Showing posts with label Jane Caro. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jane Caro. Show all posts

Thursday, 18 October 2018

Just Flesh and Blood


Just Flesh and Blood by Jane Caro (UQP) PB RRP $19.95 ISBN 978 0702260018

Reviewed by Dianne Bates

Australian Jane Caro has won many national and international awards for her creative endeavours and has written numerous books including the prequels to this, her latest YA title in the Elizabeth 1 trilogy (Just a Girl and Just a Queen), both UQP titles.
In Just Flesh and Blood, she continues the life of Elizabeth, who endured a perilous childhood to take the throne as Queen of England. 

Now, four decades later, having withstood political upheavals, wars and plots against her life, she contemplates her successes and failures and ponders all she has relinquished – love, marriage and family – for power. As she is dying, Elizabeth recalls her first love, Robin Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester who was her playmate and became her master of horse on her accession. (Many consider he was her one true love.) There are many more memories which makes this a slow-moving book, not one bristling with action: after all, it is Elizabeth’s final chapter.

As with all books which are well-researched, the book contains a bibliography for those who want to read more about the great queen’s life and accomplishment. Also, very helpful at the end of the book, is its Cast of Characters, with, in order of appearance, the names and birth and death dates as well as a short potted history of those who appear in the book which begins with the death of Elizabeth’s mother, Anne Boleyn, second wife of Henry V11, who was executed by him for treason and adultery.


Saturday, 13 October 2018

Just Flesh and Blood


Just Flesh and Blood by Jane Caro (UQP) PB RRP $19.95 ISBN 978 0702260018

Reviewed by Dianne Bates

Australian Jane Caro has won many national and international awards for her creative endeavours and has written numerous books including the prequels to this, her latest YA title in the Elizabeth 1 trilogy (Just a Girl and Just a Queen), both UQP titles.

In Just Flesh and Blood, she continues the life of Elizabeth, who endured a perilous childhood to take the throne as Queen of England. Now, four decades later, having withstood political upheavals, wars and plots against her life, she contemplates her successes and failures and ponders all she has relinquished – love, marriage and family – for power. 
As she is dying, Elizabeth recalls her first love, Robin Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester who was her playmate and became her master of horse on her accession. (Many consider he was her one true love.) There are many more memories which makes this a slow-moving book, not one bristling with action: it is, after all, Elizabeth’s final chapter.

As with all books which are well-researched, the book contains a bibliography for those who want to read more about the great queen’s life and accomplishments. Also very helpful at the end of the book is its Cast of Characters, with, in order of appearance, the names and birth and death dates as well as a short potted history of those who appear in the book which begins with the death of Elizabeth’s mother, Anne Boleyn, second wife of Henry V11, who was executed by him for treason and adultery.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Just a Girl

Just a Girl by Jane Caro (UQP)
PB RRP $19.95
Reviewed by Jo Burnell

I never had the patience for European History at school. All those kings chopping off people’s heads put me off, but Just a Girl is not a history text. Elizabeth’s voice seduced me from the first page. Unable to sleep on the night before her coronation, she begins her memoirs. Chatting directly to me on the page, she leads me into her world. 

Important moments in her life spring to life as I walk beside her. I’m touched by those who remained faithful, even under threat of torture and possible execution. The swaying loyalties of courtiers and politicians become understandable in the knowledge of the dangers of the times.

When you are a potential heir to the throne in the 1500s and your father has a habit of ordering the execution of his loved ones, there’s not much chance of a normal childhood. Things get even more precarious when your half-sister receives the crown and fears your influence as an adversary.

I was enthralled by the gossip and personal conflicts, but it was the poor hapless Elizabeth managing to keep herself alive despite suffering physical and emotional neglect that kept me glued to the page. Can you imagine the possibility of living and dying relying on the whim of an estranged half-sister?

What do you do if your stepmother’s handsome husband makes romantic or physical overtures? Being 16 and longing for love leaves you vulnerable. The result could be disastrous. Even if some scenarios are only conjectures, they are juicy conjectures indeed.

Although about 50 pages too long for my flighty attention, Just a Girl was a satisfying read. I know more about these times than the best intentioned teacher could ever have taught me.

If you love journeying into a foreign world and witnessing the unimaginable, then Just a Girl is for you. Even if you are not usually into history, give Just a Girl a try. You are sure to enjoy the ride.