Anna of Kleve, the Princess in the Portrait (Six Tudor Queens Series #4)

Anna of Kleve, the Princess in the Portrait (Six Tudor Queens Series #4)

by Alison Weir

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Anna of Kleve, The Princess in the Portrait: A Novel 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Anonymous 1 days ago
Scarlett Gauthier 12 days ago
So, as much as I enjoy books about Henry VIII's wives and this Tudor time period in general, I'm starting to think I don't actually like the way Alison Weir writes about them. It's so hit or miss for me. her Katherine of Aragón and Jane Seymour books enough to give them 4 stars, but I still had some problems, specifically that they were extraordinarily long. But then Anne Boleyn's was so strangely unhistorical for a historical fiction writer that also writes historical biographies that I gave it 3 stars. And now this book comes along, and I liked it, but gosh darn was this book way too long and often quite boring. I really was interested to read this one, because as the description says, Anna is one of the least well-known of Henry VIII's wives and she escaped their 6 month marriage with her head, despite the fact that he really didn't like her all that much. And I loved getting to know Anna because I didn't know much about her before. I think the book did a great job bringing her to life and I'm so happy that the least known queen who probably had the best life of all of them now has a novel to her name. I'm definitely glad I read this book. But there really wasn't enough substance to her story and life for a book this long. Which is why the author started inventing stuff. Now, like with her book on Katherine, there seems to be some historical basis for (spoiler) Anna having one or more children as well as a lover, and not coming to Henry as a virgin. So I'm not totally against it, especially after reading the Author's Note, and this is historical FICTION, but I haven't yet decided if I agree with this theory. Besides that invented storyline, Alison Weir really stuck to the historical record. Unfortunately for Anna, her life was kind of boring. The most exciting bit of it was when she was married to King Henry, so I don't know why Alison Weir didn't have them married until 31% into the book and had them divorced by 52%. I know their marriage WAS short, but the book becomes SO boring before and after the king is in the picture. It could have been focused on more for the sake of the interesting-ness of the book, or just make this darn book shorter. Interesting things were only mentioned in passing, like what happened between Elizabeth and Thomas Seymour. This makes sense because Anna wasn't even there, but that particular interesting thing in history won't even be covered in the Katharine Parr book because she was dead at this point. I know Anna didn't go to court much, and I applaud the historical accuracy, but when a book is already making big stuff up, I don't know why a little more embellishment couldn't have been done to make it interesting. So much of the second half of the book is about Anna's debts and how she can't afford things and desperately needs help and money from Henry and then Edward and then Mary to continue to support her household. It's not an interesting storyline, and it's practically the only storyline. Besides the other boring and random storyline of her feud with Thomas Cawarden, which KEPT COMING UP and I just didn't care. It wasn't interesting. And so that's why overall this can't be more than a 3 star book for me. I want to like to like this series because no one that I know of has undertaken devoting an entire book to each one of Henry VIII's wives. But I don't know why Alison Weir insists on making the books so long, especially when there's not enough story to tell.
CSGreedyReader 23 days ago
I was really looking forward to Alison Weir's Anne of Cleves novel in her Tudor series, and Anna of Kleve does not disappoint. Anna's story has an irresistible central mystery--why did Henry reject her and divorce her, yet have her named his sister and give her attractive properties along with nice chunks of money? The traditional story is that Henry found her ugly and refused to sleep with her and was able to annul the marriage. But the known portraits of Anna do not show her as ugly, and Henry's gifts show that he cared about her. So what happened? No spoilers here. Alison Weir's Anna is based on her historical study of the woman based on what little was written about her. Anna was the daughter of Kleve, one of those cheerless German duchys where people do not dance or make music in public. She was betrothed to a French prince in young childhood but the engagement was broken off because the alliance was no longer important to either side. The alliance would be good for England, so Thomas Cromwell opened discussion of the marriage of Anna to Henry.. There are wonderful descriptions of the preparations for Anna's journey to England, the way she was greeted and the state in which she traveled. She's likable, kind. How will she fare in the Tudor court of high-stakes schemers? I love these Tudor books, written by a historian who skillfully fills in the many blanks in the story with delectable possibilities. "Anna of Kleve" is all you were hoping for.
Anonymous 3 months ago
Much more then expected I was disappointed that she didn’t have more of a relationship with Queen Mary at the end but overall a very interesting tale.
