Jane Seymour: The Haunted Queen
Six Tudor Queens, Book #3
By Alison Weir
Author website: alisonweir(.)org(.)uk
Acclaimed author and historian Alison Weir continues her epic Six Tudor Queens series with this third captivating novel, which brings to life Jane Seymour, King Henry VIII’s most cherished bride and mother of his only male heir.
Ever since she was a child, Jane has longed for a cloistered life as a nun. But her large noble family has other plans, and, as an adult, Jane is invited to the King’s court to serve as lady-in-waiting for Queen Katherine of Aragon. The devout Katherine shows kindness to all her ladies, almost like a second mother, which makes rumors of Henry’s lustful pursuit of Anne Boleyn—who is also lady-in-waiting to the queen—all the more shocking. For Jane, the betrayal triggers memories of a painful incident that shaped her beliefs about marriage.
But once Henry disavows Katherine and secures his new queen—altering the religious landscape of England—he turns his eye to another: Jane herself. Urged to return the King’s affection and earn favor for her family, Jane is drawn into a dangerous political game that pits her conscience against her desires. Can Jane be the one to give the King his long-sought-after son or will she meet a fate similar to the women who came before her?
Bringing new insight to this compelling story, Weir marries meticulous research with gripping historical fiction to re-create the dramas and intrigues of the most renown court in English history. At its center is a loving and compassionate woman who captures the heart of a king, and whose life will hang in the balance for it.
I knew very little about Henry VIII’s third wife Jane Seymour. I knew she was much beloved by the king, even being buried in the same tomb. I knew she produced a male heir. Other than that, not much else. I love this series by author Alison Weir and have been looking forward to reading each one of the three out of six books that are out. (Cannot wait for the remaining 3 either). This author does so much research and combines that with a true entertaining writing style to bring the queens and their stories to life. In Jane Seymour: The Haunted Queen, the reader is introduced to the young future queen. She was born to a wealthy family with a bit of historical importance and served lady in waiting for King Henry’s first wife Katherine. This really did mold her beliefs and senses.
In Jane Seymour: Haunted Queen author Weir begins this future queen’s story when she is a young girl. The reader gets to see how she possibly grew up, her thoughts and dreams, and how the events of her childhood and young adult life would drive her to be the third wife of King Henry. Her early desire to become a nun, her outlook on a marriage, her love of her siblings. She was not married even though younger sisters were. There is not much written history of this “haunted” queen, so the author draws on what was available and the ideals of the time to weave a historical novel that brings this quiet queen to life for the reader.
Jane was enamored by King Henry’s first wife, the pious Katherine. She respected how the queen ran her court, how she treated her ladies in waiting. Her catholic beliefs were so strong and Jane wanted to be like her. Jane loved her time in this “true” queen’s court. Then along came Anne Boleyn. When Katherine could not produce an heir, people in the King’s court led him to believe it was because of their marriage. Anne helped to inveigle this theory. Pushing this belief forced Henry to disavow the Catholic religion. Poor Jane was forced to be at Anne’s beck and call and she had to witness the fall of her queen. As a lady in waiting for Anne’s court, everything changed. Jane was miserable as could be expected. Jane saw how things Anne did perturbed the King. Henry began paying attention to this quiet young lady who was the complete opposite of Anne. Once her family got wind of that, they wished to use her to advance their status.
What a windfall for Jane Seymour’s family that Henry was courting her. They benefited for years as Henry tried to find a way out of his marriage. When Anne was beheaded, it didn’t take long for Jane to become the third queen. This tome gives the reader a view into what may have been happening on Jane’s journey from young, wealthy girl to King Henry VIII’s third bride. No one knows what actually happened, but the author lets the reader inside the mind of this haunted queen, who feared she was being cursed and haunted by Anne. When Jane finally became pregnant, her dreams were about to be realized for her and her family. She gave birth to a male heir, what a supreme accomplishment. Unfortunately, Jane would die not long after giving birth.
Alison Weir once again brings us into the life of one of Henry’s wives. She does intense research, mixes that with a wonderful storytelling ability, enchanting writing style and depth of emotions and comes up with another hit. I was delighted to read about this queen that I had heard and read so little about. The author has a section where she explains how she came to the conclusions she did to write this entertaining historical novel. If you are a Tudor fan, this is a must read. Any anglophile will be enthralled in this read. No need to read any of the other 2 books in this series as each queen’s life is a story unto itself. Fabulous writing make this a hit for me!
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review as part of their ongoing blog tour*