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Alison Weir (1) (1951–)

Author of The Six Wives of Henry VIII

For other authors named Alison Weir, see the disambiguation page.

59+ Works 32,123 Members 943 Reviews 41 Favorited

About the Author

Alison Weir was born in London, England on July 8, 1951. She received training to be a teacher with a concentration in history from the North Western Polytechnic. Before becoming a full-time writer, she worked as a civil servant and ran her own school for children with learning difficulties from show more 1991 to 1997. Her first book, Britain's Royal Families, was published in 1989. Her other books include The Six Wives of Henry VIII; Children of England; Eleanor of Aquitaine; Henry VIII: King and Court; Mary, Queen of Scots; and Isabella. Her first novel, Innocent Traitor, was published in 2006. Her other novels include The Lady Elizabeth, The Lady in the Tower: The Fall of Anne Boleyn, The Captive Queen, A Dangerous Inheritance, and Katherine of Aragon, the True Queen. (Bowker Author Biography) show less


Works by Alison Weir

The Six Wives of Henry VIII (1991) — Author — 3,169 copies
Eleanor of Aquitaine: A Life (1999) 2,801 copies
The Life of Elizabeth I (1998) 2,733 copies
Innocent Traitor (2006) 2,432 copies
The Children of Henry VIII (1996) 2,093 copies
The Princes in the Tower (1992) 1,994 copies
The Wars of the Roses (1995) 1,932 copies
The Lady Elizabeth (2008) 1,790 copies
Henry VIII: King and Court (2001) 1,639 copies
The Captive Queen (2010) 805 copies
Anna of Kleve, the Princess in the Portrait (2019) — Author — 318 copies
The Marriage Game (2014) 273 copies
Traitors of the Tower (2010) 118 copies
The Last White Rose (2022) 117 copies
The King's Pleasure (2023) 49 copies
A Tudor Christmas (2018) 47 copies
Arthur, Prince of the Roses (2016) 20 copies
BP Portrait Award 2011 (2011) 14 copies
The King's Painter (2019) 8 copies
The Grandmother's Tale (2018) 5 copies
The Queen's Child (2021) 5 copies
In This New Sepulchre (2021) 3 copies
The Wicked Wife (2021) 2 copies
A Man of God 1 copy

Associated Works

The Daughter of Time (1951) — Introduction, some editions — 5,787 copies
The Witch and the Priest (1956) — Introduction, some editions — 37 copies


15th century (196) 16th century (404) Anne Boleyn (139) biography (2,217) Britain (246) British (296) British history (765) ebook (218) Eleanor of Aquitaine (164) Elizabeth I (376) England (1,708) English History (676) European History (232) fiction (1,330) France (199) Great Britain (144) Henry VIII (534) historical (418) historical fiction (1,576) history (4,343) Kindle (164) Lady Jane Grey (183) medieval (420) medieval history (290) Middle Ages (181) monarchy (227) mystery (1,079) non-fiction (1,971) novel (153) own (210) Plantagenet (230) read (347) Richard III (561) royalty (643) to-read (2,633) Tudor (737) Tudor England (207) Tudors (640) unread (198) Wars of the Roses (298)

Common Knowledge



Alison Weir in Folio Society Devotees (April 2022)
Mary Boleyn: The Mistress of Kings by Alison Weir (August 2011 batch) in Reviews of Early Reviewers Books (January 2012)


Thorough depiction of each of Henry's wives, containing as much information about their lives with and without Henry as is known.
mj_papaya | 58 other reviews | Nov 21, 2023 |
Eleanor of Aquitaine was blessed with a long and eventful life where she traveled all over Europe and some of the Middle East. Unfortunately, us readers aren't quite so lucky, as there is very little information surviving about Eleanor's deeds and accomplishments. As a result, Weir must make do with manor records and whether or not her subject is mentioned in the accounts from various chroniclers in order to track her whereabouts. This leaves a very incomplete picture, which is quite frustrating for a reader.

For me, the most interesting part was when Eleanor's son Richard I becomes king and must rely on his mother to drum up support for him in England. Weir spends time talking about how she rounded up the barons of England and made them pledge their loyalty to her son. When he's captured by the Duke of Austria, Weir discusses how she gathered the ransom money and what laws she had to pass to accomplish this. Weir herself says that this period of Eleanor's life is likely what brought her everlasting fame, as she was a beloved queen of England, intelligent and compassionate for her subjects. If only we could've seen more of this Eleanor when she was in her domains of Aquitaine, Gascony, and Poitou, which Weir glosses over. Eleanor is nothing more than "their beloved duchess" and she keeps them quiet because she "understands their ways", but very little is said beyond that.

Since Eleanor's life would only take about a hundred pages to relate, Weir fills the book by regaling the political landscape of the time. There is a lot of information about Eleanor's husbands, Louis VII and Henry II, as well as her sons. It's certainly one way to talk about Eleanor's life, and for those not familiar with the politics at this time, it's very interesting. Personally, I found it dull because all I wanted was to read about Eleanor, and I was sorely disappointed to find her largely missing.

Weir makes it her mission to dismantle all of the myths around Eleanor, but she seems to be a bit selective in this regard. While she states that the 'Court of Love' was nonexistent, she defends it as probable that Eleanor slept with her uncle Raymond as well as Henry's father, Geoffrey of Anjou. She also pushes back against the idea that Richard I was homosexual, even though most modern historians have accepted this because none of the historians at the time commented on it. As a result, this biography, while informative from a high level, general perspective, is still pretty lacking in fundamental ways.

That said, I wouldn't rate this book lower than three stars. It's very well-written and approachable. You don't need to have a PhD to understand this book. Additionally, it's not Weir's fault that information regarding Eleanor is so sparse. The only thing we know Eleanor owned was an elaborate vase. Beyond that, not much has survived. Weir did what she could with the information available to her. It's frustrating, but I do appreciate even this glimpse into Eleanor's exciting life.
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readerbug2 | 35 other reviews | Nov 16, 2023 |
Fictional life of Henry VIII's first wife from when she first arrived in England to her death.

Interesting story of her life between the death of Prince Arthur and the death of Henry VII. Rather slow at times in the middle (all the does he/doesn't he still love me?) but excellent once the King's Great Matter got started and the story of the last part of her life was heartbreaking. Having read this I do wonder how the author can possibly make Anne Boleyn a sympathetic character.
Robertgreaves | 22 other reviews | Nov 10, 2023 |
What fascinating women/queens and an interesting king!
wallace2012 | 58 other reviews | Nov 4, 2023 |



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