Fatal Throne: The Wives of Henry VIII Tell Allby Candace Fleming, M.T. Anderson, Stephanie Hemphill, Lisa Ann Sandell, Jennifer Donnelly, Linda Sue Park, Deborah Hopkinson Published 01 May 2018
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|Publisher||Schwartz & Wade|
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The tragic lives of Henry VIII and his six wives are reimagined by seven acclaimed and bestselling authors in this riveting novel, perfect for fans of Wolf Hall and Netflix's The Crown.
He was King Henry VIII, a charismatic and extravagant ruler obsessed with both his power as king and with siring a male heir.
They were his queens--six ill-fated women, each bound for divorce, or beheading, or death.
Watch spellbound as each of Henry's wives attempts to survive their unpredictable king and his power-hungry court. See the sword flash as fiery Anne Boleyn is beheaded for adultery. Follow Jane Seymour as she rises from bullied court maiden to beloved queen, only to die after giving birth. Feel Catherine Howard's terror as old lovers resurface and whisper vicious rumors to Henry's influential advisors. Experience the heartache of mothers as they lose son after son, heir after heir.
Told in stirring first-person accounts, Fatal Throne is at once provocative and heartbreaking, an epic tale that is also an intimate look at the royalty of the most perilous times in English history.
* M. T. Anderson - Henry VIII
* Candace Fleming - Katharine of Aragon
* Stephanie Hemphill - Anne Boleyn
* Lisa Ann Sandell - Jane Seymour
* Jennifer Donnelly - Anna of Cleves
* Linda Sue Park - Catherine Howard
* Deborah Hopkinson - Kateryn Parr
"Fatal Throne: The Wives of Henry VIII Tell All" Reviews
This advance reader copy was provided by publisher Random House via NetGalley.
First and foremost, this is a Young Adult genre novel, so I am rating it as such.
This is a fictionalized narrative told in the first person by each of King Henry VIII's six wives. Immediately following each wife's account is Henry VIII's point of view. Out of the many Tudor tomes I've read, I don't ever recall a book structured in this way. Not only did I find this compelling, but it was a clever touch to have Henry's font in a different style to go along with his alternative take on things.
It wasn't immediately evident to me that this was a YA novel, but after digesting it awhile I realized that it was lacking the depth of a more intensive biography. Also, this is historical fiction, so poetic license was employed much like a Phillipa Gregory novel. Another unique device was using seven different authors to "speak" for each wife and Henry. The writing quality didn't quite rise to the brilliance of a Phillipa Gregory or Alison Weir (who has recently embarked on the "Six Tudor Queens" series of first person narratives) novel, but was a pleasantly written overview for young adults or casual readers of Tudor history.
I am impressed. The title of this work makes it sound trashier and gushier than it is. Even though it’s no "Wolf Hall," the writing in "Fatal Throne" is strong and sophisticated, albeit not uniformly so. This book is assembled of 8 perspectives (Henry Viii, his wives and then Elizabeth I telling their personal stories) all written by different YA authors, most writers of the highest acclaim. The real standouts are Jennifer Donnelly’s Anna of Cleves and Linda Sue Park’s Catherine Howard.
Hardly any of this was factually new to me. After all, I am no Tudor novice. I’d spent a pretty obscene amount of time consuming Tudor media. Still the authors managed to bring something fresh to their narratives. This would be an excellent tool of recruiting a new generation of Tudor junkies.
A YA historical fiction book, Fatal Throne was a highly interesting read. I’ve always had a interest in King Henry VIII- especially books, movies and shows that depict his somewhat scandalous life. Best known for his six marriages, Fatal Throne is broken into sections-each wife telling her own story, followed by King Henry’s own interpretation. Recommended to readers that enjoy YA historical fiction.
This is one of my favorite Tudor books ever. It made me interested beyond Anne Boleyn! Each author writes a different "character" - and they are all so, so rewarding and wonderful.
