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Jane Seymour: Henry VIII's True Love

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  764 ratings  ·  30 reviews
The first ever biography of Jane Seymour, Henry VIII's third wife, who died in childbirth giving the king what he craved most - a son and heir.Jane Seymour is often portrayed as meek and mild and as the most successful, but one of the least significant, of Henry VIII's wives. The real Jane was a very different character, demure and submissive yet with a ruthless streak - a ...more
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published May 15th 2009 by Amberley Publishing
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Average rating 3.98  · 
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 ·  764 ratings  ·  30 reviews

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Marie Burton
Jun 21, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: own
Jane Seymour, the mother of Henry's heir to the throne, is one of the lucky wives of the tyrant Henry VIII that he did not kill or repudiate. Jane Seymour was practically an unknown figure at the Tudor Courts, as she was merely a lady in waiting to both of Henry's first two queens. Once Queen Anne Boleyn became too cumbersome for Henry to deal with, he allowed his advisors to condemn her to death. Henry had his eyes on Jane Seymour already, and he wanted Anne out of the way, and not in the same ...more
Caidyn (SEMI-HIATUS; BW Reviews; he/him/his)
For the longest time, I hated Jane Seymour. She deposed my beloved Anne Boleyn, and she did it while acting completely innocent. I mean, wtf?? It never sat well with me, especially watching The Tudors (where my love sparked for Tudor history). It took me a long time to realize that I didn't hate Jane. No, it was the writers I hated. Norton put it best:

Jane is often portrayed as a pawn, innocently being pushed in front of the king by her friends and relations and coached how to behave. [...] Cer
The author claims this is the first ever book-length biography of Jane Seymour, and perhaps she's right -- I know of no others. But there's a reason no one has ever written a whole book about Jane before: very little is known about her. There just isn't enough information to fill a book. So Norton must resort to speculation with a lot of phrases like "might have" and "probably" and "likely" and so on. Makes for frustrating reading.
This is a straightforward telling about the known facts about Jane Seymour's life, with a lot of speculation of the "Jane must have felt" variety. Comparatively little is known about this short-lived queen, so the author was acting under a handicap. I was still left with the sense that she could have dug deeper--there is information about Jane's wardrobe, for instance, that could have been utilized, which would have helped a bit in bringing Jane to life.
Sarah -  All The Book Blog Names Are Taken
There's a reason that this is the only biography ever written about Jane - there's barely enough info known about her to fill a chapter in a book about all of Henry's wives, let alone a whole book. That aside, Norton does well with what little information she has to go on. There are a lot of assumptions and supposings, but that's to be expected, given the lack of source material. I was pleasantly surprised to find that Jane was a bit more involved in her own rise than previously presented.
Aug 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: tudors
As a voracious reader of all things a Tudor and Henry VIII in particular, I was mentally prepared to read another rehashed bio of Henry with a brief mention of the real subject. Ms. Norton, however surprised me. It is true not much is known about Jane. I was still surprised how much of my mental picture of her was wrong. Jane was no young, beautiful seductress. She was older, headed to 30, almost an old maid. She did not care much for Elizabeth but genuinely worked to bring Mary back to her fath ...more
Apr 11, 2019 rated it really liked it

Jane Seymour is married to Henry VIII by page 75, so this isn’t exactly a deep dive in the background of Jane Seymour or anyone around her. It covers everything known about her life in a well streamlined, chronological order, although you can feel Norton’s frustration that she has so little to go on, and keeps putting in guesses about how Jane may have felt about various events, for lack of anything else to say.

Solid and easily understandable, if not mind blowing with any new theories or resear
Olga Hughes
Apr 16, 2012 rated it liked it
The first full biography of Jane Seymour written by Elizabeth Norton comes in at 158 pages. Technically it is the first biography dedicated entirely to Jane Seymour, but the page count will give you an idea of exactly how much we know about Queen Jane, which is of course, very little.

She does make a challenging subject for a biography. While Jane had a place at court with both Katherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn during their reigns, with nothing really recorded about her at the time,
Jun 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
Easy to read biography, that gives good insights into the woman who appear's to Henry's dullest wife. I liked to see her re-interpreted as someone who waved the line of being thrust into Henry's path by her family and being somewhat manipulative herself, as against the traditional view of Henry only looking ather as being a total contrast to Anne. That argument never sat right with me.
Carolina Casas
"Oh noble Frame! peruse thy trayne, and give Queene Jane a place..." This is just one of the commemorations written after Jane's death. Jane has gone down in history as the vessel, while during her times she proved to be the most successful of the wives (though this is debatable, but for sixteenth century standards she was) for giving the King what he most wanted, what he moved Heaven and Earth and put two wives aside for, a son. But as with every Tudor tale, this came at a cost. Jane was not a ...more
Jane Seymour is usually regarded as Henry VIII’s most successful wife. She gave Henry the male heir he craved. In this first biography of Jane Seymour, Mrs. Norton chronicles Jane’s humble beginnings to her meteoric rise. While she is known in history as good and obedient, Mrs. Norton shows that Jane had a ruthless streak. For while Anne was awaiting her execution in the tower, Jane Seymour was busy making wedding plans with Henry. She eagerly awaited Anne’s death just so she could be queen of E ...more
C.S. Burrough
Apr 20, 2014 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this take on Henry VIII's male-heir-bearing wife. Since 'Plain Jane' Seymour has been traditionally passed down to us as a bland, pious, selfless creature devoted to wifely obedience, this book makes for interesting reading considering that, like Henry's other wives, Jane was not so cut and dried as once thought. There are several sides to every historical monarch and consort.

