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October 27, 2021

I've Been Reading: Book Review

 The Favored Queen 

by
Carolly Erickson

Historical fiction/Tudor era

295 pages/hardcover

 

Quote: "Why must you go out of your way to stir up conflict?" ~ King Henry VIII 

From the cover: 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 Catherine as queen.

My Review:




I honestly have been putting off and debating whether to do this review. I truly wanted to love this book, but it didn't pull me in as I thought it would. In actuality, I felt myself starting and stopping over and over. Either I just couldn't get into the story, or I found myself pausing to do some "fact" checking.

I am aware this is labeled historical fiction, but I also know that Carolly Erickson is considered a distinguished historian. I have read other books by her, and do not remember struggling throughout any of them.

Furthermore, I feel, even as a fiction book, Ms. Erickson has taken too many liberties in changing or adding to Jane Seymour's life and story.

To me, this wasn't a  fill in the blanks, where there is no actual record. It was more of, let's just create a whole affair that has no proof or make doubtful assumptions in history.

Historical researchers, Jane Seymour is known to have been kind-hearted, docile, subservient, silent, virtuous, and having good sense.
Erickson has made her to be more of a naive, flighty woman who is easily persuaded from one love to another.
In chapter 12, page 123 she is talking with Will Dormer(there was an engagement between them IRL) of their marriage plans and is having her gown made. Less than ten pages later, she has met Galyon Hone(actual Tudor glacier, but NO record Jane ever met him) and agrees to meet him in secret. Two pages later, quoted "So easily, did I leave girlhood behind that night and not with dear Will, but with a stranger."~ Jane
Sorry, Will, you're out.
The book goes on to her marrying King Henry VIII less than 120 pages later.

Also, I felt this book, while being read as Jane's voice, actually was more about Henry's first 2 wives, their lives, relationships, and all that was going on at court around Jane. She only becomes the main character after Anne's beheading, more than halfway through the book. 
I did give it 3 stars.
1. Carolly Erickson is a wonderful author. I've read a few of her other books
2. Anything Tudor is a win for me
3. It was an entertaining book. If my knowledge of Tudor history was less, I may have enjoyed it more as a historical fiction.

If you'd like to give this one a try, you can find it here

I hope you've enjoyed this book review. I am always reading something, so check back for more reviews.




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