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Autobiography of Henry VIII

The Autobiography of Henry VIII with Notes by His Fool, Will Somers - Margaret George This book has been in my house for years, staring at me, waiting to be read. I was intimidated by it, due to both its tremendous size and well, the size of its subject. I am not a Tudor expert by any means, but I know the basics of Henry’s life and the lives of his hapless wives. This book was all from Henry’s point of view, obviously, and provided an interesting take on this most notorious of kings. I thought the writing was excellent and there were some truly beautiful passages. Most of the major characters were well delineated, even though I will admit to getting some of the Thomas’s confused towards the end. Honestly, I found the end of the book to be a bit of a slog. I’m not sure if it was Henry’s age and declining health or that I was just ready for the book to be over, but I found the last 150 pages or so to be a bit of a chore to get through. My only real criticism otherwise is that I wish the interjections by Will Somers, the fool, had been a bit more critical. I had assumed that the point of his presence in the novel was to bring an outside perspective to Henry’s version of the events of his life and reign, but for the most part he just reiterated what Henry said with no criticism or disapproval, which I found disappointing. I was particularly disappointed that neither Henry nor Will expressed any lingering doubts or guilt about the numerous executions, particularly of Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard. I did really enjoy finally getting a look at Anne of Cleves, whom I’ve never heard much about at all. All in all, a very enjoyable read concerning a fascinating subject, and I’m really looking forward to getting my hands on Elizabeth I by Margaret George, soon to be released.