Audiobook Review: Jane Seymour: The Haunted Queen
Jane Seymour: The Haunted Queen
(Six Tudor Queens #3)
by Alison Weir
Narrator/s: Rosalyn Landor
Publisher: Recorded Books, Inc.
Length: 19.75 hours
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 received a copy of the audiobook thanks to Recorded Books in exchange for an honest review.
"Divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived."
"Divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived." I learned this mnemonic device some time ago to keep the fates of Henry VIII wives straight. I feel sorry for the lot of them. Did they deserve their fates, or were they just trying to play the game?
I love the Tudor and Elizabethan period. So much drama, intrigue, and WTFery. It reads better than most fiction. I have read a few of Weir's books, both fiction and nonfiction, in the past and know her to be an excellent writer and storyteller. When the opportunity arose to review this audiobook, I didn't say no.
Jane Seymour: The Haunted Queen is the third book in Alison Weir's fictional series of the Six Tudor Queens. It seems a lot is known about his first two wives, Katherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn, but wives 3-6 are often glossed over. I'm glad Weir wrote this series, so readers could get to know all of Henry's wives a little bit better.
The audiobook is narrated by Rosalyn Landor. She's narrated a few other books I've listened to including the Bridgertons series by Julia Quinn. Being familiar with her work, I knew she'd do a great job with Jane Seymour as well. Landor has a way of drawing you into the story with her excellent pacing and characterization. She handles the plethora of characters with ease.
Jane served in both households of Katherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn. She saw the fall of both queens. History is uncertain whether Jane was meek, or if she was as cunning and politically ambitious as Anne. I believe Weir melds these two versions of Jane together to bring readers a more realistic portrayal of this historic queen. While Anne holds the nomination for the most scandalous queen, Jane seems to be the opposite. However, you can see how they both influenced the king in their own way. Though Jane has learned to tread carefully after what befell his first two wives.
The book begins in 1518 before Jane goes to court and ends with her death in 1537. It covers Jane's life before court, during, and finally, when she becomes Queen. Weir address the struggles and uncertainty of the time period and the volatile king. Jane is torn between her beliefs and her country. And what it meant to be married to Henry VIII.
When I wasn't listening to this audiobook, I was thinking about when I could listen to this audiobook. I absolutely loved it. Landor narrates the whole series so far, and I pray she continues to do so. I may go back to the beginning and listen to the first two book on audio as well. The next book in the series, Anna of Kleve: The Princess in the Portrait, won't be released until May, so there's still time.