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Books Read in 2017: The Favored Queen by Carolly Erickson (1.5 stars) | #amreading #bookreview

Saturday, May 13, 2017

The Favored Queen: A Novel of Henry VIII’s Third Wife
by Carolly Erickson
Audiobook narrated by Kate Reading
Genre: Historical Fiction
My rating: 1.5 stars

Book Summary:
From The New York Times bestselling author of The Last Wife of Henry VIII comes a powerful and moving novel about Jane Seymour, third wife of Henry VIII, who married him only days after the execution of Anne Boleyn and ultimately lost her own life in giving him the son he badly needed to guarantee the Tudor succession

Born into an ambitious noble family, young Jane Seymour is sent to Court as a Maid of Honor to Catherine of Aragon, Henry VIII’s aging queen. She is devoted to her mistress and watches with empathy as the calculating Anne Boleyn contrives to supplant her as queen. Anne’s single-minded intriguing threatens all who stand in her way; she does not hesitate to arrange the murder of a woman who knows a secret so dark that, if revealed, would make it impossible for the king to marry Anne.
Once Anne becomes queen, no one at court is safe, and Jane herself becomes the victim of Anne’s venomous rage when she suspects Jane has become the object of the king’s lust. Henry, fearing that Anne’s inability to give him a son is a sign of divine wrath, asks Jane to become his next queen. Deeply reluctant to embark on such a dangerous course, Jane must choose between her heart and her loyalty to the king.

Acclaimed biographer and bestselling novelist Carolly Erickson weaves another of her irresistible historical entertainments about the queen who finally gave Henry VIII his longed for heir, set against the excitement and danger of the Tudor Court.

My GR Status Update(s):
05/10. . .Currently Reading

5/10. . .23.0%It’s a good thing I’m listening to this on audio while falling asleep at night. Even through a haze of fatigue, I’ve noted several historical inaccuracies, not to mention internal contradictions in the narrative. (Did the baby live for an hour and then die, or was it stillborn? Both are said of the same baby.) But it’s still interesting enough to fall asleep to at night.

05/13. . .Finished Reading

My Review:
1.5 stars

This is the highly fictionalized story of Henry VIII’s favorite wife, Queen Pollyanna (aka, Jane) Seymour. She is perfect and good and kind and sweet and the only one trusted by everyone at court. She not only is Queen Katherine of Aragon’s closest (English) confidante, but all of the other ladies in waiting and maids of honor love her, too. Except, of course, for Anne Jezebel Boleyn. But it’s only natural that Anne hates Jane—after all, Anne is not only conniving and manipulative, she’s also well versed in bribery (trying to pay men—including Jane’s married French lover!?!?!?—to impregnate her) and, apparently, murder (another lady in waiting who might know a scandalous secret about the Boleyn family, and at least one man who refuses to stand stud for her).

The caricatures drawn of every single character in this book are ridiculous—but not in an amusing/entertaining way. Jane is completely perfect. Anne is completely evil. Katherine is perfectly patient. Henry is perfectly . . . well, any stereotype of Henry VIII you can think of.

And even though I was listening to this on audio as I fell asleep at night, I still easily caught multitudinous historical errors as well as continuity errors.

How did I listen to a 9.5-hour audiobook in four nights only by listening while falling asleep? Well . . . I skipped a lot of chapters/segments.

I was hoping this author would be a good shelf-companion to Alison Weir as a go-to writer for all-things-Tudor; but after this book, I won’t be reading any of her other titles.

My rating matrix:
5 STARS = one of the best I’ve ever read
4 STARS = a great read, highly recommended
3 STARS = it was okay
2 STARS = I didn’t enjoy it all that much, not recommended
1 STAR = DNF (did not finish)

View all my reviews on Goodreads

  1. Jessa permalink
    Saturday, May 13, 2017 11:14 pm

    You should read The Creation of Anne Boleyn by Susan Bordo. She points out many of the inaccuracies in people’s historical treatments of AB (including Alison Weir). It is fascinating how “our” idea of AB has changed throughout the centuries.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Saturday, May 13, 2017 11:15 pm

      Thanks for the recommendation! I’ve been on the search for something that doesn’t make Anne out to be the epitome of all evil women ever.



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