counter create hit Murder Most Royal - Download Free eBook
Ads Banner
Hot Best Seller

Murder Most Royal

Availability: Ready to download

One powerful king. Two tragic queens. In the court of Henry VIII, it was dangerous for a woman to catch the king’s eye. Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard were cousins. Both were beautiful women, though very different in temperament. They each learned that Henry’s passion was all-consuming–and fickle. Sophisticated Anne Boleyn, raised in the decadent court of France, was in lo One powerful king. Two tragic queens. In the court of Henry VIII, it was dangerous for a woman to catch the king’s eye. Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard were cousins. Both were beautiful women, though very different in temperament. They each learned that Henry’s passion was all-consuming–and fickle. Sophisticated Anne Boleyn, raised in the decadent court of France, was in love with another man when King Henry claimed her as his own. Being his mistress gave her a position of power; being his queen put her life in jeopardy. Her younger cousin, Catherine Howard, was only fifteen when she was swept into the circle of King Henry. Her innocence attracted him, but a past mistake was destined to haunt her. Painted in the rich colors of Tudor England, Murder Most Royal is a page-turning journey into the lives of two of the wives of the tempestuous Henry VIII. Look for the Reading Group Guide at the back of this book. Also available as an ebook.


Compare
Ads Banner

One powerful king. Two tragic queens. In the court of Henry VIII, it was dangerous for a woman to catch the king’s eye. Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard were cousins. Both were beautiful women, though very different in temperament. They each learned that Henry’s passion was all-consuming–and fickle. Sophisticated Anne Boleyn, raised in the decadent court of France, was in lo One powerful king. Two tragic queens. In the court of Henry VIII, it was dangerous for a woman to catch the king’s eye. Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard were cousins. Both were beautiful women, though very different in temperament. They each learned that Henry’s passion was all-consuming–and fickle. Sophisticated Anne Boleyn, raised in the decadent court of France, was in love with another man when King Henry claimed her as his own. Being his mistress gave her a position of power; being his queen put her life in jeopardy. Her younger cousin, Catherine Howard, was only fifteen when she was swept into the circle of King Henry. Her innocence attracted him, but a past mistake was destined to haunt her. Painted in the rich colors of Tudor England, Murder Most Royal is a page-turning journey into the lives of two of the wives of the tempestuous Henry VIII. Look for the Reading Group Guide at the back of this book. Also available as an ebook.

30 review for Murder Most Royal

  1. 5 out of 5

    BAM The Bibliomaniac

    I realize that Plaidy takes creative license with most of her books, but this one was really not correct historically. I rated it to low because I’ve read so much about the great Queen Anne that I just shook my head too much. The other beheaded queen, and Anne’s cousin is discussed in this book too, and I’m not sure that age wise that’s even possible. I’m questioning the timeline. I don’t think the ages are right.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Gary

    Nobody writes British historical fiction better than Jean Plaidy and this is one of her classics. First published in 1949, it is NOT AT ALL dated. The style is engaging, witty, moving, and brings the period and characters to life in such a brilliant way. A page turner which kept me reading late into toe night. Plaidy creates much more multifaceted character, much more so than the books about Henry's wives by Phillipa Gregory and Susanna Dunn. This is a far superior work to The Other Boleyn Girl in Nobody writes British historical fiction better than Jean Plaidy and this is one of her classics. First published in 1949, it is NOT AT ALL dated. The style is engaging, witty, moving, and brings the period and characters to life in such a brilliant way. A page turner which kept me reading late into toe night. Plaidy creates much more multifaceted character, much more so than the books about Henry's wives by Phillipa Gregory and Susanna Dunn. This is a far superior work to The Other Boleyn Girl in which Gregory demonizes Anne Boleyn and The Confession of Katherine Howard in which Dunn does a horrible hatchet job on Katherine Howard. Plaidy presents Anne Boleyn as an intelligent, passionate women, capable of great love and loyalty (she is heartbroken when her one true love Henry Percy, 6th Earl of Northumberland She can be ruthless and acts against Katherine of Aragon , and against Princess Mary but we see Mary has #is so filled with hate to Queen Anne (a particularly gruesome passage where Princss Mary describes how she would like to torture Anne to a slow death-a foretaste of her career as Bloody Mary when she took the throne). Henry VIII is exposed as the cruel egotistical monster he clearly was, though we begin by observing his passionate ardour for the dark haired beauty whose vivacity and polished manners have been aquired during a spell with the French royal family. When she returns to England she quickly attracts Henry's attention. Of course this love turns to venomous hate when Anne commits the fatal crime of bearing him a daughter!!! The most evil villain of the piece is no doubt Thomas Cromwell who in his malicious and dastardly conspiracy to destroy Queen Anne, has court musician Thomas Smeaton hideously tortured until he is falsely forced to claim he had sex with her, and to name a slew of lovers. And it is wonderful to read a sympathetic portrayal of Catherine Howard, whose life is traced from her childhood, her mothers death when she is a little girl and her move to stay at the mansion of her step-grandmother, the Dowager Duchess of Norfolk. Catherine is revealed her as having a forgiving nature and always redy to belive the best of people. I personally believe that Katherine Howard, while indeed was a sexually promiscuous girl and perhaps simple , had a loving heart which was why she loved more than one man Ultimately her past of having had several lovers before she married Henry was sued to depose and murder the unfortunate girl. When we see the media and courts today in Britain excuse rape and even murder of young girls by Muslim rape gangs, claiming that the girls are not innocent in cases when they were not previously virgins , we have wonder how far England has really come since Henry's time, or indeed that it came forward particularly since the 1960s in attitudes to women and their value as humans, but has gone backwards in an effort to appease Islamization.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Ashley W

