‘Jane Seymour, The third of Henry’s Queens. Her Story
History tells us how she died
This spellbinding novel explores the life she lived’
Jane Seymour:The Haunted Queen is the third novel in the Six Tudor Queens series by Alison Weir, the UK’s top-selling female historian. Just published with Headline Review, it gives us all an insight into a ‘career that spanned three of the most tumultuous years in England’s history.’
This is my second book in the series, having read and reviewed the captivating and intriguing book based on the life of Anne Boleyn (Read my review HERE)
Jane Seymour:The Haunted Queen is a book heavy in historical facts. It is not by any means a light read, but most definitely this series is for any who have a fascination with the life of Henry VIII and his many wives.
Please do read on for my unbiased and as ever voluntary review…
About The Book:
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?
The history, and story attached to the Tudor monarchy under Henry VIII, has always intrigued me. As I have mentioned in my previous review of Anne Boleyn, my knowledge was very limited to what I learnt in school. I remember our teacher discussing the Reformation and the Dissolution of the Monasteries but it was all quite factual. These books by Alison Weir open up a whole new dimension to such a fascinating era in our social and political history.
Henry VIII is a man that I have always seen as tough, unforgiving, and at times barbaric, in the treatment of his subjects who did not conform to his beliefs. Henry VIII wanted a male heir and nothing or nobody was going to stand in his way.
In Jane Seymour:The Haunted Queen, Alison Weir manages to incorporate the story of Katherine of Aragon’s demise and Anne Boleyn’s stratospheric rise and subsequent fall, followed by Jane Seymour’s short-lived marriage to Henry VIII. It’s an incredible overview of the three women and how their paths crossed over the years.
Jane Seymour grew up in a very happy home. Her dream from a very young age was to join the nuns, but her family were never fully supportive of this passion and always felt that her skills could be put to better use elsewhere. After an unsuccessful trial in a local nunnery, Jane’s path changed completely. With the assistance of a family friend Jane soon found herself in the court of Queen Katherine of Aragon. For Jane, the Queen was a paragon of goodness, with Jane sharing the same strong religious beliefs and loyalty to the Pope, and the Catholic church.
Jane was accepted into the court of Queen Katherine with open arms and initially was in awe of her surroundings and the company she now kept. She watched, listened and learnt as the court presided and the maids of honour gathered and chatted in the company of the Queen. But it was not long before she began to hear snippets of conversations and remarks about a possible affair between the King and one of her fellow ladies of the court. Jane was repelled to learn of the indiscretions of Anne Boleyn and even more distressed to see her Queen put into terrible uncompromising positions. Henry VIII is looking for a son, a young heir that seems to be beyond his grasp with the current Queen and for Henry his eyes roam elsewhere. Jane watches the relationship develop between Henry and Anne and is soon horrified to see how her beloved Queen is ousted from her position as rightful wife to the King.
We all know that Katherine was righteous to the end in her belief that she was and always would be the Queen of England to Henry’s King. But Henry, with the assistance of many like-minded associates, saw to it that Katherine was removed and ‘locked up’ in seclusion and isolation away from the court.
Anne Boleyn stepped up, and for Henry here was a woman who would stand by him, as he cleaned up the scourge of the monasteries and stood in what he saw as his rightful place as the leader of the English Church.
Jane Seymour watched all this from the sidelines. She was outraged at the treatment of her Queen and disgusted at the behaviour of both Henry and Anne. The destruction of her faith, as she saw it, upset her to the core, yet she remained at the court with the support of her family and other supporters of the one true Queen, Katherine.
As time passed, Henry was to realise that Anne Boleyn was not what he had hoped for. She too became a thorn in his side. Her outspoken views and her willingness to undermine him in public were to be detrimental to her continued role as the new Queen, even after the passing of Katherine of Aragon.
Jane, surprising herself, witnessed a humane side to Henry VIII and as both history and the author tells us, Jane soon fell in love. With Anne cast to one side and accused of treason, Jane was to become Henry’s third wife. Their relationship is portrayed as a very genuine one, with their passion and love for one another very obvious through the latter half of the book. Jane did eventually provide a male heir, Edward, but for Jane it was too late, as the light went out on her young life way before her time.
Jane Seymour:The Haunted Queen is a historical novel that Alison Weir hoped would ‘offer a rounded, convincing portrayal of Henry VIII’s third wife, who is so often dismissed as a nonentity or a sly, scheming operator, yet was almost certainly neither.’ I will use the same word in my review here as in my previous review of the second book, this is an epic read. It is a re-imagining of the lives of these women, with a focus on the life of Jane Seymour. The amount of research and cross-checking of historical information is phenomenal and it is an absolute credit to Alison Weir in bringing these books to fruition. I will admit, as I did before, that due to my own lack of knowledge, I did get a little lost and overwhelmed at times but it did not take from the overall experience of reading this remarkable story.
The writing is impeccable. The story told is riveting and at times breath-taking. I seriously do believe that these books would be an incredible educational resource for schools, making this period in history come alive for the students and the teachers.
I think I enjoyed this book even more than Anne Boleyn, possibly because I had a greater knowledge going into it, having read Book 2.
I highly recommend these books to all who have an interest in this extraordinary period of our history and for all who wish to discover more about the lives of these truly intriguing women.
Purchase Link ~ Jane Seymour:The Haunted Queen
Alison Weir is the top-selling female historian (and the fifth bestselling historian overall) in the United Kingdom, and has sold over 2.7 million books worldwide. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and Sciences and an Honorary Life Patron of Historic Royal Palaces, and is married with two adult children.
Jane Seymour is the third in the Six Tudor Queens series of novels about the wives of Henry VIII, which began with Katherine of Aragon: The True Queen – a Sunday Times Top Ten bestseller, followed by Anne Boleyn: A King’s Obsession
Website ~ http://alisonweir.org.uk/
Twitter ~ @AlisonWeirBooks