QAB Book Review: “Jane Seymour, The Haunted Queen”, by Alison Weir

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Video Credit: Headline Books (YouTube)
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Alison Weir is a woman with a mission. She is passionately driven to bring the life stories of the wives of Henry VIII, as well as all those close to them, into the 21st century through both fact and fiction. In Alison’s third novel in her ‘Six Tudor Queens’ series, the brilliantly crafted ‘Haunted Queen’, Jane Seymour, comes to life as a surprisingly complex yet morally grounded woman, one adept at negotiating the serpent’s nest that defined Henry VIII’s court. A delightful literary weaving of the known, suspected, and can’t be known, Alison spins a fascinating, face-paced and entertaining story of the tragically short life of Henry’s most beloved wife and Queen.

Alison’s crafting of Jane Seymour is brilliant. With the limited threads factually known of Henry’s third Queen Consort, Alison weaves an intriguing and plausible life story, rich with historical detail, strong character development, and exquisitely crafted scenes that at times are nothing short of gut-wrenching. The timeline of the novel’s plot offers the delightful opportunity to highlight three of Henry’s Queen Consorts — Katherine, Anne, and Jane. Alison seizes the golden ring in exploring how these three remarkable women intersect with one another. “Team Anne Boleyn”, keep this in mind. The narration is limited to how Jane Seymour views the world, her thoughts and opinions colored by her traditionally Roman Catholic mindset.

Through the rich story-telling of Jane’s childhood, we learn Alison’s “can’t be factually known” thoughts on how Jane’s life values and religious mindset may have developed through the years, the complex marriage of Jane’s parents, as well as the controversial question of the parentage of her brother Edward’s two oldest children. Poet John Skelton’s Lady Margaret “Margery” Wentworth Seymour — Jane’s mother — comes to life, as do Jane’s lesser-known siblings Henry, Anthony, and Margery; along with sister-in-law Catherine Fillol. Such “footnotes to history” add warmth, intrigue, and complexity to Jane’s life story — a major strength of this novel.

As the third novel in a series, it is important to ensure consistency in the plot arcs and characterizations of historical figures who carry across the novels, and Alison does a fine job with this. Those who enjoyed Katherine of Aragon, The True Queen and Anne Boleyn, A King’s Obsession will easily recognize Katherine of Aragon, the Lady Mary Tudor, Thomas Cromwell, Thomas Cranmer and other fixtures of King Henry VIII’s Court. Most impressive is King Henry VIII’s character development throughout the three novels. Readers are introduced convincingly to Henry’s personality emerging through time from an athletic, chivalrous boy and young man to a moody, dark and omnipresent tyrant… with just enough endearing qualities to be found attractive to the women in his life.

Jane Seymour, The Haunted Queen is an outstanding historical fiction novelFinely crafted, this novel is a wonderful portrayal of Henry VIII’s most beloved queen and an outstanding continuation of the Six Tudor Queens novel series.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alison Weir

Alison Weir is the United Kingdom’s most popular and best selling female historian. Alison’s first published work, Britain’s Royal Families, introduced the world to the now recognized genre of  “popular history”, and her sales tell the story. Readers purchased more than 2.3 million books, over 1,000,000 in the United Kingdom, and more than 1,300,000 books in the United States. Rich in detailed research, Alison’s engaging prose captured the interest and imaginations of countless people, instilling a love of history that influenced the career paths of historical fiction writers, historians, and teachers, while also greatly increasing knowledge of medieval English history among people throughout the world. For more information on Alison Weir, visit her websites at ALISON WEIR: U.K. HISTORIAN AND AUTHOR and ALISON WEIR TOURS.

BOOKS BY ALISON WEIR

QAB Interview with Alison Weir #5 May 2018

QAB Interview with Alison Weir #4 May 2017

QAB Interview with Alison Weir #3 May 2016

QAB Interview with Alison Weir #2 December 2015

QAB Interview with Alison Weir #1 October 2013

 

Beth von Staats

is the owner and administrator of QueenAnneBoleyn.com. The author of "Thomas Cranmer in a Nutshell", Beth specializes in writing magazine articles, online historical articles, short stories, and flash fiction.

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