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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Polished and Prolific, 28 April 2014
This review is from: Kings And Queens (Kindle Edition)
I've read every one of Terry Tyler's novels and each has been a lovely retreat. Her prose is effortless, lifting off the page and grabbing readers by the shirt. She never tells the same story twice, doesn't rely on formula, tries new things and yet her style and voice are unmistakable. Kings and Queens is so different, so good, I had to force myself to slow down and spend a few days with it. Tyler writes intelligent page-turners. I could have gobbled this one up, but chose to read slow and deep. The premise here is patriarchy, still alive and well in the world of Harry Lanchester, the teenaged beautiful boy who unexpectedly inherits the family business when his older brother and father die. The story spans the decades from the 1970s into the new Millennium, but never in the 40+ years do the females in the Lanchester line get a fair shake. Wives, daughters, and sisters are all considered less than by Henry, as by his father. He longs for a son, but his wives keep giving him daughters. Henry loves well and often, accruing six wives and many more lovers as he cuts a swath through society. Remind you of someone? The similarities to Henry Tudor the Eighth and his unfortunate wives are intentional and Tyler has great fun updating Harry's unscrupulous behavior. She handles the foibles and downfalls of each wife in modern believable ways with delicious twists readers won't see coming. The period bits are spot on, but my personal favorite is how Tyler makes the 80s come alive with her magic pen, from Dynasty shoulder pads to rampant cocaine use. (Remember when it was thought to be a "safe" drug? Ah, if only 'twas true, as one of Harry's wives can attest.) This is a saga in the best sense of the word, updated for the modern world. Sink your teeth into it and savor.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Fun!, 10 May 2014
By 
Charles L. R. Dougherty (Cruising the Caribbean aboard Sailing Vessel Play Actor) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Kings And Queens (Kindle Edition)
Terry Tyler delivers the story promised in the product description, spiced with her own brand of humor in the telling. While the main thrust of the story is well known, she threw in enough twists to keep it interesting. Being somewhat constrained as to the plot, she used some ironic juxtapositions of the characters and their traits to keep me guessing.

I've enjoyed several of her books, and I confess that I wondered how she would fare with this one. I needn't have worried; she did her usual masterful job of making mundane details of peoples' lives utterly fascinating. I believe that's her particular talent as a writer.

While I'm not exceptionally well versed in Tudor history, I've always been fascinated by Henry VIII because of his willingness to use the power of his position to have his own way. As self-centered as he was, Henry had some sensitivity to how society perceived his behavior. In spite of that, he didn't let his better judgment overcome his base instincts. I was curious to see how the people around Harry would react to his licentiousness in a more modern, presumably more open-minded period. Ms. Tyler did a credible job of demonstrating how little the basic human qualities have changed in the last few centuries. While extramarital affairs and divorce may carry less stigma in Harry's day than in Henry's, it's clear that a self-centered jerk is still a self-centered jerk.

It was also great fun to look for the references and metaphors that Ms. Tyler tucked away in her version of the story, some in quite unexpected ways. There were a few that bordered slapstick, just as there were in the original story, but many were subtle. I'm sure that I missed a number of those, possibly some of the better ones. I enjoyed the ones that I found so much that I've resolved to brush up on my history and have another go at Kings and Queens. I have no doubt that it will be more entertaining the second time through. Of course, I have to get that done in time for the sequel.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best one yet!, 4 May 2014
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This review is from: Kings And Queens (Kindle Edition)
I have read all of Terry's books and think this one is the best one yet! What a great idea to translate the story of Henry VIII into modern times. I didn't know much about the Tudors, but the blog post about Henry VIII was really helpful. I kept flicking back to that while reading the story to see the parallels and think it made it more enjoyable. Great book, I do hope there will be a sequel about the lives of Harry's three children at some point.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The girls are just wild about Harry, 23 July 2014
This review is from: Kings And Queens (Kindle Edition)
Almost five centuries after his death, the life, loves and political and religious machinations of Henry VIII continues to grip our imaginations.

