I’m a huge historical fiction fan, and the Tudor period is one of my absolute favourite subjects to read about. I’ve read so many great books on the period, but I can honestly say that Alison Weir’s ongoing Six Tudor Queens series about the wives of the infamous Henry VIII are some of the best I’ve read.
So here’s six reasons why you should be reading the Six Tudor Queens books by Alison Weir:
- To get a unique take on Henry VIII’s queens.
Henry VIII and his wives are understandably a popular subject for fiction, what with all the scandal and political intrigue that took place at the time. Anne Boleyn in particular is a historical figure that authors have been fascinated by since forever, and so it’s incredibly hard to put a fresh spin on such a overdone subject.
However, Alison Weir somehow manages to strike a new note with her versions of the Queens, her incredible characterisation keeping a well-trodden subject interesting.
- The first person perspective.
One thing I’ve found with historical fiction is that most books are written from a third person perspective. In a lot of ways I understand this decision, but I love what Alison Weir has done here, giving us an look inside the minds of several women who found themselves in a very dangerous situation as the wife of a fickle and tyrannous king.
- Historical accuracy.
These books are fictional, so obviously some changes have been made to make the story more entertaining, and also some blanks have been filled in (particularly in regards to Jane Seymour, who little is really known about). There’s also an addition of a slight paranormal element to the books to make it more atmospheric…
But on the whole these books are largely very historically accurate, thanks to Alison Weir’s background as a historian. Her attention to detail is incredible, and she paints a very intricate portrait of the time period, from the settings to the clothes and food.
- The way the series ties together.
One of the things I love most about this series is the way the books tie together. For example, it’s so interesting to see Anne Boleyn through the eyes of both Katherine of Aragon and Jane Seymour, both of whom saw her as some kind of villain, but then to get her own perspective, which shows someone very different from who she is thought to be.
Similarly it’s interesting to see the rich inner life of Jane Seymour, who is thought to be timid and dull by Anne Boleyn…it just adds another dimension to the series!
- It documents the turbulent Tudor court.
Henry VIII was a very changeable and suggestible King, and so throughout his reign, a lot of things changed in England, including some changes that would have a huge impact on the future of the country (for example, the split from Rome, and the beginning of the Church of England). Various people (including his wives) came in and out of favour, were arrested, executed or released, and thoughts on religion were constantly changing, as everyone scrambled to keep up with what was currently in favour with the King.
In short, it was a fascinating period, and through telling the story of each of his wives, Alison Weir’s series will have told the entire tale of Henry VIII’s reign by the time the sixth book comes out. So if you’re interested in the Tudor period at all, this series is a must-read!
- The gorgeous covers…
Yes, it’s kind of a shallow reason to read a series, but there’s no denying that the covers of the Six Tudor Queens books are absolutely gorgeous! You should read this series just so you get to admire the books sitting on your shelf afterwards (or, you know…you could admire it before you have to take it back to the library as I did with the third book. Hopefully I’ll get my own copy soon though!).
So have you read any of the Six Tudor Queens books? What did you think? What are your favourite Tudor-themed novels?