While Jane was indeed pious and obedient, she could not only also mistily seduce but had a mind not
Chelsey Ortega
Sep 22, 2014 rated it liked it
This book was a huge disappointment to me. First of all, even if reading it was worth five stars I still wouldn't give it that much because the description claims that it is the first ever book-length biography on Jane Seymour. That is simply not true. Ten years earlier Pamela M. Gross published "Jane, the Quene Third Consort to King Henry VIII."

Secondly, Norton places Jane as one of Catherine of Aragon's ladies and commences to tell Catherine's story through Jane's eyes. There is absolutely no
Mar 23, 2012 rated it liked it
Much is made of this being the first biography devoted to Henry VIII's third wife, although obviously she has been covered in the numerous books devoted to all six of the unfortunate women he married. There is a reason for the previous lack of coverage; coming from an unremarkable family, having had a very modest career prior to catching the attention of the king, and being wise or meek enough to keep her head down and her mouth shut on most of the controversial issues of the day: it would appea ...more
Mar 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
Since there is not much known about the short but eventful life of Jane Seymour, this book is necessarily short and speculative.

Elizabeth Norton gets you thinking about the character of Jane. Norton provides evidence to back up the idea that Jane's "career goals" (and those of her supporters) shifted from mistress to queen as the opportunity presented itself. She details what is known of where Jane went and what she did and speculates on what she thought and felt during the trial and
Jane Seymour is a shielded character, with little knowledge on her, her childhood, her personal feelings and life, it's difficult to understand exactly who she is. Norton attempts to uncover the queen, but it is an almost impossible task. Despite this, you get a feel for Jane, you come to understand her docile nature but also a fierce intensity about her to become queen but to avoid the ending of Anne Boleyn.

Still, many assumptions have to be made when regarding Jane. There a few sta
Sep 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was really well written and well researched. All the way through I kept questioning the sub-title - "Henry VIII's True Love" because it was made very clear that when Jane objected to anything he did he threatened her with Anne Boleyn's fate, and that he was very ready to dispose of her if she did not have a son. But it was with hindsight that she was his true love because she a) gave him his son and b) promptly died, so she could not offend him anymore, or fall short of what he thought his ...more
Jul 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
I recommend the book overall, but it is one of Norton's early works and definitely has its flaws. As others have already noted, she does make assumptions about things occasionally, like how Jane would've felt about something, but I was able to overlook it as she was always careful to give her reasoning for it. However, it could be repetitive, and there were some issues that (in my opinion) deserved fleshing out over some of the topics that were covered. The version I have could definitely have u ...more
Stephanie Kline
Oct 27, 2011 rated it it was ok
This book really wasn't as interesting as I expected it to be. Not knowing a whole lot about Jane Seymour, I was anxious to read about her and prove other people wrong who say she's the "dull" wife of Henry VIII. However, after reading this book I can't say I disagree with them that much. She's certainly not as exciting as other wives - expecially Anne Boleyn and Katherine Howard - and while that isn't necessarily something to strive for (seeing as both of them lost their heads), the only really ...more
G. Lawrence
Jan 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
Not a lengthy tome by any stretch, but the author attempts to give more detail on the elusive figure of Jane Seymour, third wife of Henry VIII. I did find the constant references to Jane's emotional state a little hard to take... Whilst sometimes it is clear enough to suppose something, there are other times when such a supposition can only be a guess. I agree with the author on many points as to Jane's character however, and not the least on the idea that Jane Seymour must have spent the short ...more
Jun 30, 2014 rated it it was ok
this book is supposed to be the first authentic biography of Jane Seymour and it is evident why not many have been written. there just isnt enough material on the third Queen. Nevertheless Tudor History buffs like me will enjoy reading it. you realise that Jane was no shrinking violet as she is usually portrayed but an astute and intelligent woman who knew how to choose her battles.
Oct 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Elizabeth Norton has done a fantastic job with such a character as Jane. There's not much on Jane to begin with but she does make Jane a character that I want to know more about; not just the timid little woman that she's generally portrayed as.
Lisa       m brown
Mar 21, 2012 added it
Recommends it for: yes, someone who doesnt know the history
Recommended to Lisa m by: no one
didnt learn anything new, just the same stuff i already knew about
Hunter Jones
Sep 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Thoroughly enjoyed this book.
Oct 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
A good examination of Jane Seymour's life and potential motivations.
Sep 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Commissioned by me at Amberley Publishing, Elizabeth Norton is writing biographies of each of Henry VIII's six wives.
This was a very detailed and comprehensive biography. Jane Seymour: Henry VIII’s True Love is a perfect read for those who want to know about this tragic queen!
Jun 30, 2017 rated it liked it
Jane Seymour's story is very interesting, but this book needs editing and formatting. Badly.
Dec 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
I did not very much about Jane Seymour as one of the wives of Henry V111, she had an heir for him but died in childbirth. She was in the court as a lady in waiting first.
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Elizabeth Norton is a British historian specialising in the queens of England and the Tudor period. She obtained an Master of Arts in Archaeology and Anthropology from the University of Cambridge in 2003 and a masters degree in European Archaeology from the University of Oxford in 2004.

Elizabeth Norton is the author of five non-fiction works: She Wolves, The Notorious Queens of England