Paddington Library Readers’ Group started the New Year by delving into a bit of history and looking at how writers have used historical fact to create novels.
We discussed the works of Alison Weir who has done a lot of research into the Tudors, among other dynasties. In her novel, Innocent Traitor, she gives an account of the short, eventful life of Lady Jane Grey who was on the throne for just nine days and who was a pawn in the power struggle of the Tudor dynasty.
The group also looked at a factual historical book by Weir – Mary Boleyn: The Great and Infamous Whore. Mary was the sister of Anne Boleyn, one of Henry VIII’s wives. Members of the Boleyn family were central to the intrigue and power struggles of the Tudor period. The author is very aware of the issue of historical accuracy and how fiction can almost innocently be regarded as fact with the passage of time.
On a slightly different note, the group also looked at a book (contributed to by Weir, amongst others) entitled The Ring and the Crown: A History of Royal Weddings 1066-2011. Royal Unions right up to the 20th century were intended to complement and cement alliances between nations. Brides and grooms often did not meet for the first time until the day before their wedding! Weir gives interesting accounts of tearful Royal brides who were shocked and intimidated on meeting their future husbands…
The next meeting, on 17 February, will be celebrating the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Dickens. If you’re reading a Dickens book this year – indeed, if you’re taking part in City Read London – do come along!