers’ heads. Henry Tudor does only what is good for Henry Tudor. Cecily wants to marry John. Elizabeth Woodville is arrogant. Henry (VIII) wants to be King. If you’ve read this once, you’ve read this a hundred times. We are not stupid, Plaidy! Considering that the title of the book is ‘To Hold the Crown: The Story of King Henry VII and Elizabeth of York', there is precious little of Elizabeth. She is mostly just smiling and nodding and then disappears from the scene. Or she is breeding. Perhaps the book should have been titled ‘The Story of Henry VII Whom Nobody Liked Even Though He Was a Good King’ or even ‘Henry VII Wanted Only What Was Good For Henry VII’. The phrase has been used so often in the book, it could actually be used as a title. There is plenty of material to write a romance, but Plaidy chose to ignore it and write crap instead.As far as Henry, Duke of York is concerned, Plaidy has used the crystal ball technique. A fairy godmother appears to him in a dream and told him that he was going to be king. I can really think of no other reason why at the age of three he is already planning on becoming king. Because of course, everyone knows that Arthur is going to die. He is constantly going on about what he would do ‘if he were a king’ and ‘when he would be king’. It’s most annoying because he is NOT going to be king at this stage. No one knows about it yet. He keeps demanding that he should be Prince of Wales. WTF!? At the age of THREE! Henry is overjoyed when his brother dies. At this rate, I wonder why the author did not have little Henry murdering his father and brother and just become king himself. And good grief, his tutor talking about sex to him! John Skelton is ridiculous. Not only does he talk sex constantly to his three year old charge, he keeps telling him how things would be nicer if Henry were king! Was he planning to murder Arthur? Or did he use his crystal ball? Tea leaves, perhaps. It’s the most ridiculous thing I have ever read. Henry and Skelton discuss such matters as whether or not Arthur would be able to have children. I can’t believe I went through the trauma of reading this!The research is terrible, and somehow Plaidy has twisted everything to make it seem that H7 had ordered the Yorkist Princes murdered. The only interesting parts were the Lambert Simnel drama and later some parts featuring Katherine of Aragon and her sister's visit. But most of the book was just entire swathes of utter unbelievable crap.

  • Misfit
    2019-05-23 10:49

    From the back cover “And though their union was born from political necessity, it became a wonderful love story…” Huh? You have to wonder sometimes what is going through the publisher’s heads – the marriage of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York was not a love match by any means – why they would try to label it as such?? Originally published as Uneasy Lies the Head, this book covers the reign of Henry VII following the defeat of Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth. With a very tenuous claim on the throne of England Henry marries Elizabeth of York, eldest daughter of Edward IV, in an effort to strengthen his claim. Despite keeping peace in the country and restoring the empty coffers, Henry is always fearful of conspiracies to challenge his reign with pretenders to the throne claiming to be one of the lost princes in the tower. So much of this book is known history, we’ve all read enough of the Tudors I don’t need to rehash it all again. The book takes the reader from the beginning of Henry’s reign until the end and at his death and the assumption to the throne of his son Henry VIII. Although I did enjoy this book very much, it was a bit dry at times, especially at the beginning, and those not familiar with the Wars of The Roses might have a difficult time picking up the story. Henry was nicely portrayed as a parsimonious penny pincher always worried about threats to his crown, the younger Henry a bit too full of himself and his “knightly” responsibilities, Katharine of Aragon suitably pious and obedient – my only complaint was the how Elizabeth of York was portrayed. A virtually non-existent character, the few times she was in the storyline she was quite vapid and very forgettable. She was pretty much there for the procreation of children. All in all a pleasant read, not the best but not the worst either. 3.5/5 stars.

  • ladywallingford
    2019-06-03 06:48

    Although I didn't think much of Mary, Queen of France by this author, I thought I would give her another try. According to the plot synopsis on the back of the cover, this book was supposed to be the story of the great romance between Henry VII and Elizabeth of York. Well, the story barely touched on Elizabeth of York and when she did actually appear in the progression of the novel, I think she was treated as nothing more than breeding stock. A very disappointing read... I also found fault with some of the writing. For example, Plaidy writes a scene between a three year old Henry VIII and his sister Margaret. Other than the childish tone of the whole conversation and the author telling the readers the age of the children, these children are basically having an adult conversation, which is not very realistic.Two things I did like: One, I think the author characterized Henry VII perfectly. He is just how I imagine the real Henry was when alive and King of England. Two, throughout the whole story, the author insinuates that Henry VII killed the two princes in the Tower and not their uncle, Richard III. I definitely believe that Henry was capable of that in order to secure his crown.Overall, I wouldn't waste the time reading this book. As I said earlier, it was very disappointing and I could not wait to finish it.

