What can I possibly say about this book? It's near perfect. Alison Weir (whom I love dearly!) reveals the histories and personalities of each of Henry VIII's six wives. Detailed family backgrounds and individual quirks allows the reader get a good glimpse into a great time in England's history.
The good. Alison Weir obviously spent years painstakingly researching every detail and fact that went into the book, and it pays off. I feel as if I personally know each of the wives. It had the possibility of being textbook-like, but it read like a big, detailed epic. I lovelovelove the family trees in the back. It seems like Henry was in someway distantly related to almost all of his wives!
The bad. More than half of the book was about Katherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn. Granted they are the most popular and/or controversial, and their stories span over many years, but because of that, I felt that I knew enough about them already. The rest of the wives were all crammed into the remaining pages. Poor Jane Seymour and Anne of Cleves only have a chapter each, while Katherine Howard and Katherine Parr have two each. I liked the pictures (well, um, paintings), but I wish there were more.
I now have much more respect for the Showtime show The Tudors. The writers had a tendency to mess around with history, like combining Henry's two sisters into one, making fake mistresses (grr, I still hate you Ursula Misseldon!), etc. However, in this book I realized that the show does take words and circumstances directly from history. Anne's final confession was word for word in the show, and so are a lot of other quirky lines; before I just thought these were clever lines from the minds of the writers. I felt so important in recognizing these!
While already semi-knowledgeable about this period of time, I seriously learned so much from this book! While I don't think this is much of a lay-by-the-pool-and-relax-on-vacation book, it is definitely a must read for all lovers of any kind of history. 5 stars!
Random thought: Jane Seymour is always, always, ALWAYS portrayed as the innocent, saint-like virgin. Am I the only one that thinks she looks kind of evil?