I am back again with another edition of upcoming history books! These release dates are for North America; some of them have already come out in the UK and Europe (for my global readers). These all happen to be royal histories, although from very different periods, and of very different people. If you are looking for some upcoming history books to keep you entertained in the cold months of winter, look no further! These are my favourite January 2019 upcoming history books!
These are the latest history reads from NetGalley- I am so thankful for NetGalley and the publishers for allowing me to read these ahead! I always write fair and honest reviews, but I hit a really good string of books here. If you aren’t already signed up with NetGalley, I absolutely would- you can find books in every genre to read and review!
Carolina of Orange-Nassau: Ancestress of the Royal Houses of Europe, Moniek Bloks – 25 January 2019
Have you ever been reading a European royal history or biography related anywhere between 1650 and today? You very well may have heard Carolina of Orange-Nassau mentioned. However, you may also be like me and have absolutely no clue who that was. Until now!
This is a short but fantastic read, and I would recommend this to anyone who is interested in royal history. Carolina of Orange-Nassau is ancestress of 12 different royal houses in Europe, and is related to a 13th, and although she doesn’t get much attention as a regent for the Dutch throne, she is a fascinating royal. It is great when you can get more background information on these figures, as it really starts to round off your history as a whole, and give you a more complete picture when you are reading and researching!
Bloks covers Carolina’s life, as well as the reigning houses that she is ancestress of, and the different palaces and castles that she would have lived in. I’ve not done much reading on the Dutch monarchy, and I loved reading more about the physical places that she would have lived in. (I am fascinated by all royals, but the English/ Scottish/ Irish/ British houses and dynasties tend to dominate my knowledge.) As someone who knew nothing about her before starting this book, I loved how straightforward and brief this book is. I learned the “basics” of Carolina without being overwhelmed with details! Perfect for the monarchist in your life!
Henry VIII and the Men Who Made Him: The Secret History Behind the Tudor Throne, Tracy Borman- 8 January 2019
For anyone who doesn’t know, Tracy Borman is one of two Chief Curators of Historic Royal Palaces. That means she spends her days between Hampton Court Palace, the Tower of London, Kensington Palace. Banqueting House, and Kew Palace, amongst others. She earned her PhD in history from the University of Hull, and in addition to running HRP, often contributes to History Extra from the BBC, as well as other publications. This is all to say she is a talented and fascinating historian!
Now, onto the book itself. This is quite a deep dive of a history book. Spanning Henry VIII’s extensive reign, Borman covers nearly every man who served Henry. I thought given my extensive reading on the Tudors that this would be old hat, but I learned quite a bit with this book! Wolsey, Cramner, Cromwell, Suffolk, More, these men are always discussed when Henry VIII comes up, but we finally get to hear about the men in lesser positions who still served Henry in important roles and functions. Because many of these crop up in various television shows and movies, it was interesting to learn more about who these men actually were (instead of solely spending their time chasing women), and what their role in the court was. We finally learn more about the various Gentlemen titles!
I would recommend reading this slowly. It isn’t difficult subject matter, but Borman does not skip or ignore anything. It can get confusing with similar names and positions, and Henry has a long and complex reign that takes quite a few twists and turns. Taking your time does help with keeping everything sorted, though. She is a talented writer and doesn’t succumb to laboured academic styles of writing. If you are looking for a gift for someone who thinks that they know everything about the Tudors, this is the book to give!
Queen Victoria: Twenty Four Days That Changed Her Life, Lucy Worsley- 8 January 2019
This is one of my favourite books from Lucy Worsley! Lucy is the other Chief Curator of the Historic Royal Palaces, and you can certainly see the benefits of it- being immersed in royal history for over a decade has resulted in some absolutely fantastic books.
Queen Victoria can be an overwhelming and sometimes infuriating monarch to study; there is just so much to sift through. In addition to all of her own diaries and letters (which is staggering amount of sources to begin with), you then have surviving diaries and correspondence from those who came into contact with her, and then newspapers, court circulars, and countless others. (That being said, I am still angry that her children destroyed much of her correspondence.) All of thatis to say, Worsley’s plan to view Victoria’s life through specific episodes and days is brilliant.
I appreciate that Worsley highlights both the strengths and flaws of her subjects, and Victoria, Albert, et al, are no exception. She gives enough background to the day being featured so that you understand where the “players” are coming from, and the history that might contribute to it, but also focuses on the day itself. I love that she recognises that Albert’s very specific upbringing played a big role in his behaviour on his visits to England, which in turn affected how Victoria perceived him. I also enjoy that she picked days that highlighted different times and periods in her life, as it shows her evolution and changes (and how she stayed the same). This is certainly for the Victoria fan in your life!