The Curse of the Hungerfords (Six Tudor Queens #4.6), by Alison Weir

Eight stars

Alison Weir has created a number of the short stories that layer themselves between the Six Wives of Henry VIII series. All of these pieces pull together the biographies of the six queens, with some interesting minor (and perhaps previously unknown) characters that help enrich the reader. This piece is no exception, as it features Anne Bassett and Agnes Hungerford, both of whom ended up living in the family residence and discussed some scandalous activities. Anne Bassett served at court for a number of years, having been in the household of four queens during Henry VIII’s reign. While in that position, she had a chance to engage in a secret tryst with Henry and could have become one of his wives, thereby elevating her to the role of Queen of England. This was not to be and she was forced to marry another. Now, she is with child and has gone to the family chapel, at the Hungerford Estate. There, she prays and awaits another of the Lady Hungerfords, Agnes. It is said that Agnes had some not so pleasant happenings in recent years past. A second narrative throughout this piece discusses those goings-on, which led Agnes to great trouble and time in the Tower. Could Anne have the power to conjure up something bad for those who crossed her? What might she do and how will it affect those at court? Another great piece that keeps Weir fans sated as they await another major biography. Recommended to those who have read and followed the series to date, as well as Tudor fans of all types.

Weir’s mastery of all things Tudor leaves readers of her work regularly in awe. Creating a tale of minor characters does not lessen its impact on the larger series, acting as a useful bridge between major stories. Much of the research Weir has done in relation to all things Tudor comes together here and forces the reader to delve a little deeper to understand some of the invisible threads and tie the larger dynastic tale together with ease. Weir dazzles and entertains the reader regularly, keeping them wanting more, while also being thankful for the great new information to add to their understanding of this most complex time in English history. Weir never seems out of ideas to fill her publications and keep readers learning without feeling too burdened. A slightly longer piece, but one that was just as exciting, perfect for an afternoon lounging on the sofa or on a short trip. I am eager to get my hands on more of these short stories, which will help pass the time until I can read the rest of the Six Wives series.

Kudos, Madam Weir, for another winner. You never seem to run out of things to say and I cannot thank you enough for sharing them so readily!

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: