Popsugar Reading Challenge 2022 Book 26

I have so many books on my shelves that would tick off this prompt. I decided to wait and see what I read this year and picked one that would suit. The Jane Seymour Conspiracy by Alexandra Walsh has been on my wishlist since it was announced so I jumped at the chance to read it when it popped up on Netgalley.

What it’s about?

Marquess House is under threat…

London, 1527

Nineteen-year-old Jane Seymour arrives at court to take her place with Queen Katherine of Aragon. Discovering a court already beginning to divide into factions between Katherine and Jane’s second cousin, Anne Boleyn, Jane finds herself caught between the old world and the new. Determined to have a son, the king appears to be prepared to take whatever steps he deems necessary to secure the Tudor dynasty.

When King Henry VIII finally succeeds in his pursuit of Anne, Jane witnesses the slow unravelling of his interest in the new queen as she, too, fails in her task to deliver a son. Having watched both Katherine and Anne fall from grace, Jane has no ambition for the throne, but when the king begins seeking her out, Jane realises the decision may be out of her hands…

Pembrokeshire, 2020

When a set of papers called The Pentagram Manuscript makes its way to Perdita and Piper at Marquess House, they find they have a new mystery to unravel. The manuscript is the tale of five women on a quest to find true love, written while Anne Boleyn was queen. As Perdita begins to unravel the text, she discovers a code that leads to a whole new outlook on Henry’s relationship with Jane Seymour.

But before they have a chance to reveal all, the twins find themselves under threat from a different source. Their second cousin, Xavier Connors, is determined to wrest Marquess House from them. As Marquess House must be passed down through the female line, and Perdita and Piper do not have children, Xavier sees his twin daughter as being next in line. And when Piper is nearly driven off the road, they realise he will stop at nothing to get what he wants…

What really happened to Henry VIII’s Tudor queens? Why was history rewritten?

Will Piper and Perdita be able to unravel all of the secrets before it’s too late…?

What I think:

The Marquess House Saga is fabulous.

Great historical fiction and modern day historical treasure hunting mysteries and adventure combined.

There is enough of a recap and backstory for this to work as a standalone, but I highly recommend evading the whole series.

The premise for the series is that everything we know about Tudor history is wrong.

Over the years, documents have been destroyed or falsified to leave us with a sanitised version of the Tudor which while still shocking and fascinating to historians, is ultimately a fabrication. The story of the Tudor Court, Henry VIII and his six wives, and his children, is far more complex and deadly than we believe.

Walsh exploits the real gaps in historical record to create a fascinating world in which the women of the Tudor Court have more power and intelligence than merely the clichéd historical versions.

This book focuses on Anne Boleyn and Jane Seymour – cousins and wives. Traditionally Anne is devious and manipulative, ambitious and cruel, while Jane is demour and sweet. The perfect wife for whom Henry grieved after her death. In Walsh’s version there is a lot more to Jane then meets the eye. While both Jane and Anne are being used by the men in their families ti gain power and influence, they also have a voice of their own.

Piper and Perdita find a mysterious vault of documents and art that had been hidden in a storage facility. Hidden in one of the documents is the real story of Jane Seymour and Anne Boleyn and a plot to overthrow the King.

The narrative is split between Jane Seymour in the Tudor Court and modern day Pembrokeshire where Perita and Piper are again under threat from Xavier Connors, who will stop at nothing to get his hands on what he sees as his birthright.

The revelations about Jane Seymour reinforce his belief that his daughters are the true heirs of the Marquess House legacy and fortune.

This is such a fantastic series. I have loved every book! This is another great mystery that has some genuinely shocking moments. While obviously fiction, it certainly makes you think about the way in which the accepted versions of the past may have been manipulated.

Thank you Netgalley for my gifted digital version of The Jane Seymour Conspiracy. One of my favourite books of the year so far!

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