    Everyone knows the story of Henry VIII and his six wives whether from USA to Australia. That being said, Murder Most Royal doesn't add any new information, but was pretty entertaining all the same. The novel mostly focused on wives two (Anne Boleyn) and five (Catherine Howard), the two queens with two connections. One being that they are cousins, the other that they are beheaded...murdered, as the title suggests by the man they both called husband. Anne goes from precocious seven-year-old, leavin Everyone knows the story of Henry VIII and his six wives whether from USA to Australia. That being said, Murder Most Royal doesn't add any new information, but was pretty entertaining all the same. The novel mostly focused on wives two (Anne Boleyn) and five (Catherine Howard), the two queens with two connections. One being that they are cousins, the other that they are beheaded...murdered, as the title suggests by the man they both called husband. Anne goes from precocious seven-year-old, leaving England for France in the train of Mary Tudor, Henry VIII's younger sister, to the bitter woman some of know her to be, because of a chance love affair with Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland, gone wrong. However, when the King falls for her, she sees her chance to become Queen of England. My feelings for her went up and down throughout her whole story (I hated how she treated Katharine and Princess Mary; I felt sad when she failed Henry in giving him a son; I hated how she seemed to not think of doing something for the poor until she needed to put on a show of humility; I was nearly sobbing when she went to the block). However, I see why she became the way she was and can't help but wonder if she would've found happiness with Percy or even Wyatt, who she also held dear. Anne's story is intertwined with Catherine Howard's, who we meet as a young girl growing up in poverty. Her mother dies when she is about seven, and she is first given into the care of her mother's brother at Hollingbourne, where she meets and falls into puppy love, with her young cousin, Thomas Culpepper, and then into the hands of the Dowager Duchess of Norfolk, her stepgrandmother, where I believe everything went wrong. The Duchess was definitely not attentive to the young ladies of her household, who she was meant to instruct in everything, but mostly slept or ate. Of course, the girls were going to take that as a sign of "It's time to party!" It's also easy to see why Catherine became the girl she was. When Catherine threatened to tell what the other girls were up to, the poor girl was bullied to tears, the other girls telling her they would tell what she did with Thomas Culpepper, even though she knew she did nothing with him. The other girls even vied to find her a lover, so she would participate in their late night parties, but that wasn't needed as Catherine found one for herself: Henry Manox, her music teacher. Towards the time she found Francis Derham, she was portrayed as a senseless, naive, hopeless romantic, who believed everything everyone tells her. Of course, that leads to her downfall. Now, for the three characters I couldn't stand: 1.) Henry VIII - In Murder Most Royal, he is portrayed as the most cold, arrogant, egotistical, selfish man ever! He always thinks about himself, never his wives, children, courtiers, or subjects. Whatever Henry wants, Henry gets, no matter how many heads have to roll. He divorces Katharine just because she's old and can't bear any children, not to mention screwing up Bible verses in the process, he contemplates murdering Anne herself when he finds out about her "adultery", and threatens "dear" Jane with the same fate when she asks him to rebuild monasteries. And that's only three wives! 2.) Jane Rochford - The catalyst of Anne and her husband and Anne's brother, George's deaths. She is an evil, vindictive, shrewish, b****! No more needs to be said about her, except that I was nearly cheering in the end when she met the block... 3.) Mary Laselles - The catalyst of Catherine Howard's execution. She's the prudish, stuck-up girl who rats out Catherine and Francis Derham to the Duchess under a show of piety, when she was really angry about Henry Manox choosing Catherine, and not her, and that can't find a man of her own. She also tells her brother, John, of Catherine's PAST, knowing how dangerous that was, who then told Cranmer, who then told Henry, etc. All in all, I very much liked Murder Most Royal. But I did get somewhat annoyed with it for this reason. Not only was it in the POV of Anne and Catherine, but also of Henry VIII, Katharine of Aragon, Princess Mary, Wolsey, Cranmer, Cromwell, Jane Rochford, Jane Seymour, etc.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kelly A.

