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2.2 out of 5 stars
Jane Seymour: Henry VIII's Favourite Wife
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Following on from his disaster 'Catherine Howard - The Adulterous Wife of Henry VIII', David Loades has written another sub-standard biography.

Amberley's previous biography on Jane Seymour, by Elizabeth Norton, proved that one cannot justify a biography on Jane as there is very little information on her. Loades fails to offer any more.

True, Loades attempt is slightly better than Norton's as it does not rely on supposition and guesswork but there is very little analysis and is on the whole a very lazy effort from a historian with a good reputation. The important questions; the reason why Jane was not married before, her character in contrast to Anne Boleyn, whether Jane was in fact Henry's unknown mistress of the 1530s (here Loades contradicts himself!) and her political efforts after her marriage to Henry are mentioned but all to briefly.

With the preface from page 7 to the final chapter's end on page 160, Jane features only between pages 25 and 79! Before Jane appears we are treated to a potted history of the Seymours going back to 7th century. It's all very interesting but hardly relevant. After her death on page 79 we are treated to an attempt to create a legacy for Jane. Jane's legacy was that she was Henry's favourite wife as she gave him a son and nothing more. What we get from Loades is far too much; a brief history of Edward VI, Edward and Thomas Seymour. How far can a legacy continue? It's just plain silliness.

I'm waiting for a good book on Jane, if ever there can be one!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 15 April 2013
The author has no doubt undertaken a great deal of research on tudor court life and the politics of the day, however this book is a biography on Jane Seymour......yet theres so little about her written in the book, infact the book would appear to be more about her brothers rivalry and greed.
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on 2 February 2015
Interesting book about Jane Seymour, her family background, the dynamics of court life, and her role in advancing her family's position in the Tudor court. While not as flamboyant as Ann Boleyn, she had a certain grace that must have soothed the troubled royal Tudor family. Certainly she was picked by Henry because of her quiet dignity that comes across the pages. Of all six of his wives, maybe it is no coincidence that it next to Jane he chose to be buried. There is not much to the faint outline of a girl who was married to one King and mother to another- this book fills in just a bit of the girl who died too young.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 14 March 2013
This a very, very disappointing biography. One does not learn anything new, gain a new inside or a understanding of this Queen. Most stuff is not about her, but her family and what happened after her death. What's the point of this book? Honestly I wish I had not bought it.
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9 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 10 February 2013
In 2009, Elizabeth Norton's book about Jane Seymour was published - the first full-length biography ever of Henry VIII's third and "favourite" wife. Now, four years later, I hoped to find another look at this queen consort's life, but it was a somewhat disappointing experience. This study should be re-titled "Jane Seymour's family, her times and legacy". Loades does not even try to analyze Jane's personality whereas Norton describes her as "demure and submissive yet with a ruthless streak" - not without reason. Her role in Anne Boleyn's death remains undiscussed. Also nothing is said about Jane's portraiture, especially by Holbein. Her taste in clothing (which was very traditional) is nowhere mentioned though the royal wardrobe accounts could have been a reliable source.
In addition, some of the pictures showing ladies' fashions at the court of Henry VIII are mislabeled: Nr 37 is not a lady of the court but Anna Meyer, daughter of the Mayor of Basle/Switzerland, as sketched by Holbein. She is dressed in German Renaissance clothes which were never fashionable in England. Nr 38, "thought to be Madge Shelton", is a portrait of Cecily Heron, one of Sir Thomas More's three daughters - another sketch by Holbein, made for the More family group portrait. Nr 39, simply called "Lady of the court", is indeed believed to be Mary "Madge" Shelton, second wife of Sir Anthony Heveningham. There is no picture of someone wearing the crescent-shaped French hood made popular at court by Anne Boleyn.
Prof. Loades has unearthed only one thing about Jane Seymour I have never read before: her son Edward kept mementos of his mother, among them "small tools of sorcery", which casts an entirely new light on the queen's activities. Compared to Norton's book (many suppositions but in a very readable style), this one is a rather boring lecture. It is an account of Jane Seymour's times based on facts and good research, but as a biography it is lacking any depth.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 23 September 2014
This book should be prosecuted under the Trade Descriptions Act. There is so little information about Jane Seymour - it would run to about 3 pages , if that.

The book is full of information which appears in many other books. Unfortunately it would seem to be cashing in on the current "Tudor Industry".
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