  • Klaartje
    2019-06-09 04:59

    Prima boek als je graag eens wil weten hoe dat nou zat met de vader van Hendrik de 8e. De jeugd van Hendrik 8 komt aan bod en na het lezen weet je ook hoe het zo is gekomen dat Hendrik met de vrouw van zijn overleden broer trouwt. Allemaal dingen die je waarschijnlijk ook wel op Wikipedia kunt vinden. Het boek zit chronologisch waarschijnlijk aardig in elkaar, is toch ook informatief en vandaar toch nog twee sterren. Ik heb het uitgelezen omdat ik het nu echt graag eens wilde weten.Helaas is het boek saai geschreven (ik las het in het Engels, dus de vertaling kan ik de schuld niet geven). Telkens op nieuw beschrijft Jean Plaidy wat haar personages denken en dat zijn telkens dezelfde dingen. Nu is het natuurlijk zo dat mensen inderdaad zo hun hang ups hebben en heel vaak dezelfde gedachten hebben, maar in dit geval is het geen literair stijlelement om de psychologie van de personages beter tot hun recht te doen komen.Kortom in ca 290 pagina's weet je meer, maar is er bij mij niet direct de behoefte om het volgende boek, Katharine, the virgin widow ook te gaan lezen hoewel de eerste bladzijden die ik inkeek wel een andere "toon" hebben. Het lijkt me alleen zo sterk dat Plaidy ineens een prima schrijfster is geworden. Toch schreef ze 9 delen over de Tudors, wie weet was dit eerste deel gewoon een vingeroefening.

  • Jennifer
    2019-06-16 11:00

    Read for Tudor History Lovers Group Read ~ July/August 2010I liked this book but I didn't love it. I enjoyed reading about Henry VII but, while I was really looking forward to reading about Elizabeth of York, I feel like I still know nothing about who she was. I realize that there's not a whole bunch of information available about her, but come on... it's supposed to be a book about the love story between her and Henry and she's barely in it. Oh, and there's no love story. Was Elizabeth of York really a meek and mild wallflower who submitted graciously to her all of her husband's actions, desires, demands? I can't base a opinion on this book because I just can't believe that she would be as weak as she was portrayed here. The writing style wasn't wonderful but it wasn't horrible either. I felt that each character thought and spoke in much the same way as all the others ~ they had no voices or personalities of their own. And we know that they each had very definitive personalities. Regardless, I did like that the narration switched back and forth between all the major players rather than being told by one person's point of view. As a starting novel for the Tudor series by Plaidy, I really liked it. I thought it was a good introduction and I learned things I hadn't known about. I am excited to continue that learning. It's obvious to me that Plaidy puts a lot of research into her novels and has a good grasp of the period. Unless I have even less of a grasp than I thought and just don't know enough to spot inaccuracies. Overall, it was a quick and easy read and one I'd recommend but not with too much enthusiasm. This is my second novel by the author (the first being William's Wife) and I will definitely be reading more of her work.

  • Samantha
    2019-05-27 06:45

    I decided to give Plaidy another try after giving up on her "Plantagenet Prelude" swearing that I would never purchase one of her books again. Looking for something on Elizabeth of York and finding such novels in short supply, I attempted Plaidy again with the hope that this more recent novel would see improvements in her writing. It is improved in that I finished it. This at times required some perseverance on my part. Much to my dismay, Elizabeth is not even a major character in the book.Once again, I encountered repetitive, condescending writing, which only improved in her section on Perkin Warbek. She refers to favorite topics such as the mysterious disappearance of the Princes in the Tower, Henry's devotion to his mother, and young Henry's desire to be King at least 2-dozen times. I found myself wanting to throw a thesaurus at Plaidy's head as I read the word "parsimonious" more times in this book than in the 100 I've read before it.The two-dimensional characters that I had deplored in PP were par for the course in this novel as well. Elizabeth of York is complacent to the extent that she does not question her brothers' disappearance or whether her husband may have had something to do with it because it would be "embarrassing." She is quick to agree to everything Henry says and thanks God that her mother-in-law is there to make any other decisions for her. Prince Henry is written as a throne hungry egotist, which seems accurate except she started writing him that way at 3 years old!I did enjoy Plaidy's take on the Princes in the Tower, Lambert Simnel, and Perkin Warbek. However, I will not be spending time on any other of her books.

