Plain Jane by Laurien Gardner
Paperback, 352 pages
July 1, 2008
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: Personal Collection
"With a plain face, Jane Seymour has no suitors and few hopes. Then she is granted a position at court as maid of honor to Queen Catherine. There, Henry VIII ignores his aging wife, showering favor on the dark beauty Anne Boleyn, soon to be his new queen. But he tires of stubborn Anne, and his wandering eye falls on plain Jane. Although she cares for Henry, she must not let herself be swept away by his attentions. For she intends to win not only his heart but also the greatest prize of all--the crown."Queen Jane Seymour is one of the lesser known Queens of King Henry VIII and most certainly one of the least written about. Plain Jane by Laurien Gardner is the first book that I have read about Queen Jane and it did not disappoint.
The story begins at Wolf Hall, the family home of the Seymour's and we are introduced to Jane as a child. Her parents do not think that there are any prospects for Jane to find a husband and expect they will send her to a nunnery, because she is so plain. When the unlikely invitation is extended for Jane to join the court of Queen Catherine a chain of events are set off ultimately bringing her to the role of Queen.
This novel brings the reader through the reigns of Queen Catherine, Queen Anne, and then Queen Jane. What I found interesting is that these events are seen from the perspective of Jane where as most other books show these events from Anne's or Catherine's perspective. Much of the early portion of Jane's life is fictionalized, as not much is know about her before becoming Queen.
Overall, I found this author to be a very engaging writer. I would say that the writer's style is somewhat similar to Philippa Gregory. The characters are very well developed and the story flows convincingly through the years. I would recommend this to any one who want to know more of the story about Queen Jane Seymour.
Laurien Gardner has written two other books related to the wives of Henry VIII, The Spanish Bride and A Lady Raised High. You can visit the author, writing under the name Jennifer Ashley, on her website or blog.
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