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Alison Weir is one of my favorite British historians. I've read a couple of her books in paper form, and she sold me instantly. Via audio, the tales within her pages come to life. Weir is one of those gifted storytellers who can give you both the broad strokes and the details so as to help the reader easily navigate the political and emotional landscape of a subject matter as charged and as tangled as Tudor history.
With any book on Tudor history, I always recommend to the beginner to start with Henry VIII simply because his story is highly engaging and paints the path backwards and forwards through this period. As such, this book is not one I'd automatically recommend for beginners, but I'd certainly recommend it as supplemental reading to Weir's equally amazing Henry VIII biography. That said, this book's focus keeps Henry at the forefront for obvious reasons, and so a beginner could easily start here too. The material is friendly to the novice despite bringing the queens to the spotlight.
For the more advanced student of Tudor history, it's the details and how they weave together that makes this book a winner. The backgrounds, upbringings, emotional states, intellects, and spirituality of the queens are examined and put into context with their king and his ever-changing political machine. Preconceived notions and common misconceptions about each of them are challenged and clarified. The end result is that the reader walks away not only with a better understanding of who these great women were, but also of the circumstances that forged them.
An eloquently told history deserves and eloquent narrator, and Simon Prebble is well-chosen for the task. He has that perfect "documentary voice" that makes the topic at hand seem even more dignified and polished, even in those moments when the story is clearly anything but. He readily engages the material, making it that much easier for the reader to be drawn in and immersed.
25 of 25 people found this review helpful
What did you love best about The Six Wives of Henry VIII?
Not a new title but a solid pick for any history buff, reality-show junkie or anyone interested in reading about a king of immense capacity, talent, drive, charm, intelligence ... and unbridled lust. From a true Renaissance man of letters and politics, Henry faces the twin drives of a need for a male heir and an unrestrained sexual appetite and proceeds through his reign with increasing frustration, desire and rapacity. As complex as he is towering, the women are treated with balance and moderation. A fine listen!
What was one of the most memorable moments of The Six Wives of Henry VIII?
His first wife, faithful, strong and pious, sets a standard no other wives could match.
22 of 22 people found this review helpful
I cannot commend this book enough - it is everything you want from a history book - well read - perfectly written and executed - a comprehensive history of each of Henry VIII wives, from the pride of Catherine of Aragon, the boldness and arrogance of Anne Bolyne, the short lived and subdued reign of the Jane Seymour, the sadness of Anne of Cleeves, the naivety and calamity of Catherine Howard and the grace of Catherine Parr. Each one having a very special place in Henry's life - his seemly disregard for each and every one of them and the family, friends and characters that surround them. The barbarity of the Era and the beginning of the Church of England and all its pomp. Brilliantly researched and worth every penny of your money. Buy it, read it, listen to it, enjoy it.
10 of 10 people found this review helpful
An excellent book which introduces us to all King Henry's wives. I thought I knew a good deal about this subject but saw some of his relationships in a new light. Excellently written and well narrated. It is one of those books you don't want to end.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful
I thoroughly enjoyed this book - it was well written and the narrator was excellent. Weir pays close attention to each wife and gives great detailing about Henry - the book has encouraged me to read other titles by the author.
Very much enjoyed this book! A great listen for any history nut :) defiantly one to recommend!