  • Paula
    2019-06-11 05:59

    Blech! I soo wanted to like this book, but it was just so poorly written and such a stretch from the truth that I couldn't get into it. I finished it because I have a good streak going of actually reading the group read selections from the Tudor group, but otherwise probably would have been tempted to throw this into the fire this past Labor Day weekend. Who am I kidding, I was tempted, but it goes against every fiber of my being to burn a book!The plot was weak - there basically wasn't one, actually, as it was just a chronicle of the reign of Henry VII with little to no character depth, poor use of facts, a complete lack of editing, and the continual shift in perspective lent to a feeling of the book being disjointed and unorganized. The cover advertises this as a spectacular blend between history, romance and drama. History? Barely. Romance? Between whom? Drama? There were so many typos, grammatical errors, and an overuse of elipses that I am having a hard time even commenting on the material. Considering the ranking I gave this book, perhaps I've said enough already :)

  • Val
    2019-05-25 09:02

    I was really looking forward to reading this book. Even though it was another fictionalized account of Henry VII & Elizabeth of York, I was eager to read about the events from a different view. As much as I hate to say it, this book was almost painful to get through at times. In contrast with The King’s Daughter, a book that grabbed me and pulled me in, To Hold the Crown just seemed to gloss over the characters & events of the book. Elizabeth of York hardly played a part in this book. Reading descriptions of the book online, I expected there to be a great love story in this book. That definitely would have been different from the image in The King’s Daughter. Unfortunately, I don’t think that To Hold the Crown really portrayed a deep love. To Hold the Crown read more as a non-fiction book with some fiction thrown in. It did do a good job of going over events that occurred during Henry VII’s reign.

  • Kirsty
    2019-06-05 05:04

    I enjoyed this book although I thought in places it was a little slow. It starts at the end of the War of the Roses as Henry 7th comes to the throne. I am a huge fan of the Tudor period but I haven't read that much that focuses on Henry 7th. We get to see a lot of POVs in this book and the constant changing of POV was a bit annoying at times as it made the story seem as if it was jumping around quite a bit. I have read a number of historical fiction novels and most stick to the facts but mix in the authors own interpretation of the events. I found that this book read a little more like a factual book in places rather than being a work of fiction. This made the placing quite slow and this book is over 400 pages which I thought was a little too long as not a lot happened in the book despite it taking places over a number of years.I will continue to read more in this series as the next books will follow the reign of Henry 8th which is my favourite topic to read.

  • Ana T.
    2019-06-10 03:04

    After having read Victoria Holt in my teens and having heard rave reviews of Jean Plaidy's historical fiction novel I finally tried one - Uneasy Lies the Head is the story of Henry VII. The man who defeated Richard III at Bosworth, united the Lancaster and York Houses and spent his ruling years getting rid of potential rivals to the throne.In the aftermath of the bloody Wars of the Roses, Henry Tudor has seized the English crown, finally uniting the warring Houses of York and Lancaster through his marriage to Elizabeth of York. But whilst Henry VII rules wisely and justly, he is haunted by Elizabeth's missing brothers; the infamous two Princes, their fate in the Tower forever a shrouded secret. Then tragedy strikes at the heart of Henry's family, and it is against his own son that the widowed king must fight for a bride and his throne... I liked Plaidy's voice although at first I was a bit confused with the different point of views. I also would have preferred if the story had started a bit earlier. Henry VII acceptance as a king was a in part due to his marriage to Elizabeth of York and it was a bit odd seeing her so dependent of him when she must have been an important part of the day's politics.But mostly the book is about Henry's political moves to guarantee his power, to prevent rebellions by York claimants. He had to deal with two fake pretenders - Lambert Simnel and Perkin Warbeck - and kept a tight hold on the ones who might be a potential danger like the young Earl of Warwick. He comes across as cold, scheming and a detached murderer. He has no strong feelings - love or hate - towards anyone but he doesn't hesitate to murder, or better said convict with fake charges, the one's who might threaten his power. Unavoidably part of what bothers him is to explain the disappearance of the prince's in the tower in a way that doesn't make him look guilty.Another important thing is the begetting of heirs to strengthen the dynasty. Having had the fragile Arthur, Henry and Elizabeth keep having more children and next come Margaret, Henry and Mary and a few other babies who didn’t survive. Their children are also an important part of the book and we follow the negotiations for Arthur and Katharine of Aragon's marriage and the early years of the princess's stay in England. The author also develops a bit of the future Henry VIII personality, presumably to set us on the right path for the next books.All in all an enjoyable read which follows the historical facts closely but gives them a lighter and fictionalised approach.Grade: B