    It’s hard to believe that this is a piece of history. We get personal, yet fictionalized looks into the lives of two of England’s most infamous queens. The first chapter begins around the year 1510, with Anne as a seven-year-old girl, and ends in 1542, after the execution of her younger cousin Katherine (NOT a spoiler, I think the title gives away enough). What follows in between is such an interesting, engaging story, so wild it almost seems made up. One thing I ask of you, please don’t base you It’s hard to believe that this is a piece of history. We get personal, yet fictionalized looks into the lives of two of England’s most infamous queens. The first chapter begins around the year 1510, with Anne as a seven-year-old girl, and ends in 1542, after the execution of her younger cousin Katherine (NOT a spoiler, I think the title gives away enough). What follows in between is such an interesting, engaging story, so wild it almost seems made up. One thing I ask of you, please don’t base your facts off of this book. The general facts and events are correct, but many historical discrepancies are taken. These are some that bothered me most as I read: -Katherine of Aragon (Henry’s first wife) is described as never being beautiful, even as a young woman. This is definitely not true; she lost her beauty as she aged, but she was a very beautiful young woman, literally called the most beautiful woman in the world. -On a related note, Anne Boleyn’s beauty is gushed over in this book. According to historical documents, she was rather mousy looking. She attracted men and friends because of her charm and wit, not her beauty. -It is highly doubtful that Anne Boleyn and Katherine Howard ever met, even though they were cousins. They ran in completely different circles. It does add a good story-telling element, two future doomed Queens innocently meeting when they are very young. -Even more doubtful is that Katherine Howard and Thomas Culpepper were childhood friends...even though they were cousins (too many family relationships going on here!). -In the book, Jane Boleyn (Anne’s sister-in-law) is arrested and taken to the Tower of London shortly after Anne’s marriage to Henry for speaking treason against her. She may have been banished from court, as she was later on for trying to get rid of one of Henry’s mistresses, but she was never arrested on that charge. -This can’t really be called an historical error, but Jean Plaidy does take on the rumor that Anne Boleyn had a sixth finger and odd moles on her body. (Not literally an extra finger, just second nail on her left little finger. Still weird.) This is still up for debate. If you think you may be interested in this period of time, I wouldn’t recommend starting with this book (start with The Other Boleyn Girl, many historical errors, but a nice overview). Since I am familiar with this era, I thought I might be bored. Jean Plaidy is an author you either love or hate, and even though I nitpicked my way through this book, I still loved every minute of it. The writing style is easy to read, I couldn’t even tell it’d been written in the 1940s. I am definitely interested in reading more of her books (that may take me awhile, she’s written around 100!). 4 stars.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Karla

    This was the book that got me interested in the Tudors was back in the early 90s. Who knows what Twilight-esque literary phenoms were raging through my high school at the time, but I was gobbling up Plaidy by the armful. I have no idea if I would like this book now - as I've found Plaidy to be a bit dry in recent years - but this book had me turning the pages frantically to find out what happened to both Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard. So I'll simply keep it on the memory shelf where so many bo This was the book that got me interested in the Tudors was back in the early 90s. Who knows what Twilight-esque literary phenoms were raging through my high school at the time, but I was gobbling up Plaidy by the armful. I have no idea if I would like this book now - as I've found Plaidy to be a bit dry in recent years - but this book had me turning the pages frantically to find out what happened to both Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard. So I'll simply keep it on the memory shelf where so many books should remain.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jinny

    More books about the Tudors! Although to be fair, this one was written in 1949 so I wouldn’t say it’s a part of the current Tudor craze. As usual with such historical novels, though it says it is a part of a series, you can most certainly read them in any order you like. Murder Most Royal takes place during the reign of Henry VIII and it focuses on two of his wives: Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard, who were cousins of one another. As per usual, if you have an understanding of history, than the p More books about the Tudors! Although to be fair, this one was written in 1949 so I wouldn’t say it’s a part of the current Tudor craze. As usual with such historical novels, though it says it is a part of a series, you can most certainly read them in any order you like. Murder Most Royal takes place during the reign of Henry VIII and it focuses on two of his wives: Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard, who were cousins of one another. As per usual, if you have an understanding of history, than the plot of the story is going to be predictable and familiar for you. The story begins with Henry being dissatisfied with his current wife, Katherine of Aragon (who is, by the way, my favourite of Henry’s six queens). Anne Boleyn catches the eye of the king, but Anne is steadfast in her initial decision to not have anything to do with the king. She has seen how her sister, Mary Boleyn, is treated by others after Henry has enjoyed her and then, discarded her. Henry is absolutely smitten though. Eventually, with her own love gone and lost, Anne decides to embrace her ambitious side and be with the king. As this is happening, we also have young Catherine Howard, beautiful and passionate. She flits from lover to lover, believing herself to be truly in love each time, until someone “better” comes along. She is proud that her cousin Anne is the soon-to-be queen and never would have dreamed that one day, she will be filling in Anne’s shoes. I think this is probably the most historically accurate Tudor novel I’ve read yet. That’s not to say it’s 100% historically accurate, just that it’s the most accurate I’ve read so far. I really enjoyed it, especially being exposed to some more historical figures and learning about them. There’s a whole slew of minor ones, but also the characters of Catherine Howard and Anne of Cleves. There’s so few current novels that feature those two queens. Usually they are kind of glossed over, or just mentioned in passing. Although Anne of Cleves’ part in this novel is brief, I finally got to be “acquainted” with her and Catherine Howard. Of course, their characters’ are the author, Jean Plaidy’s interpretation of them, and it was a very likeable and enjoyable perspective of these two ladies. As for Anne Boleyn, I was pleasantly surprised that she was portrayed rather positively in this book. It’s so easy to portray Anne Boleyn in a negative light and a lot of current Tudor novels do indeed do that. In this book, Anne is not shown to be ambitious right from the start. Anne is shown to be a clever, witty, and beautiful young lady. She sees the way her sister ruined her reputation, and she has no interest in following in her footsteps. Anne is shown to be passionate and loving when she was with Henry Percy, and devastated when they could not be together. Believing that she will never have the happy love life she wanted, she decides to answer the king’s flirtations and begin scheming for power, so she may hurt those who have ruined her chances for happiness. The funny thing with this novel is that although the book is supposed to be about Anne and Catherine, I feel like it is disproportionately more about Anne Boleyn. Fair enough, she is the more “exciting” queen and all. It just felt a bit unequal while reading. 80% of the book focused on Anne, interspersed with bits and pieces about Catherine’s childhood and lovers. Then the last 20%, when Anne dies, focuses on Catherine, but she frequently thinks about her tragic cousin. Henry, too, also continuously thinks about Anne, even as he takes new wives. This book shows how deeply involved Henry was with Anne Boleyn and he could do nothing to remove her from his life, even having her killed. With all that said, I did not find this book to be a “page turner” as sometimes the passages can feel quite dry. I wouldn’t label this book as exciting, but it definitely is emotional and full of drama. Maybe it’s just because I am so accustomed to reading about Henry and his wives now … However, for the most part, it was a pleasant read and I truly enjoyed the different take on Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard. I definitely want to try out more books by Jean Plaidy.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Elena

