The Dead Queens Club

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 25 Feb 2019

Member Reviews

Oh my gosh! I loved this one. First, I live in Indiana, so I eat up the references to the Hoosier State. Second, I’ve been on a Tudor kick, so all the wives are fresh in my mind. Last, but it should be first, I’m a member of Pi Beta Phi Sorority, because just like Rockford women, I have the highest standards! When Cleve meets Henry at Overachievers Camp, they become fast friends. Henry lives in Indiana and Cleve lives in OH, but they stay in touch. Before too long, Cleve moves to Indiana, writes for the school newspaper, and learns a great deal about her new classmates. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for allowing me to be an early reader in exchange for my fair and honest review.
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What an interesting book. And I mean that in the highest possible regards. The Dead Queens Club is an interesting book because it manages to be so many things at once. It's a psychological thriller. It's a murder mystery. It's a comedy. It's a black comedy. It's a melodrama. It's so many things wrapped up in one "keep you on the edge of your seats, smiling all the way" flavored package.

And I adored it.

The Dead Queens Club follows Annie, nicknamed Cleaves by golden boy and human magnet Henry, in a retelling of King Henry VIII and his six wives. Historically, Anne of Cleaves got of relatively easy compared to some of the other wives, but here it's all back stabbing and smiles. Re-imagining the story of King Henry is tricky, because there's a lot of re-contextualizing and re-imagining to be done in order to make the narrative fit into the story you want to tell. Thankfully, Capin manages to not only bring the head chopping fool's story to life, but breathes fresh life into it. 

And she did it by making this book fun. It is a fun read from start to finish not only because of Cleaves' whip smart humor, but because the writing allows itself to be fun. It's twisty, it's dark, and it's thrilling but by god if you don't enjoy every second of this book. It tackles issues of slut shamming and narcissism and male vs female double standards in a way that's so much more nuanced then I'm use to. This book knows its fun, but it trusts its audience to understand the messages and themes it's trying to tell them as well. 

With at least seven characters to juggle, Capin did a fantastic job at giving the queens distinct personalities, but making their interactions with one another, and Henry, utterly in character with who they were. God, it's all so good. I cannot sing this books praises enough. The mystery is well paced, the characters are deep and well rounded, and the humor bubbles to the surface on every page.
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I love this modern tale and it’s unique dialogue! I found myself tearing through this story very quickly and I was sad to finish it as soon as I did but not a bit disappointed.
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