  • chucklesthescot
    2019-06-18 10:12

    King Henry VII ended The War of the Roses by uniting his House of Lancaster with the House of York by marrying Elizabeth of York. Even with the birth of two sons, Henry still feels paranoid about losing his throne. He seeks an alliance with the rulers of Spain, while fighting off rebels who support other claimants to the throne. He feels more secure when his son Arthur marries Katherine of Aragon, the young Spanish Princess but disaster is waiting just around the corner.This book was a good background to the early life of Prince Arthur, the first husband of Katharine of Aragon, and his petulant brother who would become King Henry VIII, and their sisters Mary and Margaret. It is clear that their father has a lot of work to do to secure the throne from pretenders who use the disappearance of the Princes in the Tower to their own ends, presenting fake princes to the public to rally support to overthrow the unpopular King. We also get to see all the diplomatic problems surrounding overseas alliances and marriages which makes this a very interesting read. Henry VII was a cold man who showed little emotion even over his wife and the children that he lost so it's no surprise that the people loved the vibrant Prince Henry much better.Henry VIII is seen here as a spoiled child who wants to get his own way and sulks at not having the power and glory given to reluctant heir Prince Arthur. His desire for marrying Katherine does not end even when his father decides to break the betrothal and you can see the early seeds of the tyrant showing through in young Henry.It is the first book I have read about Henry VII and I'll be interested to read more about him and The War of the Roses itself.

  • Audeline
    2019-05-19 10:49

    The book was a decent read, a good tale of the story of Henry VII and his court. The only issues I take is the portrayal is that of his relationship with Elizabeth of York, which historically they loved one another and Elizabeth did hold some sway, and in reality she worked with Margaret Beaufort on various projects. Also the implications that Henry VII killed the Princes in. The Tower is quite a street. The blame for that can be laid at Richard III's feet, for it was during his rule that the Princes disappeared and he had the motives and the means. Prince Henry was a vain, pompous, delusional, lying brat in this book, but that does tie closely to the historical characteristics of Henry VIII.

  • Charlotte (Buried in Books)
    2019-05-24 09:10

    This is the start of the Tudor Saga, so it focuses on Henry VII, who claimed the crown when he defeated Richard III at the battle of Bosworth. This book spans his reign. He is portrayed as a man paranoid that someone will take the crown from him - also someone that is obsessed with money. A miser who concentrates of gaining money to make the country more prosperous. He takes no pleasure from his wife (the most beautiful woman in England) and mere does his kingly duty in order to produce heirs. That takes a heavy toll on his wife.The story starts with the birth of Prince Arthur just 8 months after their wedding - he is a sickly baby, but next in the line to the throne. The Queen is completely under the thrall of the King and his mother (it's quite sad how she allows her own mother to be removed from court).One of the main story threads in the book is the fate of the 2 Princes in the tower. Put there by Richard III, he had proclaimed the children of his brother (the previous King) as illegitimate. One wonders why if that was the case he felt the need to place his nephews (the rightful heirs) in the tower in the first place.Henry VII actually married their sister - so he obviously didn't feel the same way, but did he do away with the princes? This book has it's own take on their fate. Which makes a lot of sense. If Richard III had put them in the tower and claimed them illegitimate he wouldn't have needed to kill them. Henry VII on the other hand would have had better cause to kill them to keep his grip on the throne.A strong voice in the book is Henry's son - the future Henry VIII. He comes over as a real brat - jealous of his older brother - resentful that he wasn't first born, glad when Arthur dies.I have read other books about the wives of Henry VIII and always felt very strongly that Katherine of Aragon was treated terribly - a feeling that this book reinforced big time. She was a pawn in a bigger game, made to live in poverty after the death of Arthur, but kept in arms reach just in case she was useful.An interesting fictional take on the story.

  • Sandra Self
    2019-06-10 10:49

    History comes a live.Dry facts of who was king from one date to t h e next, or the name of his queen can be dull. Jean Plaidy makes history come a live, even if most of it is with a writer's interpretation. Henry VII and Elizabeth may have been royalty, but they were also human and Plaidy allows the reader to glimpse that.

  • Michelle Cristiani
    2019-06-03 07:11

    Enjoyable and educational - though I might have liked the focus to stay on Henry VII throughout. Towards the end Plaidy strays into overlap with her other novels on the princesses. The point of view just seems too unsteady. Because of this I liked the first half more than the second.

  • Heaven Claussen
    2019-06-08 09:57

    This was captivating! Really enjoyed reading this book

  • Susan Grimshaw
    2019-05-26 09:04

    A plodding run through the reign of Henry VII, if only this was a true account! I would love to think Henry was behind the murders of the Princes in he Tower!

  • Amy Clayton
    2019-06-09 08:09


  • Jennifer Smoliga
    2019-06-09 10:43

    a great story, but is very slow and not too much excitement.

  • Snowy
    2019-06-01 06:51

    Way too repetitive.

