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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better mistress than wife - the love life of Henry VIII
Kelly Hart sets out to rescue Henry's mistresses from obscurity and indeed she does.

We are are aware of the six marriages by the King Henry VIII, but most of his mistreses are forgotten, at least to a wider public. Exceptions must be made to Mary Boleyn through the recent success of the book and movie "The Other Bolyen Sister" and maybe Bessie Blount as the...
Published on 20 April 2009 by Amelrode

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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An easy read
I didn't think there was very much new in this book and as such was a little disappointed to discover that the book covered the already very well-covered ground that includes Henry's wives. On the other hand the King's concept of romantic love and the manner in which he treated his mistresses was informative and cleverly interpreted
Published on 4 Sep 2009 by Potterywhizz


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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better mistress than wife - the love life of Henry VIII, 20 April 2009
By 
Amelrode (Vilvoorde) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
Kelly Hart sets out to rescue Henry's mistresses from obscurity and indeed she does.

We are are aware of the six marriages by the King Henry VIII, but most of his mistreses are forgotten, at least to a wider public. Exceptions must be made to Mary Boleyn through the recent success of the book and movie "The Other Bolyen Sister" and maybe Bessie Blount as the mother of the Duke of Richmond. But even here not much is known about the ladies in question. But there were more, many more.

But they were never "maitresse en titre" like at the French court. Being the King's lover was not a court position, but rather the Kings's personal love. These ladies - some more like a one night stand and other for a few months - entertained the king. Kelly Hart explains very well how the King "functions", felt and acted.

Of course, Kelly Hart can not get around the wives of Henry. First I was a bit sceptical why she was dealing with them as I did not want to read another book about the "six wives", but she concentrated on the aspect why at least three of them were "mistresses" before becoming queen consort. Mistress is to be understood as mistress of the heart not necessarily in sexual terms.

Of course, here Anna Boleyn has an unique position - she would have made history even if she would have remained only the mistress: she was the first royal mistress who was made a peeress in her own rights (Marquess of Pembroke, the male form was used and the title has royal connections as Pembroke was the title of the King's uncle Jasper Tudor) and she exercised real power. She made it from there to the throne. However, Jane Seymour, Katherine Howard and maybe Katherine Parr were "royal sweethearts" before becoming royal spouses, while Katherine of Aragon and Anna of Cleves were "typical royal spouses".

It is an entertaining book. Easy to read, but not shallow. It is not sensational and washing dirty linen in public, but informative and interesting. Maybe Kelly Hart is a bit too Henry friendly. But at least she always supports her points with arguments and is open about it. All in all a book I enjoyed immensely and which fits very well into the "5oo years of Henry VIII theme".
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A detailed guide to Henry VIII's women, 20 Jun 2009
Kelly Hart's book is a detailed guide to all of the women who played a part in the life and reign of Henry VIII, both his wives and his many mistresses. It was Anne Boleyn who showed women at court, and their families, that it was possible to go from "mistress" to wife and this changed life at court dramatically.

What I love about this book is that it is obvious that Hart has meticulously researched it and hasn't just jumped on the Tudor bandwagon. All of her opinions and views are based on historical evidence and she backs everything up with sources.

We learn about the six wives, the King's definite mistresses - women like Bessie Blount, Mary Boleyn and the "Imperial woman" - but we also learn about the many women that probably were mistresses to the king, women like Etiennette de la Baume, Elizabeth Amadas, Jane Popincourt and many more. Henry's character, as a devoted lover and hopeless romantic, is also explored, as well as the awful way he treated some of his wives.

All in all, it is a fantastic read and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to learn more about Henry VIII and the women he loved.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well researched, well written if sometimes confusing, 16 April 2011
By 
Graham James "graydjames" (Leicester UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I read this book immediately after having read "The Other Tudors" by Philippa Jones which covers, broadly, the same subject area. My review of "The Other Tudors" was written before having read Kelly Hart's book.