Fleming's Katharine of Aragon is pious and understandable. M. T. Anderson's Henry VIII is wonderfully insane yet lovable. His Elizabeth, though brief, is beautiful and strong. Hemphill's Anne Boleyn is a classic mean girl - certainly not my favorite telling of Anne, but wonderful nonetheless. Sandell's Jane Seymour is sweet and relatable. Donnelly's Anna of Cleves has a wonderful narrative. Though she doesn't prescribe to my Anne of Cleves theories, she proves herself yet again as one of my favorite authors. Park's Catherine Howard genuinely interested me in the woman. I would love to learn more about her. The same goes for Hopkinson's Kateryn Parr!
All in all, this book is a fabulous YA retelling of the six wives of Henry VIII. It's factual while still remaining fictional, and falls into borderline New Adult with some of the steamier - or, to be frank, more disgusting as Henry grows older - scenes.
Review Originally Posted On The Sassy Book Geek
****Thank you to Random House Children’s for sending me this ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review****
This review is going to be a lot shorter than usual since this is an anthology and it’s a retelling of historical figures and events. There isn’t really a whole lot to discuss!
This was an okay book, not terribly bad but not terribly good either.I did enjoy reading it, just not as much as I originally thought I would. I don’t think I’m a big enough “Tudor fan” for this book, however, if you are very interested in Tudor history (especially Henry VIII and his wives) then you might enjoy this one!
There isn’t much to say about the plot since the plot is ….well history! We follow the 6 different POVs of Henry VIII’s wives: Katharine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Anna of Cleves, Catherine Howard, and Kateryn Parr. Then we also see some POVs from Henry VIII and Elizabeth I as well. Each POV is also written by a different YA author:
M. T. Anderson – Henry VIII
Candace Fleming – Katharine of Aragon
Stephanie Hemphill – Anne Boleyn
Lisa Ann Sandell – Jane Seymour
Jennifer Donnelly – Anna of Cleves
Linda Sue Park – Catherine Howard
Deborah Hopkinson – Kateryn Parr
There wasn’t too terribly much revealed in each POV that I didn’t already know, but the writing was fantastic and I enjoyed reading through each perspective. My personal favorites were Fleming’s, Hemphill’s, and Park’s stories a.k.a. the tales of Katharine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, and Catherine Howard. I also liked the added POV of Henry VIII after each of the wives’s POVs, I just thought it was an interesting touch to see how he played the victim in each marriage even though he obviously was not.
Overall this was an enjoyable enough book and one that I definitely recommend checking out if you’re a fan of Tudor history. If you aren’t terribly keen on Tudor history I’d pass on this one though.
You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight
Wow, I had no idea how much I would freaking love reading about Henry VIII's wives, their struggles, and his deplorable behavior. I cheered for the women, whose lives were often hell, and I jeered Henry at every turn (seriously, most of my Kindle notes are along the lines of "why is he the actual worst?" and "who let this asshole rule a country, should have shot him instead"). And it is a sadly accurate portrayal of the awfulness that all women have been dealing with since literally forever.
First, it was freaking genius to have a different author for every queen (and Henry!), because the voices felt so very unique. Each queen was, quite literally, her own woman even in the book, and it really showed. The voices all were really well done too, each seeming quite appropriate for each queen's personality. And Henry, too- even though I loathed him at every turn, his chapters were still compelling to read.
Basically, I never wanted this book to end. Which I haven't felt about a book in a long time. It's also incredibly well researched, as I found myself down a very lengthly Henry-related Wikipedia rabbit hole after finishing the book. The authors had me so completely enamored with each queen that I found myself wanting to know about everything.
It was certainly not easy to read, as you can imagine. The time period was hell, obviously, and people died on the regular, even if Henry didn't have them killed. Reading of the deaths of the queens' children was probably the hardest part. These women were, by and large, so young, and dealt with so much trauma. But their strength was incredible, and worth every page.
Bottom Line: If you have any interest in this topic or historical fiction at all, read this book. It is one of my all-time favorites, both entertaining and informative.