The Six Wives Of Henry VIII Paperback – 6 Mar 1997
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|Paperback, 6 Mar 1997||
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"A thrilling and chilling story." (Sunday Times)
"At last we have the truth about Henry VIII's wives. This book is as reliable and scholarly as it is readable." (A. L. Rowse Evening Standard)
"An entertaining account of Henry VIII's complicated domestic history. It is full of interesting detail - Alison Weir's treatment of this perennially fascinating subject is a beguiling one." (Anne Somerset London Review of Books)
Thoroughly researched and with a real understanding of the times these six fascinating women lived through, Alison Weir's new book reveals a Tudor England where personal needs and private emotion could, and frequently did, override or influence national events.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Each of the wives are written about in more-than-adequate detail - if this wasn't a non-fiction piece of literature, you could say that the characterisation was top notch.
When completing this book (which shouldn't take too long as it's hard to put down), get hold of "The Children of England - The Heirs of Henry VIII", which continues where this book left off, and examines Edward VI, Lady Jane Grey and Mary I. I have just read that and can't wait to move on to Weir's biography on "Elizabeth"!
Alison Weir begins with the story of the Spanish princess Katherine of Aragon. Brought to England at the age of 16 and married to Henry's brother, widowed before her 17th birthday, engaged to Henry the following year. We learn how her second marriage was put on hold for political reasons, but it was Henry's priority on becoming king. It seemed to be a love-match as much as a political one. We follow the marriage through the love, through the heart-break of losing their children and through Henry's betrayal of a loyal woman who even acted as regent during a Scottish invasion when he was at war in France.
The narrative progresses to Anne Boleyn, the ambitious woman who stirred up so much passion and was eventually cruelly convicted of crimes she probably didn't commit. But there's more to Anne than Henry's innocent victim and one of the major causes of the English Reformation. We also learn of her devious plots against her rivals. Her step-daughter Mary was particularly at risk.
Plain Jane Seymour became the third wife, Henry's favourite, but the marriage was short.
We learn about Anne of Cleves who, succeeding Jane, benefitted most from a brief marriage to Henry, transforming from impoverished German princess to Henry's wealthy 'sister'.
Then there was Katherine Howard, a silly teenager without the sense to take the opportunities thrown at her to save her own life.Read more ›
This book challenges the stereotypes of the six queens and brings each character to life with contemporary sources. Too often we see the wives portrayed as the Barren, the conniving Harlot, the saintly Mother, the Ugly, the Adulteress, and the sedate Widow. This book gives us insights into the characters and impact of the queens, and certainly opened my eyes.
I would recommend this book to anyone interested in Tudor history, womens' history or a good story. All the good tales are based in truth.
The author as a way of being entertaining while sticking strictly to historical sources that makes the read very enjoyable: there is no feeling (and no need, in her books) of a romanced approach - reality is far more exciting that fiction.
This book is, in fact, about Henry VIII and his evolution during his reign. The description of the different "compartments" of Henry VIII's matrimonial life are interesting in that they each correspond to a different era in his reign - and of Court life and customs. I hadn't realised before that his first marriage, with Catherine of Aragon, lasted as long as all others together.
A very good and easy read, which I strongly recommend.
Another major downfall for me (and I do consider this to be a downfall, especially in a work of someone who is reputed to be an accomplished historical writer), the almost complete reliance on secondary accounts, and the failure to challenge their authenticity and their motives.
A prime example of this is in relation to the reports of Eustace Chapuys and the author also appears to be very biased, not deploying an impartial attitude towards Anne Boleyn, Katherine Howard, or even at times, Catherine of Aragon.
I also have particular concerns with regard to highly circumspect accounts not verified by other sources which are conveyed more or less as fact in this book such as Henry seducing the fair fiancee of a passer-by (although Weir mentions not only this alleged incident and its source in her biography on Mary Boleyn, she does not in this book however, delve into a great deal of detail as to where she acquired this account from, with the reader then having to sift through the references), Anne seemingly compassing and "plotting" the deaths of Catherine and Mary (a claim which is highly unsubstantiated) and her account of Catherine Howard's execution which is in all probability incorrect.
Unfortunately, this means for me that while I thoroughly appreciate the breadth of research which undoubtedly went into this work, it is not however on parr with David Starkey and Antonia Fraser's account of the Six Wives.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Product arrived quickly. However I was not impressed by the quality of the book, it was stained and smelt musty. Read morePublished 4 days ago by Amazon Customer
I enjoyed the depth of the King and the queens that I was unaware of previously, they were brought to life in an interesting way.Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
I really enjoyed this book easy to read and gave a great insight into the wivesPublished 3 months ago by Chrissy
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