Anonymous 3 months ago
This is the fourth installment of Weir's Six Tudor Queens series. I have been a fan of Weir's non-fiction work for over a decade and equally love her fiction work. Her non-fiction has become like gospel to many of her readers, myself included, which does factor into my review of this book as I don't feel like this is her best work. I give it 3.5 stars rounded up to 4. Anna is Henry VIII's wife I know the least about & was excited to learn more, even in the fiction format. As in Weir's previous fiction work, she includes a lot of relevant insight of the daily life of the time such as the dress and food of the period. This only enhances the atmosphere of the book in my opinion. The book follows Anna through her strict and sheltered upbringing in her small German duchy to her eventual marriage to Henry VIII and move to England. I like Weir's style of telling the story in the first person and showing how Anna likely felt. She uses as much historical fact as is known and, as with all historical fiction, supplements the rest. This is the aspect I had the most trouble with. Although the author's reasoning in her end note explanation makes sense, I struggle to believe the story line of Anna coming to her marriage not a virgin. I just find it hard to come to terms with Anna really being "compromised" when she came to Henry VIII and that it wasn't just another rumor he started to fit his version of reality and to save face in light of his impotence. That is the biggest problem I had with the book. The story line made for an excellent work of complete fiction, which I am well aware this is. I just had higher hopes for Alison Weir who is known for fact emphasized fiction. However, because I know so much about this era, largely from the author's own non-fiction work, it was almost too much for me to overcome. I felt myself disassociating the real historical person from the character in the book. Had I read this book with little knowledge of Tudor history, I probably would've given it 4.5 out of 5 stars because Weir did weave an excellent love story for a woman that history tells us had love very much lacking from her life! Overall, Anna does come to life and I learned a lot about the struggles she faced after she became the king's "beloved sister" and Henry VIII's death. Anna's life after the divorce is far from glossed over in the novel. Weir shows that although Henry took care of her financially for the most part, there were real struggles both political and financial Anna went through. I'm glad to have read the parts of her story that were based on actual fact, no just conjecture. The writing was excellent, even when I felt the story was lacking. I look forward to the Katherine Howard installment of the series! Thank you to NetGalley, Random House/Ballantine Publishing, and Alison Weir for the electronic ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
TUDORQUEEN 3 months ago
There is an extremely shocking event that occurs in the beginning of this book that really blindsided me. As a passionate Tudor History lover, 4th wife Anna of Kleve is a bit of a mystery in comparison to some of King Henry VIII's more notorious wives. Alison Weir is an icon of British history authors, but has recently travelled the path of poetic license while presenting these historical fiction novels of King Henry VIII's six wives. She explains the leaps she took based on research materials in an "Author's Note" at the end of the book. The irony of the fact that information is scanty regarding this wife is that this book is an arduous almost 500 pages! I felt hard pressed to get through it as I neared the end, which isn't a good sign. I think this book would have done well to have been whittled down considerably. After marrying for love on three previous occasions, all ending in disaster, King Henry VIII is urged to marry for political alliance purposes. Anna of Kleve in Germany is suggested by Thomas Cromwell, chief minister to the King. The King send his master painter Hans Holbein to paint a portrait of Anna so he can judge her likeness. In scores of historical documentaries and books over the centuries, it is said that perhaps Holbein painted her too favorably from the front, concealing her long nose and chin. In addition, as legend has it, on the marriage night when the King and Anna took to bed, he was turned off by her smell, sagging breasts and belly. He couldn't bring himself to consummate the marriage, which lasted just six months. Physical failings put aside, Anna was known for an even temperament, a patient, thoughtful and sensible character, and these favorable traits served her well when Henry put her aside. Upon their divorce, Anna was to be known as the King's "sister" and was provided several handsome estates in England and a generous income. She wasn't banished to unhealthy houses and ignored to die, wasn't beheaded, and didn't die post childbirth like Henry's previous wives. Because of her level-headedness and plain smarts, I always held a high regard for this wife that was never crowned. I was rather looking forward to the ride Alison Weir would take me on, but was sadly disappointed. I asked myself if I was jaded from reading so many Tudor books over the decades. The endless minute details of Anna's windswept, rainy journey from Germany to England, as well as the various progresses she would take being introduced to the English public bored the hell out of me. Another thing that turned me off was hearing about all the elaborate homes Anna was given upon her divorce, much of which had belonged to people that were executed by order of the King, and some that used to be Catholic religious houses until Henry closed them all. I just kept thinking about the incredible waste of life.. moving every so often among these homes with staff to wait upon you... Perhaps I've just become cynical about all this. I guess in summation my gripe with this book was it should have been at least 200 pages less. The author fleshed out what we know already about Anna of Kleve with another storyline that exploded at the beginning of the book. That initial spark really got my attention, but the endless political maneuvering at court, especially at the end of the book, had me skimming through the pages. Thank you to Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine who provided an advance reader copy via NetGalley.
