Anna of Kleve : Queen of Secrets by Alison Weir

Author : Alison Weir
Title : Anna of Kleve : Queen of Secrets
Series : Six Tudor Queens #4
Pages : 485
Publisher : Headline
Publication date : May 2, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Newly widowed and the father of an infant son, Henry VIII realizes he must marry again to insure the royal succession. Now forty-six, overweight and unwell, Henry is soundly rejected by some of Europe’s most eligible princesses, but Anna of Kleve—a small German duchy—is twenty-four and eager to wed.

Henry requests Anna’s portrait from his court painter, who enhances her looks, painting her straight-on in order not to emphasize her rather long nose. Henry is entranced by the lovely image, only to be bitterly surprised when Anna arrives in England and he sees her in the flesh. She is pleasant looking, just not the lady that Henry had expected.

What follows is a fascinating story of this awkward royal union that had to somehow be terminated tactfully. Alison Weir takes a fresh and surprising look at this remarkable royal marriage by describing it from the point of view of Queen Anna, a young woman with hopes and dreams of her own, alone in a royal court that rejected her from the day she arrived. 

| MY THOUGHTS |

The Six Tudor Queens series continues with the fourth of Henry VIII’s wives, Anna of Kleve. This is one I’d been looking forward to, happy to move even further away from the Great Matter, and also because I didn’t know much about Anna herself.

Anna hailed from Germany and to all intents and purposes seemed to have lived quite the sheltered life under the watchful eye of her mother. Until the day Henry VIII, King of England, decides he needs another wife and preferably another heir. With Spain and France joining forces against him, an alliance with the Duke of Kleve would be quite an advantage. Henry asks his court painter for a portrait of Anna. He likes what he sees. Until Anna finally arrives in England. Despite the marriage going ahead, it quickly becomes clear Henry isn’t happy and when Henry isn’t happy, heads roll. But will it be Anna’s?

There is quite the controversial storyline running through Anna of Kleve. As always, Alison Weir takes facts and builds her story around those. In this case, the reasons Henry listed for his marriage to Anna to remain unconsummated. By that time, he was nearing 50, massively overweight and unfit, and quite possibly impotent. But of course, that’s not something he would ever have admitted. In his attempts to have his marriage to Anna annulled, Henry shows a side of himself we’ve not really seen before. At times he managed to come across as likeable even.

Now imagine Anna. A young woman sent off to England to marry a King. She spoke no English, knew nothing of the culture or customs but did know the stories about what happened to Henry’s previous wives. How incredibly frightening is that? Unable to please Henry, through no fault of her own, her life at the court must have been spent in sheer fear and anxiety.

I mentioned the controversial path Alison Weir takes with this story. Up to a certain point, I was quite willing to follow it. It explained a lot, it made sense while keeping Henry’s words in the back of my mind. But as the years went on, I must admit that that particular fictional part of the story lost me a little bit. I’m being deliberately vague here because I want the readers to experience this for themselves. If you do read this novel, and you definitely should, I’d be incredibly interested in knowing your thoughts.

I absolutely adore the Six Tudor Queens series and boy, do those hardcovers look amazing on my bookshelf. As always, Alison Weir’s research is immaculate and her descriptions are fabulously vivid. From the various palaces and their furnishings to the food served to the gorgeous clothes, she brings this era to life like no other. While I enjoyed Anna of Kleve, it wasn’t my favourite of the series though. It’s a bit hard to explain but for the first time in this series, I really felt like I was reading fiction. Which it is for the most part, of course, but some of it just didn’t quite work for me. Nevertheless, putting those misgivings aside, Anna of Kleve is another fantastic addition to this series and I can’t wait for the next one.

Anna of Kleve : Queen of Secrets is available to buy in ebook and hardcover.

Affiliate link : Bookdepository
Other retailers : Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Waterstones | Wordery

Weekly Wrap-Up (May 12)

The May weather is not playing nice. Dark days, wet and miserable, hail and random thunderstorms … what is this fudgery? All I see when I look out of the window is a garden that is slowly starting to resemble a jungle but I can’t get out there to do anything about it.

