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The last of the Tudors, Elizabeth I died in 1603. Her father, Henry VIII had lived from 1491 to 1547. Yet even centuries later, here we are in the midst of what has can only be described as a major revival of interest in the Tudors. It is difficult to attend a movie theater or to watch television without, sooner or later, running into a film or series about one or another of this most famous English royal family. And Hilary Mantel has fostered a Tudor industry with best sellers, two Man Booker Prizes for Fiction, a successful play, and a multi-part television series, all examining the life of Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII's chief minister during the 1530's revolution in English religion and politics. All of the above media hits have two common elements. They are all fictional creations and all highlight the lives of kings, queens, and their immediate circles of officials, courtiers, and aristocratic political elites. Unfortunately, the lives of ordinary people, are largely ignored in part because historians know very little of their lives in general and almost nothing of their family breakdowns and tangled domestic relationships, My purpose in writing Stories from the Darker Side of Love is to show the real life situations of previously unnoticed people whose stories from the darker side of love are revealed by light from the archives of England’s early modern equity courts. Archival material has shown us ordinary people brought to center stage by circumstance, and the stories such as those that comprise this book offer an effective way of looking at Tudor history from the bottom up. More importantly, they are good stories in their own right, and I am confident that you will enjoy reading them.

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