Great Matter Monologues, The

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 14 Feb 2020

Member Reviews

What a unique concept for a novel. The Great Matter Monologues tells the story of the love triangle of Henry VIII, Katherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn through these 3 leading participants. Each character is given their own voice and presents the story through their own eyes.
The author has really thought of the personalities involved and of the crisis and drama that they lived through.
Wonderfully written and incredibly well researched, this is a must-read for all lovers of all things Tudor.
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The Tudors and Henry the Eighth is a period of history that is taught world wide. We in Ireland learned extensively about Henry and his six wives- Divorced, Beheaded, Died, Divorced, Beheaded, Survived- ABSCHP- Aragon, Boleyn, Seymore, Cleaves, Howard, Parr. These lists and pneumonics are are ingrained forever more on our minds. This book by Thomas Crockett brought all those back to me and in a pleasant manner. Henry the 8th requested a divorce from his first wife Katherine of Aragon to marry Anne Boleyn, his second wife. Divorce isn't permitted at the time but as King of England he felt it was within his power to force the powers that be to grant his wish, and this became known as The Great Matter. Here in this book we hear three monologues pertaining to this great matter, from Henry, from Katherine and from Anne. This was well written and the author managed to write in the style pertaining to that era. I easily transported myself back to Henry's courts and could feel Henry's desperation as he tried to plead his case. This is a worth while and entertaining read, one which will indeed supplement anybody's current store of knowledge on this topic or which will also serve as an introduction to one of the most notable occurrences of dissent every to have been witnessed on the English throne
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As a complete Tudor fanatic, I was ever so excited to be accepted to read this.
I gobbled it up In no time at all and enjoyed it very much, a nice easy read, and a period of time I can’t get enough of... would recommend to all history lovers

Thank you to the author Netgalley and publisher, for allowing me to read in return for an honest review
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So many novels have been written dealing with ‘the King’s Great Matter’ – Henry VIII’s struggle to divorce Katherine of Aragon and marry Anne Boleyn – that it must be getting very difficult for authors to find new and interesting ways to approach the subject. Thomas Crockett’s solution is to tell the story in the form of alternating monologues written from the perspectives of Henry, Katherine and Anne in an attempt to create a theatrical feel, as if the three main players were standing on a stage sharing their thoughts directly with the audience.

If you’ve read about this period before, there’s nothing very new here; for the most part, the plot follows the known historical facts, except where it’s necessary for the author to make personal choices on how to interpret certain points – for example, the question of whether Katherine’s earlier marriage to Henry’s brother, Prince Arthur, had been consummated (this was the basis for Henry’s claim that his own marriage to Katherine should be declared invalid). The appeal of the book, for me, was not so much what it was about but the way in which it was written, taking us into the minds of Katherine and Anne – and also Henry, as most of the other Tudor novels I’ve read have focused on the women and not really given Henry a chance to tell his side of the story.

Despite them sharing their private thoughts and emotions with us, I didn’t find any of the three narrators at all likeable. It’s certainly easiest to have sympathy for Katherine as she was treated so badly by Henry, blamed for their failure to produce a son and cast off to live the rest of her life under increasingly poor and unhealthy conditions as she is put under pressure to agree to the divorce. However, as she spends most of this period in the confines of the damp, cold castles to which she has been banished, not much actually happens to Katherine over the course of the novel and I felt that her monologues became very repetitive.

Anne Boleyn’s voice and story are stronger and more engaging as she talks about her struggle to be accepted as Henry’s queen and her own failure to give birth to a male heir, before falling out of favour in her turn. She is very much the villain of the book, though, which is often the case in Tudor novels and I would have preferred something more nuanced rather than yet another portrayal of Anne as ruthless, spiteful and consumed by hatred for Katherine and her daughter, Mary. As for Henry, it’s difficult to have much sympathy for him, knowing how he treated his wives, but I did feel his frustration over how long the Great Matter was taking to be resolved and his worries for the future of the kingdom should he die before the succession was secured.

