Sunday Salon: Review of Uneasy Lies the Head
I know I’m rather late in discovering Jean Plaidy. I heard about her since I was a kid, and my mom used to read her books (and even reread them whenever she could). It wasn’t until just now that I decided to give the famous Jean Plaidy a try. I now understand what’s so good about her books, and why mom always reread them when she had the chance. They are hard to find though, as I had to do an interlibrary loan on this one that I’ve just finished reading.
Uneasy Lies the Head is the first in the Tudor Saga (ah! how I love reading about the Tudors and it’s been a while since I’ve had my usual “Tudor fix”). It features Henry the VII (mostly) and his reign. Although not all of the story is in his point of view, he does play the central figure and towards the end, it leads upto Henry the VIII.
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.
I give it an 8 out of 10.