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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 legitimate 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 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 hauntingl 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?
Bringing new insight to this compelling story, Alison Weir marries meticulous research with gripping historical fiction to re-create the dramas and intrigues of the most renowned 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.
Praise for Jane Seymour, The Haunted Queen
“Highly recommended for fans of the period . . . As with the earlier novels in the Six Tudor Queens series . . . [Alison] Weir focuses tightly on the sole perspective of her protagonist, thereby finding enough relatively fresh territory to keep even die-hard Tudor buffs interested. A fascinating afterword sheds light on Weir’s departures from the confirmed historical record and on the additional research she did for this novel, including an investigation of how exactly Jane died.”—Library Journal (starred review)
“Deft, authoritative biographical fiction . . . Weir offers a dramatic and empathic portrait of Jane Seymour.”—Kirkus Reviews
About the Author
Alison Weir is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels Anne Boleyn: A King’s Obsession; Katherine of Aragon: The True Queen; The Marriage Game; A Dangerous Inheritance; Captive Queen; The Lady Elizabeth; and Innocent Traitor, as well as numerous historical biographies, including Queens of the Conquest, The Lost Tudor Princess, Elizabeth of York, Mary Boleyn, The Lady in the Tower, Mistress of the Monarchy, Henry VIII, Eleanor of Aquitaine, The Life of Elizabeth I, and The Six Wives of Henry VIII. She lives in Surrey, England, with her husband.
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Excerpted from "Jane Seymour, The Haunted Queen"
Copyright © 2018 Alison Weir.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Great Read. I won this book in a Giveaway and I really enjoyed it since I was not too familiar with Jane Seymour. It speculates about her upbringing and the events that led up to her marriage to Henry the VIII, and their lives together, until her untimely death. The book was an easy read and I did not find it as slow moving as the previous book, maybe because I did not know Jane as well? If you like historical fiction than this would be a great choice. Very entertaining.
Alison Weir did it again! I absolutely loved this novel. This is the third in her Six Wives historical fiction series. It follows Jane Seymour who was the third wife of Henry VIII. She is considered the most cherished as she gave Henry what he most wanted most which was a son. She also had a very short life herself. This book shined a light on Jane’s life from childhood to her death. Jane is depicted as a very kind person and very religious, always trying to do right by God and by her family. As she gets older, she is brought to court as a Lady in Waiting for Katherine first and then for Anne Boleyn. Over time, Henry begins to notice Jane and she becomes a key player in history. Jane becomes dragged into the politics and scheming of court life as she works her way to becoming Queen. As with everything Weir writes, this book was well researched and her storytelling ability is unmatched. This book flows so well that it flies by when reading it. Fantastic read for anyone interested in the Tudors.
This next book in the Six Tudor Queens series tells the story of Jane Seymour, third wife of King Henry VIII. This fictionalized tale of Jane's life begins at her childhood home of Wulfhall and, in time, we see how Jane came to serve as a maid-of-honor for the Queen—Katherine of Aragon, Henry's first wife. When she arrives, the King's pursuit of Anne Boleyn, another of Katherine's maid's-of-honor, is already well underway. Jane remains fiercely loyal to her beloved Queen Katherine, even after she is forced to leave her and serve Anne, instead. When Anne is unable to provide a son for the King, he sets his sights on Jane, and marries her eleven days after Anne's beheading. Jane was able to give Henry the son he so greatly desired, but died shortly thereafter. I still haven't read the first book in this series, but I enjoyed the second very much. I was excited to read about Seymour, hoping it would be as enjoyable as the book about Boleyn. Jane Seymour, The Haunted Queen swept me back into the Tudor era and kept me enthralled the entire time. The fanciful element of Jane being haunted was a nice addition to the story; it was never over the top, and didn't detract anything from the main story. It was presented in such a way as to be believable that would Jane might feel haunted, and I enjoyed reading those portions. The real Jane Seymour left behind no letters, so little is known about her thoughts on events that took place during her time at Court and, later, as Queen. Despite that, Weir has written a wonderful novel that makes fine use of the facts known about Jane, her family, and the time she spent with Henry. Filled with rich imagery and careful attention to detail, Tudor fans are sure to love reading about Henry VIII's third bride... I certainly did! I received an advance reading copy of this book courtesy of Ballantine Books via Netgalley.
Alison Weir is back with her latest installment of her Six Tudor Queens series, with the intricate portrayal of Jane Seymour. I’ve been a devote follower of the series and Weir’s other fiction and non-fiction works. Weir has the captivating ability to portray elaborate stories of history that completely engrosses me from the very beginning. Jane Seymour: The Haunted Queen was no exception. Jane Seymour was quite the opposite of her predecessor Anne Boleyn, being docile, pure, and kind-hearted. Like Alison Weir’s insightful Author’s Note indicates, very little personal details were documented known about Jane, in her very short three-year reign. I enjoyed the pace of the book, beginning with Jane’s home life in Wulfhall, to her life in Queen Katherine’s court, following to her reluctant service to Anne Boleyn, to her winning of King Henry VIII’s heart. The story isn’t rushed and I was astonished numerous times at the scandalous happenings on the era. I found it commendable the details contained in the Author’s Notes where Weir describes what creative liberties she took in writing Jane Seymour: The Haunted Queen and why. I would call her fictional writing “faction”, as it very closely illustrates actual historical accounts. This book is for anyone interested in historical fiction and Tudor history. I devoured most of the novel in one sitting. The plot is full of scandal, secrets, and innocent deception. Thank you to NetGalley and Ballantine Books for providing me the ARC of this marvelous book. Thank you Alison Weir for once again blessing readers with your amazing talent of writing such eloquent historical fiction novels.