  • Regina Beard
    2019-05-26 02:48

    To Hold the Crown by Jean Plaidy delves into the beginnings of the Tudor dynasty in England. The historical events are well researched and her assumptions about what happened to the two Princes in the Tower are logical; however, the characterization and dialogue are flat and confusing. For example, the Tudor children often have thoughts and conversations much too adult for the ages of three- and five-year-old children. The retelling of historical events can be difficult, but the author should maintain appropriate characterization in the narrative to make it more readable because these errors shakes the reader out of the story and interrupts the flow.Since I am an avid lover of English history, especially the Tudor period, I found the retelling of the beginnings of the Tudor dynasty fascinating. The focus of the book is mainly on Henry VII, a miserly yet strong king who gained the crown through winning the battle of Bosworth. The story begins after his marriage to Elizabeth of York, which ultimately ends the bloody War of the Roses by combining the warring houses of Lancaster and York. Plaid describes the era with great detail and includes the important events of Henry VII’s reign, including the births/deaths/marriages of his children, the execution of traitors, the imposters who tried to seize his thrones, and political intrigue that encompassed the events of Tudor England.I usually do not comment much on grammatical issues in book reviews, but To Hold the Crown has an overwhelming number of them. The grammatical errors are such in nature that the publishing company should have caught them before printing the books. For example, repeating words, no capitalizations at the beginning of sentences, and omitted words in sentences were frequently discovered throughout the text. At one point, I stopped reading to make sure I had not accidentally picked up a pre-published edition, which was not the case.Since I am an avid lover of English history, especially the Tudor period, I found the retelling of the beginnings of the Tudor dynasty fascinating. The focus of the book is mainly on Henry VII, a miserly yet strong king who gained the crown through winning the battle of Bosworth. The story begins after his marriage to Elizabeth of York, which ultimately ends the bloody War of the Roses by combining the warring houses of Lancaster and York. Plaid describes the era with great detail and includes the important events of Henry VII’s reign, including the births/deaths/marriages of his children, the execution of traitors, the imposters who tried to seize his thrones, and political intrigue that encompassed the events of Tudor England.I usually do not comment much on grammatical issues in book reviews, but To Hold the Crown has an overwhelming number of them. The grammatical errors are such in nature that the publishing company should have caught them before printing the books. For example, repeating words, no capitalizations at the beginning of sentences, and omitted words in sentences were frequently discovered throughout the text. At one point, I stopped reading to make sure I had not accidentally picked up a pre-published edition, which was not the case.

  • Ying-Ju
    2019-06-06 06:05

    I’ve been on a Tudor kick recently. It started with Elizabeth Fremantle’s Queen's Gambit, led to fond memories of Scholastic’s Royal Diaries series which I loved as a kid, was stoked into a fervour when I went to watch the RSC’s “Wolf Hall” and “Bring Up the Bodies” stage adaptations (both on the same day!—honestly, those productions are theatre greatness and I’m going to see them again), and then I ravenously set about sating my appetite for all good Tudor fiction in any way I could. Because I’m a snob and refuse to watch Showtime’s “The Tudors” or read Philippa Gregory (a friend who has read The Other Boleyn Girl called it “fancy dress softcore porn”), it was actually pretty difficult finding a novelist who is historically accurate, is a good writer, but isn’t Hilary Mantel. I read a few threads on Goodreads and Jean Plaidy is rather highly regarded, so I started with Uneasy Lies the Head.Firstly, I will admit that I am biased to favour that breed of prolific Englishwomen writers who churned out, as constantly as the seasons pass, dozens of books during their lives: Georgette Heyer, Gladys Mitchell, Agatha Christie, and now Eleanor Hibbert. Objectively, I realise that, at best, Plaidy’s style is straightforward and, at worst, it’s dull. She’s repetitive in her character’s introspective passages which gives the false impression that most of them are edging on simple. She hammers home their personality traits, hams up their characteristics so bombastically there is no room for alternate interpretation. They are almost historical cut-out dolls, with little effort expended to give them richer, more complex thoughts and emotions. Despite the bland delivery, I did enjoy reading about them. This is history without some half-baked conspiracy theory nestled in the fifteenth chapter waiting to pounce with a ridiculous interpretation of a widely-ridiculed rumour.There did emerge characters I cared about deeply, but that’s possibly more to do with the fact that I like them anyway as historical figures: Katharine of Aragon (as it’s spelled in the book), Arthur Tudor, Henry VII, and I loved the flashbacks to Edward IV’s reign and persona.Although I find the Tudor period fascinating, I’ve never studied it before, which preferably I would like to have done before starting on historical fiction. (Even having a university curriculum syllabus would put me at rest, so I could read about the actual events alongside the highly stylised ones, as I’m short of time and focus these days.) In the vast bubbling tar pit of horrendous fiction about the Tudors, I feel like Plaidy is the safe choice, so I’ve already moved on to the third book in her Tudor series (as apparently the second lifts long passages from this book). She’s readable and gives me what I want. More flavour would be nice, but for now Plaidy will do wonderfully.

