Ever since I first heard as a boy that there was a King of England who had so many wives (Henry VIII and his six wives or was it Henry VI and his eight wives?) I have found the story of the Tudors fascinating. It was the Tudors and Stuarts that I chose to study for 'A' level history ( I remember being amazed that I was the only boy to make that choice over modern history when we were asked to choose). Of course, the whole period of the Reformers and Puritans begins in the days of the Tudors (Tyndale, Latimer, Cranmer, Perkins, Ames, etc) so I have constantly been drawn back to the period. Then Hilary Mantel has drawn us all in with Bring up the bodies and Wolf Hall, which I have now both read and seen acted on stage and am looking forward to the TV version. (I think I must have read Philippa Gregory's relatively racy book on the Boleyn girls and I certainly saw Howard Brenton's play about Anne at The Globe. Oh yes, there's also Rick Wakeman's hugely enjoyable Six wives. Perhaps I can make it my retro album of the week. I have David Starkey's book here but it is unread).
Perhaps one of the most interesting characters of all the Tudors is Elizabeth I's mother, Anne Boleyn. I picked up a copy of Elizabeth Norton's Anne Boleyn: Henry VIII's obsession a little while ago and have just finished reading it. Norton is an academic and has done all the research but writes quite well and keeps all the reference details to the end. So you get a book quite abreast of scholarship, judicious and fair not speculative and it made for a good read. Clearly Anne was a friend of reform but is unlikely to have had a personal faith. What makes her story so gripping is to see her rags to riches to rags story played out in history and to imagine what it must have been like to go from obscurity to Queenship only to see the whole thing unravel in a relatively short time. Her death was an undoubted travesty yet she was in a sense the cause of her own undoing. Fascinating.