As a Kindergarten teacher in this day and age, I truthfully cannot find an iota of time while school is in session to read anything that isn’t about phonemic awareness, differentiated instruction, or project-based learning. But Christmas break recently hit and, darn it, I was going to unwind with Suzannah Lipscomb‘s latest book if it was the last thing I did!
The first thing that grabs the reader is the lush cover and its unusual square shape. Visually, it’s a unique stunner. The calligraphy and illuminated manuscript detail, combined with rich colour and Tudor monarch portraits on the border, set a grand setting before the book is even opened.
The inner artwork is equally ambrosial, a mix of color portraits, manuscripts, maps, and pencil sketches by (or in the manner of) Hans Holbein.Can you tell I like my books to be aesthetically pleasing? But what good is a gorgeous tome if it isn’t a pleasurable and intriguing read? The King is Dead is that indeed.
I prefer a teaser-version for book reviews, so as not to spoil anything for the reader. In that way, I can tell you that Dr. Lipscomb guides us through the creation of Henry VIII’s will via his marriages and children, the religious activity of the time, the Acts of the Succession, and his advisors and executors. She explores and challenges popular notions on the will’s “intended meaning, its authenticity and validity, and the circumstances of its creation.”
Dr. Lipscomb’s tone is both professional and conversational, inspiring delight as well as confidence in her authority. There are 168 pre-appendix pages; it is a very manageable book which took me two nights to devour.