Book Review

Jane Seymour, The Haunted Queen – Alison Weir [A Crash Course Into Henry VIII!]

jane seymour
Jane Seymour, The Haunted Queen

Six Tudor Queens #3
by Alison Weir
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Release Date: May 15, 2018
Genre: Historical Fiction, Biographical
Pages: 557
Source: NetGalley
Buy: Amazon | Book Depository | IndieBound 
Add it on Goodreads
⭐⭐⭐ 1/2
Reviewed by Megan

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 to 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 – also lady-in-waiting to the queen – all the more shocking. For Jane, the betrayal triggers memories of a haunting incident that shaped her beliefs about marriage.
But once Henry disavows Katherine and secures Anne as his new queen – forever 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 be cast aside like the women who came before her? 

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I think this is probably one of the most information-laden, intense books I have read this year. If you know me, you know I have a slight obsession with King Henry VIII (I binge watched the first two seasons of The Tudors in only a couple days) but my interest always focused more on his relationship with Anne Boleyn. After her, I simply lost interest. Their relationship was volatile and passionate and . . . well, everything that a good romance novel is.

Jane Seymour, The Haunted Queen portrays Anne in an entirely different light. We see her from Jane’s perspective, as the woman who wrecked the King’s marriage to his first wife, Katherine of Aragon. Jane is serving as a lady-in-waiting to the Queen so she sees how Anne swoops in, seduces the King, and brings about all these negative changes in England’s history.

I was amazed by how much of this book focused on Henry and Anne’s relationship, not on Henry and Jane. If you know anything about Henry VIII, you know that Jane was the wife who bore him a son and the only one to receive a Queen’s funeral. Henry also waited two more years to marry again and when he died, he was buried next to Jane, suggesting she was his favorite wife. So, why was so much of this book about Henry and Anne?
20180508_205106.pngJane. I’m still not sure how I feel about her. I liked her throughout most of the book. She was always trying to help Henry reconcile with his daughter, Mary, and always wanted to see England returned to the original faith (with the Pope and Rome). But at the end, I really didn’t feel anything for her. I mean, it’s a sad ending but, if you know anything at all about Jane’s history, you know what happens to her. So it wasn’t a surprise. I just didn’t feel anything.

Henry. I understood the Henry who beheaded his second wife, exiled his first, broke England from Rome to satisfy his own agenda. And then he falls in love with Jane, says she gives him peace, but he’s still not the nicest of guys at times. To keep it family-friendly. There were times when he would lash out at Jane, as well as everyone else, and then he comes in later and “oh, I’m sorry” and it all goes away. I guess, such is the life of a King.

Extras. There were many extra characters in this book – Earl of this, Lord of that. So many names. And so many of the names were similar. It got to be difficult to keep track of who was who after a bit.

20180508_205128.pngI know this was a historical fiction novel but it moved slow for me. That’s not to say I wasn’t interested in the story. I just felt like if I had wanted to see so much of the book center around Anne Boleyn, I would have read the one about Anne. That being said, I don’t know if plot is the right word for a book like this. It was more of a historical account, with embellishments and interpretations about what really happened.

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I like the style of the covers in this series, though I think Jane’s is my least favorite. I am more partial to the purple of Anne Boleyn’s cover. I like how the covers are all tied in together, making it clear they belong to the same series. They have a definite elegance to them, as is fitting of queens. To me, though, it seemed that Jane was more sad or thoughtful, rather than haunted. The title of the book doesn’t make much sense until late in the story.

While I have my reservations with parts of this book, I did enjoy it. I felt like I was dropped right into the middle of England’s history with its most infamous King. I would recommend this book, though I also recommend having a little bit of a history of Henry VIII and his reign, wives, and the time period in general.
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I received a complementary copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. The gifting of this eARC in no way influenced my review and all opinions expressed within are entirely my own.

Where is Alison?
Amazon | Twitter | Website | Facebook 

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Have you read any of the Six Tudor Queens series? Are you a lover of historical fiction? I’d love some suggestions, as I am new to the genre. Let’s chat in the comments below! And, as always, thanks for reading 🙂

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12 thoughts on “Jane Seymour, The Haunted Queen – Alison Weir [A Crash Course Into Henry VIII!]”

  1. I really want to start reading more historical fiction and it was suggested to try Alison Weir’s books! Shame you didn’t like this one as much but (if you’ve read them) do you have a recommendation of a good book from the series? Or do you need to read it in order? ☺

    Uptown Oracle

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    1. I haven’t read the other ones. If you know a bit about Henry VIII, I don’t think it’s crucial to read them in order. This book started when he was still married to Katherine but was already courting Anne. If you’d like to start at the beginning of the whole escapade, I would recommend starting with Katherine’s book. And I enjoyed it . . . I just would have liked to see more of Jane and Henry’s time together, not so much of the beginning stuff. But, as I’ve said to other commenters, it would have made for a short book because they weren’t together very long. Hope that helps 🙂

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  2. I’ve only read the first book in this series so far, but I’m anxious to read the others. I’m kind of obsessed with the Tudors as well, and Anne Boleyn is a particular favorite of the time period. Anne Boleyn had so many more years with Henry than Jane did, I wonder if that’s why she shows up a lot, plus there was a little bit of overlap between the two.

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    1. I was fascinated not only by Henry but by Anne. And when you start with The Tudors, you see Anne as the temptress. She’s exciting and exotic. In this book, you see calm Jane, who brings Henry peace where Anne brought turmoil. I would have loved to see more of Jane and Henry together but, unfortunately, it wouldn’t have made for a very long book.

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  3. This sounds like a really interesting read. I do love Royal history, it’s fascinating. Of course with the wedding tomorrow I am considering whether they would have been allowed to marry were it not for Henry and his founding the C of E.

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