England, late 1547. King Henry VIII Is dead. His fourteen-year-old daughter Elizabeth is living with the king's widow, Catherine Parr, and her new husband, Thomas Seymour. Seymour is the brother of Henry VIII's third wife, the late Jane Seymour, who was the mother to the now-ailing boy King.Read more...
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England, late 1547. King Henry VIII Is dead. His fourteen-year-old daughter Elizabeth is living with the king's widow, Catherine Parr, and her new husband, Thomas Seymour. Seymour is the brother of Henry VIII's third wife, the late Jane Seymour, who was the mother to the now-ailing boy King.
Ambitious and dangerous, Seymour begins and overt flirtation with Elizabeth that ends with Catherine sending her away. When Catherine dies a year later and Seymour is arrested for treason soon after, a scandal explodes. Alone and in dreadful danger, Elizabeth is threatened by supporters of her half-sister, Mary, who wishes to see England return to Catholicism. She is also closely questioned by the king's regency council due to her place in the line of succession. Was she still a virgin? Was there a child? Had she promised to marry Seymour?
Under pressure, Elizabeth shows the shrewdness and spirit she would later be famous for. She survives the scandal, but Thomas Seymour is not so lucky. The "Seymour Scandal" led Elizabeth and her advisers to create of the persona of the Virgin Queen.
On hearing of Seymour's beheading, Elizabeth observed, "This day died a man of much wit, and very little judgment." His fate remained with her. She would never allow her heart to rule her head again.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2015-12-07
- Reviewer: Staff
The rumors about a romance between the young Elizabeth Tudor and her guardian, Thomas Seymour, have been the basis for novels, films, and speculation. Tudor historian Norton (The Illustrated Six Wives of Henry VIII) recounts the tale without adding anything substantial to it, consulting a plethora of primary sources but employing no scholarly discretion in using them. She treats hearsay as having the same authority as state documents. An entire chapter is spent repeating a folktale that was old when Elizabeth was born, that of a midwife called at midnight to deliver a baby for a masked noblewoman, hinting that the mysterious child was that of Elizabeth and Seymour. Many private conversations are quoted with no citations given at all, leaving one to assume that they are made up. Similarly, Norton states the feelings and motivations of her subjects, without supporting evidence. When the book isnt trying to be titillating, it becomes tedious, chronicling every bickering exchange between Seymour and his older brother, the guardian of Edward VI. The events leading up to Seymours execution are jumbled and confusing. Norton might have been more successful at crafting a well-researched historical novel than she was with this botched attempt at history. Agent: Andrew Lownie, Andrew Lownie Literary Agency. (Jan.)