The May Bride – A Novel

Written by Suzannah Dunn
Review by Marina Oliver

Narrated by 15-year-old Jane Seymour from the time her brother Edward brings home his bride Katherine, to when, less than three years later, the marriage collapses, this provides an interesting picture of life in the Seymour home. It shows the shy Jane in an unusual setting, before she becomes public property for historical novelists. All the women, and the children, work at a multitude of domestic tasks essential to the family. There are some delightful descriptions of these, and the gardens. Jane’s brothers are shown as they might have been when young: Edward is serious and ambitious, Thomas jealous and mischievous.

The author deliberately uses modern language, which I could accept, but some colloquial expressions, and contractions in the narrative such as ‘could’ve’ and ‘would’ve’, jarred. I also found the overuse, and often incorrect use, of commas, semi-colons, colons and dashes distracting. There were occasional scenes where Jane could not have been present, but was told about, which are narrated as though she had been there. The final section, skimming very briefly over Jane’s time attending on the Queen, to her own marriage, was superficial and unnecessary. Altogether a disappointing read.