Publisher: Grove Press
Length: 575 Pages
My Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
I was taught about Henry VIII and his six wives in year five of Primary School (I would’ve been 9). The most I was taught was Henry’s diet (portion control is important kids), Anne Boleyns extra finger (not even true) and, of course, the rhyme to help you remember the six women without having to actually learn anything about them.
Seeing as my year 5 teacher failed me in that sense I decided to take it upon myself to learn more about these women and why they’d been thrown aside by the man who had sworn death do us part.
Everyone knows the famous rhyme of these six women, but there’s always more to the story. This biography tells the story of one of the most informous Tudor Kings and his Six Queens.
This typically isn’t the type of book I would pick up. Last year I read 90 books and just three of those were non-fiction books read for non-fiction November. I’ve always liked historical fiction but I do find when I’m reading it I’m constantly googling ‘did this really happen’ so I should have guessed that ‘historical non-fiction’ would be right up my alley.
This book reads just as exciting as any fictionalised novel. It’s full of drama, suspense and intrigue that will make it unputdownable. It’s a 500+ page book and I read it in 3 days which in itself shows how much I enjoyed it.
When it comes to biographies though I do sometimes get the feeling it’s hard for the author to be completely unbiased and I did get a sense of that in this book. I also wasn’t a fan of her always commenting on the Queen’s ‘degrading looks’. For example, Katherine of Aragon was old and haggered at 28 but Henry was in him ‘prime’ at 35?
Apart from that, I loved this book. You can tell how much Alison researched this period of history and really brought it to life in all it’s dangerous and tyrannic glory. We get so much detail and theirs so much I learnt about the royal courts with all the corruption, lies and betrayals that brought about these women’s downfalls.
Most of all, I loved learning about each of the wives. You get a great sense of their lives, personalities and most of all their ambitions. It’s such a complex story but Weir weaves it all together to create the best non-fiction book I’ve ever read.
Would I Read Again? Yes.
Would I Recommend? Definitely!