Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Autobiography of Henry VIII : With Notes by His Fool, Will Somers by Margaret George
Released: 1986

The Autobiography of Henry VIII is the first novel published by esteemed historical fiction novelist Margaret George. Although this book may seem like a real autobiography at first glance based on the title (of course it's not - how is that even possible?), this novel is actually a fictional firsthand account of the life of Henry VIII, as told by his fool, Will Somers.

Sitting at a very thick 960 pages, The Autobiography of Henry VIII may seem an overwhelming feat to some readers, especially those skeptical about picking up this novel to begin with. However, if you know anything at all about the history of Henry VIII (and his six wives!), I highly recommend sticking it out. This novel will change your outlook on this king forever, and is much better than most other fictional accounts of Henry VIII's life.

My own personal interest with Henry VIII and the Tudor monarchy peaked tremendously after reading The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory. I found it grossly fascinating that Henry VIII - such a disgusting, yucky person both physically and mentally - had women pursuing him from every corner of Europe just because he wore a crown.


This particular novel chronicles everything about the life of Henry VIII - his young adulthood, his conquests, his illnesses, his psychotic breakdowns, the banishment or deaths of his wives, and more - all told by the comedic persona of Will Somers. The Autobiography of Henry VIII reads quite smoothly, and is highly entertaining, especially since Henry is made to sound like an idiotic spoiled teenager.

In this book (which I have no doubt is historically accurate on most accounts), Henry is a real piece of shit. With every person that does him any wrong, including his wives, Henry scrolls through his book of Scripture to find quotes he can bend and somehow apply to his "mistakes" (such as cheating and committing adultery). He then uses those quotes to persuade his court to banish that particular person or ritual from his kingdom.

In The Autobiography of Henry VIII, Henry is a villain you love to hate. It's what makes this novel amazing and titillating. The amount of time and research George invested in to pen this novel is evident in her writing. This book is by far one of the best I've ever read not only in the historical fiction genre, but overall. I give this novel a full 10 stars out of 10 stars.

Other amazing novels by Margaret George are Mary Queen of Scotland and the Isles, The Memoirs of Cleopatra, Mary, Called Magdalene, and Helen of Troy. She also recently released Elizabeth I.

Click on any of the images of the books below to review them in more detail on

What are your favorite historical fiction novels? Who are your favorite historical fiction authors? Share your comments with us below!

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