    Borrowed from Open Library. This is the second book by Jean Plaidy I read, and I enjoyed it just as much as I did with the first, The Lady in the Tower. The main characters are Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard, who were possibly the most tragic of Henry VIII's wives. They had very different personalities, but also much in common: they were cousins, both captivating women with a great charm, and of course they were both married to Henry VIII - and were both executed by him. Plaidy interweaves their Borrowed from Open Library. This is the second book by Jean Plaidy I read, and I enjoyed it just as much as I did with the first, The Lady in the Tower. The main characters are Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard, who were possibly the most tragic of Henry VIII's wives. They had very different personalities, but also much in common: they were cousins, both captivating women with a great charm, and of course they were both married to Henry VIII - and were both executed by him. Plaidy interweaves their stories, showing their similar fates and their differences, and also makes them interact in a few scenes - probably not historically accurate, but a lovely idea. Plaidy's novels may be a little dated, fluffy and not historically irreproachable, but they are definitely entertaining. The story is full of drama and has few boring parts, while some points are really emotional. I liked Anne's parts better, but mostly because I just appreciate her more than Catherine. I also think the focus was more on Anne than on her younger cousin. I would have liked to read more about Catherine as a queen, but after all she was so for a very little time. While in The Lady in the Tower the story was told with Anne as a narrator, and so the other characters were not always well developed, in this case we have multiple point of views, a choice I appreciated greatly. We get to know not only Anne and Catherine, but other interesting figures too, like Wolsey, Cromwell and Henry. I think the switch in the point of views kept the story always alive and engaging. Now I just need to decide which Plaidy novel to read next!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Tania

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Henry VIII managed to behead 2 of his 6 wives – Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard, cousins. We’ve heard the story of Anne Boleyn in several of Plaidy’s novels already, details remain fairly stable and this shows Plaidy’s firm grasp on the historical events of that time period. I was really looking forward to this novel and found myself greatly disappointed. The story lingered in some places and rushed in others, and the change in pace was distracting. I didn’t read this cover to cover like other P Henry VIII managed to behead 2 of his 6 wives – Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard, cousins. We’ve heard the story of Anne Boleyn in several of Plaidy’s novels already, details remain fairly stable and this shows Plaidy’s firm grasp on the historical events of that time period. I was really looking forward to this novel and found myself greatly disappointed. The story lingered in some places and rushed in others, and the change in pace was distracting. I didn’t read this cover to cover like other Plaidy works but instead struggled thru. The story never took on a life of its own. I may be partially at fault – perhaps one can only read the story of Anne Boleyn so many times in a single year. But these characters were never infused with life, never drew me in.

  9. 4 out of 5

    June Louise

    "His great weakness had its roots in his conscience. He was what men called a religious man, which in his case meant he was a superstitious man. There was never a man less Christian; there was never one who made a greater show of piety. He was cruel; he was brutal; he was pitiless. This was his creed. He was an egoist, a megalomaniac; he saw himself not only as the centre of England but of the world. In his own opinion, everything he did was right; he only needed time to see it in its right pers "His great weakness had its roots in his conscience. He was what men called a religious man, which in his case meant he was a superstitious man. There was never a man less Christian; there was never one who made a greater show of piety. He was cruel; he was brutal; he was pitiless. This was his creed. He was an egoist, a megalomaniac; he saw himself not only as the centre of England but of the world. In his own opinion, everything he did was right; he only needed time to see it in its right perspective, and he would prove it to be right. He took his strength from this belief in himself; and as his belief was strong, so was Henry". Oooh what a nasty piece of work that Henry VIII was!! The already unlikable character who we saw emerging in the previous book The King's Secret Matter becomes even more detestable in Murder Most Royal, as do some of his "henchmen". Having read about poor Katharine of Aragon's treatment by Henry, and indirectly by Anne Boleyn, I started off reading this book not being a huge "Anne fan". However, on reading a bit more about Anne - I can't help feeling a little sorry for her - especially when it seems that Henry allowed himself little dalliances with the women of the court, but when Anne did the same (not that they were of the same intensity as those of Henry VIII), she is condemned to death. It also seems that failure to produce a boy child was a cardinal sin to Henry, and following her miscarriage, Anne knew her time was up. It's a shame that Henry didn't realise that the sex of a baby is determined by the father - not the mother....it was his fault all along! However, baby Elizabeth (the future "Good Queen Bess") was the legacy of this unfortunate union, and anyone familiar with English history will know how mighty a leader she turned out to be. "Look Nan! This figure represents me....and here is the King. And here is Katharine. This must be so, since our initials are on them. Nan, tell me, I do not look like that! Look, Nan, do not turn away. Here I am with my head cut off". As well as charting the rise and fall of Anne Boleyn, Murder Most Royal follows the risque life of Henry's fifth wife, Catherine Howard - cousin of Anne Boleyn. Not having been brought up in such privileged circumstances as Anne, Catherine is sent to the Dowager Duchess of Norfolk's house where she "grows up" extremely fast amidst the wild and bawdy company of the other women, and a couple of beaus. The book describes Catherine's rise to Court, as one of Anne of Cleves' maids to being the new bride of the King, and her downfall shortly afterwards, eerily echoing that of her cousin Anne Boleyn. "He looked at her with smouldering eyes; there were occasions when he could forget he was a king and put his hands about that little neck, and press and press until there was no breath left in her. But a king does not do murder; others do it for him. It was a quick thought that passed through his mind and was gone before he had time to realise it had been there". Jane Seymour (whom Henry married days after Anne Boleyn was beheaded and was the only wife who successfully provided Henry with a son) and Anne of Cleves (Henry's fourth wife) are mentioned fleetingly in this book. I admit to having laughed at the thought of the actual meeting of Henry and Anne of Cleves and the disgust that each felt at the sight of the other! Needless to say, a marriage annulment ensued which was a far from sombre occasion... ".....this was miraculous! This was happiness! That corpulent, perspiring, sullen, angry, spiteful, wicked monster of a man was no longer her husband! She need not live close to him!....She was free......Never had Henry succeeded in making one of his wives so happy." There are grim sections in this book, where the different methods of torture are described, and the agonies of Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard's allies are described in detail, as well as those of the monks and other "traitors" - namely those people who disagreed with anything Henry said. On finishing this book I can say that the characters with the "boo factor" were Henry VIII himself, Jane Rochford, Mary Lassels and Wriothesley (the cruellest torturer). Cranmer was a bit too simpering and sly. The Dowager Duchess of Norfolk with her many snoozes and free use of the whip seemed to me a bit of a comic character - although the punishment she wreaked on her victims was far from funny. Some of the historical facts are a little on the inaccurate side (for example Plaidy stated that Anne Boleyn was twenty-nine when she was beheaded, but other historical sources believe she was in her mid-thirties), but these niggles aside, it is a fantastic read - very engaging; in fact, I think this is the most dramatic Plaidy book I have read so far. Oh those terrible Tudors!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Helene Harrison

