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The Mistresses of Henry VIII

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  2,151 ratings  ·  33 reviews
Seventeen-year-old Henry VIII was "a youngling, he cares for nothing but girls and hunting." Over the years, this didn’t change much. Henry was considered a demi-god by his subjects, so each woman he chose was someone who had managed to stand out in a crowd of stunning ladies. Looking good was not enough (indeed, many of Henry’s lovers were considered unattractive); she ha ...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published June 1st 2009 by The History Press (first published 2009)
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4.04  · 
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 ·  2,151 ratings  ·  33 reviews

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Jul 02, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: history
While I applaud the author's effort to bring the mistresses to life, this book ended up being just another book on the lives of Henry VIII's wives.

This book would have been better titled "The Loves of Henry VIII" rather than "The Mistresses of Henry VIII". The book focused mostly on Henry's relationship with his second wife, Anne, who walks a fine line of being a mistress/wife.

I would recommend this book to someone who is not overly familiar with the complex love life of Henry VIII. There is l
Literary Chic
Feb 01, 2017 rated it liked it
I was slightly dissapointed in The Mistresses of Henry VIII. While the information was good, the author jumped back and forth through Henry's life too much. At the start, it seemed as if each major mistress would have a chapter dedicated to her, but it soon devolved into randomness with Jane Seymour as the header but Mary Boleyn's children the topic.

The content was interesting to a point, but eventually it was like trying to watch reality TV. Between the confusing writing style and Henry's tryin
Melisende d'Outremer
Definitely a rehashing of the lives of Henry's wives than an in depth study of his mistresses. Whilst Anne, Katherine and possibly Jane not only were both mistress then wife, I think more time could have been devoted to the other women who appeared to be more of a side note than the focus of the matter. An easy reading book for those not too conversant with Tudor history.
Luna Ofthenight
Aug 27, 2012 rated it it was ok

A bit disappointing in all. I learned nothing new about the women in Henry's life. The style of writing was a little confusing too, reiterating the same points numerous times and flitting between periods in order to fill in the family gaps of some of these women. Some chapters felt more like a wordy family tree than telling much about the individual. Also a heavy reliance on existing secondary sources didn't really help, as I'd read those too!
Jul 16, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: ebook, library-book
There is nothing new in this mediocre book. And, sadly, at times the book is very disorganized, with digressions about the lives of the children (from other fathers) of supposed mistresses.

Check out Mary Boleyn: The Mistress of Kings by Alison Weir, if you are looking to learn more about the illicit love life of Henry VIII.
Sarah Bryson
Mar 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book as Kelly Hart gives the reader a slightly different look into the personal life of Henry VIII. Readers have the opportunity to read a vast selection of books about Henry VIII’s wives, either as compilation books or as single books dedicated to each wife. This book looks at the other women in Henry’s life, the women whose stories have not always been told in such depth and detail as Henry’s wives.

It would appear that shortly after his marriage to Katherine o

With hyperactive excitement, Hart reports every piece of gossip, every breath of scandal, quotes every historian, chases down every rumor, determined to make a complete list of every woman Henry VIII might (just possibly) have had sex with.

She goes more or less in chronologically, following his marital career wife by wife, although she constantly dashes back, forth, and sideways, to follow down what happened to various women and their families after they crossed Henry’s … umm… path, wink, wink,
Jul 14, 2009 added it
Interesting theme of the Tudor era. Straight forward and easy read. Was a bit thrown off by the blatant errors (either in editing or writing, I couldn't tell)but realized only people well-versed in the time period and the lives of the people would have realized the mistakes. An example, the title Duke of Richmond was mentioned as not in use from the time Henry VIII's younger brother Edmund held it until Henry gave it to his illegitamate son. Henry VIII did not have a brother Edmund (neither woul ...more
Boo Donovan
I love the history of this time and find Henry VIII intriguing, but have to admit I found this book disappointing. It jumped around and I would be reading something not knowing what the relevance was! Love the history, but not this particular portrayal of it.
E Wilson
Jul 28, 2018 rated it it was ok
I guess there just isn't enough information about Henry VIII 's mistresses to compile a book.
Most of the interesting parts of this book are about his wives. It is true that Anne Boleyn and Katherine Howard were mistresses before he married them.
Because Bessie Blount bore his illegitimate son, Henry Fitzroy, there is a bit more info about
her. I did not know that King Henry spent a great deal of time with this son and even considered
making him his heir until his early death.
There is also more i
Hanna  (lapetiteboleyn)
As the wonderful Charlie Fenton has pointed out to me, this book is the product of it's time. Being published in 2010, it lacks much of the revisionism that has marked the past decade of Tudor studies, as well as any semblance of subtlety or nuance. The wives are portrayed only in two dimensions: religious, flirt, boring, ugly, slut and the only clever one. The mistresses, likewise are reduced to a brief overview of their lives pre and post Henry. Modern scholarship has served these women better ...more
As at least one other review pointed out, this is mostly about Henry VIII's wives, which was disappointing, as there are plenty of other books available on those ladies. Bessie Blount and Mary Boleyn are the only two actual mistresses who receive much attention.
The information this book provides is well researched and very interesting; especially as Kelly Hart sheds some light on those of Henry's mistresses who are not as famous today as his six wives. The first half of the book is dedicated mainly to the mistresses (because Henry led a rather "normal" married life with Katherine in the first years if his reign), the second half of the book is then concerned with the five wives after Katherine (and some mistresses in between).

