I had the pleasure of reading a new (and soon to be published) work by David featuring the fourth wife of Henry VIII of England and entitled "Anne of Cleves: Henry's Luckiest Wife".
Anne has had a bit of a rough time at the hands of chroniclers and writers, being described as being most unpleasant in appearance and personal charm, folksy and uncultured, the Flanders Mare; and yet she also comes across as smart, personable and even pleasant of appearance, and certainly shrewd enough to make a financially beneficial “divorce” from Henry which set her up for the rest of her life in England. Even today, Anne remains an enigma.
This retelling of Anne’s life is initially told to us in the first person by Anne herself, as she reflects upon her life and the events leading up to her marriage to Henry VIII, King of England. Anne’s recollections are interspersed with a more standard retelling of events as they occurred before, during and after her marriage. We find Anne adjusting to court life around her and to her change of status once the divorce was made formal. We are then taken through the events that took place from the death of Henry VIII to Anne’s own demise.
I found this to be a rather enjoyable read, and David presents Anne in a more personable light, attributing to her some measure of intelligence and understanding of the politics of the day, as well as being a typical Tudor-era woman who enjoyed the finer things in life – friends, fashion, gossip, the good life.
Anne certainly was the luckiest of Henry’s wives – she married Henry and managed to keep her head! And she outlasted both Henry and all his other wives, dying aged 41 in 1557.
For those with a love of all things Tudor, this is a must for your personal library.
David has written a number of works that readers will enjoy – I certainly found his book on Shakespeare quite intriguing!