Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Introducing Henry -- And Contest Winners!

Thanks to all of you who came to the online launch party!  It was a blast, and you were so polite - you haven't left  thing for me to clean up.  If you want to see photos or know more about the in-store launch party, check out the recap over at the YA Muses.

Welcome to the final installment of the Tudor Tuesdays blog tour for GILT.  It is my great pleasure to wrap up this seven-week hop about Henry's wives with a mini-biography of Henry himself.

No matter how you picture Henry VIII, he makes an impression. Old, fat, toting a turkey leg. Or sitting back on his throne with a sexy expression a la Jonathan Rhys Meyers. He captures the imagination. Even 450 years after his death, the man has charisma.
 
Henry wasn't expected to be king. His father came to the throne after years of civil war and the death of the last English king to be killed in battle. Henry VII wanted to create the next English Golden age and so named his first son Arthur.  A new King Arthur for a new Camelot.

Henry, as second son, was expected to sit back, stay quiet, and become an academic.

Can you imagine how well that expectation fit our Henry?

But Arthur died at age fifteen. And suddenly Henry was England's golden hope.

Henry came to the throne just two months shy of his eighteenth birthday. He married his brother's widow, Katherine of Aragon, and ushered in the Renaissance.  He filled his court with music, games, dancing, art and learning. He showed all the markings of a King to be remembered.

But Henry also had something to prove. He wanted to be a hero, like Henry V, and alternately went to war and made loving peace treaties with French. He railed against Luther and the birth of the Reformation, writing a counterargument to the 95 Theses and earning himself the title of Defender of the Faith. And all the love of the Pope.

Which he lost when he broke with the Catholic Church during his divorce from Katherine and subsequent marriage to Anne Boleyn.

Henry declared himself supreme head of the Church of England and ushered in the Reformation with a passion. Henry VIII changed the world.

But Henry not only wanted to be known, he wanted to be succeeded. Katherine had one daughter who lived. Mary. Anne looked set to follow the same pattern with her one child, Elizabeth. But the history of female rulers in England was shaky at best, terrifying at worst. Henry wanted a son.

So he remarried. Jane Seymour gave him a son. And died.

The final ten years of Henry's reign were troubled by reform and anti-reformists, bloodshed and unfortunate wives. Anne of Cleves didn't please him. Catherine Howard cheated on him. Catherine Parr took care of him as he grew sick and died.

Henry VIII is known for his six wives and a history of executing anyone who disagreed with or displeased him. In reality, he could be as generous as he was brutal. He was a visionary as well as the tyrant. A man–with all of those flaws and passions–as well as King.

So, it's up to you. See him as the bloated megalomaniacal icon handed us by cartoons, media, and his own later history. Or see him as the young, brash, idealistic heartthrob of his youth.

Despite what I wrote in GILT, I know which image I prefer!

I'm also delighted to announce the winners of both the Tudor Tuesdays giveaway and the Launch Party giveaway!

The Tudor Tuesdays winners of a copy of GILT each (chosen by Rafflecopter) are:

Christina Franke
Christina Torres-Salas
Cassondra Ott

The Launch Party winners (chosen by Rafflecopter) are:

GILT bag, signed copy and ARC: Kristen Michelle
Signed copy of GILT plus an ARC: J. Anderson Coats
GILT swag pack (including Sephora lipstick) and ARC: Noely Jeleen Balmeo

Congratulations to all of you, and thank you for following the tour and coming by the blog!

4 comments:

  1. Thank you so much! I loved Gilt, and will be sharing my copy around! I want other people to enjoy its awesomeness as well!

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  2. Thank you!! I can't wait to read Gilt, I love books set in Tudor England especially during the reign of Henry VIII!

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  3. I can't wait to read Gilt! I love historical fiction in general :D

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  4. Thank you! And thanks for coming by!

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