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The Favored Queen: A Novel of Henry VIII's Third Wife by Carolly Erickson: A Book Review

The Favored Queen: A Novel of Henry VIII’s Third Wife
Author: Carolly Erickson
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Release Date: 2011
Pages: 304
Source: My State Public Library
Synopsis: From The New York Times bestselling 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 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 single-minded 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 bestselling 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.

     My Review: Queen Jane Seymour was the favorite wife of King Henry VIII. She bore his only legitimate surviving son who would become the future Edward VI. In this novel, Jane Seymour is happily engaged to William Dormer. Due to a family scandal, they cannot be together. Jane and William decide to plan their escape to the New World. In the meantime, Jane is a lady-in-waiting to Queen Catherine of Aragon. She notices that King Henry VIII is trying to cast Queen Catherine of Aragon aside for Anne Boleyn. Will Jane eventually find a way to escape to the New World or would she shape her destiny to become Queen of England?

     I did not like Jane Seymour in this novel. She seemed to be merely an extra in this story. She was mostly in the background while Queen Catherine of Aragon and Queen Anne Boleyn fought each other for the position of Queen of England. Jane also made many decisions that did not really make sense. I did admire Jane’s love for her sister-in-law. Still, I felt emotionally detached from Jane Seymour. I could not connect with her at all.

     Overall, this novel is about love, religion, and loyalty. The novel was very slow moving. All of the characters were one-dimensional. I was surprised that The Favored Queen omitted Queen Jane Seymour’s brother, Thomas, who also played a major role in the Tudor Era. I didn’t understand why she would omit him. The Favored Queen was also very slow moving. I thought this novel was more about Queen Anne Boleyn rather than Queen Jane. I also thought that many of the scenes were far-fetched and laughable. The only thing I liked about The Favored Queen was that it was an easy and short read! Nevertheless, I found it to be the worst novel about Queen Jane Seymour that I have ever read! If you like to read everything about the Tudors, then you might give this a try. However, there are far more superior books on Jane Seymour. I recommend Alison Weir’s The Haunted Queen, G Lawrence’s Nest of Ashes, and Laurien Gardner’s Plain Jane! However, I suggest you skip this book and read the other historical fiction novels on Queen Jane Seymour!

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars


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