PrincessPeggy2019 4 months ago
Anna of Cleves is considered one of the successful wives of Henry VIII in that she survived the marriage; however, her life is somewhat of a mystery. Alison Weir has done a superb job of filling in some of the blanks with her new book Anna of Kleve, The Princess in the Portrait. This tome is the fourth in her new series, Six Tudor Queens. I had always thought Anna’s life would be easy once she was divorced/annulled from Henry but Weir details Anna’s known struggles with money and religion along with a new twist of a left behind son and lover. Her precarious position lasted throughout her life. After Henry dies and his generous gifts become a thing of the past, money becomes scarce as Parliament regularly neglects to pay Anna her promised income. On top of that, prices skyrocket as inflation overtakes the country. Time and again she was forced to relinquish valuable properties as her importance waned due to new political powerhouses. Often thought a Protestant and a support of Luther, Anna was a Catholic in a country where religion was an ongoing battle. Power shifted back and forth between the two factions and Anna was always viewed with suspicion by both sides which filled her life with uncertainty. Multiple sources detail Henry’s claim that Anna was no maid due to the condition of her breasts and belly on their wedding night but his statement has habitually been seen as an extension of his desire to end the marriage with no real credence being given to the assertion. Weir, however, explores the theory as if it is fact and weaves a plausible tale of seduction, motherhood, and a fostered child. Details of Anna’s life are scarce but Weir offers conceivable scenarios to bridge the known events and helps Anna come alive on the page and in the mind. Anna’s world was fraught with insecurity and powerlessness but she managed to do well where so many others failed. She found love and happiness in a life governed by others.
Anonymous 4 months ago
The Story: Alison Weir starts the story off with a young Anna of Kleve. Anna’s family has some visitors in attendance, including her cousin Otho. Seeing that the youth are becoming restless, Mutter has Anna and her siblings show Otho around the castle. Anna’s older brother is into history and legacy and enjoys pointing out all of the different aspects of the castle that would typically bore young people. Anna on the other hand, enjoys more whimsical things and offers to show Otho a tower with an amazing view of the land. Wilhelm, Anna’s older brother, goes off to plan the rest of the tour while Anna takes Otho on a much-needed detour. While the tower and the view is gorgeous, something happens to Anna and Otho that would forever change their future and put them in peril later on in their lives. After Anna grows a little more mature, her brother informs Anna that he is trying to match her with the king of England. It is an enormous honor to be considered, but she is not happy about the possible match. After much inner struggle, she comes to terms with the fact that she is indeed going to marry King Henry. During her journey to England, she comes across a portrait of the King in his youth and falls in love with is picture, only to be horrified by the appearance of the king in his current age and health. During her short marriage, she is constantly in fear of her husband not wanting her. In the end, as history goes, they divorce but find great friendship with one another. After his death, her life is not easy and is often a struggle between the fear of running out of money, and a love she cannot have. My Thoughts: 4 Stars I love Alison Weir and her historical fiction novels. This is the first book that I have read in her Six Tudor Queens series, and it just so happens to be the wife that I have the most sympathy for. Anna’s life is not easy. She does not to get to marry for love, and she has no true choice but to marry whomever her brother desires her to. In this case, it is an older man who has seen better days with his health. She is put off by the stench from his old leg wound and his appearance. Henry also does not feel any amorous feelings towards Anna but shows her kindness in whatever way he is capable. He shows her great respect and affection even after their divorce and leaves her a wealthy woman. I believe the story flowed well, and Weir did a wonderful job in influencing the reader to feel how Anna would have felt in certain situations. As historical fiction, obviously artistic license was taken for a good amount of time in order to keep Anna’s story interesting. However, there were times when it felt as if the story started slowing down and leading to nowhere in particular, but then life and drama would happen once again to Anna. There was always a great risk for Anna that someone would reveal her scandalous secret from her youth that would destroy everything she had. I really enjoyed this read and hope to pick up Weir’s other books from this series in the future. I was given a copy by the publisher through Netgalley and this is my honest opinion.
marongm8 4 months ago
I have read so many books on Henry VIII and how he had so many wives and how he ordered them for exile. But, this story is the most intense /twisted story of that matter that I have ever read. Anna was such a beautiful young woman and the power of royalty overtook her beauty and Henry VIII knew that he could never love her and then falling for her cousin and trying to exile her just because her family wanted the royal bloodline in their family. This was such an enticing story with so much history embedded in and Alison Weir did an amazing job with her research and incorporating a lot of the Historical References throughout the entire book. We will consider adding this title to our Historical Fiction section at our library. That is why we give this book 5 stars.