Luckily, I have books! Which came in especially handy when I was suddenly confronted with an hour long power cut. I was determined to get ahead of schedule again because my Line of Duty box set is on its way so guess what I’ll be doing next week! Somehow, I have still managed to remain completely spoiler free. It’s an absolute miracle!

So yes, getting ahead of schedule. How did that work out for you, Eva? Well, not so good because for some reason, I ended up with a bunch of books in a row that went over 400 pages and I may also have squeezed in one of my own TBR because … why not?

| BOOKS I READ THIS WEEK |

I’ll take that. That’s not too shabby at all! Now if only I could get the reviews written 🙄

| BOOKS I BOUGHT THIS WEEK |

I love the Six Tudor Queens series and had Anna of Kleve on preorder for what felt like forever. So obviously, when it finally arrived, I dropped everything to read it. The Doll Factory … I’ve been going back and forth on that one for ages but ultimately, it was sprayed edges envy that won out 😂

| ARC’s RECEIVED VIA NETGALLEY |

As you know, I don’t normally read on kindle anymore these days but I was sent a widget for this one by the publisher and by golly, I just couldn’t resist. It’s Tammy Cohen! I love her books! Why yes, I did already read it too.

| BOOK POST THAT LANDED ON MY DOORSTEP THIS WEEK |

What a week! Sure, these are all for blog tours because I just can’t help myself but whatever. Look at The Whisper Man! One of my most anticipated books of this year and it’s finally arrived! I can’t wait to read this one. May need to turn my schedule upside down again. 🤔 (With thanks to Headline, Orion, No Exit and Michael Joseph)

| ON THE BLOG THIS PAST WEEK |

Monday : Joined the blog tour for The Lost Letters of William Woolf by Helen Cullen with a guest post.

Tuesday : Took the day off

Wednesday : Hosted a stop on the blog tour for Night By Night by Jack Jordan and shared My Week in Books

Thursday : Reviewed With Our Blessing by Jo Spain

Friday : Took the day off

Saturday : Joined the blog tour for In Two Minds by Alis Hawkins

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

| NEXT WEEK ON NOVEL DEELIGHTS |

Monday : Blog tour | Review | Never Be Broken by Sarah Hilary

Tuesday : Blog tour | Review | The Evidence Against You by Gillian McAllister

Wednesday : Blog tour | Review | Dark Sacred Night by Michael Connelly

Thursday : Blog tour | Review | Tell Me Where You Are by Moira Forsyth

Friday : Review | Anna of Kleve by Alison Weir

Saturday : Taking the day off

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

See the blog tour on Thursday? Yep, still have to read that 😳🤣

In other news, I am having some technical difficulties lately which are extremely annoying. My mornings are usually spent on my laptop, where things works relatively normal. Not all of it, but I found a way around it so that’s okay. But for the rest of the day, I am on my iPad and for some reason WordPress does not play nicely. This means, I am constantly logged out and despite numerous attempts to log in, it just won’t let me. So I have to visit blogs via the WordPress Reader and like/share from there. However, being logged out means I can’t comment! In case you thought I was ignoring your wonderful posts, I’m really not.

Guess what I’m doing today! If you think it’s lounging on the sofa with a good book, accidentally having a nap … you’re wrong! Bloody stupid socialising crap for me again. There should be a law against this stuff. I’m so tired, I feel as if I haven’t slept for a week and I worry I’ll end up with my face in a bowl of soup. I can’t even get the tiniest bit excited about there being wine. Oh dear.

Anyway, I should probably try to write a review of two (five) before I have to get ready. So, that’s it for another week. Hope you all have a great one and lots of happy reading! xx

This Week in Books (May 8)

Hosted by Lipsy Lost and Found, my Wednesday post gives you a taste of what I’m reading this week. A similar meme is run by Taking on a World of Words.

| LAST BOOK I FINISHED READING |

Harry Probert-Lloyd, a young barrister forced home from London by encroaching blindness, has begun work as the acting coroner of Teifi Valley with solicitor’s clerk John Davies as his assistant.