Author Terry Tyler’s modern-day portrayal of the Tudor king as the dynamic, driven CEO of a UK real estate corporation is a unique and satisfying glimpse into the swirling maelstrom of power and prestige, lust and loss, and dark moments that marked the monarch’s reign.

The novel is told from the perspective of key figures in the king’s life, freshly painted in 20th century clothing and attitudes, but retaining their 16-century significance: his six wives and his childhood friend, Charles Brandon each take turns narrating the action from their points of view.

Their combined stories paint the picture of a brilliant—if unethical—titan, driven to continually prove his prowess both in the business realm and the bedroom.

Anyone familiar with the Tudor saga will know what’s coming. However, Tyler’s strength is that she’s able to breathe new life into the well-worn tale.

She draws in the reader by cleverly re-imagining such historic figures as Anne Boleyn (rechristened Annette Hevers) and Catherine Howard (Keira Howard) as women of today. Tyler presents them with warmth and empathy—refusing to resort to their easily clichéd depictions—but never shying away from their tragic failings.

She even manages to find a sprinkling of sympathy for the brilliant but tortured Harry, a king among men, even if only in his own musings.

“Kings and Queens” is the perfect read for anyone captured by the drama of almost 500 years past, as well as those who simply appreciate the battles that can rage in ones’ own heart.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining, unusual, clever read, 16 Dec. 2014
This review is from: Kings And Queens (Kindle Edition)
Sometimes I read a book that makes me think ‘I wish I’d thought of that!’ ‘Kings and Queens’ is a wonderful, clever book that brings the infamous history of Henry VIII and his many wives into modern times, detailing the life and loves of Harry Lanchester as he unexpectedly inherits control of his father’s company.
This is a real page turner with realistically drawn characters that hold your attention through every marriage, affair, dodgy deal and tragedy. The multiple viewpoints work really well and give the reader the opportunity to see Harry from many different sides, not all flattering. It was enjoyable to get into the shoes of the women he falls in love with and the narration of his friend Will brought another perspective as his view of his friend developed over the years, loyal still but increasingly more able to see the flaws.
The attention to detail as the characters grow up and move through the decades was excellent - the economic ups and downs and the fashions (those eighties shoulder pads), food, music and tastes of the decades was spot on.
Terry Tyler makes writing look easy (although of course it isn't) and shows great skill in this engaging, entertaining read.
I can’t wait for the sequel.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Divorced, beheaded, died......, 10 May 2014
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This review is from: Kings And Queens (Kindle Edition)
Having read all of Terry’s books to date I was really looking forward to her latest novel. I am pleased to say I was not disappointed.

This novel mirrors the life of Henry VIII (minus the beheadings!) and his six wives. Set between the years of 1971 – 2007 we see the life and marriages of Harry Lanchester, Chairman and MD of Lanchester Estates, a property developer firm inherited from his late father. We are told the story from the perspectives of each wife and also his life-long friend, Will.

We follow Cathy, his first wife. Loyal and stubborn she was his longest serving wife, until the arrival of the stunningly beautiful and ballsy Annette Hever, a character you know you should hate but cant help but fall in love with. Sweet and caring Jenny, everyone’s favourite, bears him his first son before a tragic accident. Hannah comes along at the “right time” and Harry is soon back to his womanising ways. She is followed by gold-digger Keira, whose young head is turned by an older, richer man. The final section of the novel is dedicated final wife, Kate, two-times divorcee and psychiatric nurse.

I felt like I should dislike sexist and chauvinistic Harry but I couldn’t help but fall in love with the character. A true testament to Terry’s wonderful story telling.

The novel also ends neatly and paves the way for the sequel, which I for one am really looking forward to.

You don’t know the story of Henry VIII? No matter, Terry has put a helpful mini guide at the beginning of this book for those interested, though this book can be read without any prior knowledge of our most married monarch.

