July 18, 2018

Review: Fatal Throne: The Wives of Henry VIII Tell All

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I was very excited to read Fatal Throne. Henry VIII’s court, as well as Elizabeth I’s, are my two of my favorite parts of history. I love the intrigue and scandal and constant terror and excitement. Furthermore, I love the queens! I usually get bored after Anne Boleyn, because she is my favorite historical figure, but Fatal Throne kept me hooked for each queen!

Seven authors banded together to write this YA novel. They each wrote a unique character. Spellings may vary from what you are used to, if you’re a history buff like me. To make it easier for YA readers, to the authors relied on unique spellings, some of which are based off of the queens’ birth names.

  1. Candace Fleming – Katharine of Aragon
  2. M. T. Anderson – Henry VIII and Elizabeth I
  3. Stephanie Hemphill – Anne Boleyn
  4. Lisa Ann Sandell – Jane Seymour
  5. Jennifer Donnelly – Anna of Cleves
  6. Linda Sue Park – Catherine Howard
  7. Deborah Hopkinson – Kateryn Parr

In Review

I’m a history buff. I especially love certain time periods, events, and groups of people. The Tudor court is one of my favorites. I read anything and everything I can about Henry VIII and his wives, fiction or nonfiction. However, there have been times I’ve recommended books to friends only for them to “bitch out” because they are too long. Fatal Throne is a YA novel and comes in at under 400 pages. Each queen tells her story in just a few short chapters, and the stories are all so wonderfully told. Someone as Tudor-obsessed as I am or just any regular history-lover will enjoy this book.

Though this book is YA, some of the scenes border on New Adult. These scenes mostly fall into the later chapters, where Henry is old and has some gross puss falling out of his leg. Ugh. So they’re not erotic, but there’s some R-rated-ness to the scenes. Just so ya know.

Historical Spoilers?

I always jokingly tell people, “I stopped watching The Tudors because it got boring after – SPOILER ALERT – my favorite character, Anne Boleyn died.” Of course, this isn’t a real spoiler. Anne is a historical figure, and most of us know she was beheaded for treason and adultery. So everything I say below is a spoiler for Fatal Throne and for real life. Proceed with caution?

The representations of each figure are fabulous, relatively factual, and unique. I loved Fleming’s Katharine of Aragon. M. T. Anderson’s Henry VIII was insane yet lovable. Though he was gross and self-obsessed, I saw what his people and lovers saw in him. Anderson’s Elizabeth I, though brief, is a joy.

Hemphill’s Anne Boleyn is more Mean Girls than I usually envision my favorite historical figure, but I still enjoyed her chapters and found her to be interesting and relatable. Sandell’s Seymour, on the flip side, actually had me interested in and rooting for a woman I generally find to be boring. Her Jane is sweet and loving – everything I suppose she truly was!

Finally, it comes down to those last three queens – the ones we often forget about because no heirs were produced, so why do we care? We have Donnelly’s Anna of Cleves. Though Donnelly doesn’t follow the theories I do about Anne and Henry’s friendship, she tells a fabulous ghost story and proves yet again to be more of my favorite authors.

Next comes Park’s Catherine Howard and Hopkinson’s Kateryn Parr. Though I never thought about either queen before, I currently want to learn about both of them so much more. The girl Catherine Howard and woman Kateryn Parr both led short but interesting lives. I cannot wait to learn more about them!

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Fatal ThroneFatal Throne by Candace Fleming
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is one of my favorite Tudor books ever. It made me interested beyond Anne Boleyn! Each author writes a different “character” – and they are all so, so rewarding and wonderful.

Fleming’s Katharine of Aragon is pious and understandable. M. T. Anderson’s Henry VIII is wonderfully insane yet lovable. His Elizabeth, though brief, is beautiful and strong. Hemphill’s Anne Boleyn is a classic mean girl – certainly not my favorite telling of Anne, but wonderful nonetheless. Sandell’s Jane Seymour is sweet and relatable. Donnelly’s Anna of Cleves has a wonderful narrative. Though she doesn’t prescribe to my Anne of Cleves theories, she proves herself yet again as one of my favorite authors. Park’s Catherine Howard genuinely interested me in the woman. I would love to learn more about her. The same goes for Hopkinson’s Kateryn Parr!

All in all, this book is a fabulous YA retelling of the six wives of Henry VIII. It’s factual while still remaining fictional, and falls into borderline New Adult with some of the steamier – or, to be frank, more disgusting as Henry grows older – scenes.

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    • Post authorKate

      Thank you 💗

      Reply to Kate
  • Whispering Stories

    I’ve not heard of this book before, but I do love the Tudor period of history. Great review.

    Reply to Whispering Stories
    • Post authorKate

      The Tudors are great. If you read it, I hope you enjoy as much as I did.

      Reply to Kate
  • Nikki @ Saturday Nite Reader

    This book sounds very interesting! I love reading about history too, thank you for putting this one on my radar!

    Reply to Nikki @ Saturday Nite Reader
    • Post authorKate

      Always happy to recommend a good book. 💕

      Reply to Kate
    • Post authorKate

      Thank you!

      Reply to Kate
  • Jordanne

    I love historical fiction, I’m kind of stuck on books about the American and Russian revolutions (not because of Hamilton or Anastasia or anything, no sir) but I’m also intrigued by this era and (even though it’s a smidge later) Mary Queen of Scots. This sounds like such an interesting way to approach a book – 6 authors, one for each wife, that’s awesome! I’ll have to pick this up.

    Reply to Jordanne
    • Post authorKate

      I hope you enjoy it! I love the American revolution, too. Partly because of Hamilton, and partly because I live around Philly!

      Reply to Kate
  • Kiss Like a Girl

    I don’t read a lot, well any, historical books but if there ever was a historical figure I would want to read about it’s Henry VIII.

    Reply to Kiss Like a Girl
    • Post authorKate

      He’s so interesting. And awful in the best way possible. 😂

      Reply to Kate
  • DJ Sakata

    I don’t read much historical fiction but this one seems to be calling to me, although I wouldn’t have even considered before reading your review. Thanx!

    Reply to DJ Sakata
    • Post authorKate

      I’m glad my review interested you! Let me know if you end up reading this or any other awesome historical books.

      Reply to Kate
  • Stormi

    I want this one!

    Reply to Stormi
    • Post authorKate

      You gotta check it out! 💕

      Reply to Kate
  • Heidi

    Sounds interesting! Lovely review!

    Reply to Heidi
    • Post authorKate

      Thank you!

      Reply to Kate
  • Katie @ Book Ink Reviews

    My sister is a history buff when it comes to the Tudors, too! She ADORES Elizabeth I. I’m going to have to tell her about this one.

    Reply to Katie @ Book Ink Reviews
    • Post authorKate

      I hope she enjoys it as much as I did.

      Reply to Kate
  • Tasha

    I like history but not historical novels. (though I enjoy books written in historical eras) great review .

    Reply to Tasha
    • Post authorKate

      I can see that. I think I like historical fiction more than history books. I like getting inside people’s heads like you really only can in fiction or memoirs!

      Reply to Kate
  • Manon

    Sounds like a very interesting book! I think I would enjoy reading this.

    Reply to Manon
    • Post authorKate

      I hope you do!

      Reply to Kate
  • Cia Black

    Not much a history fiction fan or history in general but you review was very insightful.

    Reply to Cia Black
    • Post authorKate

      Thank you!

      Reply to Kate
  • Katiria Rodriguez

    Great review, this book looks and sounds absolutely amazing and fantastic. I am glad you really enjoy this book fully, thank you so much for sharing your awesome post.

    Reply to Katiria Rodriguez
    • Post authorKate

      Thanks! I had a ton of fun reading it.

      Reply to Kate

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