Cover Image: The King's Pleasure

The King's Pleasure

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Member Reviews

A big thank you to NetGalley and Random House for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.
I am a big fan of Alison Weir and her books. I enjoy both her fiction and nonfiction books so I was very excited to see her take on King Henry VIII. This book follows his life from around 11/12 until his death. I was very surprised that Anne Boleyn does not really factor into this book until about 40% of the way through. This book really talks about his journey to break with the Holy Roman Empire and take control of England and the religious reforms. I was surprised that his later 4 wives weren’t featured as much as I would have thought they would be in the second half of the book but that’s okay because they each have their own individual books written by Ms. Weir. 
I really liked this book and am giving it 3.5 stars. I will probably end up buying this book and would recommend it as an easily accessible book for anyone just beginning their journey into discovering the life of King Henry VIII.
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When Weir finished the Six Wives series with Katharine Parr, I thought that was going to be the end. Having Henry tell “his side of the story” was simultaneously a surprise and also felt logical… because of course he of all people would want the final say! The book starts with the death of Henry’s mother, proceeds through each of his marriages (with the majority of the book being dedicated to Katherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn), major events during his reign, and finally the story ends with his death. This is a monumental amount of ground to cover in one book.

I can imagine how daunting this was to write because it was also pretty daunting to read. There is just so much going on that after several days I couldn’t believe I wasn’t even halfway through the book after so many things had happened. There are times I wanted less detail and more introspection, but I also admit, with Henry being a less than sympathetic character I think hearing his thoughts and emotions likely would have been eye-roll inducing.

Henry’s perspective is a challenging one, and now I understand why I haven’t read a novel from his point of view before. This is not my favorite book from Weir, not because of the writing itself, but because Henry is such a whiny little brat that it was difficult for me to stick with him. The early years have some great humor with his focus on conquering France, and his later years where his health is declining and he explores his regrets feel so real, but ultimately I think the reader will feel similar to how his wives felt… that listening to Henry is a bit of a chore.
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It was very interesting hearing Henry VIII’s perspective on his life, especially since we’ve had many awesome books that gave voice to his wives. Alison Weir did a wonderful  job with accurate historical facts, while giving everyone a voice that modern audiences would understand. I definitely enjoyed this book.
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I always love reading Alison Weir because she always makes me think. This was an interesting read as it came from King Henry's own head. In a way I felt sorry for him as I feel he had England's best interests at heart he just went about it the wrong way.
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Thanks to NetGalley for an ARC copy of this book!
I've read the wives books written by Weir and this is parallel to those- she has taken a full and dramatic character (Henry VIII) and crafted an easy to read historical novel that hits the political, cultural, and personal aspects of his life. All six wives are included as well as Henry's inner circle of courtiers and advisors. 
Great book for anyone with an interest in Tudor life or Henry VIII specifically. What I really liked about it is that it's suitable for both people who little to no background on the Tudors or those who has read other books about the family/period. Weir's writing is easy to follow and approachable, and she keeps you engaged with lots of dialogue. 4.25 stars.
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King Henry VIII...known as the king with 6 unlucky wives, he was much more than that. Becoming king at the age of 18 when his father died and reviewed himself as being second only to God because he was king. Not completely prepared to become king at that young age due to a somewhat what relationship with his father he had to learn on the job. It's hard to describe Henry: intelligent, passionate, devout, truly believing in his own destiny but also arrogant, inflexible and full of himself. The King's Pleasure as well titled, as Henry believed that everything was at his pleasure.

The King's Pleasure is a good companion piece to Alison Weir's books about Henry's wives; she does an excellent job of giving us the other side of their stories.
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I normally love reading about the Tudors and love reading anything Alison Weir writes but being in Henry VIII's head for this book was downright painful. And anyone who knows his history knows he wasn't a likeable character. And I don't think anything could make him likeable. Though Alison did try.
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Review in progress and to come.

