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The King's Pleasure

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“The King’s Pleasure” by Alison Weir

     Harry is the spare. Desperately jealous of his brother, Arthur, for both his position as eldest son (gotta love that Male-Preference Primogeniture after all, right?) and his marriage to Catherine of Aragon, Harry spends his days bored to tears by tutors who insist on taking up way to much of his time thus creating less and less time for sport. Then Arthur dies. 
     We all know the fate of Henry and his six wives. There is even a little rhyme taught to English schoolchildren: Divorced, Beheaded, Died, Divorced, Beheaded, Survived, to help them remember the fates of these wives. But who was the real Henry VIII? People aren’t so one-dimensional as history might lead us to believe. With no less than his very country and dynasty on his, if we are to believe Holbein and his armor, very broad shoulders, imagine the pressure he was under to create an heir. Weir does a fantastic job delving into Henry’s mind. She allows us to see his world through his eyes rather than through our own. While the language is modern English, the thoughts she vocalizes as Henry’s might well have been a version of his own.
      I’ve read multiple books by Weir. I’ve always loved her way of making history approachable. I’d say that she has outdone herself in this novel about Henry VIII. The words pull you along into his story, his life. Where, admittedly, some of Weir’s other novels can be a bit bogged down by a surplus of historical facts, this one allows Harry’s story to breathe. An easy five stars. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
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I must preface this review with full disclosure…I am a rabid Tutor fan. From the Showtime series The Tudors to Six on Broadway. From the bodice ripping Phillips Gregory series(which I have reread) to the literary masterpiece of the Hillary Mantel Cromwell books( which I also read more that once). I have also read the six book series by this author on the Tudor queens. So needless to say I was excited to read this book. Finally a book that focuses on the point of view of Henry himself.
Sad to say it was a disappointing read, for a number of reasons.  First, it read like a spark notes  book on his life. There is just too much to cover in one book. So instead of a deep dive it was more a skimming on top. I was halfway through the book and only two wives were covered! There were still four to go!
Also I feel if a reader does not have background knowledge … the story may seem confusing
.Since Weir already wrote about the queens, I was hoping for a focus on the the three important men in Henry’s life. She gives short shrift to Wolsey, More and Cromwell. Although they are written about, there are so many other things going on the importance of their story … including how Henry deals with each of them in the end is lost.
I would like to thank net galley for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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I love Alison Weir's historical fiction. I was a bit uncertain about this one, as it can certainly be difficult to make Henry VIII a sympathetic/likeable character but she absolutely succeeded. Though a work of fiction, Weir always has excellent historical facts to support the story and enough characterization to make them feel new, even though we know them as historical figures. Weir's Henry VIII is layered and complex and frankly just enjoyable to read. She has a unique ability to flesh out a story we already know into something that feels new and fresh. Another excellent read form Alison Weir! 

Thank you to NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group/Ballantine Books for the eARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Oof!! I’ve been on a light and fluffy kick lately and this is *not* in that category haha 
But that’s alright, I knew that going in. :)
What an interesting perspective-seeing things from his point of view. 
The beginning years were a bit slow for me, but it does let you get to know him better. We are all shaped by things from our younger years, so that makes sense. 

Read this if you want a well researched look into history from the POV of Henry VIII. Alison Weir doesn’t disappoint!
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The King's Pleasure by Alison Weir was a pleasure to read!  The book, being a book about Henry VIII from his point of view, is a fresh take on his, Henry VIII's, life from a historical fiction perspective.  Whereas most of what we see/hear of Henry VIII is from the point of view of his wives, in The King's Pleasure, we hear Henry tell HIS story - his take on his wants, hopes, dreams, desires, questions, etc. that lead him to make the decisions that made him the man and king that he was as well as the legend of him that we know today.  As mentioned, the book is historical fiction, but from reading the notes, which gives background to the actual history used, I'm left feeling both satisfied and impressed as well as left with the belief that yes, this book is a piece of fiction, but I could imagine something of this nature being something near reality.  Another winner from Alison Weir!
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Thank you to NetGalley for the eARC. I am a big fan of Alison Weir and have read all her other books so I was pleasantly surprised to happen upon this book. From the point of view of the King. I loved it. I have always wondered what he must have thought or how he must have felt. I have even googled if there was any proof of the King missing Anne Boleyn. If you are a Tudor fan you really need to read this.
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This close 3rd person POV follows King Henry VIII from the death of his mother to his own death, covering 45 years of power, obsessions and murders. And Henry never seems to realize he's the villain of this story.  I actually was expecting a lot of denials and justifications, but things stay close to the surface, never really doing a deep dive on Henry's psyche.  Granted, that would be a scary place to go, but as it is, we just get a basic covering of Henry and his six wives, with tons of time spent on Catherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn, and very little time spent on the other four.  The story is OK, but it would have been more interesting to dig deeper into what made Henry VIII tick.
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608 pages

4 stars

This book is written from the point of view of King Henry VIII. (More or less.) It discusses the life and times of Henry from birth to death, but it tells the story as though he were viewing the situation. It gives his various rationalizations for his actions.  

