My Lady Viper by E. Knight

First off, I must admit that I have the weirdest…passion? obsession? for all things Tudor. That particular period of history is ironically probably one of the most well known by even an average person as Henry VIII was so larger than life of a person, his story transcends history and gets told and retold. I’ve read everything I can get my hands on about this Tudor-era of history from Philippa Gregory to Allison Weir to more biographical and historically factual texts. It is utterly fascinating, this man who dominated England and changed religious history–and thus affecting marriage and divorce even today.

E. Knight’s My Lady Viper, is a fascinating story set during the time of King Henry VIII about an almost unknown key player: Anne Seymour, sister-in-law to the King’s third wife, Jane Seymour. Sounds rather meh, I’ll pass right?? Think again.

The world that E. Knight builds is full and fantastic. I will admit that if historical fiction or non-fiction isn’t your thing then this book might not be for you. But for anyone that is a fan of history, its a great read. I knew nothing about Anne Seymour. In fact, I don’t know that I’d ever heard of her. As the sister-in-law to Jane Seymour, Henry VIII’s only wife to have given him a son and died naturally (ahem, read: wasn’t offed by her wife-killing hubby Henry). Jane’s story is mostly skipped over by a lot of writers and historians because she’s pretty bland. Henry seemed to adore her, and her place in his heart was solidified by giving him a son and dying immediately after. So Jane is pretty much skipped over, as is her family that put her in Henry’s sights to begin with. That is what I loved about this book though, the in-depth look at someone that potentially–as historians looked more at Anne Seymour and learned about her role in Seymour affairs–played a tremendous part in orchestrating the rise of the Seymour family, and cementing them there amidst the comings-and-goings of the other favorites of court.

Anne Seymour is a really compelling character. E. Knight does a significant amount of research about the lady herself, and then wrote a story that wove the true historical facts together into a really believable story. The life of Anne Seymour is really intriguing and shocking, she was certainly deserving (at times) of the title My Lady ViperKind and compassionate, cunning and ruthless…Anne Seymour on the pages of Knight’s novel is a force equal to Henry VIII. At the end you truly come away with a better understanding of the lady, the Seymour family and the urgency and necessity to stay in the King’s good graces. It hooked me from the start, and kept me enthralled until the last page. This is one I’d highly recommend.

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