When a faceless body is found on an isolated beach, Harry must lead the inquest. But his dogged pursuit of the truth begins to ruffle feathers. Especially when he decides to work alongside a local doctor with a dubious reputation and experimental theories considered radical and dangerous.

Refusing to accept easy answers might not only jeopardise Harry’s chance to be elected coroner permanently but could, it seems, implicate his own family in a crime.

| THE BOOK I’M CURRENTLY READING |

Newly widowed and the father of an infant son, Henry VIII realizes he must marry again to insure the royal succession. Now forty-six, overweight and unwell, Henry is soundly rejected by some of Europe’s most eligible princesses, but Anna of Kleve—a small German duchy—is twenty-four and eager to wed.

Henry requests Anna’s portrait from his court painter, who enhances her looks, painting her straight-on in order not to emphasize her rather long nose. Henry is entranced by the lovely image, only to be bitterly surprised when Anna arrives in England and he sees her in the flesh. She is pleasant looking, just not the lady that Henry had expected.

What follows is a fascinating story of this awkward royal union that had to somehow be terminated tactfully. Alison Weir takes a fresh and surprising look at this remarkable royal marriage by describing it from the point of view of Queen Anna, a young woman with hopes and dreams of her own, alone in a royal court that rejected her from the day she arrived. 

| WHAT I’M (PROBABLY) READING NEXT |

Renée Ballard is working the night beat again, and returns to Hollywood Station in the early hours only to find a stranger rifling through old file cabinets. The intruder is retired detective Harry Bosch, working a cold case that has gotten under his skin. Ballard kicks him out, but then checks into the case herself and it brings a deep tug of empathy and anger.

Bosch is investigating the death of fifteen-year-old Daisy Clayton, a runaway on the streets of Hollywood who was brutally murdered and her body left in a dumpster like so much trash. Now, Ballard joins forces with Bosch to find out what happened to Daisy and finally bring her killer to justice.

Not entirely sure why all the books I’m reading lately are so long. These are all over 400 pages, one even 485. It’s not that I mind. I like big books (and I can not lie) but it makes staying ahead of my schedule just that little bit harder. 😄

What are you reading this week? Let me know! Happy reading! xx

Some of my most anticipated books of 2019

At the end of last year, I mentioned doing a post focusing on some of my most anticipated releases for the new year. Since then, it seems everyone and their dog has done a post like that so obviously my idea wasn’t as original as I thought it was. Anyway, I decided to share this list regardless and hopefully you’ll find something that will pique your interest.

Listed by publication date for digital and hardcover copies.

| JANUARY |

Steve Cavanagh – Twisted
Matt Wesolowski – Changeling
Will Dean – Red Snow
Steph Broadribb – Deep Dirty Truth
Diane Setterfield – Once Upon A River

| FEBRUARY |

Angela Marsons – Dead Memories
Jo Spain – Dirty Little Secrets
Stacey Halls – The Familiars
Louise Beech – Call Me Star Girl
C.J. Tudor – The Taking of Annie Thorne
Alex Michaelides – The Silent Patient

| APRIL |

Gillian McAllister – The Evidence Against You

| MAY |

Stuart MacBride – All That’s Dead
Alison Weir – Anna of Kleve : Queen of Secrets
Sarah Hilary – Never Be Broken
Melanie Golding – Little Darlings

| JUNE |

Karin Slaughter – The Last Widow
Alex North – The Whisper Man

| JULY |

Riley Sager – Lock Every Door

| UNKNOWN |

Sharon Bolton – The Poisoner

This is a weird one but I’ve included it anyway. I could have sworn the original publication date was May but Amazon now lists it as December 2020, which quite frankly I refuse to believe because I WANT IT NOW!

Honourable mention to Johana Gustawsson and the third book in the Roy & Castells series.