  • Ashley W
    2019-06-04 09:56

    Boy, was this book boring! I put this book down several times because I simply could not read straight through without falling asleep. To Hold The Crown chronicles the reign of Henry VII and his Queen Elizabeth of York, and it was VERY dry. Also, the blurb on the back of the book lied to me, because there was absolutely zero love story anywhere in this book, let alone between Henry VII and Elizabeth of York. Elizabeth of York only appeared when she was pregnant or when she was being told what do to by her husband and/or mother-in-law. Henry VII just disgusted me. Throughout the book, he is described as being calm which just seemed to be a euphemism for cold. He only treated his wife and children with affection if they were useful at the moment, and devised underhanded schemes to receive money from his people or to off those he felt were menaces to him. The one he devised to rid himself of the Earl of Warwick and Perkin Warbeck was especially cruel and in my opinion, unnecessary. He should've just executed them straight off instead of giving them false hope.Elizabeth of York was only a bit better. She had everything decided for her and has absolutely no backbone! The woman even went so far as to turn against her mother for the sake of her husband and mother-in-law, Margaret Beaufort. If I was Elizabeth Woodville, I would have slapped her silly after everything she did for her, and for good measure (though I really probably would have been executed), Margaret Beaufort, too. No one showed Elizabeth Woodville any respect, and yet people were surprised when she took part in a rebellion against the King. I wondered what took her so long. When she died, I was sad to see her go, because she seemed to be the only person in the entire novel who had any sense. The reasoning behind Arthur's name was ridiculous. Henry VII really believed he was descended from the mythical King Arthur, who no one even knows even existed. Poor Arthur spent so much of his life trying to live up to his name and being the perfect son and Prince of Wales, that it ultimately took his life. Henry VIII and Margaret were brats and though Henry VIII was depicted as a selfish, arrogant child, I liked his characterization. Even at the age of three, he felt he should have been the Prince of Wales instead of Arthur. It might've been foreshadowing on Plaidy's part, but I felt it was more Henry being really precocious.I also liked Plaidy's interpretation on the fate of the Princes in the Tower, and I feel it was very possible. Her theory is a lot more believable than the most popular one, I think.There was not much plot in this book as it really only served as a 400+ plus page history lesson and it was very repetitive. The eighth time someone mentioned that Henry VIII had "a shaky claim to the throne" I wanted to throw this book at a wall.Unless you are a true Plaidy fan or really love Henry VII, I would pass on this one.

  • June Louise
    2019-05-27 08:04

    You know when you have spent hours reading a book and have learned a lot of things from it, that it has been time well spent. I feel just like that on finishing "Uneasy Lies The Head".The uneasy head of the title belongs to King Henry VII - the Lancastrian king who married the Yorkist Elizabeth - daughter of Elizabeth Woodville. Having come across this motley bunch in Philippa Gregory's The White Queen (and also Henry's mother, Margaret Beaufort in the Red Queen), I had a little knowledge of the background to the Princes in the Tower, their captivity and the fights for the crown. King Henry VII was known for being a "just" King - not at all extravagant, believing that great money was to be spent only if gains could be made from it. In doing this, he made England a very powerful and wealthy country. However, he was always aware that there were people who were questioning his right to the throne, which made him almost paranoid. Indeed, when two impostors did appear, Lambert Simnel and Peter "Perkin" Warbeck - Henry and his army were shaken up a little. Henry seemed to "dispose" of anyone who was a threat to his sovereignty (such as the Earl of Warwick), in between getting his wife in a semi-persistent state of child-bearing.Not a lot is said about Elizabeth. She seems to be there to produce children and be the mild and meek wife of the King - who often reminds her that him being King means that Lancaster is more important than York.Henry VIII's life from childhood to accession are described in this book - as I said in an earlier comment, I was a little baffled as to how, at the age of two, he was planning on how to become Prince of Wales in place of his older brother, Arthur. Maybe toddlers were cleverer in those days!Then King James IV makes an entrance - being a half-Scot I had to laugh at the description of Scots being inelegant and barbarians! He plays a part in Henry VII's life - and enjoys seeing him getting into trouble!Without giving the plot away to those who are unaware of this part of history, there are marriages, deaths, protests, imprisonments, conniving schemes, and wife-hunting going on. It's a busy old time in the Tudor household, often with poor young Katharine of Aragon in the midst of it!As with all Jean Plaidy books, I would highly recommend "Uneasy Lies The Head" - she is one of my favourite historical fiction authors. This, to me, doesn't read like a timeline of events - it is a snapshot, in 440-odd pages,of the treachery and slyness of the monarchy in the 16th century. Very readable (if a little slow to start), and very addictive. I have already added the sequel to my TBR list!