I received a free copy of this book via NetGalley and am voluntarily leaving a review
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The King's Pleasure is a unique take on the wildly popular historical figure, King Henry VIII. Many novels focus on the perspectives of each of his wives, painting Henry into an overbearing heartless dictator. Weir takes a unique approach by letting the reader glimpse into the mind of Henry through his choices in a leadership and romance. This particularly novel dives into the perceived desires of Henry from his obvious want of a male heir, but also his need to be loved. Weir takes careful detail in aligning historical references to frame her narrative so the novel remains as true to history as is known. This is a wonderful touch that brings a sense of humanity to the historic figure. Additionally, the reader sees the emotional journey Henry takes alongside each of his wives through miscarriage and loss. While the novel focuses on the quest for romance and offspring, Weir still weaves in the impactful decisions Henry makes during his reign, thus making him one of the most influential rulers in England's history. This novel did not disappoint and provides a breath of fresh air in a saturated market of King Henry VII historical fiction works.
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Thank you NetGalley for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.  I usually like Weir’s books.  She has written a book on each of Henry’s wives.  This book was sort of like a really long Cliff’s Notes version.  I have read other books about Henry VIII and maybe I was a bit jaded going into this one.  In my opinion, a book about him needs to be about 1,000 to 1,500 pages to do the subject justice.  I felt like this book didn’t cover anything well enough.  I do think, for a basic understanding, the book did its job, it just didn’t do it for me.  This isn’t a definitive work on the subject but would be a good jumping off place to find out if you want to read more about this very larger than life monarch
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This book was awesome! I have loved her previous series, so this was a great addition. I love how well researched these are, and the attention to detail. 

I would recommend this book to anyone.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review . *
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Every time I crack open a book by Alison Weir, I know that, with the exception of conversational accuracy, what I’m reading is as close to the accurate truth without overdramatised filler. As an historian, Weir keeps to the facts - I love historical fiction and accuracy of the historical aspect of that fiction is important to me and I very much appreciate Ms. Weir's books for this as well as that I find her stories about long ago royalty to be completely readable. 

After reading the Tudor wives series and enjoying them (along with many of her other titles) I was really looking forward to this one after receiving an invitation to read it. 

This one took me a while to get through - at 600+ pages a book of this length I generally prefer on audio - but this title is easy to get into and accomplished making Henry far more human and relatable than the history I grew up with in my school days. It lets the reader see Henry's (historically, royalty named Henry are usually known as Harry to their families and friends) more personal and true self; the man behind the crown. The man he viewed himself as. 

I continue to be impressed by the author's talent and hard work. Recommended!
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Alison Weir is one of the best historical fiction authors out there. Her  meticulous research has brought about this entertaining and engrossing novel of Henry VIII from the king's point of view. After finishing her Queens collection I was curious how she would depict the king who was the center of these women's lives. Her true passion for this time period comes out as Henry is showcased as being more than the man who had six wives.
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Alison Weir has written many, many books on the Tudor dynasty and other English dynasties and their dynamics. Her latest series was on Henry VIII's six wives; her newest standalone book focuses on the man himself, Henry Tudor. This is a novel with Henry as narrator. I have readily devoured and enjoyed most of Weir's tomes but this one proves to be an exception. It was well researched and well written however Henry comes across more as victim than an all powerful monarch and I found I had to force myself to finish it. 

The book begins when Henry is young and in the shadow of his older brother and follows him until his death. When his councilors present him with damning evidence against their enemies he blindly accepts it because he thinks they would never lie to him, even though he realizes most the evidence coincides with the accusers' personal motives desires and not justice. He takes the path of least resistance unless it's an issue he personally cares about, such as his Great Matter. His 'poor, pitiful me' mindset was off-putting and tiresome. 

Of course, this was Weir's view of his actions and it's possible they were true. We'll never know Henry's true motives and feelings so it's to each of us to formulate our own. I appreciate Weir giving us her well written version.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC.
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Thanks to NetGalley and Megan Whelan for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

I started out with Alison Weir in the early 1990s with her non-fiction Six Wives of Henry VIII, which remains one of the most readable books on the subject. She has since composed many non-fiction volumes on different eras of the British monarchy from Eleanor of Aquitaine through the end of the Tudors. In recent years, she has branched out into fictionalized accounts beginning with Lady Jane Grey; most recently, she has written a third-person limited series from the perspectives of  Henry's six wives. While I enjoyed these, I confess to preferring her non-fiction work. The voice seems more natural, like she's speaking in her first language.

