Acclaimed author and historian Alison Weir continues her epic Six Tudor Queens series with this third captivating novel, which brings to life Jane Seymour, King Henry VIII’s most cherished bride and mother of his only male heir.
Ever since she was a child, Jane has longed for a cloistered life as a nun. But her large noble family has other plans, and, as an adult, Jane is invited to the King’s court to serve as lady-in-waiting for Queen Katherine of Aragon. The devout Katherine shows kindness to all her ladies, almost like a second mother, which makes rumors of Henry’s lustful pursuit of Anne Boleyn—who is also lady-in-waiting to the queen—all the more shocking. For Jane, the betrayal triggers memories of a painful incident that shaped her beliefs about marriage.
But once Henry disavows Katherine and secures his new queen—altering the religious landscape of England—he turns his eye to another: Jane herself. Urged to return the King’s affection and earn favor for her family, Jane is drawn into a dangerous political game that pits her conscience against her desires. Can Jane be the one to give the King his long-sought-after son or will she meet a fate similar to the women who came before her?
Bringing new insight to this compelling story, Weir marries meticulous research with gripping historical fiction to re-create the dramas and intrigues of the most renown court in English history. At its center is a loving and compassionate woman who captures the heart of a king, and whose life will hang in the balance for it.
expected release date: May 3rd 2018
Jane Seymour: The Haunted Queen , is the third book in Alison Weir’s Six Tudor Queens series, and focuses on Henry VIII’s third wife, Jane Seymour. Told from first person perspective, we are given a glimpse into what life was like at the Tudor court during Henry VIII’s reign from the perspective of Jane.
Alison Weir never fails to amaze me with her astounding ability to bring 16th century England to life. Each time I open up one of her books, I feel as if I have been transported to a different time and place. Her writing is so rich and vivid, and I always feel as if I am right there in the midst of court life, feeling and seeing everything alongside all of the characters.
I really loved the first two books in the Six Tudor Queen series, and this third installment did not disappoint either. Although I didn’t love this one quite as much as the first two books in the series, it was still an amazing read. Jane Seymour is not my favorite of King Henry’s six wives, but I still have a certain fascination with her, as there is so much about her life that remains truly unknown, aside from the fact that she was the queen that finally gave Henry what he desired above all else: a son. Because of the fact that so little is known about Jane before she became Henry’s wife, I was eager to see what Alison Weir had to say about her, and as usual, Ms. Weir did not disappoint.
Using her vast knowledge of Tudor history, combined with her imagination, Alison Weir managed to weave together a vivid and richly detailed portrait of Jane Seymour’s life. Although I found this book to be a bit slower than the previous two, I still managed to be thoroughly engaged from start to finish. I really felt as if I got to know Jane and the innermost workings of her mind as I was reading, and I feel that I am now more knowledgeable about her, despite the fact that this book is a work of fiction.
The story opens when Jane is ten years old, and jumps forward to when she is eighteen years old. During Jane’s early years, she is adamant to become a nun, but decides that she doesn’t desire that path in life after all, and instead she goes to London to live at court, where she is first a lady-in-waiting to Katherine of Aragon, and then later on, to Anne Boleyn.
Jane was very fond of Katherine of Aragon, as well as devout in her Catholic faith and very against the religious reforms taking place at that time, and it is because of those things that she was not so fond of Anne Boleyn, and this grudge continued, even when Anne Boleyn became queen.
As an avid Anne Boleyn fan and supporter, I have to admit that at times my bias got the best of me, and I found myself annoyed at Jane and her thoughts towards Anne throughout the book. But at the same time, I could see why Jane felt the way she did about Anne, given the circumstances.
This book did drag a bit at times, mostly during during the middle of it. Still, I continued to be absorbed in the story as Jane tried to fit in and find her place in the intriguing and malicious court life. It was especially fascinating to read about how Jane, who is so often described as meek and plain, was able to gain the affections of King Henry and ascend to the throne.
Something that has always interested me about Jane is that, despite the fact that she was the queen that gave Henry his most desired wish (a son) and is said to be his favorite wife because of this, she is so often overshadowed by his other wives. I myself am guilty of not paying much attention to Jane Seymour, but because of this book, I was given the opportunity to gain insight into the life of the queen that I so often overlook.
This book was extremely well written and researched, and I was once again left in awe by Alison Weir’s work. This was not only a delightful glimpse into the life of Jane Seymour, but yet another remarkable tale of life in the Tudor era.
I truly enjoyed this book, and am very much looking forward to the next book in this series!
my rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 1/2’s
***I was given an arc of this book by the publisher via edelweiss/netgalley in exchange for an honest review