    Review - I didn't like this one as much as The King's Great Matter because I felt that the story was far too abbreviated and there wasn't enough detail in either story. It would have been better to look at Anne Boleyn's story in one book and Katherine Howard's in another, so that their stories could be fully explored and explained. I felt this was a major flaw, but that what was written was well written and interesting, if abbreviated. I thought that neither character came across as entirely 3D Review - I didn't like this one as much as The King's Great Matter because I felt that the story was far too abbreviated and there wasn't enough detail in either story. It would have been better to look at Anne Boleyn's story in one book and Katherine Howard's in another, so that their stories could be fully explored and explained. I felt this was a major flaw, but that what was written was well written and interesting, if abbreviated. I thought that neither character came across as entirely 3D because I think in this novel Plaidy overreached herself in trying to cover so much territory in so little words. Katherine came across as a petulant and selfish child while Anne was an ambitious and power-hungry woman, but I think there was more to them than this. Genre? - Historical / Romance / Drama Characters? - Anne Boleyn / Katherine Howard / Henry VIII / Jane Seymour / Anne of Cleves / George Boleyn / Thomas Boleyn / Henry Norris / Mark Smeaton / Thomas Cromwell / Thomas Culpeper / Francis Dereham / Henry Mannox Setting? - London (England) Series? - Tudor #5 Recommend? - Maybe Rating - 14/20

  11. 5 out of 5

    Portia Costa

    I read this book years and years ago, probably when I was in my teens, so I'd forgotten almost everything about it... and forgotten how good it is. The style is a bit oldfashioned, but nevertheless it's a real page turner. Although we can't know for certain how the characters really thought and felt, Jean Plaidy does a fantastic job of making Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard believable. She creates sympathy for the women, without making them saints, and paints a particularly vivid por I read this book years and years ago, probably when I was in my teens, so I'd forgotten almost everything about it... and forgotten how good it is. The style is a bit oldfashioned, but nevertheless it's a real page turner. Although we can't know for certain how the characters really thought and felt, Jean Plaidy does a fantastic job of making Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard believable. She creates sympathy for the women, without making them saints, and paints a particularly vivid portrait of the monster that was Henry VIII, a basically weak, self serving, self deluding egotist who had virtually no empathy. Okay, so Tudor times were radically different to ours, and the pressures of being a king were very real, but Jean Plaidy perfectly reflects the opinion I've formed of this notorious monarch, based on extensive reading. She shows us a man who was constantly banging on about his 'conscience' while effectively not possessing one at all. He didn't give a **** about anybody but himself. A psychopath. Sorry for the rant, but I really do dislike Henry VIII with extreme prejudice!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Robinson

    I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. I felt that it was well researched and seemed more accurate according to what researchers seem to have to say about this particular period in history. I found that hearing the voice of Anne Boelynne helped me to connect with her, as a person, as I never have before. I felt that I had a much better understanding of who she might have been and of her motivations. I still cannot say that I really liked her but I had to admire her courage and the way she faced her deat I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. I felt that it was well researched and seemed more accurate according to what researchers seem to have to say about this particular period in history. I found that hearing the voice of Anne Boelynne helped me to connect with her, as a person, as I never have before. I felt that I had a much better understanding of who she might have been and of her motivations. I still cannot say that I really liked her but I had to admire her courage and the way she faced her death. I did not come away feeling that I really knew Cathrine, she just seemed like a victim more so than a person in her own right with a fully formed charachter and ideas of her own. Ho Henry comes across as an amoral villian, which really, I suppose by today's standards he is. This novel made me excited to read more by this author and I am glad that I heard about it from the Tudor History Lovers group here on Goodreads.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Wilson

