19 October 2021

Book Review: Woodsmoke and Sage: The Five Senses 1485-1603: How the Tudors Experienced the World, by Amy Licence


Available from Amazon UK and Amazon US

With an inspired format, historian Amy Licence has found a way to offer a fresh look at the complex world of the Tudors.

Impeccably researched, this is a book you can open at any page and learn some new detail - or  find your pre-conceived ideas about Tudor life challenged.

Using the five senses, the book is divided into sight, smell, sound, taste and touch, to make the reader really think about how these were the same as today - and different from what we now know.

I particularly like the way Amy Licence uses portraiture of the time to highlight tiny details. Much has been written about the symbolism of Tudor paintings, but we can learn as much from the 'props' used by the artists, the background, and even the textures of the clothing they wore.

This is a book to cherish, and would make the perfect gift for anyone with an interest in understanding what it was like to live in the world of the Tudors. Highly recommended.

Tony Riches

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About the Author

Amy Licence is an historian of women's lives in the medieval and early modern period, from Queens to commoners. Her particular interest lies in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth century, in gender relations, Queenship and identity, rites of passage, pilgrimage, female orthodoxy and rebellion, superstition, magic, fertility and childbirth. She is also a fan of Modernism and Post-Impressionism, particularly Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group, Picasso and Cubism. Amy has written for The Guardian, the BBC Website, The English Review, The London Magazine, The Times Literary Supplement and is a regular contributor to the New Statesman and The Huffington Post. She is frequently interviewed for BBC radio and in a BBC documentary on The White Queen. You can follow Amy on twitter @PrufrocksPeach or like her facebook page In Bed With the Tudors. Her website is www.amylicence.weebly.com

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