The novel goes into a huge amount of detail regarding every aspect of the Great Matter and although the short, rapidly switching monologues made it tempting to keep saying ‘just one more chapter’, I didn’t find it a particularly quick or easy read. As part of the stream-of-consciousness style of writing, there’s an absence of punctuation to indicate when someone is speaking and that made it difficult to follow the dialogue at times. Still, overall I enjoyed reading this book and appreciate Thomas Crockett’s attempt to do something a little bit different. Although I’m not really a fan of audiobooks, I do think this particular novel would work well in audio format, with different narrators expressing the unique voices and personalities of the three characters.
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*Many thanks to Thomas Crockett, John Hunt Publishing and NetGalley for arc in exchange for my honest review,*
Three persons involved in the so-called Great Matter deliver monologues and present their positions with regard to the divorce Henry VIII was so desparately seeking.
I have read extensively on the subject and although I was not surprised by the inner thoughts of the three people involved in a politically and personally complicated Matter, I did enjoy the way these thoughts were delivered. All three have the opportunity to speak of their frustrations and expectations, and we learn how their minds work. This was what I enjoyed most about this novel.
All in all, an interesting offering by Mr Crockett, even though it may be a little difficut read for someone who has never read anything on the subject matter.
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I love the tudor era it has turnt out to be my favourite part of history so I was excited to read this.

This is a fresh take on the divorce matter between Henry VIII and Katherine Aragon so he can wed Anne Boleyn. Its told in the first person so we get three points of views about the whole thing.

I enjoyed the different take on it and if you like tudor history then pick this up
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I recieved an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

While I knew nothing about The Great Matter Monologues or Thomas Crockett prior to picking it up, its focus on one of the most infamous events of the Tudor period piqued my interest, and the fact that Crockett employed a theatrical monologue style to capture the perspectives of Henry, Katherine, and Anne equally intrigued me.

And ultimately, for what he was trying to do, I feel like the book succeeds. Given the style, I feel that this is one book where I would have liked to have an audio supplement, and wonder if Crockett or the publisher plans to do one as an audio drama with multiple narrators, given that Crockett has a theatre background, according to his bio.

As for the prose itself, it’s engaging, and Crockett captures the voices of the three central figures well, from Katherine’s bravery in the face of adversity, to Henry’s desperation as he feels he (or his marriages) has been cursed and continues on his quest to secure the succession, and the evolution of Henry’s relationship with Anne. It’s nothing new to those who’ve read the story before, and there are some choices made where the historical records are unclear that I disagree with, but it’s nonetheless pretty solid.

The one flaw as a written piece is the way dialogue with other characters, particularly, when hearkening back to past conversations, is handled, since quotations are not used. This is likely a convention of the monologue style, and once again something that could be remedied by hearing it instead of reading it.

This is an enjoyable read, with a more stylistic take on the Great Matter than I had previously seen. I would recommend it to history buffs, especially those who also have an interest in theatre.
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I received this book from Netgalley in exchange of an honest review

I love all things to do with history and the Tudors, and this book was everything I hoped it would be. For me, the author told their stories in a way I haven't heard before. 4 stars!
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This book tells a old story in a new way. The 3 way split in the narrative between Henry, Katherine and Anne was an intriguing premise. Sadly it just didn’t work for me, which is a shame because I found it to be grammatically well written and well presented. I found the narrative difficult to follow and often repetitive. The biggest issue for me however was the  characterisation, after the first few sections I felt it fell into long dispelling cliches with no real depth and I found them all pretty annoying, I’m sorry to say I didn’t finish this which is a rare thing for me but this one I just didn’t enjoy.
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When it is snowy and cold outside (and my car is buried under 2ft of ❄️ ), superspeed readers like me can read 250+ pages/hour, so yes, I have read the book … and many more today. LOL

I requested and received a temporary digital Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley, the publisher and the author in exchange for an honest review.  

From the publisher, as I do not repeat the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it as they do it better than I do 😸.

England, 1527, King Henry seeks a divorce from his first wife, Katherine, who can't give him the male heir he desires. He sets his eyes on the younger, more daring Anne Boleyn, triggering a complex, triangular exchange of personal narratives from the protagonists, who remain entwined for the ensuing nine years. Each struggle in their pursuits of power, control and survival, ending in 1536 with Katherine's death and Anne's final miscarriage, sealing her fate and giving King Henry cause to seek yet another wife...

I love and have read most things Tudor and I was delighted to see this book. It took me a while to "get it" - it is told in dialogue and it constantly switches back and forth, often quite rapidly, between the three people involved.  It was very hard to follow along and understand until I got used to it and could more easily understand the repetition and constant switching in the narrative.  It is a good book but it is hard to read and I would only recommend it to the serious Tudor scholar or fan as it is, frankly, a chore to work through.

