I am not too sure if this has been done before, but here is a book series based on the wives of Henry VIII. I really love these covers as you can tell how much effort the artist has put into them.
Firstly, we have have the accurate Tudor fashion in the style that the individual wives favoured most and the startling likeness that each lady has to her portrait.
Secondly, the artist has taken into consideration the image of Henry as we see him gradually age as he moves onto another wife - we see him first as a young, viral man at the beginning of the series to the old, lecher that he became.
The only thing I would suggest that would have been a great detail would have been to lose the beard when he was married to Anne Boleyn as she detested beards and made Henry shave it off, which was why he (like the petulant child he was) grew it back after her execution and refused to shave it off, possibly to spit her. It also would have been better to make him slightly skinnier whist being with Jane and Anne Boleyn as he only gained weight after Jane died, but then the one with Anne might just be his jacket bulking him up. Another good detail would have been to make Anna von Cleves blonde, instead of light brown, but other than that the depiction of the Tudor King is spot on.
Lastly, I really liked the fact that you had the prominent wife in his life at that particular moment next to him, while the other wives waiting patiently in the shadows for Henry to take notice of them and the fact that those wives are dressed in the fashion of the prominent wife, which I think is a good idea as the Queen would have been the one to lead the fashion that her ladies would follow and then when you see the “shadow” wives feathered in their books, they are dressed in their own favoured fashion.
All in all, a really thoughtful cover design and I only wish that novels now a days would take the time and add the details that really pull the story together, I mean sometimes you can see historical novels, but the woman is wearing the wrong style of fashion for that time period the book is featured in.
Hi! Did you ever do a post on Thomas Seymour's disgusting behavior with Elizabeth? I'm so sick of authors romanticizing it!
I’ve discussed it a fewtimes on here, but I’ve never devoted a full-fledged post to it because writing about it always makes me feel sick and angry. It’s an absolutely textbook case of child abuse, and there’s NOTHING romantic about that. Thomas Seymour attempted to prey on a vulnerable young girl, and it’s disgusting.
After a lifetime of neglect, Elizabeth had found a kindred soul in her stepmother Kateryn Parr, and it should have been the happiest time of her life. Kateryn not only gave Elizabeth the maternal love she craved, she also encouraged the girl’s brilliant young mind with stellar educational opportunities. Elizabeth flourished in her care.
Unfortunately, Kateryn fell in love with a monster. She wasn’t the first woman to ever fall for an abusive man’s charms, and God knows she wouldn’t be the last, but hers was a mistake that would have dire consequences for her stepdaughter.
Thomas Seymour started grooming Elizabeth from the moment the girl fell under his power, manipulating her and slowly escalating his advances. The arrogant ass was trying to hedge his bets in case Kateryn died in childbirth. He thought he could make Elizabeth fall in love with him and she’d throw caution to the winds and defy her brother and the council to be with him, just as Kateryn had done. Seymour seriously underestimated Elizabeth.
I don’t believe Elizabeth ever had any “romantic” feelings for Seymour. She’d once had affection for him, I think. This man was her stepfather, and at first, he’d been good to her, but his teasing became more serious as time went by and it started making her very uncomfortable. Elizabeth didn’t want to believe badly of Seymour. At first, she probably tried to explain away and justify his behavior - until it became too egregious for her to ignore. Seymour probably also hinted to her that she shouldn’t “upset” Kateryn, whose health was in question because of her pregnancy anyway.
He was clever. He covered his tracks by having Kateryn participate in some of the early “games.” Then, when she objected to his later conduct, he could pretend to be offended and shocked that she would would see it as nefarious. “Why, you were there! You know it was all innocent!” He probably tried to tell her it was her pregnancy making her so jealous and irrational. And, like many disgusting creatures of his ilk, he probably tried to blame his abuse on the victim.
Kateryn was in a very difficult position. She was in love with this man, and she didn’t want to believe he could do this evil thing, but she kept clear sight of the fact that her first duty was protecting her stepdaughter. She had been taught since birth to obey the men in her life, so it couldn’t have been easy to defy her husband and send Elizabeth away. Seymour had to be enraged, and you know he had to have poured the pressure on his wife not to let his victim escape his grasp, but Kateryn held firm. She deserves some credit for that.
The testimony afterward noted the steps Elizabeth took to try to avoid Seymour’s little “games” such as rising extra early to avoid him climbing into her bed, and running into a group of maidens when he approached to try to shield herself. Of course she “blushed and stammered” when people asked her about it. It was embarrassing, and Elizabeth was afraid people would think she had encouraged him in some way. She reacted as many abuse victims: with confusion. She likely wasn’t sure it was abuse at first because Seymour had been so careful in his escalations. But by the time Kateryn intervened, Elizabeth was clearly in distress.
And so, Elizabeth lost the happiest home she had known, and was later publicly shamed for Seymour’s abuse of her. She had to undergo hours of brutal interrogations as though she were the criminal. Shortly thereafter, she wrote to her brother to ask him to let her come to court so she could prove she was not pregnant with Seymour’s child, to face down some of the slanderous gossip about her. The courage that would have taken reminds me of her mother’s courage when she, too, was faced with false accusations of immoral conduct. Anne Boleyn walked in to face her accusers with her head held high, and I think Elizabeth would have, too, even if inside she burned with anger and the terribly confused emotions of an abused young girl. Her brother didn’t allow her to come, but he tried to quell the gossip, at least.
But it makes me angry on her behalf that anyone could romanticize this situation. She was fourteen, and an intensely pious young girl who adored her stepmother. Elizabeth wanted to spend her time in translating Latin, not being sexually harassed by her stepfather. But there are still those who would typify this as some sort of love affair, and that’s just so wrong on so many levels.
envious of all good, she who revolves things human, has deprived me
for a whole year of your most illustrious presence, and still not
being content with that, has robbed me once again of the same good:
the which would be intolerable to me if I did not think to enjoy it
soon. And in this my exile I know surely that your highness’
clemency has had as much care and solicitude for my health as the
king’s majesty would have had. For which I am not only bound to
serve you but also to revere you with daughterly love, since I
understand that your most illustrious highness has not forgotten me
every time that you have written to the king’s majesty, which would
have been for me to do. However, heretofore I have not dared to write
to him, for which at present I humbly entreat your most excellent
highness that in writing to his majesty you will deign to recommend
me to him, entreating ever his sweet benediction and likewise
entreating the Lord God to send him best success in gaining victory
over his enemies so that your highness, and I together with you, may
rejoice the sooner at his happy return. I entreat nothing else form
God but that He may preserve your most illustrious highness, to whose
grace, humbly kissing your hands, I offer and commend myself. From
Saint James on the thirty-first of July.
Your most obedient
daughter and most faithful servant, Elizabeth
Elizabeth Tudor to Catherine Parr, July 31, 1544
Source: Elizabeth I: Collected Works by Elizabeth I, Leah S. Marcus (ed.), Janel Mueller (ed.), Mary Beth Rose (ed.)