Cannot recommend this book enough.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!, 8 Nov. 2014
By 
Cathy "Audiobook junkie!" (Ilminster, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Kings And Queens (Kindle Edition)
This novel promises to be uniquely different in its concept and delivery. And actually, that promise is fulfilled…in spades. The storyline and characters very artfully parallel the life and times of Henry VIII in a modern day setting.

Handsome and charming, Harry Lanchester makes his first appearance as a sixteen year old wannabe rock star and his story is told initially from the viewpoint of Harry’s best friend, Will. Thereafter we see Harry through the eyes of each of his wives in turn, combined with short chapters from Will, who acts almost as an impartial onlooker and supporter. Even when he disagrees with Harry and suspects him of a terrible act, Will feels unwilling and, possibly, unable to confront his friend.

Harry’s dream of rock stardom was shattered with the death of his elder brother. This tragedy meant Harry was next in line to head the family’s property development company, after the death of his father. Harry steps into, not only his brother’s shoes, but also his fiancée’s heart. He rises to the challenge of running the company, and being married, at such a young age with the complete belief his authority, charm and position would get him the wife, mistress or business deal he wanted.

Each of his wives, whose names were very cleverly adapted, have their own individual take on Harry as a man and husband. Their opinions are balanced by Will’s, coming from the perspective of a life long friend, and reading them all gives very differing viewpoints on the personality and conduct of one man. In doing so they also disclose their own characteristics and weaknesses.

Terry Tyler has, with a compelling and perceptive approach, brought the obviously very well researched historical characters to life in a contemporary guise. They all have depth and a realism that gives rise to the thought that, even through the ages, nothing much changes in human behaviours. Told with wit, humour and no small amount of pathos, the engaging narrative chronicles Harry’s life over almost four decades of decadent living. As Harry’s excesses continue unabated and accelerating, his decline begins in earnest after Keira’s death, the manner of which affects him to ever greater degrees as the years pass.

A fantastic interpretation, extremely well executed, resulting in a fascinating and enjoyable read.

http://betweenthelinesbookblog.wordpress.com
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 5-star tour de force!, 29 Oct. 2014
This review is from: Kings And Queens (Kindle Edition)
I never know what to expect when I read one of Terry Tyler’s books. Oh, I know that it will be well-written and entertaining. But each one is a discovery—a new genre, new voice, new format. Even knowing this, I was completely unprepared for Kings and Queens. Quite simply, it is a five-star tour de force.

We’ve all seen the odd historical figure, Shakespearean drama, or even beloved literary icons like Mr. Darcy brought into modern settings. It’s fun to see their familiar stories play out against our modern backdrop. But even by those standards, what Tyler has done is audaciously big. She’s taken one of history’s larger than life figures, Henry VIII, and asked the question: what if Henry lived today? Would the forces that shaped his life be as compelling, would his control of the lives around him be as absolute, and would his romantic relationships be as devastating?

In Kings and Queens, we meet Henry in 1971 as sixteen-year-old Harry Lanchester. Through the eyes of Will Brandon— his quintessentially British, well-meaning, and slightly dim lifelong friend—we see the fun-loving boy who overnight becomes the ruler of a vast financial domain. With the unexpected death of the heir-apparent and older brother Alex, young Harry—who until then was “…more at home with a guitar in one hand and a bottle of beer in another…”—suddenly inherits his brother’s life, job, and even fiancée.

From that point on, each chapter of Harry’s life is defined and told from the point of view of the women he marries, interspersed with comments from Will. Harry’s gifts of charm, wealth, and invincible belief in himself lead to the complete conviction that he has not only the ability but the right to gratify any of his desires. Each succeeding narrator’s point of view reveals how those unchecked desires shape and ultimately destroy the man.

What makes Kings and Queens such an achievement is that each of Harry’s “Queens” has her own uniquely identifiable voice. We see Harry’s life through these women’s hopes, desires, and dreams. And just as devastatingly, we see that the one thing we all think we know about Henry VIII—that he went through wives because he was driven by the need for a son who could inherit his empire—was too simplistic an explanation. After all, Harry had an illegitimate son, and later a legitimate one. But there was no sign that their presence made any difference to his desire or ability to rein in any impulse to self-gratification.