As always, I try to find a reason to not rate with stars as I love emojis (outside of their incessant use by "🙏-ed Social Influencer Millennials/#BachelorNation survivors/etc. " on Instagram and Twitter... Get a real job, people!) so let's give it 2.5 👑 rounded up to 👑👑👑
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Book: The Great Matter Monologues: Katherine, Henry, Anne 
Author: Thomas Crockett 
Rating: 4 Out of 5 Stars 

I would like to thank the publisher, Chronos Books, for sending me an ARC. 

I will admit that at first this was a rather difficult book for me to get into. I have never read a book in monologue form, so it just took me a minute. However, once I got used the style of the book, I found myself really enjoying it. I was pulled right into a story that we are all familiar with: Henry VIII’s divorce from Katherine. Don’t get me wrong, I always do enjoy books on this subject, so it was great to revisit this historical event. 

Now, this more of historical fiction that nonfiction. We really get into the heads of these historical figures and get to see the events unfold like we are actually there. Now, I will admit that the author does seem to favour Katherine over Anne. There are a lot of moments in which Anne is written like a witch while Katherine remains the sweet and caring one. I know a lot of books portray Anne like this, so I’m not sure if there’s any historical backing to support this or if everyone just enjoys hating on Anne. We do get to see Henry VIII portrayed as history tells us. I do wish, though, that this book had gone into more depth about his jousting accident; I think it would have been great to see him fade into the tyrant that history remembers him as. I also liked how the author handled Mary. It is books like this that really allow you to see why Mary grew into the person that she was. To me, she’s not the evil person that we often get, but, rather, someone who grew up in a world hated. 

Now, like I said earlier, the writing took me a little bit to get used to. It wasn’t like it was hard to read or anything, but the constant switching back and forth just took me a minute. However, once I got used to it, I was sucked into the royal drama. I liked getting to see how all three of the big players really felt about the events and how each struggled to keep their world from falling down. This made all of these people really seem like real people, which is something that I really enjoy in nonfiction. Yes, all of the actually military stuff and monarchy is great, but I love getting the human element of historical figures. It kind of breaks down that barrier from history and us. 

Anyway, I did actually end up really enjoying this one when it’s all said and done. If you are a Tudor fan, you may want to pick this one up. A lot of people are comparing this to Allison Weir and Philippa Gregory. I don’t know. I kind of disagree. Don’t go into this one thinking that it has their flowery writing style-I’ll admit that I’m really not a fan of either one of them. I will just say that if you are looking for a historical fiction with a lot of real aspects to it, then pick this one up. 

This book comes out on March 1, 2020. 

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The Great Matter. It's been almost 500 years since Henry VIII decided he wanted to divorce his first wife, Katherine of Aragon, to marry Anne Boleyn. What started out as merely a question of divorce bloomed into all sorts of intrigue, including England splitting away from the Catholic Church. The Great Matter Monologues gives a theatrical slant to this age-old true story, alternating between the 3 main players in the drama: Katherine (the first wife), Henry (the King), and Anne (the replacement wife). This is a drama that still plays out on a smaller scale in normal lives.....when Henry VIII sought to "trade up'' so to speak, it was a completely different that people still talk about many, many lifetimes later.

I'm familiar with the history of the King's Great Matter, so the subject wasn't anything new for me. I've read many non-fiction and fiction books about the Tudor era, as I find the drama fascinating. Henry VIII was a horrible, yet mesmerizing, king.

The first 100 pages or so of this book kept my attention....the emotions playing out, the characters giving their side and reactions to events, etc. But, then it just started waxing on a bit long.....I got a bit tired of Katherine lamenting, Henry being angry, and Anne being a shrew. 340+ pages of emotional monologing constantly alternating from character to character was just a bit of overload for me. I love the creative concept of this book.....great idea to set up the scenario like a play and have the characters unload their emotional baggage. But after awhile, I just wanted to slap all three of them and tell them to pull their heads out and just get on with it.

So, interesting concept....I did stick with it and finish, but the last 100 pages or so were a struggle. I like the concept, but disagree with the portrayal of Anne in particular. Sure....she was The Other Woman, but she really comes off as a total shrewish waste of space. I'm not sure that is a fair portrayal.

Interesting and intriguing concept. Well written for the most part. But just a bit disappointing for me. Maybe I have read too much on this era to thoroughly enjoy another rehashing? Or perhaps my first inclination is correect.....and the alternating emotional monologues just went on for too many pages.