    I absolutely adore Tudor historical fiction, but this book nearly killed me! The writing did not sustain my attention AT ALL! In fact, it seemed to drone on and on without lending any fresh perspective. The fact that it was written from the third person omniscient point of view was disturbing because it made for very abrupt shifts in the linear progression of the story and also left the reader on the outside looking in. I think that readers invest more in a novel when they connect with a specifi I absolutely adore Tudor historical fiction, but this book nearly killed me! The writing did not sustain my attention AT ALL! In fact, it seemed to drone on and on without lending any fresh perspective. The fact that it was written from the third person omniscient point of view was disturbing because it made for very abrupt shifts in the linear progression of the story and also left the reader on the outside looking in. I think that readers invest more in a novel when they connect with a specific character or two and see events through that person's eyes. It enables readers to feel a part of the story themselves. This novel, on the other hand, felt more like a dry piece of non-fiction with a few thoughts from the characters thrown in for good measure. BORING, BORING, BORING! When it takes me over a month and a half to read a book, something is definitely wrong!!!!!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    I don't know if it's because I've almost practically exhausted the Tudor historical fiction genre, or if this book just was not written as well as it could have been, but it seemed very bland to me. There was a LOT more intrigue and scandal in that time period, I'm sure, but she tends to skip over a lot. The majority of the book is spent on Anne Boleyn, which I understand since she was around longer. However, it takes a lot away from the character of Catherine Howard, leaving her a little empty. I don't know if it's because I've almost practically exhausted the Tudor historical fiction genre, or if this book just was not written as well as it could have been, but it seemed very bland to me. There was a LOT more intrigue and scandal in that time period, I'm sure, but she tends to skip over a lot. The majority of the book is spent on Anne Boleyn, which I understand since she was around longer. However, it takes a lot away from the character of Catherine Howard, leaving her a little empty. (Also, since Plaidy never goes into detail about what has happened with Catherine during her time in her grandmother's house, those who don't know a lot about her person would be very confused until the very end.)

  15. 5 out of 5

    Tracey

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I must admit that I have Always been fascinated with the life of Anne Boleyn. This book starts when she was a young child off to France and then build up to her life as King Henry VIII’s mistress, Wife and the mother of his daughter Elizabeth. It’s a very good read, Jean Plaidy as a way of getting deep into historical fiction and making the past come to life.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Hannah Sloane

    This book not my favorite Tudor book, but still worth reading. I found it interesting that the author chose to tell the stories of Anne Boleyn and Katherine Howard together. I learned a lot about their family connections. Overall, I think it was a good read.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Clare

    I love a good elizabethan novel!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Debbie Cartwright

    Had to force myself to put down to do other things

  19. 4 out of 5

    Phil Syphe

    Like with the Plantagenet saga, the author attempts to pack many years’ worth of history from numerous viewpoints into one volume, which results in a lot of bland scenes that should’ve been dramatized. The pace often drags, and little action occurs. “Murder Most Royal” has some good moments, hence my rating it two stars instead of one, but these high points are few and far between in this slow-paced novel. I skipped several tedious paragraphs that were doing nothing to move the story along – in f Like with the Plantagenet saga, the author attempts to pack many years’ worth of history from numerous viewpoints into one volume, which results in a lot of bland scenes that should’ve been dramatized. The pace often drags, and little action occurs. “Murder Most Royal” has some good moments, hence my rating it two stars instead of one, but these high points are few and far between in this slow-paced novel. I skipped several tedious paragraphs that were doing nothing to move the story along – in fact, they were dragging it down. The author tried to cover too much. The section on Thomas Moor and his family, for example, should’ve been cut. It’s one viewpoint too many for the reader to digest. As with all Plaidy novels, “Murder Most Royal” features a lot of repeated info and dry facts. The main reason why her works are so dry is because there’s far too much *telling*, as opposed to *showing*. The reader is often told what happened in a few sentences, when the author could’ve dramatized scenes to show what happened. At times, like with the quote below, the narrative is so dry and lacking in drama that it reads like a history book, not a novel: *Cromwell outlined his plan. For years the old Duke of Cleves had wanted an alliance with England. His son had a claim to the Duchy of Guelders, which Duchy was in relation to the Emperor Charles very much what Scotland was to Henry, ever ready to be a cause of trouble. A marriage between England and the house of Cleves would therefore seriously threaten the Emperor’s hold on his Dutch dominions.* Something else Plaidy’s guilty of is her continuous use of the passive voice, such as “The door of the Palace,” as opposed to the active, “The Palace door.” Passive voice = passive prose. Same can be said about the extent of reported speech. Dialogue is active, reported speech isn’t, and like with the quote below, it sometimes doesn’t even make clear what was said: *Francis retorted in such a way as to make Henry squirm, and he did not go to Calais to make a personal inspection of prospective wives.* We never do find out in what way Francis retorted. This is storytelling at its worst. Another annoying trait this author has is writing with hindsight. Her characters say prophetic things, which is too unrealistic, or they wish for things – repeatedly – until they either get their wish or die trying. The future was unknown for these people, but in several Plaidy books they have premonitions, which I can’t believe the real people these characters are based on would ever have, such as Ann Boleyn more than once stating – or implying – that she’ll one day be beheaded. It’s all down to the author writing with hindsight, which I find very irritating. My biggest criticism of this novel is the inconsistency in language. It’s a blend of old-style English and modern English, albeit the modern language is tainted not only with the passive voice, but with mixed-up syntax like this: *Oh, how much simpler to manage had been his daughter Mary!* Badly-written sentences like the one above slow the narrative down. I guess the author is trying to make the characters feel as authentic as possible, but when writing for a modern audience, the choice of language should be contemporary. Granted, some readers like the authentic approach, but not everyone who reads historical fiction appreciates this method. Examples of inconsistent language include the following: Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn: “Anne, thou talkest wildly.” Then a few lines later Henry says: “Sweetheart, you talk with wildness!” The Dowager Duchess of Norfolk says to Catherine Howard: “Dost think I would not find thee a teacher at Lambeth?” Soon after she adds: “And why do you bother me with lessons and teachers?” Mary Lassels says to Thomas Mannox: “Man, what meanest thou to play the fool of this fashion! Knowest thou not that an my lady of Norfolk knew of the love between thee and Mistress Howard she will undo thee?” And a little later Mary tells Catherine Howard: “I have come to warn you. You are very young, and I do not think you realize what you do.” The last example of Mary Lassels’s speech particularly highlights the contrasting language. It being in dialogue makes it worse, as in real life people don’t have such huge variations in speech – except, perhaps, when fooling around or when drunk. In normal circumstances, though, someone doesn’t go from saying, “Man, what meanest thou to play the fool of this fashion!” one minute, to saying, “I have come to warn you” the next. Very inconsistent, highly unrealistic, and most irritating for the reader (this one, anyway). Something about Jean Plaidy’s books keep me coming back for more. Perhaps it’s her obvious love for English history, which I share, that draws me back. I wish she’d focused less on turning out as greater quantity of novels as possible and concentrated more on quality writing. A novel like this one should be revised about 20 times, yet this at best feels like a fifth draft.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Emma

