A. Woodley

"Patroness, Janeites, the Austen list"
Helpful votes received on reviews: 95% (41 of 43)
Location: New Zealand
Birthday: Sept. 3
In My Own Words:
My main reading interest is in non-fiction and history - the Georgian and Regency periods particularly. I collect a lot of old diaries and letters from the period but many of the books that I read regularly are out of print and likely to stay that way. I also run various Jane Austen (Janeites), Byron (Byron) and Georgette Heyer (heyerlist and almacks) discussion groups as well as reviewing sites … Read more


Top Reviewer Ranking: 471,162 - Total Helpful Votes: 41 of 43
The Map That Changed The World: William Smith and &hellip by Simon Winchester
As you can I was disappointed by this biography - but I have been in the past by Winchester's writing. His first biography "The professor and the Madman" put me off him. Why? because I always feel he overplays the salacious parts of the story at the expense of a what is actually a rootling good yarn. That is this is the story of a William Smith who, without real education orsocial position, managed to overturn a great number of accepted notions about the earth's formation and really open up the underworld to geologists. Instead Winchester begins with a dramatic introduction about how his maps are never seen now, hidden by curtains (to prevent light from fading the colours) and… Read more
Samurai William: The Englishman Who Opened Japan by Giles Milton
Giles Milton seems to be making a good career out of gutsy little histories related to Britain's Tudor and Stuart trading history, and he does them very well. This latest offering is the well known but little examined history of British trading in Japan. I say well known - but really only in its most skeleton of detail - until now. William Adams, who was wrecked on the shores of Japan in the very eary seventeenth century has been written about at least in passing in a number of other histories before - and turned into a historical fiction for James Clavells' novel. However a full blown history, in a historical context has been a long time coming.
Milton's great talent is for his… Read more
The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory
The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
This is one of those books which I felt started off really badly - and so any other brilliance in it was very much marred by the bad start. I found the first part which is a description of an execution rather curious - although it is clearly written to shadow a scene at the end of the book - but Mary Boleyn - the narrator of the story is watching an execution and waiting for Henry to commute the sentence...which she apparently believes he will. I cannot recall a single instance where in the middle of an execution he did this - there may well be but they certainly don't seem to be well documented. So right at the start I was a bit nonplussed.
In the very next chapter Mary describes… Read more