Mastodon The Writing Desk: Book Review: Henry VIII: The Heart and the Crown, (The King’s Pleasure) by Alison Weir

25 February 2023

Book Review: Henry VIII: The Heart and the Crown, (The King’s Pleasure) by Alison Weir

New from Amazon UK and Amazon US
Described as ‘Alison Weir’s most ambitious novel yet’, I looked forward to reading her latest work, Henry VIII: The Heart and the Crown, (entitled ‘The King’s Pleasure’ in the US). At some six-hundred pages, this is indeed an ambitious attempt to cover the life of one of our most notorious, complex, and controversial kings.
Having given each of his wives the chance to put her point of view, Alison says Henry deserved the right of reply, and it was time for this book to be written. She does confess to wondering if she could do justice to such a ‘larger than life’ figure.

I was initially thrown by her decision to name the king ‘Harry’ throughout, in the interests of making him seem more accessible. (I kept picturing another controversial red-bearded Harry, his distantly related descendant through King Henry's sister, Margaret Tudor.)

Alison stays faithful to her policy of historical authenticity, sticking to the known facts as far as possible. I’m sure she has some interesting theories about his motives for behaving as he did, and readers would welcome a little more speculation about his feelings, particularly for his wives.

For those new to Alison Weir’s Tudor books, I recommend reading The Heart and the Crown before the six wives series, as the book provides a rich context for understanding the key players in Henry’s world.

Tony Riches

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About the Author

Alison Weir is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels Innocent Traitor and The Lady Elizabeth and several historical biographies, including Mistress of the Monarchy, Queen Isabella, Henry VIII, Eleanor of Aquitaine, The Life of Elizabeth I, and The Six Wives of Henry VIII. She lives in Surrey, England with her husband. Find out more at Alison's website and find her on Facebook and Twitter  @AlisonWeirBooks

(A review copy of this book was kindly provided by headline UK)

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