    I'm a bit torn between 2 and 3 stars because the bits which were good were interesting and at times exciting but it was too long! I found that there were really good parts of the book followed by big chunks where I was thinking "God this is slow, do I really need to know this!" I read The Kings Secret Matter which just focused on the divorce from Katherine of Aragon and the beginnings of Anne Boleyn's story and I felt like that was a good book. In this book however we suddenly go through 5 of He I'm a bit torn between 2 and 3 stars because the bits which were good were interesting and at times exciting but it was too long! I found that there were really good parts of the book followed by big chunks where I was thinking "God this is slow, do I really need to know this!" I read The Kings Secret Matter which just focused on the divorce from Katherine of Aragon and the beginnings of Anne Boleyn's story and I felt like that was a good book. In this book however we suddenly go through 5 of Henry's wives hence the length of the book. I didn't realise that when I started reading, I was just expecting a bit of overlap with Katherine and Anne Boleyn so I was really surprised to start reading about Catherine Howard so early on. As for Catherine Howard I feel like this was almost as much her story as it was Anne's and the Queens in between were glossed over and rushed through by comparison. I think Jean Plaidy wrote well though and she was good at making you empathise with characters whom perhaps you weren't expecting to. When I read about Katherine of Aragon I was totally on her side but then when I read this book about Anne Boleyn I started thinking that she wasn't all bad either. I'm glad I read this book as it did teach me some things I didn't know about history but It's going in the charity bag because I have no inclination to read it again.

  21. 5 out of 5

    F. Glenn

    This book was recommended to me by a fellow Goodreads member and a fan of Medieval Historical fiction. I had already read other accounts of Ann Boleyn and her life with King Henry VIII but in this novel the author takes time to delve into the character of the King. It was well know that King Henry VIII had beheaded more than one wife and that knowledge would undoubtedly cause one to wonder why and/or how a man, even a king, could do such a thing. This novel gives insight into the man’s mental in This book was recommended to me by a fellow Goodreads member and a fan of Medieval Historical fiction. I had already read other accounts of Ann Boleyn and her life with King Henry VIII but in this novel the author takes time to delve into the character of the King. It was well know that King Henry VIII had beheaded more than one wife and that knowledge would undoubtedly cause one to wonder why and/or how a man, even a king, could do such a thing. This novel gives insight into the man’s mental instability and that man being a king who believes that his position is ordained by God. Fascinating! Although slow, this is a great read.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Liz

    More like 3.5 stars but Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard are my favorite of the Tudor queens, so... I really enjoyed the multiple points-of-view in Anne and Catherine’s stories, even Henry’s and how neither woman was vilified; they were just victims of the times they lived in. The torture scenes (especially with Smeaton) were really creepy. I did think there were some pacing issues, Anne’s courtship and queendom is roughly 75% of the book and Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves, and Catherine Howard we More like 3.5 stars but Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard are my favorite of the Tudor queens, so... I really enjoyed the multiple points-of-view in Anne and Catherine’s stories, even Henry’s and how neither woman was vilified; they were just victims of the times they lived in. The torture scenes (especially with Smeaton) were really creepy. I did think there were some pacing issues, Anne’s courtship and queendom is roughly 75% of the book and Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves, and Catherine Howard were stuffed into the last 25% so parts of it felt rushed. Some dialogue also came off as awkward/bad Shakespeare.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Nicky Warwick

