No. We didn’t spell Jane the Quene wrong. It’s how she spelled her name on the birth announcements for her son, Edward Tudor. The book, by Janet Wertman, is a fictionalized account of Jane Seymour’s journey from lady-in-waiting to the ill-fated Anne Boleyn, to her marriage to King Henry VIII. Told mostly from Jane’s perspective, it’s book one in the Seymour Saga trilogy.
The reason almost everyone knows Henry VIII is that he created the Church of England when the pope wouldn’t annul his marriage to Katherine of Aragon after Katherine couldn’t give the king a son. Okay, Henry also had a thing for Anne Boleyn, too, and eventually married her.
The book starts when Jane Seymour first comes to court under Katherine. Then it jumps forward to the last year or so of Anne Boleyn’s life. Jane still served as lady-in-waiting, which apparently, was kind of odd. But she did manage to attract Henry’s attention before he set up Anne to be executed.
The story brings the history of England in the 16th Century to life quite nicely. We’ll leave it up to you to decide how much of a schemer Jane Seymour was, or her brothers, for that matter. However, it is a sad story. Jane just barely gets to enjoy being married before worrying about producing the son that Henry VIII so desperately needed. Then when she does produce said son, she gets sick and dies. Historical fact, not a spoiler.
Early sparkling wine
We did ask Wertman what wine she would recommend for drinking while reading the book. She suggested a blanquette de Limoux. It’s a sparkling wine from Limoux, France, and they may have invented Methode Champagnois before Champagne (only don’t tell the Champagnois that).
Wertman suggested it because that’s what Henry’s court was drinking back in the day. Wertman knows because she found it listed in some of the royal household documents, including an inventory. Inventories don’t sound all that interesting, but they are gold for folks who write historical fiction and have to figure out what folks were having for dinner way back before people posted to Facebook.
If you can find blanquette de Limoux, try it and let us know what you think. We’ve never seen it before, but it is still being made. Oh, and enjoy the book, too, perhaps with some other bubbly.