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Six Tudor Queens: Anna of Kleve, Queen of Secrets

Six Tudor Queens, Book 4
Narrated by: Esther Wane
Series: Six Tudor Queens, Book 4
Length: 18 hrs and 32 mins
Categories: History, European
5 out of 5 stars (5 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Alison Weir, historian and author of the Sunday Times best sellers Katherine of Aragon: The True Queen, Anne Boleyn: A King's Obsession and Jane Seymour: The Haunted Queen, paints a spellbinding portrait of Anna of Kleve, Henry VIII's fourth queen.  

A German Princess with a guilty secret.

The King is in love with Anna's portrait, but she has none of the accomplishments he seeks in a new bride.       

She prays she will please Henry, for the balance of power in Europe rests on this marriage alliance.       

But Anna's past is never far from her thoughts, and the rumours rife at court could be her downfall. Everyone knows the King won't stand for a problem queen.       

Anna of Kleve.

The fourth of Henry's Queens. 

Her story. 

Acclaimed, best-selling historian Alison Weir draws on new evidence to conjure a startling image of Anna as you've never seen her before. A charming, spirited woman, she was loved by all who knew her - and even, ultimately, by the King who rejected her.      

History tells us she was never crowned.    

But her story does not end there.       

Six tudor Queens.

Six novels.

Six years.

©2019 Alison Weir (P)2019 Headline Publishing Group Ltd

Critic Reviews

"This six-book series looks likely to become a landmark in historical fiction." (The Times)

"Alison Weir makes history come alive as no one else." (Barbara Erskine)

"Weir is excellent on the little details that bring a world to life." (Guardian)

What members say

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Best of the series

This is a great twist on Anma's story. Really nice storytelling. Makes me wish that was the real story.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-23-19

Not sure how much of this is true!

I’ve read many books about the Tudor Queens but this one is by far the most unusual. I can only assume that much is made up and maybe a bit far fetched. Some of the stories cannot be true as I have never heard the likes of it before. I still enjoyed the book though as it is well written and read.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Rosamund Wainwright-Baker
  • 10-18-19

Spellbinding

A fantastic book to listen too really enjoyed learning more about this great lady and found it hard to switch off! Highly recommend.

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  • lindajones
  • 10-13-19

Thoroughly enjoyable

Yet again a good novel about a much maligned and ridiculed queen. I’ve heard and read all in this series so far and look forward to the next. Alison weird books are always easy to read and the narrator in the audiobooks is excellent.

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  • TheFluffyViking
  • 09-11-19

She'll become your friend

Such a moving, masterful tale, that at the end I cried. Anna becomes a dear friend as you are taken through her trials and tribulations until the bittersweet end.

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  • S. Morris
  • 07-25-19

The Most Fortunate

Well, I've just finished listening to this brilliant book and I am not ashamed to say that the final few minutes of this wonderfully told story had tears slowly running down my cheeks. There has been one, perhaps two other books I have had the pleasure to read that have elicited such a response so it is testimony indeed to the beautifully portrayed character of Anna of Cleaves that Alison Weir has masterfully written.

I have to now say that this fourth book in the Six Queens series has surpassed my enjoyment of all before it in this epic series. Perhaps the ultimate irony of all is how Anna of Cleaves was short lived as a queen and wife of Henry but outlived all other queens as well as witness the reign of no less than four monarchs during her life. I think Anna of Cleaves is overlooked when considering Henry's six wives given how short her marriage was to him and many would thus consider her to be largely irrelevant. I, too, did wonder beforehand how Weir could put together a book of such length given my understanding of her place in history but was so pleased to find how superbly well Weir fleshed out Anna's character.

As I've said before with respect to these fictionalised treatments based around historical fact stories, this way of portraying such historical figures really allows the reader to see these as real people with real lives and with such esteemed historians as Alison Weir at the helm, you know that any fictionalized elements will be both be woven seamlessly together and very plausibly with the known historical facts.


Anne Boleyn's motto may have been "The Most Happy" but surely Anna of Cleaves should be "The Most Fortunate". She had her troubles in later life with money and died far too young but did far better than any of Henry's other queens I think

Esther Wane did a wonderful job of narration with convincing German and French accents. However, one minor discrepancy I did note was that the Margaret Douglas character lost her Scottish accent compared to her rendition in the prior book in the series. This appears to be either an oversight in the production given Douglas's Scottish heritage or maybe the narrator wasn't able to render a decent Scottish accent.