    After an enforced break from my reading (10 weeks off due to a litter of puppies - as when I was with them I was too busy to concentrate on reading & when I got time off I slept!) I finally finished - & enjoyed - Murder Most Royal by Jean Plaidy. This is a book I have read before many years ago but didn't keep so when I spotted it in the village Book Box I picked it up. I enjoy Jean Plaidy because she tries to stick as closely as possible to historical fact whilst dramatising/imagineing events lik After an enforced break from my reading (10 weeks off due to a litter of puppies - as when I was with them I was too busy to concentrate on reading & when I got time off I slept!) I finally finished - & enjoyed - Murder Most Royal by Jean Plaidy. This is a book I have read before many years ago but didn't keep so when I spotted it in the village Book Box I picked it up. I enjoy Jean Plaidy because she tries to stick as closely as possible to historical fact whilst dramatising/imagineing events like conversations etc. I think she also writes more roamantic stuff as Victoria Holt & I'm sure I've read some of those books over the years too!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Keely

    I've read a lot of Tudor fiction; this is one of the more unique ones I've read. And by unique, I mean the author doesn't follow the undiputed facts we know; she practically makes up her own story by only following the basics. There is a lot that is purely made up, about 70% of it isn't completely right or is made up completely. This will either annoy you, tolerate it or make the book more enjoyable because it's like something you've never been read before. Then again, I may be being too harsh, I've read a lot of Tudor fiction; this is one of the more unique ones I've read. And by unique, I mean the author doesn't follow the undiputed facts we know; she practically makes up her own story by only following the basics. There is a lot that is purely made up, about 70% of it isn't completely right or is made up completely. This will either annoy you, tolerate it or make the book more enjoyable because it's like something you've never been read before. Then again, I may be being too harsh, as this was written in 1949 so I'm not sure how much information was available back then, compared to today, I don't know how far we have come with new discoveries over the last 60 years about the Tudor times.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Pam

    Although this is well written, I struggled with the book. It could be that, given the book was originally published in 1949, the approach to the history blended with fiction is different than what I am used to reading in more current books about the Tudors. Overall, I felt as though the book tried to cover too much about Henry VIII's wives in one volume. Granted, it's about the series of wifely murders that occur, but I couldn't get a strong sense of any single character with any of the wives or Although this is well written, I struggled with the book. It could be that, given the book was originally published in 1949, the approach to the history blended with fiction is different than what I am used to reading in more current books about the Tudors. Overall, I felt as though the book tried to cover too much about Henry VIII's wives in one volume. Granted, it's about the series of wifely murders that occur, but I couldn't get a strong sense of any single character with any of the wives or King Henry himself.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sarah (Workaday Reads)

    I usually love historical fiction stories about monarchs and their wives, especially ones surrounding King Henry VIII, but this was such a heavy book. It was slow and overly wordy and just a slog to get through. There were a few entertaining moments, but it was overall just very plodding and heavy. There are such many better stories about Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard that I won't really recommend this book to anyone.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Christine Cazeneuve

    This novel spanned Henry VIII's marriages with Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves and Catherine Howard and his relationship with each. His marriage to Anne of Cleves was very short (as was his marriage) and it was a very good read. I only rated it 4 stars rather than my usual 5 stars because I prefer books with lots of dialogue which Jean Plaidy's novels usually provide but this was not so much. This is #5 in the Tudor Saga Series.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Lynn Smith

    First published 1949. This Pan edition published in 1972. I first read this as a teenager and it was the first one of the Tudor Saga I read. It was so well crafted and easy to read. SYNOPSIS: One powerful king. Two tragic queens. In the court of Henry VIII, it was dangerous for a woman to catch the king’s eye. Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard were cousins. Both were beautiful women, though very different in temperament. They each learned that Henry’s passion was all-consuming–and fickle. Sophisticat First published 1949. This Pan edition published in 1972. I first read this as a teenager and it was the first one of the Tudor Saga I read. It was so well crafted and easy to read. SYNOPSIS: One powerful king. Two tragic queens. In the court of Henry VIII, it was dangerous for a woman to catch the king’s eye. Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard were cousins. Both were beautiful women, though very different in temperament. They each learned that Henry’s passion was all-consuming–and fickle. Sophisticated Anne Boleyn, raised in the decadent court of France, was in love with another man when King Henry claimed her as his own. Being his mistress gave her a position of power; being his queen put her life in jeopardy. Her younger cousin, Catherine Howard, was only fifteen when she was swept into the circle of King Henry. Her innocence attracted him, but a past mistake was destined to haunt her. Painted in the rich colors of Tudor England, Murder Most Royal is a page-turning journey into the lives of two of the wives of the tempestuous Henry VIII.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Amy Clayton

    I didn't enjoy this one quite as much as Royal Road to Fotheringhay. This one felt a bit too long as it goes from Anne Boleyn's childhood until the death of Catherine Howard. It's mostly focused around Anne with Catherine being slotted in now and then. There's multiple povs in this, some were more interesting than others. It was interesting to watch catherine and Anne's lives run side by side.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Lindsey

    This book focused on the lives of Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard, the two wives of Henry VIII that he beheaded. I had wondered how the focus could be on these two wives since there were two other wives between them but it was very well done-the brief mention of Jane and Anne of Cleves didn't seem superfluous or rushed at all. Catherine's character seemed perfectly portrayed to me-a flighty airhead who just wants to please herself. This is one of the better Plaidy novels.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.