Weir  has, however,  become increasingly more fluent in the language of fiction, and this is my favorite of hers.  In this book, The King's Pleasure, Weir creates a companion piece to her work on the wives. With the popularity of the musical Six, it's timely too. Henry gets a clapback- even if it isn't the justification for his actions he thinks it is. The story begins with Henry on his death bed, reflecting on his life. We relive it with him. The story doesn't change much. If you know it, you know it and probably  want to hear it again. (Although Weir does some interesting Phillippa Gregory-esque speculative twists, particularly regarding Jane Seymour). What Weir does effectively is capture Henry's self-righteousness and entitlement and how it led to actions that he did not perceive as monstrous, but rather as defense against the humiliations of never quite being adequate or first choice for the job. Weir's Henry is a tragic hero- a man who could have been his best, but ends up becoming his worst. Almost every decision Henry makes comes down to damaged pride. Worst of all, Weir's Henry knows this deep down, but to admit he could have done better- even to himself- is not something he can bear. Thus he remains in history one of England's most famous and impactful kings, but not the king he wanted to be or could have been.
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Per usual, The King's Pleasure is yet another incredibly well researched and well written book by Allison Weir. Having read all the books that she's written about Henry the VIII's six wives, I struggled at parts of this one, knowing what horrors were to come. I'm glad I continued, though. Reading things from "his perspective" made me feel that maybe he did have some sort of a conscience. We may never know what underlying illness(es) might have led to his moral downfall or if he was just a malignant narcissist. His famed ability to charm (or manipulate) and his surety in his own righteousness & abilities could certainly point to NPD but there's likely no way to know, for sure, either way. 
Poor dear Henry the VIII. He lost his mother at such a tender age. She was likely responsible for any tenderness he had or wished to have. Alas, he was only all knightly virtues and chivalry as long as he was getting his way. He molded/encouraged his wives to be a certain way, then he later changed the rules and put three away for being as he said he desired.  He seemed to have such potential before he squandered it on the alter of vanity and selfishness. He not only prized education, the medical sciences and the arts, he established schools for and encouraged apprenticeships in these subjects. If only he hadn't been so short sighted and reckless, with others' lives, when it came to having a male heir. Sadly, now he's mostly remembered for the wives he killed and the deaths he caused.
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While interesting, it tends to rush in places, and the copy I have isn't divided well, so I don't know when there's a scene change most of the time. At least when I say that I'm frequently distracted away from this book, it's by another of the author's works!
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Alison Weir is a expert on England in the middle ages, especially on the Tudors. Her series on the Queens of Henry VIII is pretty spectacular, using her extensive knowledge as an intelligent guide to fill in gaps in what we know about these famous women's lives. So when she takes on Henry himself, I'm there!

Perhaps because we know so much more about Henry than most of his wives, "The King's Pleasure" feels pretty rote. We don't learn much about him that wasn't already known and his story is more told than experienced. It reminded me of the period when Alison Weir was making the transition to fiction from biography and there was a stiffness to her writing. This is not to say that the book is not worthwhile, because it is.  Henry is often just a character in the saga of his wives, and this book fills him out., so to speak. But it lacks that connection with the reader that is so strong the other novels. 

So many readers love this period of history and the drama of the serially-married king that it is a treat for such a noted historian to take on Henry. Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for a digital review copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
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Alison Weir is an auto buy for me. Always wonderfully descriptive and immersive ans this novel sucks upu in to Tudor England.  A must read.
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When I heard Alison Weir would be coming out with a book told from Henry VIII's perspective, I was intrigued as I don't recall a book being told from his point of view. Since he is the central figure to which many royal ladies rotate - I feel my followers will feel thos book belongs on my page. 
We meet Henry, or Harry, as he's called throughout, mourning the loss of his beloved mother - not unlike another modern day prince by the same name. In fact,  throughout the book I couldn't help drawing comparisons between him the other red headed Harry. Wearing a necklace with the emblem "I prefer to die rather than change my mind," Harry remains set in his ways, forever blunted by the death of his mother - eternally craving her love and chasing those who may emulate her in beauty, wisdom and fecundity, if only to his detriment and those of the women he brings into his life. 
There is no redemption arc here. Harry remains steadfastly convinced of the correctness of his own thinking. At times, I had to put the book down and walk away - Henry VIII, even at 500 years gone, is still as  infuriating today as he was in the sixteenth century. Convinced that he is more sinned against than sinner, Harry imposes his will on everyone he meets and bends them (or breaks them) to his pleasure. 
The first three-quarters of the book concentrate on Henry's first two marriages. The reader will find themselves halfway in before they meet Anne Boleyn as a new-comer from the French court. The remaining quarter of the book is dedicated to his remaining three marriages. I feel this would have made a good two book series, as the remaining quarter is crammed with the latter wives in quick succession. However, I can forgive Weir for forgoing any additional time with a man who, to the last, believes that he is the victim. 
For readers of the Six Tudor Queens series, you'll see some familiar faces and this is a hearty companion to those books. It is worth a read, however I doubt many will fail to be as infuriated as I was at times at this man, stunted at a young age and who will never change. Much like Elizabeth I's motto 'Semper Eadem' - Harry remains always the same.
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