In general, the book is a
Nov 01, 2012 rated it liked it
The definite theme to this year's reading seems to be that my books are either not what I expect or what they advertise themselves to be. This short book was as much about Henry's wives as his mistresses.

To be fair to Ms Hart, several of Henry's mistresses (or women that were commonly thought to be mistresses at the time) became his wives. And she makes the valid point that the mistresses that Henry tired of without marrying them had better - and longer - futures than those he did marry. But his
Helene Harrison
ISBN? - 9780752448350

General Subject/s? - History / Tudors

Title? - Does what it says on the cover.

General Analysis? - I didn't think this book was brilliant. In a lot of places, there was too little information, and some of the so-called 'mistresses' Hart mentions were barely worth a mention at all as there was too little information to even link them to Henry VIII! What I found the most interesting was the chapter on the Carey children, Catherine and Henry, and I think this would lead nicely in
Mar 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
The Mistresses of Henry VIII takes a look at the three ladies-in-waiting that the king made first his mistresses and later his queens, but also those women who entertained him, but never acquired the status of queen. Some were mothers or possible mothers of his illegitimate children, others were there to entertain or amuse him. The book itself isn't very long, just over two hundred pages, and makes for quick reading.I enjoyed this. It revealed a new aspect to the life and reign of King Henry VII ...more
The book does contain some information that was new to me about the documented mistresses, particularly Elizabeth Blount and Mary Boleyn. But there's also a lot on the wives that is dealt with better by David Starkey or Alison Weir.

Moreover, it is unfortunate that the text of the book was not better prepared. There are numerous passages that should have been revised in consultation with a good proofreader or copy-editors. There are also some glaring factual errors - for example, Hart suggests t
Jan 18, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Should Have Listened to the Reviews

Despite the number of not particularly favorable reviews I took the plunge and purchased this book. I should not have bothered. Only two of Henry early mistresses were unknown by me. Once we arrived at Mary Boleyn it was all old news. By the time we arrived at Anne Boleyn it was just a dry, dull retelling of the "six wives". Truly, learn from my mistake -- skip this one.
Shelly Boltz-Zito
Interesting informative historical book

I have always been interested in the Tudor period and have thoroughly enjoyed this book. King Henry 8th always seemed to me to be a man who chose life with his heart instead of his head, it astounds me to have read how many women who entered his life, whether wife, mistress or friend. What a great history book full of love and fun. Enjoyed greatly!
Lacie Ernst
Aug 10, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2012, 16th-century
This book gives interesting insight into the love life of Henry VIII. I wanted an overview of his mistresses and wives (which the book includes) as I enjoy historical fiction from the Tudor period and can't always keep everyone straight. I don't know how Henry VIII kept them all straight! One thing is for sure as the author points out- Absolute power corrupts absolutely. This is an accurate description of Henry both as a king and a lover.
Dec 14, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just finished this one. Really interesting info about some of the lesser known women at the Tudor court. Could have used a better proof reader and the writing could have flowed a little better - it sometimes skipped abruptly from talking about one woman to another - but overall I loved it.
Oct 29, 2009 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: rabid Henry VIII fans
Interesting but other than learning a bit more about Bessie Blount, mother of Henry's illegitmate son, there wasn't much new information. For being about the mistresses, she covered the wives pretty well.
Apr 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
I knew all about the wives, but not so much about mistresses (other than Anne Boleyn). Always more interesting to read about Henry VIII when it's through his women. great. Apr 13 - a good book, but not the 5 stars I originally gave it.
Sep 28, 2009 rated it really liked it
A quick overview of Henry's conquests - though more about his wives than perhaps his mistresses...? Regardless a quick read with some relevant information, though Tudor buffs may find a few errors here and there. A recommended read to get your feet wet in regards to Henry VIII.
Christine Wall
May 18, 2014 rated it liked it
Interesting read about an interestinhour king
Linda Burke
Aug 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Couldn't put it down. I did feel bad for Henry's problem and need to produce a son; also his ulcerating leg. The women...they were used by their families,especially men wanting power.
Mar 01, 2012 rated it it was ok
Too many names to keep track of, and the author went back and forth between generations, I had a hard time keeping track.
Jul 13, 2014 rated it liked it
The evidence on which the text is based is fairly scanty at points. A lot of the evidence comes from reports written by foreign representatives in London, which is interesting.
Rachel Lantz
Feb 20, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thought it was going to be dry but it was a quick, interesting, and entertaining read.
Diane Heath
Aug 07, 2013 rated it liked it
This is the story not only of Henry's wives (former mistresses) but the lives of the "ladies in waiting" who are known to have attracted Henry but never became queens.
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