The Favored Queen

  • by Carolly Erickson
  • Narrated by Kate Reading
  • 9 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

From the New York Times best-selling author of The Last Wife of Henry VIII comes a powerful and moving novel about Jane Seymour, third wife of Henry VIII, who married him only days after the execution of Anne Boleyn and ultimately lost her own life in giving him the son he badly needed to guarantee the Tudor succession.
Born into an ambitious noble family, young Jane Seymour is sent to the court as a maid of honor to Catherine of Aragon, Henry VIII’s aging queen. She is devoted to her mistress and watches with empathy as the calculating Anne Boleyn contrives to supplant her as queen. Anne’s singleminded intriguing threatens all who stand in her way; she does not hesitate to arrange the murder of a woman who knows a secret so dark that, if revealed, would make it impossible for the king to marry Anne. Once Anne becomes queen, no one at court is safe, and Jane herself becomes the victim of Anne’s venomous rage when she suspects Jane has become the object of the king’s lust.
Henry, fearing that Anne’s inability to give him a son is a sign of divine wrath, asks Jane to become his next queen. Deeply reluctant to embark on such a dangerous course, Jane must choose between her heart and her loyalty to the king.
Acclaimed biographer and best-selling novelist Carolly Erickson weaves another of her irresistible historical entertainments about the queen who finally gave Henry VIII his longed-for heir, set against the excitement and danger of the Tudor Court.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

OK - if you don't care about the truth

Allright, I don't know all the truth of the story, no one does. It all happened a long time ago, but we know a lot. This was a pretty well discussed era, even during the events. This book describes a story that is unrecognisable to what really happened, or at least, what historians and other fiction writers have presented. I have read extensively on this era, the history, the religion, and many biographies, but I do not recognize the Jane Seymour, the Anne Boleyn, nor the Henry VIII presented in this book.
The narrator was pretty good, although most of the women sounded alike.
Maybe the book took a turn for the better, but I doubt it. I only got through a couple of disks, and had to stop. I rarely stop before finishing a book. This one was just too bad.

I look forward to reading what others have to say about it.
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- Bryan

More Fiction than History

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

The content became more and more outlandish. I have read several of Carolly Erickson's biographies (Mistress Anne, Great Harry, The first Elizabeth, and Bloody Mary) and I had thought this was a biography of Jane Seymour. Instead it was a wild tale with the "popular" names of the times and situations but pure fiction.

The speaker did an admirable job with the material given. The mistake was mine in not realizing what type of book this was or in reading the reviews before I bought it.


What was most disappointing about Carolly Erickson’s story?

The point where I had finally had enough was when Anne Boleyn came down with the sweating sickness. Instead of the historical tale or even a vaguely possible tale, Anne Boleyn was locked in the castle with Katherine of Aragon and her ladies having just been admitted to the locked down castle after Henry VIII left her in a village when he had learned the sweating sickness had broken out. Anne beat on the castle door to be let in and once inside Jane Seymour discovers Anne has the sweating sickness after inspecting Anne's armpits. They contemplate tossing her out a window into the moat (with Anne struggling and screaming to be let go) when Katherine rescues Anne at the last minute and has her placed in a linen closet to recover. Katherine then states that she will nurse her back to health and bring her food if no one else was willing.

Frankly I am tempted to listen to the rest of it just to see how idiotic it can become. Prior to the sweating sickness incident they had Anne pulling down her top in France in competition with her sister Mary to see who could get men to sleep with them faster.


Have you listened to any of Kate Reading’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I have never listened to any of Kate Reading's other performances before that I am aware of but she was very pleasant to listen to and made good use of voice and accents for the different characters.


You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

I have studied Tudor history for years and the only redeeming quality this book has is total unpredictability. It seems to hit the highest points in history - Henry VIII is king and he has a first wife named Katheryn and he is interested in Anne Boleyn who is related to the Duke of Norfolk. It also had the name of the gentleman correct who at one point in time was considered a potential prospect for Jane Seymour (plus the other characters did have recognizable names and were in approximately the relationships they should have been). However, other than that it is a wild ride of inaccuracy and speculation filled with intimate details of a lurid type nature (so far though of the PG13 brand when I stopped reading).


Any additional comments?

I am really shocked that the author who wrote the biographies I have read regarding Tudor times (which seemed to match well with other documentation) could have written a book that has little resemblance to the actual history (or at least currently considered history). It most closely resembles a 99 cent throw away novel written by someone with only the basic knowledge of Tutor history and a vivid puerile imagination.

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- Amazon Customer

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-28-2011
  • Publisher: Macmillan Audio