  • Kate
    2019-06-03 07:01

    First things first, the packaging and subtitle of To Hold the Crown are not at all accurate to the actual text. If you were thinking of reading this is in the hope that it focuses on the romance between Henry VII and Elizabeth of York you’ll be disappointed. A more accurate description would be the story of Henry VII and a young Henry VIII, because despite Elizabeth being the focus of the first chapter she quickly disappears from the narrative, becoming little more than Henry’s meek wife bent to the will of him and his mother. Rather than romance Plaidy’s novel is more concerned with the rebellions that plagued Henry’s reign, his own paranoia and his son Henry’s ambitions to the crown.Although not what the book promised the subject matter should still be engaging for anyone interested in the period. Unfortunately Plaidy’s prose is very repetitive, often reiterating the same facts over and over again, and this makes the book very dull and hard to read. Also the chapter-by-chapter shifts in perspective make it hard to find one character to root for or relate to. While most historical novels of this period exhibit some sort of bias towards either the Yorkist or Lancastrian/Tudor side Plaidy avoids this by writing all her characters as wholly unlikable. Henry VII is a cold hearted miser, little Henry VIII is a spoilt brat, Elizabeth of York is a passive doormat, Elizabeth Woodville is vain and obsessed with plotting, etc. Perhaps the hopelessly naive Perkin Warbeck gets the fairest treatment. Moreover Plaidy’s characters are so one dimensional it is hard to believe any of them were truly like the caricatures she presents here.While Plaidy may have been aiming for a pro-Ricardian novel, judging by the fact that (view spoiler)[his innocence of the murder of the Princes is frequently brought up and Henry VII is eventually revealed as the one who ordered their deaths. Plaidy’s reasoning here is a little weak, her argument is solely based on Richard not killing the Princes because he had already declared them illegitimate. Ignoring the possibility that rebellions might still be raised in their name, Plaidy also offers no explanation as to why innocent Richard didn’t refute the rumours of their death in 1483. (hide spoiler)] Ultimately Plaidy’s pro-Richard stance in this novel doesn’t so much cast the absent Richard in a good light as throw Henry VII, the closest character to a protagonist, in an increasingly bad one. If Plaidy wanted to write Ricardian fiction perhaps she should have focused her novel on him during his lifetime rather than detailing how despicable she finds his surviving enemies.

  • Lyn (Readinghearts)
    2019-06-11 05:53

    I finally finished To Hold the Crown: The Story of King Henry VII and Elizabeth of York by Jean Plaidy. The month of July has been so busy for me, I have been having a hard time getting time to read. If you follow my reviews, you know I usually start with a story. Well the story about this book is that it was picked as a group read for the Tudor History Lovers group here on Goodreads. In this group we pick a Tudor figure every two months to read a book about. For June and July that person was Elizabeth of York. Since this book was billed as the love story between King Henry VII and his wife Elizabeth of York, it won the members poll for the group read. In fact, Elizabeth of York was a very minor character in the book and the love story was hardly in the book at all. Although that was a disappointment, the book itself was a pretty good rendition of the reign of King Henry VII chronicling Henry's obsession with keeping the crown for the Tudor's and the factors in play that fueled that obsession. Additionally, there was a lot of time spent on the character of Henry VIII as a small child and youth, and Katharine of Aragon, as first Arthur's wife and then Henry VIII's betrothed. As such, the author did a good job telling the story of the beginning of the Tudor dynasty. One comment I would like to make, though, with regards to this book is the poor editing that was done. There were a lot of mistakes, and while I usually ignore them in favor of the story, many of the group members felt that they detracted from the book quite a bit. As it turns out, those group members who had original copies from the UK, or early (circa 1984) US editions did not have the errors, but those of us who had the newer editions did. There were many misspelled words and misplaced punctuation marks that did not seem to be in the original editions. Obviously, since these errors were not in the original editions, one cannot blame the author, but must look to the editors of the newer editions. In my opinion, this is a huge disservice to the author as it can turn off many potential readers. All in all, I am giving the book 3 stars. It was a good, but not great book. I did not want to sit up all night reading it to see what was happening. However, it is the first book in Plaidy's Tudor Series, and I do plan to read the others.