I have a feeling it’s going to be a great bookish year once again! Which book(s) are you looking forward to the most? Do let me know and I hope you’ve found something in this list that caught your eye. Happy reading! xx

My Top 20 Favourite Series of 2018 (part one)

What an incredible year for books 2018 has been! I remember back in January already thinking compiling these end-of-year lists would be an impossible task. So just like last year, I’ve split things up. My favourite stand-alones will follow at a later date but in this post, I’m focusing on my favourite series. At least it will give me the opportunity to highlight more books.

Some of these may not have been published this year but since I read them this year, I mention them anyway alongside their most recent additions.

Because the list is so long (I had no idea I read so many series!), I’m splitting this post up into two parts.

So, in random order, My Top 20 Favourite Series of 2018 – Part One!

| Sarah Hilary – DI Marnie Rome |

I said it last year and I’ll say it again : Sarah Hilary’s writing just keeps getting better and better and this series is one of the strongest out there! [my review]

| Helen Fields – DI Luc Callanach |

Again, a corker of a series! I’ve loved this series from the very beginning and any crime fiction fan, of the not faint-hearted variety, should most definitely be reading this! [my reviews here and here]

| David Jackson – DS Nathan Cody |

An absolutely brilliant addition to an already outstanding series that I feel more people should be talking about! [my review]

| Angela Marsons – DI Kim Stone |

Was there ever any doubt these would be on the list? Still going utterly strong after nine books and still a series I’ll happily drop everything for when a new book publishes. [my review here and here]

| J.D. Barker – 4MK |

I’ve found that I’m leaning more towards books set in England lately but I gladly make an exception for the 4MK Thriller series because it just blows my mind! I’m incredibly excited to see how J.D. Barker wraps things up in the final instalment. [my review for The Fifth to Die]

| Johanna Gustawsson – Roy and Castells |

Modern crimes combined with historical fiction? Don’t mind if I do! If you’re looking for addictive page-turners, this is it! [my review]

| Cara Hunter – DI Adam Fawley |

One of those series that just hooked me from the first page. I thought Close To Home was amazing but In The Dark was even better! I can’t wait for book three! [my review for Close to Home]

| Sarah Ward – DC Connie Childs |

I’ve been reading this series from the beginning but have never reviewed it. These books tend to be published right before I leave on holiday in September and they are the first book I pick up when I’m settling down by the pool in Tuscany. I can never find the words to them justice and so don’t review them but consider them my very own special treat. So good!

| Alison Weir – The Six Tudor Queens |

Few people do Tudor fiction the way Alison Weir does and The Six Tudor Queens brings that era to life in the most fascinating way. [my review]

| Daniel Cole – Detective William Fawkes |

Slightly misleading to call it the second book in the Detective William Fawkes series since he’s not actually in it. Personally I didn’t really miss him all that much because of another character but I know other people did. Still, another gripping and exciting book that makes you anxiously await the next instalment. [my review]

So there we have it. Part one of my favourite series of the year. Anything here you’ve read as well? Enjoyed? Didn’t like at all? I’d ask you to mention which books you’d add to the list but since there’s more to come, we’ll leave that for now. Be sure to come back tomorrow for part two! 

Jane Seymour : The Haunted Queen by Alison Weir @AlisonWeirBooks @headlinepg

37912964

Author : Alison Weir
Title : Jane Seymour, The Haunted Queen
Series : Six Tudor Queens
Pages : 502
Publisher : Headline
Publication date : May 3, 2018

aboutthebook

The woman haunted by the fate of her predecessor.

Eleven days after the death of Anne Boleyn, Jane is dressing for her wedding to the King.

She has witnessed at first hand how courtly play can quickly turn to danger and knows she must bear a son . . . or face ruin.

This new Queen must therefore step out from the shadows cast by Katherine and Anne. In doing so, can she expose a gentler side to the brutal King?

mythoughts

The third book in the Six Tudor Queens series obviously features Henry VIII’s third wife, Jane Seymour. I must admit I knew very little about her going in. Apart from the facts, of course. Third wife, the only one to give Henry a male heir and the fact that she was apparently so beloved by Henry that he decided to be buried alongside her.

