Jane the Quene

Written by Janet Wertman
Review by Steve Donoghue

This first volume in Janet Wertman’s projected trilogy about the famous Seymour clan of Tudor times focuses on the most famous of them all: the 27-year-old daughter of the family, Jane, who in 1535 seemed destined to a life at Court serving as lady-in-waiting and eventually marrying some minor nobleman to further the family’s ambitions. But as all Tudor enthusiasts know, lucky timing and a certain tasteful amount of conniving were on Jane Seymour’s side: by the time Henry turns his attention to her, he’s already divorced his Queen Catherine and is rapidly souring on Anne Boleyn as his desperation for a male heir grows more intense. Jane will provide that male heir, the luckless Edward VI, but Wertman’s spirited and sensitive novel concentrates on the heartfelt and surprisingly simple affection that grows up between Henry and the woman who will become his third wife. The larger, louder world of the Tudor court—where Thomas Cromwell and Jane’s own brothers scheme and plot—is shut out in favor of intimate and winningly human scenes between Henry and Jane. A touching and insightful reading experience.