Of the two I would reccommend this book as being signifciantly superior in a number of ways. Firstly the narrative flowed much more easily and held my interest to a much greater extent. Secondly, to my largely untrained eye, it was error free. Thirdly, it was more measured about what was likely to be true and what was probably myth or hearsay and it did not waste huge amounts of time dealing with the life story of individuals who might have been, but probably weren't, bastard children.

I have two comparatively minor criticisms. Firstly there was a lack of family trees. Philippa Jones scores highly in this regard. In my view family trees are always invaluable. I might have seen dozens of them when reading other books of the same era, but remembering the complex family connections of the royals and nobles of these times is extremely difficult; they are always useful to have to hand.

Secondly the narrative was confusing in places with contradictions or repetition of points. Characters were sometimes referred to and then only later introduced. Often the same point was made with almost almost word for word repetition. Sometimes there were differing emphases or conclusions drawn on the same matter. A good example, though there were several, was where the writer stated that Mary Shelton died, probably, in 1570 and then later stated, without any qualification, that she died in 1560. In my limited experience of writing, these kind of problems arise because there are several rewrites which are not then adequately proofed or edited.

But these are minor criticisms. On the whole I enjoyed this book and would reccommend it. Certainly if you only buy one book about Henry's mistresses, buy this one.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An easy read, 4 Sep 2009
By 
Potterywhizz (Dorset) - See all my reviews
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I didn't think there was very much new in this book and as such was a little disappointed to discover that the book covered the already very well-covered ground that includes Henry's wives. On the other hand the King's concept of romantic love and the manner in which he treated his mistresses was informative and cleverly interpreted
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Book Review, 8 Jan 2012
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I have always had an interest in Henry VIII, and watching The Tudors, I wanted to know more about the mistresses he had.
This book goes into the backgrounds of all the key mistresses Henry had-Bessie Blount, Mary Boleyn as well as others. It covers their life, the time they were mistress and what happened to them after being discarded.
A definite for those interested in Henry VIII.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating look at the women of Tudor times, 1 Mar 2011
This is an easily readable account of the women in the life of Henry VIII. A well written version of event that details the interesting lives of some of these less known Tudor women (as well as the wives we are all familiar with). There is very little research done on some of these lovers of Henry VIII (and that which has is really quite poor) so its nice to add some extra information to the story. Paints a vivid picture of the life of Henry's Court and the customs of the time.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!!, 20 Jun 2010
By 
J. Kemp (Ashford, Kent, UK) - See all my reviews
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I have found it a struggle to get into some other Tudor Biographies because to be honest with you, the authors can be snobs and deliberately use difficult langauge to confuse you which makes it hard going and often unpleasent to read.

Kelly Hart is a wonderful writer, she is mature and easier to read and gets you involved into the story. Most men who write about Henry's women will never understand them because they are Men and so it was refreshing to hear from a young woman about young women of that time.

Definately worth a read and I do hope that she brings out more books!!

xx
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Rather disappointing, 5 Mar 2010
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I found this book a disappointment. The writing style, which was rather clumsy and ill-crafted, was a distraction. Too much of the book was taken up (padded out?) with Henry's wives. Much of what was written about the other women was speculation. If you're looking for a historical reference work, this isn't it. I've put mine in the charity shop as I know I won't read it again.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating women, 3 May 2009
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This is a really interesting book. There's lots of interest in Henry VIII's love life at the moment after The Tudors and The Other Boleyn Girl and I was worried that this would be fictionalised. I was pelased that it is not - it is well-written and well-referenced. It is well-researched, but is written in language that is quite easy for the average person to read and uncovers lots of new information about Henry VIII. The mistresses seem to have been a varied and fascinating lot.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars well researched and written, 4 Aug 2012
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This review is from: Mistresses of Henry VIII (Kindle Edition)
Found this book well researched and interesting to read, so bought the paperback to keep. It is slightly different to another one on the same subject so have them both.
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