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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Plain Jane by Laurien Gardner

Genre: Historical Fiction

Copyright: 2006

Pages: 352


Author Laurien Gardner tells the story of King Henry VIII’s third wife, Jane Seymour, in the illuminating novel, Plain Jane. Though Jane was born plain-featured, she would win the heart of the mighty King Henry VIII and become the highest woman in England (if only for a short time).

Being the less attractive daughter, Jane’s parents rarely pay her much mind are convinced she’ll never make a good marriage unless it’s to the church. Her sisters are spoiled with new gowns and Jane gets the hand-me-downs, even with education Jane got stiffed! Sir Frances Bryan, a friend of the Seymours, takes pity on Jane, who he thinks very highly of as she is light of heart and lively. He takes her to court where she is a lady-in-waiting to Catherine of Aragon and subsequently Anne Boleyn.

Jane is the picture of morality and goodness, qualities which attracts Henry once his lust for Anne Boleyn has turned sour. At first, Jane is taken aback by the King’s flirtations; she couldn’t understand how he could be attracted to such different women. Whether spurred on by Anne Boleyn’s constant jibes (there are some great catty scenes courtesy of Anne) or her own need to prove to everyone that she’s much more than plain she returns Henry’s affections and settles in to her life as Queen.

Unfortunately, her tenure would not last long and Jane would die two weeks after the birth of Henry’s much longed for son and heir, a year and a half after becoming Queen.

Plain Jane is an engaging look at a charming and gracious woman who most people overlooked, but rose to be the Queen of England. I highly recommend!

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The Book Resort said...

I always thought it was sad she passed after giving Hank his much desired son.

dolleygurl said...

I thought this was a good book - there isn't much out there on Jane. It was interesting to see things from her perspective, because usually in books you hear if from Anne's perspective or something like that.

Robinbird said...

I have read this one and thought it was quite interesting to read something that is about Jane. I have also read the ones about Queen Catherine and Anne Boleyn, though the one about Anne is more about one of her waiting women.

Kate said...

This sounds like a good read. I really like the title as well. Superb review!

Jennifer said...

It is true, poor Jane is often overlooked. This book sounds rather intriguing and so I shall be placing it on my TBR list. Thank you for the review.

Jenny Girl said...

Always felt bad for poor Jane, but at least she lived the high for a while after before she died. Great review!

Mystica said...

I like the first comment referring to Henry as Hank!!!! He must be doing somersaults in his grave!