Monday, 24 March 2008

The Autobiography of Henry VIII by Margaret George


Much has been written about the mighty, egotistical Henry VIII: the man who dismantled the Church because it would not grant him the divorce he wanted; who married six women and beheaded two of them; who executed his friend Thomas More; who sacked the monasteries; who longed for a son and neglected his daughters, Mary and Elizabeth; who finally grew fat, disease-ridden, dissolute.

Now, in her magnificent work of storytelling and imagination, Margaret George bring us Henry VIII's story as he himself might have told it, in memoirs interspersed with irreverent comments from his jester and confidant, Will Somers. Brilliantly combining history, wit, dramatic narrative, and an extraordinary grasp of the pleasures and perils of power, this monumental novel shows us Henry the man more vividly than he has ever been seen before.

My view:

I think we must all know the story of Henry VIII and his famous six wives only too well, personally I have only mainly read the story fom the view of his wives or from the third person, this was so different to read it as though Henry was himself writing how he saw things.

I put off reading this for quite some time mainly crazy as thought it may sound it got such good reviews I thought I might not enjoy that much, which is what invariably happens to me (I tend to like the ones that don't get such good reviews for some bizarre reason ...)

Starting from when Henry was a young boy right up to almost the end of his life this was a fabulous account, almost as if you was reading Henry's own memoirs. I thought before reading this that I might find the notes by Will Somers a little boring as I wanted to read Henry's story but, no I think I added an interesting view to the story overall.

I do think it was written sympathetically towards Henry although I guess it would do as it was written by him! As an Anne Boleyn sympathiser I found the scenes of Anne being beheaded quite graphic but, also the scenes with Catherine Howard I really did feel for Henry, I think with that storyline for me I never really saw the 'Henry ' side of things and just that Catherine was beheaded and the reasons behind that.

Overall this was a brilliant account of Henry's life and possibly one of the best Tudor fiction books I have read!


Daphne said...

This is the only account I have read from Henry's point of view. It was interesting, wasn't it? As they say, there's two sides to every story! Glad you enjoyed it.

Margo. said...

Wow I have to get this book!