Get a free audiobook

The Six Wives of Henry VIII

Written by: Antonia Fraser
Narrated by: Isla Blair
Length: 7 hrs
Categories: History, Europe
5 out of 5 stars (5 ratings)

CDN$ 14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

Publisher's Summary

"Divorced, beheaded, died; divorced, beheaded, survived."

So the six wives of Henry VIII (Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves, Katherine Howard, and Catherine Parr) have become defined in a popular sense - not so much by their lives as by the way their lives ended. In the same way, their characters are popularly portrayed as female stereotypes: the Betrayed Wife, the Temptress, the Good Woman, the Ugly Sister, the Bad Girl, and, finally, the Mother Figure. But, as Antonia Fraser brilliantly and conclusively proves, they were rich and feisty characters. They may have been victims of Henry's obsession with a male heir, but they were not willing victims. On the contrary, they exhibited remarkable degrees of spirit and defiance, of which women living now might still be proud. They displayed considerable strength and intelligence at a time when their sex supposedly possessed little of either.

Antonia Fraser deals with each woman in turn with sympathy, the sympathy they deserve for having had the unenviable fate of being Henry's wife. Inevitably, there was great rivalry between them - so high were the stakes in the great game of marrying the king of England. There was jealousy too: the desperate jealousy of queens who found themselves abandoned, but also the sexual jealousy of the king who discovered himself betrayed. The story Antonia Fraser tells is romantic and cruel, funny and sad, dramatic and enthralling. This is historical biography at its best.

©1992 Antonia Fraser (P)2002 Orion Publishing Group Ltd.

What the critics say

"An intoxicating mixture of sex, sentiment, and court intrigue...Fraser has the knack...of making history not merely readable but irresistible." ( Sunday Times)
What members say
Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    4
  • 4 Stars
    1
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Performance
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    5
  • 4 Stars
    0
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Story
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    5
  • 4 Stars
    0
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent!

I didn't have time or the energy to read the book so I purchased the audiobook instead. It was fantastic. Perfect person to narrate it and so well written. I thoroughly enjoyed it. The research the author put into this is astounding. A must listen!

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Patricia
  • 2007-02-13

Wonderfully read and very interesting

This was a fascinating and well written book about King Henry VIII and his wives. It focuses very much on his marriage to Catharine of Aragon, which is natural since their marriage was the longest, and the author shows very obvious sympathy to this queen. It is a detailed account of the family, life, death and aftermath of all of the queens and Henry's heirs. This book is wonderfully paced and read. Highly recommended.

1 person found this helpful