Friday, April 5, 2024

An Inconvenient Wife


Having been a long-time fan of historical fiction about Henry VIII and his six wives, I jumped at the chance to read Karen Olson's modern re-telling of the predicament of a powerful man, burdened with wife after inconvenient wife. 

The novel stands on its own as a mystery, but it's a lot of fun for those of us who are familiar with the old "Divorced (Catherine of Aragon,) beheaded (Anne Boleyn,) died (Jane Seymour,) divorced (Anne of Cleves,) beheaded (Catherine Howard,) survived (Katherine Parr)."

(Divorced isn't quite accurate: these were annulments.)

Olson has a lot of fun too, finding modern names that suggest the historical counterparts--Anna Klein for Anne of Cleves, Hank Tudor for Henry, and so forth. She excels at spinning what is known of these women into modern personalities. Her take on the Anne Boleyn character is especially vivid.

This Tudor romp opens as Hank, a wealthy businessman, has  just married his sixth wife. And a headless body has been discovered on one of his estates. Again. 

We hear from the other wives--in person or through diaries and second-hand accounts. The plot twists and turns--this is after all, a whodunit, and here, Olson departs from the historical facts in service of a rattling good story.

Read a fine review HERE.


Sandra Parshall said...

I've been intrigued by this book since Karen first mentioned it. Just ordered it.

Anvilcloud said...

Sounds like a fun read.