You have probably already heard me talk about my love for Alison Weir’s Six Tudor Queens series. Weir writes both history books (like my favorite Queens of the Conquest) and historical fiction books. I’ve been reading her books for over a decade. She’s one of the reasons I love Tudor history so much. This series follows each of Henry VII’s wives. (Check out my reviews for Katherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, and Anna of Kleve.) And we finally got book five! I don’t know what I will do once this series is done (other than enjoy how beautiful they all are on my shelves), but I am definitely looking forward to seeing how this saga ends.
(All reviews are spoiler-free unless otherwise noted.)
We’re five books into a six book series. And, despite the title of this one, I honestly didn’t think it could get more scandalous than Anne Boleyn. But that’s only because I didn’t know all that much about Katheryn Howard. If you like historical drama, you’ve come to the right place.
What I love most about this series is that Alison Weir makes each queen the protagonist of her own story. You read about Katherine of Aragon and hate Anne Boleyn, but then read Anne’s story and completely understand where she’s coming from. With Katheryn’s story, this was especially evident.
She definitely did some pretty scandalous things for her time, but, reading this, I kept thinking “I get it”. Because what sixteen-year-old hasn’t done some pretty stupid things? What would happen if you were married to a fifty-year-old Henry VIII as a teenager? And then stuck in a palace with all the handsome knights? The only problem? When you’re married to a king who is still upset about his four previous wives, that might be considered treason.
Part of the reason I love reading these books is the drama. The Tudor court was… a lot. And it’s fun to read. But with this one, I also really felt for Katheryn. She was stuck between her family’s ambition and being able to follow her heart. She definitely had her own ambitions when it came to becoming queen (who wouldn’t?). But that was completely irrelevant in a world entirely controlled by men. If this series has made one thing clear to me, most of these women were caught in a world controlled by men. And things didn’t end well when they tried to live their own lives, or another pretty girl walked past the king. Alison Weir does a brilliant job of illustrating that. She makes these women seem human in a way modern readers can relate to. And I really enjoy reading it.
★★★★☆ – Katheryn Howard was one of Henry VIII’s wives that I didn’t know very much about, but I loved getting to know more about her. Her story definitely is scandalous – the title doesn’t lie – but it’s also a little bit heartbreaking. I can’t wait to see what Weir does with Catherine Parr, Henry VIII’s sixth and final wife.
This book was provided to me by NetGalley and the publisher. All opinions are my own.