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Henry VIII’s Imprisoned Women, by Neha Roy

Henry VIII’s Imprisoned Women is a non fiction book about 6 women who were imprisoned in the Tower of London during the reign of Henry VIII.
I love the Tudor peiod so was eager to read this book. The majority of the information was not new to me but I was thrilled to discover the tale of Alice Tankerville and the reference to the Vaux Passional, neither of which I had heard of before.
The book begins with a history of the Tower of London and the main events and prominent people of Henry VIII’s early life and reign. The book then looks at the specific Tower experiences of Alice Tankerville, Anne Boleyn, Elizabeth Barton, Katheryn Howard, Margaret Pole and Anne Askew. Incredible women with powerful stories.
The research that has gone into the book is obvious. However, the writing itself was a bit clunky at times with either non sequiturs or repeated phrases within the sentence. The use of language was odd on occasion, sometimes being chatty and other times being high brow. Some words made no sense (women do not sire children!) I also felt that there were some omissions, for example the discussion of Elizabeth of York’s life jumped several years and left out her marriage and coronation.
Henry VIII’s Imprisoned Women is an enjoyable book but history buffs may be frustrated at the style and missing detail.

Henry VIII's Imprisoned Women book cover

Book blurb
The year is 1534. Henry VIII sits on the throne of England. He has set aside his first wife, Queen Katharine of Aragon, and has married a second time. The marriage to Anne Boleyn brings a new wave of Reformation in England dividing the people and even leading to arrests and executions, even that of some noteworthy people.
The stories of women, including Henry’s two queens, who were persecuted, condemned and ultimately executed will be explored in this book. Alice Tankerville, the first woman to escape the infamous Tower of London, albeit for a short while; Elizabeth Barton, The Nun of Kent and the only woman to be dealt the dishonour of having her head spiked on London Bridge; Queen Anne Boleyn, whose fall was as tragically spectacular as her rise to fame; Margaret Pole, the last living Plantagenet princess who was denounced as a traitor and met a merciless end in her twilight years; Queen Katheryn Howard, whose daring yet seemingly foolish decisions ultimately led to her downfall; and finally, Anne Askew, the brave Protestant who gained infamy as the only woman to be racked at the Tower.
Through the lives of these women, we will get a glimpse into the reign of the capricious monarch who changed the face of England forever. Apart from this, the book will also delve into the history of the Tower of London, provide a brief glimpse into the life of Tudor women and also into the lives of some noteworthy people of that era.

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