  • Sensitivemuse
    2019-06-12 10:12

    I have to say, I enjoyed reading this book. At first, it was a little hard for me to get into, as the plot did not grasp at my attention, and there is a slight confusion to all the names being thrown out to you as a reader. Hence why there are detailed family trees in the beginning for your reference. After getting the characters straightened out the plot gets more intriguing and the Tudor court suddenly comes to life. Albeit, not as dashing and charming as you might find in Henry the Eighth's court, but that's because his father was a penny pincher. The glamour isn't there yet, but the intrigue definitely is, and so is the constant plotting to get rid of the Tudors from the English throne. I really liked the detail and effort Plaidy had put into this novel to made it as historically accurate as possible without really compromising anything. She breathed life into each of the characters so there's flesh and feeling to them and not just two dimensional things that don't develop at all, or are just there to take up a page or two. Her writing style is a little different, it's certainly more descriptive and sets the right moods and tones for the reader. The dialogue is all right and well written, and adds personality to the characters in the book. It was nice to see Katherine and Arthur again albeit for a very short period of time. She gained my sympathy towards the end of the novel for sure. I also enjoyed how Henry the VII was so worried about these pretenders to the throne, and how he was always on the edge of his seat to defend it. Also, the outcome of the Princes of the Tower was interesting and well written here. What I didn't really like about this story? Henry was a bit too cold, almost lifeless and void of any real human emotion. He was like a robot. Also, his wife Elizabeth was mentioned but not as much as I hoped. I actually wanted to hear more about the story of both of them and how they got along in their marriage. However on a lighter note, it was nice to see Henry the Eighth, same as usual, arrogant as ever. It's nice to see some things that don't change in every Tudor novel I have come across.Overall, a must read for Tudor fans everywhere. It sets the setting for Henry the Eighth and his court and keeps you wanting more to read.

  • Amber
    2019-06-02 04:03

    I have TONS of Jean Plaidy books on my TBR and this is the first novel by her that I have ever read. I am a member of the Tudor History Lovers group on Goodreads and this book was voted in as the group read for July/August (my first group read since joining the group). The actual group read experience is an enjoyable one: we can all read at our own pace and then discuss different parts of the book on the forum and what we thought of it. Now, the actual book itself...I will just leave you with two of my posts I left on the forum:So where am I....I have read up to chapter 4 so far. I'm waiting for it to capture me a bit more. I'm a bit disappointed about how Elizabeth Woodville and Elizabeth of York are portrayed so far, but maybe because I'm more familiar with The White Queen by Philippa Gregory. I don't know too much about how these women were supposed to be in real life so I don't know which is truer. Also, the punctuation is throwing me off at points. What seem to be questions are sometimes punctuated with a period, for instance.Isn't Cecelia's name really Cecily? I'm guessing they are interchangeable?Sorry for the nit-picking...I guess I'm doing it in mind for sharing my thoughts later on my blog when I'm done LOLANDI finished the book yesterday. I definitely agree with a lot of you that it is summarizing rather than storytelling and it leaves a lot wanting. It's a shame because the subject matter IS interesting. Plaidy's telling of it is not. Also the wealth of mistakes is just sad. Not just punctuation but also name Dudley is Edmund Dudley throughout the book except in on instance he's referred to as John Dudley...I even flipped back in the pages because I thought maybe I had made the mistake. Nope!There you have it. I was none too impressed with my first Plaidy read. However, I still plan to read her other books that are on my TBR.The original review can be found here.

  • Sang Ayu Putu
    2019-06-15 09:05

    This book frustrates me! The prose is derivative (holy hell and how…?), relies too much on repeated exposition where characters hammered motives and intentions to other characters for the ‘reader’s sake’ as if they are in the midst of intense battle in fighting the honorable title ‘Sir Obvious of Expositionville’. There are no discernable backbone of a story, inconsistent characterizations (how in the name of logic a 3 years old Henry VIII could spar with 5- I think- years old his sister about the state of English court as if they are a pair of educated adults?), and more often than not the lack of editing process shown through (at one point the writer describes William Stanley as the brother of Henry VII’s father-in-law, whereas the fact is William Stanley’s brother , Thomas Stanley is the man who married Henry VII’s mother, making Thomas Stanley Henry VII’s step father. Oh lorddd, do this book really passed the editor’s desk before being printed and sold to the masses..??! it really beggars belief..)And the ultimate offense; as a novel which titled The Story of Henry VII and His Queen Elizabeth of York, there’s really little to none of Elizabeth of York in the story, she described as a little more than a breeding machine without any thought and voice of her own. I feel duped because I enter this expecting an elaborate and detailed account on their union and the period of their reign together because Henry VII and Elizabeth of York are fascinating characters, together and their own, seeing that their marriage has brought together decades of warring houses Lancaster and York and from their union borne the Infamous Tudor Dynasty with their own interesting figures. A grave disservice and missed opportunity, not even any well written smut included in this book (you see,i'm actually not that hard to please, really..) so that at least this could be saved from being a total craptacular disaster.