The tragic lives of Henry VIII and his six wives are reimagined by seven acclaimed and bestselling authors in this riveting novel, perfect for fans of Wolf Hall and Netflix's The Crown. He was King Henry VIII, a charismatic and extravagant ruler obsessed with both his power as king and with siring a male heir. They were his queens--six ill-fated women, each bound for divorce, or beheading, or death. Watch spellbound as each of Henry's wives attempts to survive their unpredictable king and his power-hungry court. See the sword flash as fiery Anne Boleyn is beheaded for adultery. Follow Jane Seymour as she rises from bullied court maiden to beloved queen, only to die after giving birth. Feel Catherine Howard's terror as old lovers resurface and whisper vicious rumors to Henry's influential advisors. Experience the heartache of mothers as they lose son after son, heir after heir. Told in stirring first-person accounts, Fatal Throne is at once provocative and heartbreaking, an epic tale that is also an intimate look at the royalty of the most perilous times in English history.
Fatal Throne: The Wives of Henry VIII Tell AllFeatured
What worked: I'm a huge fan of the Tudors! What's really amazing about this collection is how readers get glimpses of the wives' lives from the beginning and what led up to their demise--like Anne Boleyn right before she's beheaded, Katharine of Aragon's heartbreaking tale of unrequited love; Anna of Cleves outsmarting the King and living to tell it; Jane Seymour's sad story of being the only queen to have a son, how Catherine Howard's past comes back with terrible results, and Kateryn Parr adapting and putting aside her own love of learning so she might live.
After each tale is Henry VIII's take of the wife. Some he truly loved and others he felt had betrayed him. This addition really gave strength to an already amazing story.
Fascinating insight into the wives' of King Henry VIII. A must read for fans of historical fiction and for those who love anything on the Tudors of Great Britain.
2. A must read for fans of historical fiction and those who love the Tudors
So, about the book. I was mildly surprised that I found it engrossing. The politics, the intrigues, the royal drama! Each of the queen’s story is like a dark fairy tale. They enter the palace with the hopes of a happy marriage only to end up in differing levels of tragedy. And what’s shocking here is these stories are actually not entirely fictional. I know so because I did a lot of looking up on Wikipedia right after finishing the book because I somehow seem to can’t get enough of these people.
The book is mainly about these six queens and the patriarchal pressures that lead them to their doomed fates. These women have their own strength and intelligence but because they are from the times when women have little rights, they suffer greatly when they attempt to become their own person. Their scheming fathers, uncles, or brothers treat them as pawns in their political power plays. After marriage, they were mostly reduced as mere vessels of the heir to the crown. And when they couldn’t serve their purpose anymore or if they fell out of the king’s favor, they were discarded like old toys. All women were deeply flawed and/or morally gray but despite that, I have nothing but utter respect for their grace and resilience under such oppressive times.
Each point of view is written by a different author and the book benefited a lot from it because you can really feel the uniqueness in their voices. The weakest link is King Henry’s parts in-between. He seemed one-dimensional, portrayed solely from a bad light. But I think that’s intentional so that the reader could really hate on him. And the book is not about him anyways, it’s about his six queens. My favorite part would be that of Anna of Cleves for two reasons. First, because its the most fairy tale that this book can get. Anna of Cleves got the closest to a happily ever after ending among all the king’s wives —she became “free” from a combination of her cleverness and luck. Second is because I felt that her character spoke to me while she is talking to fictional young servant girl named Alice. I gained a lot of insight through their conversation.
What I really like about the book is that it does not feel academic, therefore it’s so easy to read. Sure there are dates, names and events but the thoughts and feelings of the queens are what’s front and center. The book humanized these women in history for me. It gave them voices so they can impart their queenly wisdom to us. I cannot speak for hard core readers of historical fiction but as a genre novice, “Fatal Throne” comes highly recommended.
- an antagonist that you'll love to hate
- unique voices from each point of views