Lately I've been devouring historical fiction centered around the wives of Henry VIII. I'm reading The Six Wives of Henry VIII by Alison Weir, a heavy tome of almost 600 pages, and at the same time I'm reading one book about each of the queens. The large book is non-fiction and well researched, and the other 6 books are fiction based on historical truths. So I'm reading The Spanish Bride: A Novel of Catherine of Aragon by Laurien Gardner since Catherine was Henry's first wife. The Tudors are fascinating and there is so much written about them that I could only read about them for the rest of my life and still not be finished.
In reading about a specific historical period there are often words which I don't know or have only a vague idea about their meaning. Take farthingale for instance. I had no idea what it was and so I googled it this morning. It is in fact a Spanish hoop skirt stiffened with green wood, ropes, or whalebones. Sounds quite uncomfortable to me! And what do you think lappets are? Nothing to do with a lady's lap, they are decorative folds or flaps in a ceremonial headdress. And I also learned that a Venetian Coif is not a new hairstyle from Venice, but a small informal cap often made of linen and sometimes embroidered. There's a wealth of information on the internet about Tudor costumes and I could quite easily go off on a tangent and never get my books read. So I'll limit my googling for now and am off to cuddle under my fur blanket in my comfy chair, with a glass of hot cider and my books.
And just a bit of trivia-- Do you remember the old Herman's Hermits song:
I'm Henery the Eighth, I am!
Henery the Eighth I am! I am!
I got married to the widow next door,
She's been married seven times before.
Every one was an Henery
She wouldn't have a Willie or a Sam
I'm her eighth old man named Henery
Henery the Eighth I am.
Well..... despite what I always thought- it isn't about Henry VIII at all, but about a man named Henry who married a widow who had been married 7 times before!