Wednesday, 9 December 2015

I Am Henry Review

I was recently asked to review I AM HENRY, a short film produced by Flying Dutchman Films, which is currently winning lots of film awards. Here's my review below - I strongly recommend it:

'I AM HENRY is visually stunning and entirely compelling. It is the most innovative depiction of Henry VIII's story that I have seen in a long time. The film opens shortly after the death of Henry VIII, as he is lying in state on the way to his funeral at Windsor. During the night he meets with the spirits of his first two wives, Catherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn, and the now-grown Henry, Duke of Cornwall, his short-lived eldest son. The scenes between Henry and Anne, who was his greatest passion in life, are highly charged, with the chemistry between the two actors apparent. The use of quoted material in the speech of these two, such as Anne's reference to Henry being struck with the dart of love for her (a claim he made in one of his letters) adds authenticity to the scenes. Excellent use was also made of the emotionally disturbing accounts of Anne's time in the Tower following her arrest for treason in 1536.

The scenes between Henry and his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, were similarly excellent, with the Spanish queen lamenting the loss of her children. By informing him that these lost infants were present there with them, she offered Henry a possibility of redemption in keeping with the sentiments of her last letter to him as she lay dying in January 1536. Finally, the depiction of Anne Boleyn's execution was superb, which was juxtaposed with Henry's realisation in 1547 of his own death.

I cannot recommend this film highly enough. In just over 20 minutes, it managed to convey the essence of the relationships between Henry and the two most important women in his life, as well as delving into the inner mind of England's most famous king. Historically, it was very accurate, with little period details - such as the fact that Anne Boleyn recognised some of the faces in the crowd at her execution - adding to the realism and the power of the portrayals.'

You can find out more over at The Youtube trailer is available here.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

The Historical Association and Elfrida

Thanks to The Historical Association for the fantastic review of Elfrida: The First Crowned Queen of England, which you can read here.

'This is a well-written, interesting book on a neglected figure in late-Anglo-Saxon England and it is eminently readable'.

Friday, 6 November 2015

Author Interview

Just a quick post to let you know that you can read an author interview with me over at the Lady Jane Grey Reference Guide site. The interview is based on The Temptation of Elizabeth Tudor and you can read it here. The rest of the site, which is dedicated to the life of Lady Jane Grey is also well worth a look.

A Man of Much Wit

The wonderful Tudor Times website has just published my guest article on the fall of Thomas Seymour - A Man of Much Wit. It's based on my book, The Temptation of Elizabeth Tudor, and will give you a flavour of the dangerous intrigue at the heart of Princess Elizabeth and Thomas Seymour's relationship.

You can find it here.

Some fabulous reviews of The Temptation of Elizabeth Tudor

Although it was only published yesterday, there have already been some fabulous reviews of The Temptation of Elizabeth Tudor. It's always great to get good feedback about your work!

'A quick, enjoyable read' - The Kirkus Review, 6 October 2015. Link here.

'In another of her well-researched and intriguing Tudor period titles, with this volume, historian Norton (England's Queens; The Anne Boleyn Papers) thoroughly conveys the environment that bred Queen Elizabeth I, the Virgin Queen, and brought her to the attention of the ambitious (and married) Thomas Seymour... Highly recommended for readers interested in British history and the Tudor dynasty. Fans of historical fiction such as Philippa Gregory's "Tudor Court" series will also find themselves invested in the real-life scandal that befell one of England's most famous queens'.
Library Journal, 1 November 2015. Link here.

'It is a soundly researched and very readable history, and Ms Norton vividly conveys the atmosphere of intrigue between between members of the power-hungry families at the top who were perpetually locked in a war of wits with each other... This vivid account is a more than worthy addition to the shelves'.
The Bookbag, 25 October 2015. Link here.

The Temptation of Elizabeth Tudor

I am really excited to announce that my new book, The Temptation of Elizabeth Tudor, has now been published in the UK by Head of Zeus. It's a fascinating story, which was wonderful both to write and research - I hope you love reading it as much as I loved working on it!

Here's the blurb:

England, late 1547. King Henry VIII is dead. His 14-year-old daughter Elizabeth is living with the old king's widow Catherine Parr and her new husband Thomas Seymour. Ambitious, charming and dangerous, Seymour begins an overt flirtation with Elizabeth that ends in her being sent away by Catherine.

When Catherine dies in autumn 1548 and Seymour is arrested for treason soon after, the scandal explodes into the open. Alone and in dreadful danger, Elizabeth is closely questioned by the king's regency council: Was she still a virgin? Was there a child? Had she promised to marry Seymour? In her replies, she showed the shrewdness and spirit she would later be famous for. She survived the scandal. Thomas Seymour was not so lucky.

The Seymour Scandal led to the creation of the Virgin Queen. On hearing of Seymour's beheading, Elizabeth observed 'This day died a man of much wit, and very little judgment'. His fate remained with her. She would never allow her heart to rule her head again.

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

The Illustrated Six Wives of Henry VIII

The Illustrated Six Wives of Henry VIII (by me!) was published today by Amberley Publishing. This short book is intended as a heavily illustrated introduction to the fascinating lives of Henry's six unfortunate queens!

(Please do note that this short book is heavily based on the chapter on the six wives in my book England's Queens: The Biography and subsequently published as England's Queens: From Catherine of Aragon to Elizabeth II. Some revisions have been made, as well as an introduction and a chapter on Henry VIII's mistresses added).

Here's the blurb:

Henry VIII had the most controversial love life of the Tudor period, and he remains Britain's most famous king because of it. His pursuit of a male heir for his throne led him to cast aside five consecutive wives and bring about the reformation of the Catholic Church, changing the face of British history as he broke from the pope and tradition. But who were the women who were instrumental in causing this change? Why was Catherine of Aragon divorced and Anne Boleyn beheaded, and what happened to the last wife, Catherine Parr?

Elizabeth Norton provides a lavishly illustrated guide to the six wives of Henry VIII, exploring their private lives as well as the reasons behind the fundamental changes they caused in Tudor history. With a chapter on each wife, and an extra section on his mistresses, this is the ultimate companion to the six wives of Henry VIII.