Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Great Tales from English History: The Truth about King Arthur, Lady Godiva, Richard the Lionheart and More

Our family has been under some considerable stress lately.  We are trying to purchase our first house, and the process has been long and grueling.  Sometimes, when you're under pressure and receiving disheartening news at every turn, you turn to the comforts of books that help soothe over the troubled times.

Comfort books are different for everyone.  For some, cheap supermarket novels serve this purpose.  For others, a good mystery, and for still others, anthologies or short stories are a welcome distraction.

For me it's non-fiction stories about medieval England. 

We all have our things, ok? 

I was gratified to be recently notified via paperbackswap.com that this little book, Great Tales from English History by Robert Lacey, had come up available.  For some reason, it took almost 3 weeks to arrive at my house, but that is simply symptomatic of my life lately - a lot of hurry up and wait.  A book that served as a fun escape from the drudgery and heartache of home-buying should, after all, take forever to get here.  It's quite fitting, really. 

But once it arrived, all was forgiven.  Lacey seeks to take the mystery out of history and tell it like it really was, or at least as close as he can get.  He starts with the Cheddar Man in prehistoric Albion (England) and goes all the way through Richard II and the Peasants' Revolt.  He tells the stories of Richard the Lionheart, Lady Godiva, and other famous English tales with the rose-colored glasses firmly off his face and his tongue planted firmly in his cheek.  He does not take himself, his country, or his country's most beloved tales too seriously, but he tells the tales of England's story with wit and a proper historical perspective.  Most of these stories I have heard before - this is, after all, my favorite period in history.  I know all about Canute, and Boadicea, and King Alfred burning the cakes.  But it's still fun to read, and Lacey tells each story like just that - a story, not a history lesson.  I truly believe many people would find this collection of stories enjoyable - not just the medieval history geeks like me. 

Great Tales from English History was a great distraction from this past week's adventures in housing-land.  It is well-written and tells fun tales of history with a great perspective.  Check it out sometime - you might find yourself enjoying it!

And...it's a series!  He wrote several of these collections!  MORE FUN!

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
What I'm Reading Now: Actually, not sure.  There are so many possibilities.  So on to the Top 5.
Top 5 TBR:
1. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
2. Shooting Victoria by Paul Thomas Murphy
3. A Prophetic Calendar by Jill Shannon
4. Forgotten God by Francis Chan
5. The Lightening Thief by Rick Riordian

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