what it would be like to have been raised in privileged isolation with
few friends but your siblings. No wonder the shy, young Jane Seymour
couldn't resist being drawn to her older brother's vivacious, lively
bride, whose easy charm seemed to captivate everyone.
Twice my life has turned on the step of a girl through a doorway; first when I was fifteen and my new, first-ever sister-in-law came walking into Wolf Hall. The May trees were holding blossoms as thick and thorough as snowfall when Katherine crossed our threshold as the twenty-one-year-old bride of my twenty-one-year-old brother.—The May Bride by Suzannah Dunn (Pegasus Books, 2014, p. 3)
- Setting: early 1500s, England, Wolf Hall (the Seymours' home), Henry VIII's court
- Circumstances: Jane's observations of her brother's marriage, her sister-in-law's behavior, and everyday life in her family castle; later, her experiences as an attendant to Queen Catherine and her eventual introduction to Henry VIII
- Characters: Jane Seymour and her family; Katherine Filloil, her sister-in-law; various members of Henry VIII's court
- Genre: historical fiction
- What I know from reviews: The novel, told from Jane's viewpoint, fills in the gaps of the future queen's formative years, providing many period details and giving insight into the Seymour family; this is less about the Tudor court and more about Jane and how getting to know Katherine Filloil changed her perspective on the world.
- Recommendation: I've barely started The May Bride, but it looks like it will be an interesting read for Tudor fans. Suzannah Dunn has written other popular novels about the Tudor period and Henry VIII's wives.