Summary: King Henry was appointed as king when his father died. He married Catherine of Aragon right away, but was convinced that she was cursed, and divorced her because she was originally married to his brother, who died of illness, making Henry the Duke of Cornwall. The pope was against this, so king Henry VIII formed the Church of England, and made himself the Supreme Head. From there he marries Anne Boleyn who gives two miscarriages, and is executed by accusation of adultery and incest not long after Catherine of Aragon dies of her own accord. Jane Seymour one of the queen’s ladies in waiting, and dies when giving birth to Prince Edward VI who stays with Henry until Henry dies and Edward becomes king. Anne of Cleves who he married so England would have her as an ally but he wasn’t otherwise interested in the marriage, and it ended quickly so he could marry Katherine Howard, Anne was a favorite of the people, and she was accepting of the divorce, and was the luckiest of Henry’s wives to get away unscathed. Then he ordered the destruction of the remaining monasteries in England, and married Katherine Howard, who had an affair with Thomas Culpeper, and employed a man who she had another affair with before the marriage as secretary. The king found out with help of the Archbishop Cranmer, and had her executed. Henry secured Boulogne, and attacked Scotland, which ended in The Treaty of Camp. Finally, Katherine Parr, who helped Henry reconcile with his daughters, who were next in line for the throne after Prince Edward. He died of obesity and other illnesses in the 1540’s.
Evaluation: The read was very easy, and recommendable. The author doesn’t write in her own voice, but the book reads nicely like a third-person novel, while remaining quotable and reliable thanks to the research and sources used. The book goes into great detail on the individual lives and perspectives of the individuals and wives in the story, as though it were fiction. All of the events told feel significant, and I marvel at how so many details can be recollected, to make such a solid, and holeless book, overflowing with facts about those involved. The pacing is great, the book flows from one event to another, and the different wives are like sub-chapters. I would say it were worth a read even if it weren’t a class assignment.