Author: JoAnn Spears
Type of book: Tudors, astral plane, visit, Shakespeare plays, secrets, gossip, sleep over, drinking, revelations, intrigues, court, royalty, family, forgiveness, late 1500s early 1600s, rivalries, jealousies, claimants, rulers, queens
Year it was published: 2015
If you thought "Six of One: A Tudor Riff" was the most fun you could have with your nightdress on, wait until you see what "Seven Will Out: A Renaissance Revel" has in store. Get ready for one 'ruff' night! Tudorphile Dolly thought that the night she spent on an astral plane with Henry VIII's six wives, learning their heretofore unknown secrets, was a one-time thing. Not so! In "Seven Will Out," Dolly finds herself back in the ether with the women of later Tudor times: Elizabeth I, 'Bloody' Mary, Bess of Hardwick, Mary, Queen of Scots, and Anne Hathaway Shakespeare, to name a few. They too have secrets that will turn history on its head, and comic sass that will keep you laughing. You've read all of the traditional, serious and romantic takes on the legendary Tudors. Why not try your Tudors with a new and different twist?
I honestly feel it will take me a very long time to go through all the participating women, and even then I remember some but not the others, thus I will focus on Dolly, Mary Queen of Scots, Bloody Mary, Elizabeth I, and the Grey Sisters by name of Jane, Katherine and Mary. Dolly is a Tudor scholar fanatic who has written a ground-breaking book about the wives of Henry VIII, and is currently involved in production of Shakespearean plays. She prides herself on her knowledge but is no match for the well-read and intelligent Tudor women. Mary Queen of Scots is best known as Elizabeth I and Mary I's cousin that got executed by Elizabeth I because she posed a threat to her throne. In the astral plane she is forgiving to her cousin and the two of them seem to get along. Mary I is portrayed as a sympathetic character that has regrets of what she has done and she also struggles with issues of sibling rivalry, romance, and being torn away from her mother. Although the women are on an equal plane, it seems as if Elizabeth I is still in charge and is a queen. She is a bit vain, haughty and loves to stand out. The Grey sisters were distantly related to Elizabeth I and Mary I and were in line for the throne should Elizabeth I die childless. However, two of the sisters got married and ended up being in prison and dying. One of the sisters suffers from low self esteem as I recall, while the others were strong and extremely clever women who didn't let anything beat them down.
Things are not as they seem
The story is in first person narrative from Dolly's point of view and although the book is a sequel, its definitely stand-alone and prequel is only required if you're curious to see what happened on her previous visit. The story starts out in the real world and then moves on to the astral plane where the reader meets the latter Tudor women after Henry VIII passes away. In some cases I did chuckle when I read the book, but a lot of time the story is focused on suspense and half the time I am wondering whether or not the revelations are real and that they have been plotted to be kept away. Also as well, if the reader wants to learn a bit more about Shakespearean plays, then they're in for a special treat because the story discusses plays as well. I do admit that at some points it did drag on, but other than that, no complaints.
About the Author
Like general population I know very little of the Tudors; Henry VIII had six wives and three kids, two daughters and a boy; one daughter was universally reviled while another was eternally beloved. Henry VIII never became a grandfather. Also I know of Shakespeare and his plays that began around Elizabethan Era and other than that, well, nothing. What attracted me to this book is the promise of lightheartedness and comedy because I have to admit that I read tons of historical fiction novels, and to my knowledge, I never encountered any comedic novels within my travels. In fact, the ones I read are very serious in nature. The book did not disappoint, and I can imagine that a novel like this would be a Tudor fanatic's dream; imagine traveling to another plane where you will meet Elizabeth I, Mary I, the Grey Sisters, Mary Queen of Scots and so forth, and along the way, the burning questions and rumors surrounding the women get answered. The author does go into details and information about the various men/women from that era so the reader doesn't get lost with all the intrigues that were going on, and yes this novel is perfect for someone starting out with historical fiction because the reader isn't required to know things beforehand, and also, Tudors, the family that has fascinated people for the last five hundred or so years. I'm not a Tudor expert yet I never felt lost or shamed, and I learned a lot of cool facts by the way. Now my curiosity is really piqued about the prequel and King Henry VIII's wives giving love advice.
This is for HFVBT
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4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)