I’m not entirely sure I now know much more about her as far as historical facts are concerned, to be honest, but I do thoroughly enjoy the way she’s portrayed in this novel. It seems, unlike the previous wives, Jane left little or nothing of note. No journals or letters, for instance, that thorough research would normally be based on. This means there were quite a few gaps that Alison Weir needed to fill but true to form, she manages to do that in an entirely plausible and credible way.

Considering Jane Seymour’s rather short life, this is one long book though never boring. We are offered a glimpse into Jane’s early life, growing up in a big and happy family, surrounded by one or two ambitious brothers who themselves will play a huge part in history. In those early days however, Jane is determined to become a nun. How very different things would have been if that had come to pass.

As it is, she finds her way to court, as a maid-in-waiting to the first (and true 😄) Queen Katherine when Henry’s pursuit of Anne Boleyn has already started. The Great Matter, as it’s known, would always play a massive part in the first three books in this series as events overlap, but Jane is very much on the fringes of it all. However, her fierce loyalty to Queen Katherine and her faith will shape the future.

Was Jane naive? Did she really fall in love or was she merely as ambitious as her brothers? Who knows? Alison Weir paints an interesting picture of a devout and intelligent young lady who carefully weights up her options, who believes she might possibly be able to make a difference and restore what Anne Boleyn tore apart.

Interestingly, we also see a rather different side to Henry VIII. Not quite the self-centred, unforgiving, bullying “man-child” who throws temper tantrums when things don’t go his way. Not towards Jane anyway. I do believe he genuinely loved Jane Seymour but I can’t help thinking what would have happened if she hadn’t borne him a son.

It’s quite obvious to me that my fascination with the Tudor era and the six wives of Henry VIII will never go away. In my most humble opinion, nobody brings this era to life as magnificently as Alison Weir does. The meticulous research, the absolutely wonderful eye for detail, it all jumps from the pages and never fails to completely absorb me.

The Six Tudor Queens is an exquisite series and this third book is a truly wonderful addition. I can’t wait for the next one, which is obviously about Ann of Cleves, if you know your history. I’m quite happy to leave the Great Matter behind and learn more about the other wives. If you’re a Tudor fan, I have no doubt you will love this but I also feel there’s a lot here to please any historical fiction reader.

Do also make sure you read the incredibly interesting author’s notes!

Jane Seymour : The Haunted Queen is available to buy!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Bookdepository | Kobo | Wordery | Goodreads

This Week in Books (May 9)

this-week-in-books

Hosted by Lipsy Lost and Found, my Wednesday post gives you a taste of what I’m reading this week. A similar meme is run by Taking on a World of Words.


Last book I finished reading

37849000

In a reimagined contemporary Edinburgh, in which a tectonic fault has opened up to produce a new volcano in the Firth of Forth, and where tremors are an everyday occurrence, volcanologist Surtsey makes a shocking discovery. On a clandestine trip to The Inch – the new volcanic island – to meet Tom, her lover and her boss, she finds his lifeless body. Surtsey’s life quickly spirals into a nightmare when someone makes contact – someone who claims to know what she’s done.

The book I’m currently reading

37912964

Eleven days after the death of Anne Boleyn, Jane is dressing for her wedding to the King.

She has witnessed at first hand how courtly play can quickly turn to danger and knows she must bear a son . . . or face ruin.

This new queen must therefore step out from the shadows cast by Katherine and Anne – in doing so, can she expose a gentler side to the brutal King?


What I’m (probably) reading next

39991625

When Tina Hopgood writes a letter of regret to a man she has never met, she doesn’t expect a reply.

When Anders Larsen, a lonely museum curator, answers it, nor does he.

They’re both searching for something, they just don’t know it yet.

Anders has lost his wife, along with his hopes and dreams for the future. Tina is trapped in a marriage she doesn’t remember choosing.

Slowly their correspondence blossoms as they bare their souls to each other with stories of joy, anguish and discovery. But then Tina’s letters suddenly cease, and Anders is thrown into despair.

