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Karen E. Olson | Top 5 Books About the Tudors That Helped with My Research


An Inconvenient Wife
Karen E. Olson

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April 2024
On Sale: April 2, 2024
ISBN: 1639365656
EAN: 9781639365654
Kindle: B0C7RP9YPY
Hardcover / e-Book
Add to Wish List

Also by Karen E. Olson:
An Inconvenient Wife, April 2024
Shadowed, June 2016
Hidden, November 2015
Ink Flamingos, June 2011

I’ve been reading about—and obsessed with—Tudor England since I was 14. Let me make this clear, though: I don’t generally read fiction about the Tudors. There’s really no need to, since the Tudors had more than enough drama than most novels could deliver.

 

My bookcase is filled with Tudor biographies, which made it difficult to choose only five for this list. But these, in particular, were instrumental in writing AN INCONVENIENT WIFE.

 

Catherine of Aragon: The Spanish Queen of Henry VIII by Giles Tremlett. Catherine, daughter of Isabella and Ferdinand of Spain, was Henry’s first wife. She came to England to marry his brother Arthur, who was supposed to be king of England when his father Henry VII died. But Arthur died first, leaving 17-year-old Catherine a widow in a foreign country. When Henry VIII became king, one of the first things he did was marry his brother’s widow, and they were happy for years until the infamous Anne Boleyn turned Henry’s head—changing England’s history forever. Tremlett’s biography, the first full biography in decades, reads like a novel.

 

Young and Damned and Fair: The Life of Catherine Howard, Fifth Wife of Henry VIII by Gareth Russell. Catherine Howard was Henry VIII’s “rose without a thorn.” She was a teenager and Henry a middle-aged, obese man suffering with gout and injuries from a jousting accident when they married. Catherine was Anne Boleyn’s cousin, ironically enough, and was destined to the same fate. However, while Anne Boleyn was innocent of the charges of adultery, Catherine Howard was not. Russell’s biography portrays her as a young woman from an ambitious family caught up in the heady world of a royal court. She was passionate, sexy, and fun loving—a little too much for being married to a king who had already had four wives before her.

 

Katherine the Queen: The Remarkable Life of Katherine Parr, the last wife of Henry VIII by Linda Porter. Yet another Katherine, Henry’s sixth wife was a widow twice over. She was a pious, intelligent woman who was a published author. While Henry’s marriage to Anne Boleyn changed the trajectory of England’s religion, Anne was still a Catholic at heart. Katherine Parr, on the other hand, was a Protestant and far more radical in her religious beliefs. Katherine challenged Henry, so much so that at one point it looked as though she’d suffer the same fate as Anne and Catherine Howard. But with some quick thinking, she appealed to Henry’s ego, saying she only wanted to take his mind off the pain he was suffering. When he died, Katherine married her longtime love, Thomas Seymour—the brother of Henry’s third wife, Jane—only to die in childbirth. Porter’s biography is a comprehensive study of this remarkable woman.

 

Divorced, Beheaded, Survived: A Feminist Reinterpretation of the Wives of Henry VIII by Karen Lindsey. This book was an impulse buy for me, and I distinctly remembering picking it up at Barnes & Noble years ago—how could I have resisted with that title? While a relatively short book at just about 215 pages, it presents all of Henry’s wives in a very readable text. If you are just getting started with looking at the wives, this would be a good place to start—although it should not be the only one.

 

Six Wives: The Queens of Henry VIII by David Starkey. When you hear about biographies about Henry’s wives, Starkey’s book—a much heftier tome than Lindsey’s—is usually cited. He spends the most time on Catherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn, almost 600 pages alone, and only about 150 pages on the other four wives. Granted, Henry was married to the first Catherine the longest, and the “Great Matter” of his divorce from her and desire for Anne Boleyn took years. But I do feel that the other wives suffer a bit for that focus on the first two.

 

In addition to these, Alison Weir, Antonia Fraser, Eric Ives, Elizabeth Norton, and Tracy Borman have all written books about the wives that are worth checking out. Susan Bordo’s excellent and unique book The Creation of Anne Boleyn, looks at the myriad ways Anne Boleyn is portrayed in books, in movies and on television. Hayley Nolan’s Anne Boleyn: 500 Years of Lies also takes a close look at Henry’s second wife, stating in the first sentence that “this is not a love story.” Nolan’s portrait of Anne as a strong, powerful woman married to a tyrant who executes her and marries his mistress less than two weeks later is chilling and shows just how dangerous it was to be the wife of a very volatile Henry VIII.

AN INCONVENIENT WIFE by Karen E. Olson

An Inconvenient Wife

This astonishing crime novel—inspired by the Tudor era—takes the reader into the world of Kate Parker, who has just married billionaire Hank Tudor when a headless body is discovered near their summer home . . .

Kate Parker knows what she’s getting into when she marries billionaire businessman Hank Tudor—she’s his sixth wife, after all, and was by his side (as his assistant) when his fifth marriage to actress Caitlyn Howard fell apart.

But honeymoon plans go awry when a headless body is discovered near Hank’s summer home, forcing Kate to contend with two more of his exes: Catherine Alvarez—the first—who lives as a shut-in with her computers, carefully following Tudor Enterprises; and Anna Klein—the fourth—who runs a bed-and-breakfast where she and her wife keep a steady eye on things—particularly Hank’s children, Lizzie and Teddy.

In this clever and suspenseful reimagining of Tudor era betrayals, these three women become entwined in a deadly game of cat and mouse—with each other, Hank, and Hank’s brilliant fixer, Tom Cromwell—as Kate seeks to solve the puzzle of who the murdered woman is, who killed her, and whether her death has any connection to the other headless body from eight years ago.

 

Mystery Woman Sleuth | Mystery Amateur Sleuth [Pegasus Crime, On Sale: April 2, 2024, Hardcover / e-Book, ISBN: 9781639365654 / ]

Buy AN INCONVENIENT WIFEAmazon.com | Kindle | BN.com | Powell's Books | Books-A-Million | Indie BookShops | Ripped Bodice | Walmart.com | Target.com | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | Amazon DE | Amazon FR

About Karen E. Olson

Karen E. Olson

Karen E. Olson spent over 20 years as a print journalist in Connecticut. Her award-winning mystery series featuring Annie Seymour is set in a New Haven newsroom, as she always heard she should "write what you know." But she's since expanded her horizons. Her tattoo shop mystery series featuring tattooist Brett Kavanaugh has also allowed her to steer away from her New England roots and write about Las Vegas. Karen lives in the suburbs of New Haven with her husband and daughter and two cats.

Nicole Jones Mystery

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