Each succeeding point of view documents Harry’s deterioration until the horrifying event that eventually becomes his living nightmare. Through it all, Will stands by him, justifying the unjustifiable by telling himself that Harry needs him. “He was selfish, vain and stubborn, but funny, generous and endearingly childlike…” Will’s intelligent wife Rosie is more perceptive:

"Rosie said to me that each time we fall in love we love differently…Yes, if he’d revered Cathy, lusted after Annette and worshipped Jenny, then he saw Keira Howard like the fairy on top of the Christmas tree, lighting up the room and making all his dreams come true.”

In Kings and Queens, author Terry Tyler has stayed remarkably close to historical fact. But hearing each woman’s story in modern context allows us an intimately personal view of the sweep of historical events. It’s an incredible achievement.

*I received this book for free from the publisher or author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Queen of Books, 22 Oct. 2014
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This review is from: Kings And Queens (Kindle Edition)
Despite having already discovered that Terry Tyler is an excellent novelist I had a slight resistance to reading “Kings and Queens.” The idea of a contemporary parallel to the life of Tudor King Henry VIII was superb, but could it be achieved without too much awkwardly contrived plotting? Yes!

All the significant players in the life of Henry VIII feature in Terry’s story but she adapts the circumstances of each marriage to the context of its late 20th century era. Children are born, there are divorces but nobody has their head chopped off!

“Kings and Queens,” can be read from two viewpoints. With no knowledge of Tudor history you can enjoy this family saga as it is revealed, meeting male chauvinism, passion, addiction, power politics etc., just as you might watching a compulsive TV series such as “Howards Way” or “Dallas.” If you expect Harry Lanchester to behave like his alter ego Henry VIII you can thoroughly enjoy the twists and nuances in which his story differs from that of the King.

Inevitably you will identify with one or more of Harry’s partners and you will have encountered someone like his other wives. Each of the six women is a narrator and their biased viewpoint is counterpointed by the testimony of Will, Harry’s best friend and employee. There is tragedy, a dysfunctional family, love and dishonesty. A recipe for a rollicking good read.

If, like me, you are “of a certain age,” you will particularly enjoy the period details of fashion and social mores especially during the 1980s and the accurate reflection of the ups and downs of the housing market add credibility to events that are described.

I can thoroughly recommend this fascinating book and I am anxious to know more about the continuation of Harry’s dynasty.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great difficulty in putting Kings and Queens down!, 27 Sept. 2014
By 
Shazjera - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Kings And Queens (Kindle Edition)
Kings and Queens is a very cleverly crafted story. It brings Henry VIII into the modern world in the form of Harry Lanchester and the property empire he inherits.

Narrated by the wives and also interspersed with Will's (Harry's best friend) narration we're taken from 1971 when 16 year old Harry becomes the heir, through to a wonderful scene in 2007 seen through the eyes of Will.

At first, I was looking for correlations and compared the wives and other family members to Henry VIII's life but I become so wrapped up in the characters and what was happening that very soon, Kings and Queens became a story in its own right.

The fashions, music, cars and societal expectations were authentic through the decades and so easy to identify with.

Each women and relationship/marriage have their own 'voice' (and Keira's narration is in diary format) which I felt kept the story very much alive and vibrant. I loved that we have a balanced view of Harry through the addition of Will’s narration.

Addiction; redundancy; ethics; young carer; death, murder and grief; loyalty; family and the 'victim' personality all play a part. Wealth and the business itself are a backdrop to the romance and I found myself pulled into every aspect.

The story is complete in itself (loved that final scene!) however, I’m looking forward to the sequel (Last Child) – to see how the author brings the Tudor children into the modern world.

This is one story I have had great difficulty in putting down and would highly recommend for your reading list.

I would like to thank the author for providing an e-copy in exchange for an honest review.
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Kings And Queens
Kings And Queens by Terry Tyler
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