Publisher and Publication Date: Published by Janet Wertman. September 30, 2020.
Genre: Historical fiction. Tudor history. Tudor era.
Source: I received a complimentary paperback copy from Janet Wertman, I was not required to write a positive review.
Audience: Readers of historical fiction and Tudor history.
Rating: Very good.
Book tour landing page: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours.
About The Author:
Janet Ambrosi Wertman grew up within walking distance of three bookstores and a library on Manhattan’s Upper West Side – and she visited all of them regularly. Her grandfather was an antiquarian bookdealer who taught her that there would always be a market for quirky, interesting books. He was the one who persuaded Janet’s parents to send her to the French school where she was taught to aspire to long (grammatically correct) sentences as the hallmark of a skillful writer. She lived that lesson until she got to Barnard College. Short sentences were the rule there. She complied. She reached a happy medium when she got to law school – complicated sentences alternating with short ones in a happy mix.
Janet spent fifteen years as a corporate lawyer in New York, she even got to do a little writing on the side (she co-authored The Executive Compensation Answer Book, which was published by Panel Publishers back in 1991). But when her first and second children were born, she decided to change her lifestyle. She and her husband transformed their lives in 1997, moving to Los Angeles and changing careers. Janet became a grant writer (and will tell anyone who will listen that the grants she’s written have resulted in more than $30 million for the amazing non-profits she is proud to represent) and took up writing fiction.
There was never any question about the topic of the fiction: Janet has harbored a passion for the Tudor Kings and Queens since her parents let her stay up late to watch the televised Masterpiece Theatre series (both The Six Wives of Henry VIII and Elizabeth R) when she was *cough* eight years old. One of the highlights of Janet’s youth was being allowed to visit the Pierpont Morgan Library on a day when it was closed to the public and examine (though not touch!) books from Queen Elizabeth’s personal library and actual letters that the young Princess Elizabeth (technically Lady Elizabeth…) had written.
The Boy King is third book in the Seymour Saga, the story of the unlikely dynasty that shaped the Tudor era. The first book, Jane the Quene, tells the story of Jane Seymour’s marriage to Henry VIII; and The Path to Somerset, chronicles Edward Seymour’s rise after Jane’s death to become Lord Protector of England and Duke of Somerset (taking us right through Henry’s crazy years). Janet is currently working on a new trilogy about Elizabeth, and preparing to publish her translation of a nineteenth century biography of Henry. And because you can never have too much Tudors in your life, Janet also attends book club meetings and participates in panels and discussions through History Talks!, a group of historical novelists from Southern California who work with libraries around the state.
The Unsuspecting Reign of Edward Tudor
Motherless since birth and newly bereft of his father, Henry VIII, nine-year-old Edward Tudor ascends to the throne of England and quickly learns that he cannot trust anyone, even himself.
Edward is at first relieved that his uncle, the new Duke of Somerset, will act on his behalf as Lord Protector, but this consolation evaporates as jealousy spreads through the court. Challengers arise on all sides to wrest control of the child king, and through him, England.
While Edward can bring frustratingly little direction to the Council’s policies, he refuses to abandon his one firm conviction: that Catholicism has no place in England. When Edward falls ill, this steadfast belief threatens England’s best hope for a smooth succession: the transfer of the throne to Edward’s very Catholic half-sister, Mary Tudor, whose heart’s desire is to return the realm to the way it worshipped in her mother’s day.
The opening paragraph shows young Edward riding a horse. The words describe him using details creating a perfect picture image in my mind. Edward is young. He has a scrawny, bony, and tender body. He tires easily. He is stoic, stubborn, purposeful, and persevering.
A few paragraphs later he has a memory of a teaching principle his father, King Henry VIII told him: “People will do far worse. All your life, they will lie to you. Practice discerning their true meaning; you will need to be expert at it.” Page 4.
These are examples setting the tone of the story.
~Edward is a boy. A young scrawny boy who will become king. He is a son after his father’s own heart. There are similar personality traits. And, Edward wrestles with his age versus his role as king.
~Edward is thrust in an arena of ambitious and cut-throat men. He wonders who to trust. He remembers his father’s advice.
I love this story for several reasons:
~I felt apart of the story from the first paragraph until the last line.
~Edward and Mary became flesh and bone because of this story. Elizabeth has a role, but hers is more of an expectant presence-just to the right of the stage.
~It’s interesting the ideas, prejudices, bias Edward and Mary were taught about each other and Elizabeth. Each had the same father, but different mothers and households.
~Edward believes his Christian belief and worship is correct. Mary believes her Christian belief and worship is correct. Each are unwilling to compromise.
~The Boy King is a story strong in fleshing out human behavior, mannerisms, expressions, fears, emotions, physical impairments, and imperfections.
~Scenes show the intensity of crisis situations and how Edward feels and responds showing a realness of his youth, and a desire for maturity, and to be a decisive king.
~The story is heavy with conflicts. This creates an atmosphere of trepidation and anticipation.
One thing I noticed is the heavy use of describing the nose. I know you are probably laughing at my critique…I hope so. I saw the words snorted, sniffed, with the nose in the air or raised higher a bit too much.
Direct link for the giveaway!
During the Blog Tour, we (HFVBT) are giving away a copy of The Boy King by Janet Wertman!
The giveaway is open to US residents only and ends on October 30th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
The first two books in the series: