On a lark, I rented this from my library’s audiobook section. I’d heard of Goodman’s book, How to be a Victorian, but didn’t know she had a new one about the Tudors. Heck yes I want to learn how to be a Tudor!
I can’t recommend this social history of the Tudor life enough. Goodman is a such a great writer! She’s clearly smart and knows her stuff, but the writing never feels dry or like a textbook. Her wit and enthusiasm for the subject permeates her writing. Why couldn’t all of my history books in school have been so much fun to read?
Goodman takes the reader through a day in the life of the average person living in Tudor England. The part I found most fascinating had to do with general hygiene. I’ve always been under the impression that going back in time would involve wanting to die because of the massive stench. Apparently, I’ve been mistaken. Although they didn’t really take baths or showers, they engaged in a process of cleaning themselves with rough linen and doing frequent laundry. Goodman herself actually lived this way for months in close quarters with other people and no one thought she smelled bad. Her colleague tried an experiment where he bathed every day but didn’t wash his clothes and the putrid smell was unbearable. I’m not going to give up showering anytime soon, but apparently bathing is optional. Who knew?!
This seems like the kind of book lots of different readers would enjoy and I plan on giving it to at least one person for the holidays. Definitely going to have to seek out her Victorian book now.