Fatal Throne, most of all, was a change of pace from my usual reading . I don’t read a lot of historical content, fiction or not, but the topic of this one had my interest. Most of my knowledge of the wives of King Henry VIII is from watching The Other Boleyn Girl…which, if you know anything at all about that story, you probably know that movie to be wildly inaccurate. Fatal Throne didn’t have the kind of gripping narrative that usually sucks me into a book, but it was interesting. Very interesting.
As mentioned above, this book covers the story of each of King Henry VIII wives. Multiple authors contribute to the book, with each wife having a section from their own POV (penned by a different author), alternating with commentary from Henry.
My biggest takeaway? Wow, was Henry the absolute worst. And I don’t mean that in an endearing way like I sometimes do. I guess, I should have seen it coming…a king who goes through six wives is not a good look…but still. He was horrible. Maybe he loved and cared for Jane Seymour, but honestly, seeing how he treated his other wives makes me think she would have eventually been tossed aside too if she had not died. Henry’s POV, notably, did not get you to identify with him. (Nor should it.)
At parts, this book felt slow. Though considered the worst of the wives, I enjoyed Anne Boleyn’s POV. Anna of Cleves was a standout…there is a stark difference in her view of Henry, versus that of Jane’s before her. Kateryn Parr was another favorite, though probably moreso because I identified with her character best.
I don’t have enough knowledge of this period of history to speak to it’s accuracy, or even to say if it reveals something new. As a novice to the subject, however, it was quite new and enlightening for me. Though it was unlike most of my usual favorites, I definitely want to pick up historical fiction again. Sometimes you just need a good palette cleanser.