Can their unexpected friendship survive?

page-divide_12_orig

What are you reading this week? Whatever it is, I hope it brings you hours and hours of lots of happy reading! xx

My Top 20 Favourite Reads of 2017

top20

Around this time last year, I first started to get this wee itch about starting a blog as I desperately tried to get my favourites of 2016 shared via twitter and realised there had to be an easier way to talk about books. I can’t believe a whole year has passed since then and I’m here talking about my favourite books of this year. Crazy!

Last week, I shared my favourite series of the year which I thought would help me narrow down this list. Boy, was I wrong. It’s been an amazing year for books and since I nearly read 300 (there’s still time! 😂), a top 10 was never going to happen.

So I present to you, My Top 20 Favourite Reads of 2017. With apologies to the authors/books I had to drop from the list. I feel bad but I had to narrow it down somehow or I may as well just have listed every book I’ve read.

In no particular order (except for the last one), here we go!

Stuart MacBride – A Dark So Deadly [my review]
Stuart MacBride – Now We Are Dead
Karin Slaughter – The Good Daughter [my review]
Sharon Bolton – Dead Woman Walking [my review]

Louise Beech – Maria in the Moon [my review]
Lesley Allen – The Lonely Life of Biddy Weir [my review]
Michael J. Malone – House of Spines [my review]

Alice Feeney – Sometimes I Lie [my review]
Barbara Copperthwaite – Her Last Secret [my review]
Barbara Copperthwaite – The Darkest Lies [my review]
Paul Cleave – A Killer Harvest [my review]

Thomas Enger – Cursed [my review]
Matt Wesolowski – Six Stories [my review]
Will Dean – Dark Pines [my review]
Johana Gustawsson – Block 46 [my review]

Alison Weir – Anne Boleyn : A King’s Obsession [my review]
Rachel Rhys – A Dangerous Crossing [my review]
Gill Paul – Another Woman’s Husband [my review]
Eve Chase – The Vanishing of Audrey Wilde [my review]

My favourite book of 2017

34443975

Fredrick Backman – The Scandal / Beartown [my review]

I’m sure it comes as no surprise but I knew it the minute I started reading, that this was going to be my top book of the year!

***

And there you have it. Mahoosive thank you to all the authors, publishers and Netgalley for making my reading year so phenomenal! And to you, my fellow bloggers and readers of this blog, thank you for your support, for visiting and for commenting! ❤️

I wish you all a wonderful and peaceful Christmas and Happy Holidays! xx

Anne Boleyn : A King’s Obsession by Alison Weir @AlisonWeirBooks @headlinepg

30231546

Author : Alison Weir
Title : Anne Boleyn : A King’s Obsession
Series : The Six Tudor Queens #2
Pages : 507
Publisher : Headline
Publication date : May 18, 2017

aboutthebook

The young woman who changed the course of history.

Fresh from the palaces of Burgundy and France, Anne draws attention at the English court, embracing the play of courtly love.

But when the King commands, nothing is ever a game.

Anne has a spirit worthy of a crown – and the crown is what she seeks. At any price.

ANNE BOLEYN. The second of Henry’s Queens. Her story.
History tells us why she died. This powerful novel shows her as she lived.

mythoughts

For most people, Anne Boleyn probably doesn’t need much of an introduction. No matter how you feel about her, she was a pretty influential figure in Tudor history. Having read quite a bit about her, I at first found Alison Weir’s version of her to be rather conflicting to all the other information stored in my pea-sized brain and I struggled for a while.

Most things you read about Anne Boleyn depict her as a manipulative, conniving so-and-so who’s determined to ruin a marriage and become Queen. But Alison Weir has taken a different approach and has made a valiant attempt to cast a more sympathetic light on Anne Boleyn and despite my early misgivings, she completely managed to convince me.

As always, it’s incredibly obvious Alison Weir has done her research, which is evident from the author’s notes that are also truly interesting to read. Based on that research, could it possibly be that it wasn’t Anne who set her eyes on the King but the other way around? And when a King chases you and you realise what you could achieve if you were a queen, what would you do? Was Anne a pawn? Was she an evil, ambitious woman or was she simply misunderstood? You’ll have to read this story and make up your own mind.