**I voluntarily read a review copy of this book from John Hunt Publishing. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.**
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A different take on the dissolution of the marriage between Henry the eighth and Catherine of Aragon.Perfect for history lovers
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I can easily recommend this to fans of Philippa Gregory and Alison Weir. Though the story is familiar, the first person point of view is fresh and feels Personal. Like other reviewers, I felt that Anne Boleyn was written as more of a Shrew and less thoughtful than other histories account—yet, it did not ruin the enjoyment for me. Well done!
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This is a very familiar story told in a most interesting way. The three central characters, Henry the eighth, Queen Katherine and Anne Boleyn, are each given a voice and an opportunity to put forward their own accusations, and to show the cut and thrust of life at court. It reads like a script, and you can imagine each protagonist facing each other in a court of law and arguing their case. My only gripe in this otherwise splendid book, was that Anne Boleyn was portrayed without any great affection or respect. She came over as a shouty, whining woman, who was under a great deal of stress, but had a great influence on the ' new religion' which wasn't fully investigated or taken into account. Anne was the strongest character in this book, and has always fascinated scholars, even now. 
I greatly enjoyed this book. It will become a worthy addition to a school library or syllabus reading list. 
Thank you for my advance copy. I will review this on Goodreads also.
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3 stars

As other reviewers have said this book is a rehash of the “Great Matter” that occupied Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn and Queen Katherine of Aragon for seven years. Henry decided he wanted a divorce from Katherine for she had failed to give him a male heir in nearly twenty years of marriage. He was entranced and obsessed by Anne Boleyn and wanted to marry her. 

The book clearly illustrates the deterioration of Henry and Anne's marriage. While he became more intemperate and volatile, she turned into a harridan and scheming wretch. Henry was great at conjuring excuses and rationalizations for his behavior while Anne seemed to be ignorant of her descent in Henry's estimation. 

The book is written in a very interesting way. I enjoyed reading it. The author's desire to play write the text was clearly obvious. I am very taken with the Tudor period of English history, so the story was not new to me, but I liked the book nonetheless. I would take issue with some of the assertions made, but they did not detract from the overall effect of the story.  

I want to thank NetGalley and John Hunt Publishing, Ltd. For forwarding to me a copy of this book for me to read, enjoy and review.
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The great matter as we know it refers to Henry VIII's divorce from Katharine of Aragon to allow him to marry Anne Boleyn. This book by Thomas Crockett offers a different approach to the story in the form of monologues from Henry, Katharine and Anne. The chapters switch between the three voicing their experiences and memories. 

It begins in 1527 when Henry is seeking divorce and covers events including Henry's banishment of Katharine, the divorce trial, deaths of Thomas Wolsey and the rise of Thomas Cromwell. The book ends in 1536 when both the fate of Katharine and Anne is sealed. 

I'm immensely intrigued by the great matter so jumped at the chance to read this especially with its different approach.

There isn't anything new in this that hasn't already been covered so don't go in to this expecting to learn anything new if you are already a fan of this era. 

I have mixed feelings about this book, the language has been modernised which could be beneficial to those new to reading history books. I actually didn't mind the modern language it was an interesting way to show the events and feelings of those involved.

However, I did not like how Anne was portrayed in this. She came across as a very nasty, angry lady who does nothing but yell at people and belittle them and Henry came across as doing things just to please her and avoid arguments.

Although I found the modernised language interesting I found myself hating Anne and I definitely do not hate her. I also wish the book had covered her eventual downfall to see how she felt at that time but it ends just before.

Overall,  this is a nice way to be introduced to the great matter but readers should bear in mind that Anne is definitely portrayed in a very negative manner. I did very much enjoy the monologue style of writing though,  it was something new to me.
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This is a different attempt at re-telling the events of Henry VIII's divorce from Katherine of Aragon.

Its is - as the author mentions upfront - based upon a style favoured for the stage - the character, standing alone before his / her audience, recounting their experiences, almost conversationally. In this instance, I can picture the three of them - Katherine, Henry and Anne - standing together, yet apart, with the spotlight moving from one to the other and then the next one, in alternating narrative.

A different perspective on a major event in Tudor history - for those who enjoy reading about the Tudors.
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Kind of disappointed with this one. If you've never read stories about the Great Matter of Henry the VIII, this might hold some interest for you. Otherwise, this is repackaged old news. As the book was supposed to show the life and feelings of three people, I looked for personalities to distinguish the characters. Toward the end I could see a bit finally coming out but sometimes I had to scroll back to see who was speaking.
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I really enjoyed this book so much.  It has a really great plot, superb main characters and I read it in one sitting.  I would highly recommend this book.
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