I Love as I Find: The Story of Sir John Perrot
Meg Hill recently contacted us to confirm that her book, I Love as I Find: The Story of Sir John Perrot (ISBN 978 1912728220), is now available from major booksellers. Here, society member Alan Perrott reviews the book.
I initially bought this book to read out of historical interest as a Perrott from Ireland myself I have always been intrigued by the story Sir John Perrot, who served Elizabeth I as Lord Deputy of Ireland from 1584 1588. I know that the modern day Perrotts in Ireland are not descended from Sir John, but even so it is a name that we have grown up with while never really knowing who he was.
Unlike me, Meg Hill is actually descended from Sir John Perrot through his daughter Anne. As Meg researched his life, she found that he seemed to be a largely neglected figure of the era. He was widely rumoured to be an illegitimate son of Henry VIII, and he prospered during the reign of Elizabeth I to first become President of Munster before being appointed Elizabeth’s deputy in Ireland. Meg has thoroughly researched his life, using both contemporary accounts and more modern biographies to uncover the man behind the historical facts. She has woven these biographical details into a very readable semi fictional story of his life.
Meg has taken the view that John was an illegitimate son of Henry VIII and has built her story around this. Not all historians concur with this view of Sir John’s parentage and we will never know for sure. However, he apparently resembled Henry VIII in temperament and physical appearance, and it was widely believed at the time that he was Henry’s son. Furthermore, it helps to explain how he rose from relatively humble beginnings in Haverfordwest in Wales to become Elizabeth’s confidante and deputy. It also makes for a better story, and Meg has unashamedly taken full advantage!
While I originally bought the book out of historical interest, I quickly became enthralled by the life of this very real man. It is a very readable story not only does it explain who Sir John was and the role he played in Tudor affairs and the settlement of Ireland, but it vividly portrays him as a real person that I could empathise with. Sir John was not without his flaws he governed Ireland with a firm and sometimes brutal hand, and he had a string of illegitimate children. However, these flaws played their own part in his complex life and ultimately led to his downfall.
Meg has succeeded in writing a very enjoyable work of historical fiction, while at the same time introducing us to a neglected but influential figure of the Tudor period. “I Love as I Find” will not be out of place alongside my many shelves of historical fiction from bestselling authors. I think that those of the P*rr*tt name everywhere will be interested to find out more about our namesake, while those who like historical fiction will relish an enthralling story. If, like me, you fall into both camps then sit back and enjoy!
“I Love as I Find: The Story of Sir John Perrot” was written by Margaret Eleanor Hill and published by Quack Books in 2020. It is available online from Waterstones and Amazon for £10.00 + £2.50 delivery.