Jane Seymour, the Haunted Queen

Ballantine. (Six Tudor Queens). May 2018. 576p. ISBN 9781101966549. $28; ebk. ISBN 9781101966556. F
OrangeReviewStarOften overshadowed by her infamous predecessor, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour is often remembered as Henry VIII's meek third wife who died after finally giving him a son. Here, historian and novelist Weir (The Life of Elizabeth I) paints a fuller picture of Jane's life that attempts to answer lasting questions about her desires and choices, and the role she played in Anne's fatal fall from grace. Weir resists casting Jane as a mere pawn of her ambitious family, instead showing how her deep religious faith and time spent serving Katherine of Aragon as a young woman may have helped her justify her romance with Henry as an irresistible opportunity to play a part in her country's destiny and right past wrongs. As with the earlier novels in the "Six Tudor Queens" series, about Katherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn, Weir focuses tightly on the sole perspective of her protagonist, thereby finding enough relatively fresh territory to keep even die-hard Tudor buffs interested. A fascinating afterword sheds light on Weir's departures from the confirmed historical record and on the additional research she did for this novel, including an investigation of how exactly Jane died.
VERDICT Highly recommended for fans of the period. [See Prepub Alert, 11/26/17.]
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