Lady Anne Seymour knows that her family hangs by a thread. If her sister-in-law Jane Seymour cannot give the King a son, she will be executed or set aside, and her family with her. Anne throws herself into the deadly and intoxicating intrigue of the Tudor court, determined to pay any price to see the new queen's marriage succeed and the Seymour family elevated to supreme power. But Anne's machinations will earn her a reputation as a viper, and she must decide if her family's rise is worth the loss of her own soul. Contains mature themes.
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I really wanted to like this book because the main character is someone you don't see much about. However the overall quality of this book was very low, sadly. The main character as represented by the author is just the kind of person who should not be writing a book in the first person, as her concerns and topics are extremely limited and claustrophobic. There is a lot of repetition and very soft porn that was a big yawn for me.
I confess I did not finish this book as I grew increasingly exasperated and bored as I listened and the character kept bringing up and discussing the same few topics over and over. The narrator was ok, however I found her intonations and the stressors she choose to insert to be a distraction and not necessarily what the author intended.
Interesting perspective for fans of Tudor fiction
I'm guessing that if you're reading this review, you've already read a lot of Tudor-era historical fiction. What's great about "My Lady Viper" is that the point of view is refreshing and new. If you're like me, you've probably read/listened to a large amount of books that focus on Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn, Elizabeth I, Mary I, Catherine Parr, Catherine of Aragon, Catherine Howard, and Thomas More. If Anne Stanhope was a character in one or more of those books, she was probably portrayed as a scheming and contemptible villain. This book portrays Anne Seymour with more sympathy without taking away the intrigue and scheming that makes her story interesting, and it also goes into more detail regarding Queen Jane Seymour than other novels about the wives of Henry VIII.
Anne Seymour was my favorite because I like complicated and intelligent female protagonists who aren't paragons of virtue and selflessness. Isn't that why we can't get enough of Anne Boleyn?
Two parts surprised me in particular. The first was the author's portrayal of Anne's feelings about the execution of Catherine Howard, and the second was the brief moment where Anne wishes that she and Catherine Parr were able to form a powerful political alliance. I don't know if the real Anne Seymour ever entertained thoughts of a better relationship with her future sister-in-law and rival for formal precedence or not, but it's believable that an intelligent politician like Anne would see the benefits of working with the Queen.
If you're brand new to Tudor-era historical fiction, you should probably read/listen to novels or nonfiction about Henry VIII and his more famous contemporaries first. I do not know if I'd fully appreciate the book if I'd read it before reading a great deal about the world of Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn's rise and fall, and the life of Catherine Parr in particular. Some knowledge of Henry VIII's character and desperation for a male heir, Anne Boleyn's demise, and Catherine Parr's unfavorable opinion of Anne Seymour made this book all the more intriguing, and I'm not certain I'd have understood the importance of certain events nor recognized the importance of the characters in "My Lady Viper" had I lacked that familiarity.
I am eagerly awaiting the next book in this series.