This story really surprised and pleased me and was rather an unexpected treat given my very little knowledge of this woman. Weir has worked such magic here with Henry's fourth wife and I really liked the person she has been shown to be in this excellent story.




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  • Temporally_Loopy
  • 07-11-19

Highly enjoyable

I found this highly enjoyable. It was interesting to learn more about this particular wife of Henry VIII, she is often ignored in favour of more scandalous (Anne and Catherine) or pitied (Katherine).

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-29-19

Skeptical, then surprised, then satisfied.

So I was initially quite skeptical of the alternate romance storyline in this as there's not a strong historical backing for it. But I know this is fiction so I thought I'd just indure it as I've enjoyed this series so far.

But I was pleasantly surprised. I found myself getting really into it and enjoying it. Still a bit curious as to why the author thought there was enough to theorise about the alternative storyline in this, but I enjoyed it and I've learned the hard way that historical fiction sometimes takes the facts with a very large grain of salt and if you don't learn to sit back and enjoy it you just don't enjoy the genre. The other thing I did love was how a scene in this novel tied up with a scene in Alison Weir's 'The Lady Elizabeth', and then felt slightly begrudged that there was no mimicking of the 'flashback' scene in the opening of The Lady Elizabeth in the Anne Boleyn installment of this series. But I understand; since the scene in question was always a little too far off the mark.

The only other criticism is that the book felt...rushed, as if it had been thrown together as fast as possible. But this isn't a huge complaint as I was happy to be reading the sequel to last year's novel this year. All in all, enjoyed this installment of the series quite a bit. Good job Alison Weir! (although the phrase 'devastating smile' is used waaaay too much)

Aside from the actual book, wasn't a huge fan on the narration. Would've loved hearing an authentic German accent reading the novel, didn't get that. Also wondering if there was a little excrept at the end of the book that the physical novels often get that I didn't get here?

Still, it wasn't an automation voice which is always appreciated. So was a bit happy for that too.

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  • bev
  • 06-29-19

outstanding!

superb , so bitter sweet. Anna is a real woman instead of just a princess in a portrait.

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  • bryan judge
  • 06-10-19

A gem

This book is beautifully written and narrated, with a moving ending. Look forward to next in the series.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-20-19

Not awful, but disappointing.

Unfortunately I feel like Alison Weir had very little to work with history-wise here. Anne of Cleves' certainly had an interesting life by individual standards - but standing next to the stories of the other wives of Henry VIII, unfortunately hers is the least eventful. This certainly was to her advantage in real life, but if used in a narrative, doesn't give one much to play around with.

Therefore this book is either complete fiction, or contains dull every day matters that Anna had to deal with in real life.
The fiction stuff is certainly interesting and fun to read, but is so ridiculous when put alongside the actual events that took place. And the most interesting parts of the actual real history of the Princess seem rushed over. Her marriage to Henry seems to take for ever to occur, and ends far too quickly (I understand that Anne of Cleves and Henry VIII were only married for a very short time, but there are ways of drawing this out). And then after that, when more fiction begins, it feels very anti-climactic and has zero stakes because we're following the life of a real person who's life ended somewhat uneventfully. We know that Anna is not going to go to the tower for birthing two bastard children, because we know historically that that never happened. We know that Anna will not be able to marry Otto because we know she never married after Henry VIII.
I'm not saying you can't fill in the blanks where history has no information, but if you still want to keep to actual history, you can't then fill those blanks in with fantastical events that were very unlikely to happen - it causes a serious imbalance in the story.

I also found there to be a lot of repetition. Lots of long-running sentences of Anna yearning for her child, feeling ugly and missing her mother. Repetition can be a way to show a character dwelling on things, but in this case it felt very heavy-handed.

However, the story was beautifully written. Very easy to listen to and full of wonderful descriptions that make you feel immersed within the world. Henry's characterisation seems to match up with the previous books, and his presence ties this book to the others nicely.

I wasn't a huge fan of the German accent adopted by the Esther Wane, but it wasn't intolerable and was fine to listen to.

Overall, I'm disappointed in the book - but am still excited to continue with the next two as I know their stories are much more interesting in a narrative sense.