I learned nothing new, but I did enjoy the story very much. The novel hit all of the high pants in his life. There is only so much one can say in 608 pages, so the descriptions of his actions and thoughts are brief, but telling. 

It is as though Ms. Weir was trying to give the reader a more humane Henry than the one we know from history. But then, we all tend to view ourselves from a more kindly point of view. He had rationalizations for everything he did. He viewed himself as humane, generous and idealistic. Sadly, this wasn’t how his subjects viewed him. 

A very good read. Thank you, Ms. Weir for entertaining me for several days. I will continue to read her books, both historical and fictional. 

I want to thank NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine/Ballantine for forwarding to me a copy of this great book for me to read, enjoy and review. The opinions expressed in this review are solely my own.
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Historian Alison Weir has a leg up on other writers when it comes to writing historical fiction due to the sheer amount of research that has gone into her non-fiction works throughout the years. When she began adding historical fiction into her body of work, I was excited knowing she would keep a high level of authenticity in her novels. 

The King's Pleasure is a novel told from the point of view of Henry VIII, and it's a winner. I highly recommend it to fans of Tudor era historical fiction. It makes a nice addition to the completed Six Wives series.

*I received an advanced reader copy of this book from NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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I'm sorry but I can't go on with this book.  I read about six chapters and I don't like it.  I know Alison Weir is very successful with her novels, but she is a much better historian.  Her characterizations are convincing but paper thin, and there is way too much narrator exposition reciting things Henry knew or thought.  One of the main tenets of good fiction writing is to show, not tell, and this book is ninety percent telling.  It's like she is writing the books she wanted to write all along but couldn't because she was writing as a historian, and I don't care to read them. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to try it.
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Alison Weir has put out another well researched book, this time about King Henry the 8. It was interesting reading the perspective of the king through his marriages and various affairs in the political sphere. I found the book a bit dry in parts, mainly because it was more on the politics of King Henry’s life versus the sexy scandals that is usually focused on. Overall, I enjoyed the book and would recommend it to anyone interested in the Tudors.
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The King's Pleasure: A Novel of Henry VIII by Alison Weir is an excellent historical fiction that gives us the voice and story of Henry VIII through his own personal account. This is the second book in the Tudor Rose series. I just loved it! 

I have read almost every book Alison Weir has written (I’ve got two left!!!), and I have loved every one. So of course I was excited to read her newest book. I liked The Last White Rose, and I love the Tudors, and English and Scottish history…so yes, this was right up my alley. 

This is the first book I have read written in the voice of Henry VIII or “Harry in this book” himself. I know quite a bit about him, his life, and those involved, but this definitely brought a more humanistic perspective. He still did some downright atrocious things, however some of the reasons that he was convinced of, lent him almost a personable and sympathetic character…albeit greatly flawed. 

I think his Achilles’s heel was a combination of the monumental loss of his mother at a young age, the fact that he could never live up to the expectations of his father and the relationship of his father and older brother, Arthur, and his insecurities. The fact that he compared every potential mate and Queen to that of his elevated and adored mother made failure for these women inevitable, and the issue that he was never given confidence and gifted responsibilities from the King, his father, made him mask all of these insecurities and fears (especially of his own death and that of his good name/lineage/dynasty) in his bravado, aggression, quick-changing mind, inattention, stubbornness, and the ability of those surrounding him to easily influence him. He constantly battled the need for acceptance, love, consistency, admiration, and attention with that of frustration, anger, privacy, volatility, change, and the next best thing (or the conquest). 

The quote below from the book, to me, says it all: 

“At forty-five, he prided himself that he still cut a fine figure of a king. His waist was narrow, his chest broad. Yet his mirror showed him that age was encroaching. He was losing his hair and his face had coarsened. The frustrations and stresses of the last years had left their mark, and not only on his appearance. Where he had once been open-handed, liberal and idealistic, he was now contrary, secretive, combative and changeable. He knew it, but could not help it, or the temper that erupted in him with increasing frequency. It was the price, he assured himself, of his greatness—and the frustrations and mishaps he had suffered.” 

He was a complex, intelligent, flawed, and fascinating man in so many ways, and I loved being able to hear history through his own voice. 

