Monday, September 10, 2012

I, Jane-Diane Haeger

I, Jane

Diane Haeger

NAL, Sep 4 2012, $15.00

ISBN: 9780451237897

In 1514 the Seymour family travels to France as part of the marital party of Princess Mary (see The Secret Bride for her tale). Young Jane Seymour is included in the now French Queen’s retinue. After a couple of years in France, Jane and her family return home to Wiltshire following the death of French King Louis XII. His widow, Queen Mary, sister of English King Henry VIII, arrives in England with a baby sired by her sibling’s most trusted ally. Jane expects to marry her childhood protector William Dormer and raise a family in rustic serenity.

However, his family rejects her. Instead Jane becomes a lady In Waiting to beleaguered Queen Katherine of Aragon, who is losing her spouse to bodacious Anne Boleyn. While remaining loyal to Queen Katherine when everyone deserts the royal, Jane loathes Anne for what she is doing. However, to the shock of everyone, King Henry VIII turns to plain Jane for comfort making her his third wife after executing Anne for treason. She gives him his only male heir, but dies two weeks after her son’s birth.

The latest In The Court Of Henry VIII historical (see The Queen’s Rival) is a fascinating account of I, Jane Seymour. The title character’s detesting of Anne Boleyn is a unique premise though when considering Jane’s loyalty and honesty seems plausible. However, the treatment of Anne as an amoral wicked seductress, even through the loathing filter of Jane, feels unbalanced. Still this is an engaging look at the third wife of Henry VIII.

Harriet Klausner

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