The full title of this book is: Fatal Throne – The Wives of Henry VIII Tell All. Seven different authors give voice to the stories of Henry VIII and his six wives.
Henry was said to be a lusty guy, and this book does contain a number of descriptions of sexual episodes. There are a couple of instances of profanity that fit the time and culture. There is a thought in the Anna of Cleves chapter that will strike some readers in a familiar way. In the Acknowledgements section Margaret Mead is credited with a similar quotation, although a little snooping around on the internet matches it better with one by Norman Vincent Peale from 1959. At any rate, it seems like a bit of literary cannibalism.
Chapter by chapter, with intermediary sections by “Henry,” the book proceeds through the six marriages and the women’s lives. The writing is not at a very high level, in my estimation. At the same time, it does either introduce you to or remind you of this interesting period in English history, with primary attention given to politics and the position/power/powerlessness of women in how they relate to men, not only in this era but through time immemorial. The book does serve the purpose of making the reader want to learn more, and it obligingly contains a bibliography at the back, as well as a descriptive listing of the major characters in the book.
The cover art is rather striking and beautiful.
School-age library patrons will delight in finding the naughty sex bits in the book. These probably aren’t bad enough to outweigh the value of introducing readers to the history, which, after all, did lead to the establishment of the Protestant religion in England.
Categories: Historical Fiction