5/5 stars 

Thank you NG and Ballantine Books for this wonderful arc and in return I am submitting my unbiased and voluntary review and opinion.

I am posting this review to my GR and Bookbub accounts immediately and will post it to my Amazon, Instagram, and B&N accounts upon publication on 5/30/23.
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The King’s Pleasure brings to life the idealistic monarch, Henry VIII and travels through his life from his point of view, which is a new perspective from author Alison Weir. The reader is put right in Henry's mind as he navigates ascending to the throne and making decisions to construct his legacy. Weir paints a very vivid picture with rich details from the buildings and architecture, to the court's actions and right down to the characters' clothing. I highly recommend this novel for anyone who is a fan of Alison Weir and/or enjoys Tudor history.
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“The King’s Pleasure” by Alison Weir is about one of my most favorite historical figures, Henry VIII of England. I’ll admit to being a huge enjoyer of Ms. Weir’s non-fiction books about the British Royalty and I’ve read a few of her non-fiction books about the wives of Henry VIII too. So, with all that in mind, saying that I was thrilled to receive an advance copy of this book is a huge understatement.

Henry VIII is a difficult person to write about, in my biased opinion. A lot happened in his lifetime - not including the fact that he had six very different wives. So, I’m sure that for Ms. Weir picking and choosing what to include in this book was difficult. A huge majority of the book (about 80%) is devoted to his life up to the time of his third wife. The last ten years of Henry VIII’s life takes up the remaining 20%. I can understand why Ms. Weir made this decision, but I felt that his last three wives in this book didn’t have as much to contribute to the overall book.

What I liked - I’m a big fan of Margaret George’s historical fiction book about Henry VIII, so I was thrilled to see Will Somers make an appearance (although Ms. Weir has included him in one of her fictional books too). I liked the set-up of the Tutor court buildings, food, pageantry, and overall excess descriptions. A family tree was marked as “to come” in my pre-release, which I think will be helpful. I liked how Ms. Weir wove historical bits into her story, including some I looked up to learn more about (and refresh my memory). Overall, this was a hugely enjoyable book - and coming in at 512 printed pages, I’m glad it was so enjoyable. My one comment - and it’s an author’s choice - is how when someone is bestowed a title, they are mentioned as that new name henceforth. I usually end up checking online to see who is who as I can get a bit confused, especially with those bestowed multiple times (looking at you Thomas Boleyn). 

Overall, if you enjoy Ms. Weir’s historical fiction books, especially her six devoted to Henry VIII’s queens, I would suggest giving this book a try as Henry VIII finally has his own version told. I applaud Ms. Weir for that - it’s not an easy task.
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Thank you NetGalley, Random House Publishing Group, and Alison Weir for allowing me to read an advanced copy of The King's Pleasure. 

I was beyond thrilled to have my request accepted to read this book before it's official publication. Alison Weir is one of my favorite authors and I have read her individual books about Henry VIII's six queens. I plan on rereading those books in between rereading The King's Pleasure to get both perspectives at the same time. 

This book would be a great starting off point for someone looking to learn about Henry VIII for the first time. We get to read about his politics, his religious beliefs, his relationship with each wife, his longing for a son to carry on his reign, his friendships, his favorite activities, etc. 

This book would also be great for someone who has already studied Henry VIII and wants to compare their opinions with Weir's conclusions. 

Weir wrote this fictional account of Henry's life so beautifully. I cannot wait to read what she writes next.
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Alison Weir does a wonderful job creating the setting of Tudor times through her descriptions of feasts, clothes, sports, and castles. This book follows Henry VIII from age eleven to his death and provides great insight into his life.
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You just can't go wrong with an Alison Weir novel. Even though I know this story inside out, I loved it just the same. Reason is it's told from Henry's point of view and the author really tries to show the vulnerable side of Henry. It's a little over 500 pages but it's so great that the pages will fly by. I was invited to read this by the author, the publisher and am honored to give my honest opinion.
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Pure Alison Weir, magnificent! There are many books about Henry VIII and his story from his own point of view, but this is one of the best.
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I always look forward to reading something from Alison Weir, it had what I expected from Alison Weir's writing and I'm glad that she wrote about Henry VIII. It was a joy to read and I was hooked from the first page, it always is a great concept in a historical fiction novel. I'm glad Alison Weir was able to capture Henry's voice. I can't wait to read more from Alison Weir.

"Suddenly, there was Kate, golden-haired and beautiful in her crimson mantle and white satin gown, smiling at him like a Madonna in a church. Leaving the two clergymen, who smiled after him indulgently, he hastened to take her hand as their retinues gathered around them. Then, preceded by the nobility in furred gowns of scarlet, they walked to Westminster Abbey to deafening cheers."
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