I wanted to like this book more than I did. Henry Fitzroy, while not really lost, has been glossed over in history. I mean, The Tudors killed him off in the space of an episode while he really outlived Anne Boleyn by a few months. (And, wouldn’t that have been interesting drama to add in!) He’s just not one to talk about since he died relatively young and was a bastard.
The thing I wanted more from this book was a clear thesis throughout Murphy’s biography. She had a point to make — that he was lined up to be Henry IX if he had lived and Henry hadn’t had Edward — but it didn’t get there until the last two chapters of the book.
Most of the book was spent giving an overview of Henry’s upbringing, but even that left me wanting. There isn’t a lot of source material about Henry. Or, that was what I was led to believe by Murphy’s focus on other players in Henry’s life. It just felt lacking the whole time, as if there was a point but she was waiting to get there until the end when we had a bunch of facts laid out in front of us.
I don’t necessarily believe that Henry Fitzroy could have been Henry IX. Sure, he was treated like another royal — his own household when he was a child, leading over lands when he was a child, getting married very young, etc — but I don’t think that was out of the scope of any other royal bastards. That’s not an area I’m an expert on, though.
While the book was very readable, it also was a bit boring. It didn’t engage me and draw me in like I wanted it to. In the end, this is a fine book and it provides a good summary of information about a little talked about historical figure. I just wish it had a clearer thesis throughout it and was a more interesting read.
Have you read this? What did you think?