FATAL THRONE – Multiple Authors
The Wives of Henry VIII Tell All
Schwartz & Wade Books
ISBN: 978-1-5247-1619-6
May 2018
Historical Fiction

England during the reign of Henry VIII

Seven authors are responsible for this interesting take on the six wives of Henry Tudor. Each AUTHOR (other) “became” one of the queens, telling, in their own words, what it was like to be married to the ego-maniacal king.

Katharine of Aragon (Candace Fleming, author) – Brought to England to wed Henry's brother Arthur, Katharine struggled with the language as well as a young husband who was sickly and immature. When he died shortly after their wedding, Katharine was left in limbo until Henry VII passed away and his son insisted on marrying her. Twenty years later she is left alone and shaken when Henry VIII divorces her, establishes a new religion, and weds the enigmatic Anne Boleyn.

Anne Boleyn (Stephanie Hemphill, author) – She held out for marriage, but was pregnant at her wedding. Despite giving birth to a healthy daughter, Anne is unable to produce a male heir. So after Henry tires of her, those around him “arrange” for her to be found guilty of adultery, and other things, and she is precipitously beheaded. Anne's voice is one of intelligence, but desperate to be something she was not.

Jane Seymour (Lisa Ann Sandell, author) – Mousy, shy Jane was not without guilt when it came to disposing of her predecessor. Her powerful brothers worked in tandem to throw her to the wolf – Henry – in order to pursue their own wants. Jane is about as meek and useless a queen as anyone could be, but she did the one thing Henry wanted, she gave him a son, then she promptly died.

Anna of Cleves (Jennifer Donnelly, author) – Sent by her brother to the king who has already divorced, beheaded, and lost three queens, Anna is, despite her language issues, more intelligent and astute than Henry ever realizes. Because she doesn't fall head over heels for him when he surprises her on her arrival, Henry immediately dislikes her, giving her unflattering nicknames. But Anna is shrewd and isn't going to be a victim. In fact, of all of the wives, she ends up with a comfortable income, property, and servants after her divorce.

Catherine Howard (Linda Sue Park, author) – The youngest, least prepared of the six wives, Catherine had no idea what she was getting into. Sexy, pretty, and not the brightest young woman, she blithely went into the marriage thinking she could use her beauty to deal with her now elderly, sick, mentally unhealthy spouse. She totally underestimated those Henry relied on for advice. Her decline was rapid and fatal.

Kateryn Parr (Deborah Hopkinson, author) – Mature, plain, wealthy Kateryn had no desire to wed Henry. Her eyes were only on Thomas Seymour, Jane's brother. But Henry with the painful, oozing leg sores, had other ideas. Their marriage was one of companionship, with Kate watching her back throughout as Henry's aides were growing desperate, as they knew his days were numbered.

Henry VIII (M.T. Anderson, author) – Henry's personal views showed his narcissism, as well as his intelligence (at least when he was young). His observations of his wives were based on the fact that he needed a son. Jane would remain his one love because she died producing the heir he wanted. He would eventually be buried next to her. Little did he know how weak and ineffectual that male heir would be, or how powerful and memorable his youngest daughter would be!

Elizabeth I (M.T. Anderson, author) – Who knew that the one offspring most like their father would be the fiery red-headed daughter of Anne Boleyn?

I thoroughly enjoyed this different look at the turbulent days of Henry VIII. Beautifully presented, FATAL THRONE is a must read.

Jani Brooks