I found Anne Boleyn : A King’s Obsession to be thoroughly thought-provoking and as I’ve mentioned, my opinion of her has changed. Alison Weir deftly guides us through Anne Boleyn’s life, from the very first time she leaves home until her untimely death. She made her mark but paid the price for it due to a fickle man who stopped at nothing to get his way. The Tudor era will never stop fascinating me and I can’t wait to read the next book in The Six Tudor Queens series which will be all about wife number three, Jane Seymour.

Anne Boleyn : A King’s Obsession is available now!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Bookdepository | Goodreads

Katherine of Aragon : The True Queen by Alison Weir @headlinepg

26048655

Author : Alison Weir
Pages : 597
Publisher :
Publication date : May 5, 2016

aboutthebook

The lives of Henry VIII’s queens make for dramatic stories and Alison Weir will write a series of novels that offer insights into the real lives of the six wives based on extensive research and new theories.

In all the romancing, has anyone regarded the evidence that Anne Boleyn did not love Henry VIII? Or that Prince Arthur, Katherine of Aragon’s first husband, who is said to have loved her in fact cared so little for her that he willed his personal effects to his sister? Or that Henry VIII, an over-protected child and teenager, was prudish when it came to sex? That Jane Seymour, usually portrayed as Henry’s one true love, had the makings of a matriarch? There is much to reveal …

Alison will write about the wives in the context of their own age and of the court intrigues that surrounded these women and – without exception – wrecked their lives. She will transport readers into a lost and vivid world of splendour and brutality: a world in which love, or the game of it, dominates all.

mythoughts

Katherine of Aragon : The True Queen is the first book in a brand-new series about the Tudor Queens by Alison Weir. Now, I have an incredible fascination with that era that I can’t even begin to explain and this author, to me, is the queen of historical Tudor fiction. Suffice to say I could have danced on the table when the postman delivered this book.

This novel starts off with Katherine, or Catalina as she was then, on the ship that will take her from Spain to England to marry Prince Arthur, whom she’s never met. I can’t even begin to imagine being so young and having your parents ship you off to a foreign country for what is ultimately nothing more than politics. Barely five months into the marriage, Arthur dies and years later, Katherine will become the first of Henry VIII’s six wives. Throughout her life she will suffer multiple miscarriages, will fail to give the King an heir, and will ultimately lose his love and respect due to a conniving and manipulative woman. (That’s just my opinion. 😄) But through it all, she remains loyal to her vows, to her faith and to her husband.

This story is entirely written from Katherine’s point of view, which really adds an extra layer and had me completely captivated. As a reader, one who knows about Tudor history, you know what’s going on but Katherine doesn’t. Especially not in the latter years when she becomes increasingly isolated from court proceedings and finds herself dependent on letters that are secretly sent to her.

Katherine’s story has always struck a cord with me. This amazingly dignified, pious, strong and principled woman has captured my imagination for the longest time. To be able to read about her life through her own words, so to speak, almost broke my heart. You can’t help but feel for her and while it may be hard for us, as modern women, to even begin to imagine her life and her choices, these were very different times. For one who was raised to do her duty, who was raised to be the Queen of England, she really only ever did what she felt was right.

There are a lot of books out there about the Tudor era but this one really held my attention from start to finish. The author truly manages to transport you to a time long ago with brilliant descriptive writing and a fabulously rich atmosphere. What I liked as well is that some of these books will overlap. In this one, there’s obviously mention of Anne Boleyn, but also of Jane Seymour and Thomas Cromwell for instance.

This isn’t a quick read but its 597 pages are incredibly engrossing. I already have my copy of book 2 in this series and I can’t wait to get started on it. If you like historical fiction, this is for you. If you like Tudor historical fiction, I can’t recommend this enough!

Katherine of Aragon : The True Queen was published in May 2016.

Amazon USAmazon UKBookdepository – Goodreads