Book Review: Jane Seymour: The Haunted Queen by Alison Weir

Friday, June 1, 2018

Title: Jane Seymour: The Haunted Queen
Author: Alison Weir
Series: Six Tudor Queens #3
Publication Date: May 8th 2018


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?

Acclaimed, bestselling historian Alison Weir draws on new research for her captivating novel, which paints a compelling portrait of Jane and casts fresh light on both traditional and modern perceptions of her. Jane was driven by the strength of her faith and a belief that she might do some good in a wicked world.

History tells how she died. This spellbinding novel explores the life she lived.'

My thoughts: I was just flipping back through this book to think over my review, and my immediate thought was that my experience of reading this book was so wonderful. A lot of people say that they love reading historical fiction during the colder months, because you can really disappear into it a little more (plus historical fiction books tend to be quit chunky, and you have more time to pour into them). I absolutely agree with this - as the weather has been getting colder and rainier her in Perth, I have been craving bigger stories, and bigger books to sink my teeth into.

Jane Seymour delivers on this quite well. I was surprised at how much of her story Weir wanted to tell - the book basically spans the entirety of Jane's life, but with little attention paid to her childhood (as Weir says in her Author's Note, there isn't a lot of information on the earlier years of Jane's life). Jane's romance with the King doesn't really even appear until about halfway through the book. Part of me wanted to be disappointed and frustrated at that, but the majority of me was just fascinated at Jane's story, and how quickly she becomes embroiled in court life, and all the machinations and schemes that are in play.

I think one of the most beneficial things that a historical fiction tome can do is get someone interested in the time period that it is written about, and Weir managed that with me quite readily. Despite my parents being English, I have not often shown much interest in British history or their royals. But Jane Seymour:The Haunted Queen has piqued my interest. (I think my parents are quietly thrilled with this - they have other books that they would love to push into my hands now!)

While I did really enjoy my experience of reading this, I did find some parts a little bit dull, hence the slightly lower score, but I think Alison Weir writes wonderfully and manages to evoke the place and time of the book so well. I will definitely be going back to read the earlier books in this series, and I eagerly await the next one, too.

{I received a review copy of this book from Hachette in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!!}

A favourite line from the book: 'There were carpets on the floor - Mother would have gone into spasms at the thought of people walking on them; her two Turkey rugs adorned tables, and woe betide anyone who got dirt on them.'

You would like this book if: you love creative non-fiction; you are interested in the lives of the Tudor Queens; you want some interesting historical fiction to disappear into.

Tea to drink while reading this book: I don't think tea was really 'in Vogue' at the time of this novel. Perhaps a good glass of wine or ale would suit better?

Rating:  7.5/10

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