Thank you to Random House who provided an advance reader copy via NetGalley. I've been looking forward to reading this since Jane Seymour is sort of an "unknown" figure among Henry VIII's six queens. She's the quiet one. I don't believe I have ever read a book solely covering her, and I own quite a lot of books on the Tudors. But, this is not a biography; it's a historical novel, and much poetic license was taken here. Some of my preconceived notions were blown to bits about Jane Seymour, after a lifetime of watching various film presentations and reading Tudor biographies. The areas I'm talking about are Jane's pre-marriage virtue, possible miscarriages and how she died. In one way this was more interesting and unexpected. On the other hand, it made me question whether what I was reading was going "far off the reservation." This all neatly resolved itself in the final section of the book entitled, "Author's Note." According to well-respected and voluminous Tudor author Alison Weir, there is very little documentation in existence regarding Jane Seymour. Queen Jane did not leave behind any significant writings, and Weir painstakingly culled together what she could from a myriad of sources. She justifies conclusions she leapt to on various fronts, laying out the case for each, citing the pieces of evidence available. My interest was piqued to read about the birth of their long-awaited son Edward, having heard throughout the years that Queen Jane most likely had a cesarean section. My knowledge of her subsequent death was that it was as a result of "cutting the baby out of her" or due to puerperal fever (caused by uterine infection following childbirth). Neither of these conditions are blamed for her death in this tome, and Weir conferred with a team of physicians and a midwife to come to that expert conclusion. Other situations explored were the possibility that Jane had originally wanted to be a nun (her younger sisters had marriages arranged before her...why?), just how much she participated in framing Anne Boleyn, and her resultant guilty conscience and sense of being haunted following Queen Anne's execution. Jane was very loyal to Queen Katherine, whom she served when she first came to court. She always considered Katherine the true Queen of England and Catholicism the true faith. Alison Weir painted a picture of a quiet, gentle young woman with good convictions who got herself caught up in situations she never expected. She was heavily influenced by her family who wanted to be in favour with King Henry VIII. They pushed her to make decisions she might otherwise not have made for herself. She was trying to be happy about being Queen, but the circumstances that brought her to that point would leave anyone feeling "Haunted." I read the prior book in this series, "Anne Boleyn: A King's Obsession" which ended with Queen Anne's execution. Therefore, I thought this subsequent book would pick up from that point. Not so. This book begins with Jane Seymour's youth, and continues with her eventual invitation to court to serve King Henry VIII's first wife Katherine of Aragon. This is during the exact time when King Henry VIII is carrying on with another one of Katherine's serving ladies, the notorious Anne Boleyn. So, this was a substantial book that did a good job of trying to flesh out the life of King Henry VIII's beloved third wife.
Thanks to NetGalley and Random House for an Advance Reader Copy! I definitely liked this book the most of Alison Weir's Six Tudor Queens series so far. I had one or two small disagreements with her opinions on Katherine of Aragon, and then had A LOT of disagreements about her portrayal of Anne Boleyn, but it seems we finally found some common ground with Jane Seymour. There is very little known about Jane, and she left very few letters or records of her life behind. Because so much speculation is needed, there aren't many historical fiction books about her, and this is the first one I think I've read. But Alison Weir did an excellent job bringing her to life, and I especially loved how she portrayed her as, yes, meek and obedient as is known, but that she also had opinions and a mind of her own. Jane was a likable character throughout. She had ambitions like her family but was also very sweet and mild. And the portrayal of her guilty conscience after Anne's death was realistic and sad. You can see why she was willing to go ahead with unseating Anne (she felt Katherine had been the true Queen all along), and yet thought of her as a person too, and never thought Henry would take it so far. I also liked how she portrayed Jane and Henry's courtship not progressing to the next level because of modesty and Jane feeling like it was wrong, as opposed to Anne's reasons of ambition. I do wish Alison Weir would have continued this plot line because it does seem more plausible and realistic to me based on what we know of Jane, but her reasons for thinking Jane may have been pregnant when she and Henry married do make sense, so who knows? I also thought her portrayal of Henry and Jane's relationship was great. I do think he truly loved her, maybe because of her extreme contrast with Anne, but also just because she was a genuinely likable person. It's well known that Henry always said that Jane was his only true wife, which could be because she's the only one who gave him a son, but I also think it's because he truly loved her and she died before he could find fault with her. So I'm looking forward to seeing how this aspect is addressed in future books, as well as Henry's continued relationship with his son Edward and how Edward deals with growing up without a mother. Her theories about Jane's death are definitely interesting, and I've never heard food poisoning/blood clot before, I've always thought it was complications from childbirth. But you can tell from her Author's Note that she has done EXTENSIVE research and consulted with so many medical professionals based on the little evidence there is, and may actually be right. It did make the ending a little odd and anticlimactic, but I always like accuracy over entertainment. My one complaint is that this book was especially long. I knew that going in, based on the size of the first two, but SO much of it overlapped with Anne Boleyn's book, but from Jane's perspective. I realize that these are meant to be read as either part of the series or standalone, but I think some of it was unnecessary and could have been cut out. Overall though it was a very enjoyable and extremely well-researched read and I'm so glad I continued with the series despite my unfavorable opinion of the Anne Boleyn book. I'm really looking forward to her take on Anne of Cleves next!