Quick Review: ELIZABETH OF YORK by Alison Weir

Alison Weir is an amazing historian, having written non-fiction books on a variety of British history subjects, including Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. I’ve read most of her work and while it is dense, it is fascinating.

I received ELIZABETH OF YORK from Net Galley. To be honest, I had no idea who she was (except that with that name, she was British). The subtitle of this book is “A Tudor Queen and Her World”. Elizabeth was Henry VIII’s mother. Her brothers were the little princes in the Tower (who disappeared). Elizabeth lived in a somewhat chaotic and violent time in British history in the late 1400’s. After a variety of ups and downs, she became a beloved and reigning queen, and the grandmother of Elizabeth I.

While I love reading these type of books, it is dense reading! It was also quite long. I read a Kindle version, but Amazon says over 600 pages. It is filled with facts that I would have been better served to write down into a genealogy. (I also struggle with the fact that a LOT of British queens/ladies shared the same three names: Elizabeth, Anne, or Jane, with an occasional Margaret thrown in).

If you don’t know much about Elizabeth of York and enjoy historical biography of the Tudors, then this is one for you!

Thanks, Net Galley and Ballantine Books, for my copy!

Review: “Fever” by Mary Beth Keane

Through Net Galley I received an ARC of “Fever”, the biography of “Typhoid Mary” by Mary Beth Keane. I had heard of Typhoid Mary, but didn’t know her true story. This novel, appropriate for YA or adults, gave an interesting and sensitive account of Mary Mallon’s life and experience as a healthy carrier of typhoid in New York in the early 1900’s.

Mary Mallon came to America from Ireland and worked her way from being a laundress to being a cook. She loved cooking and had a talent for it. At times she cooked for wealthy and prestigious families in New York and New England, but death followed Mary and she was accused of being a healthy carrier of typhoid fever. “Fever” follows Mary’s journey from New York to her confinement on North Brother Island in New York. Mary fights for her life back and her job and reputation. A large part of the story is Mary’s relationship with her significant other, Alfred, with whom she had lived for over twenty years before she was taken away.

I really enjoyed reading this historical biography. Turn of the century New York comes alive as Keane creates a compelling and sympathetic protagonist  in Mary Mallon.