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3rd MAY 2018

JANE SEYMOUR: THE HAUNTED QUEEN

Number 9 in the Sunday Times best-seller list in May 2018







BOOK THREE in the SIX TUDOR QUEENS series


   


Above: UK hardback; US hardback; New Zealand and Australia hardback. Below: UK limited-edition bound proof review copy.


 


 

Eleven days after the bloody death of the Queen, a young woman is dressing for her wedding to the King. She knows she must bear a son - or face ruin. She is haunted by the fate of her predecessor.

   Jane begins to expose a gentler side to the King, but she clings to the old faith while living in an England in the throes of a religious revolution, where those who speak out risk a brutal death.

   She faces plague and rebellion - and the shadow of the past.

   How is she to survive in this terrifying world?

   JANE SEYMOUR. The third of Henry's queens.

   In this sparkling novel, acclaimed, bestselling historian Alison Weir draws on new research for her compelling portrait of Jane, casting fresh light on both traditional and modern perceptions of her. A young woman of courage and compassion, come from a family tainted by scandal, Jane was driven by the strength of her faith, and a belief that she might do some good in a wicked world.
   All will be well if she can give the King what he wants. 






REVIEWS


"I read it over the Christmas break and literally couldn't put it down, which led to several complaints about my unsociability!  I enjoyed it immensely. In this gripping and utterly compelling novel, Henry VIII's third and - allegedly - best-loved wife is brought vividly to life. Forget 'plain' Jane Seymour: here is a woman to be reckoned with - strong-willed, brave and tenacious.  Her story is set against the rich and complex backdrop of Henry VIII's court at its most turbulent.  Not to be missed. I would like to wish Alison the immense success that this stunning novel deserves." (Tracy Borman)

"I love it. It's fabulous. So rich and such vivid colour and brilliant insight." (Kate Williams)



"This brilliant book is a bombshell! Jane Seymour the shy mouse type? Think again! This superb book, the result of deep and meticulous new research, brings her to astonishing life - she is vibrant, determined and she sets the King's court on fire. The fascinating secrets of the Seymour family are deftly explored, the world of the Court painted anew - and Jane's romance with the King is an absolute revelation. Wonderfully written with sympathy and grace, this gripping book gives us the real third wife and shows her struggle to stay true to herself and survive in the toughest of worlds. A magnificent novel - you'll never forget her!"
(Kate Williams)

"Reading Alison Weir’s wonderfully vivid and utterly convincing novel, you can only wonder how Henry VIII’s third wife can have been so shamefully underestimated! As Alison herself points out, her career ‘spanned three of the most tumultuous years in England’s history’.  The lack of documentary evidence as to her personal feelings makes any real assessment a challenge - but one to which Alison rises triumphantly. Written with the verve of fiction  and the authority of history, this is a Jane who is neither a puppet, a pious victim nor a po-faced  schemer, but a living, breathing woman, launched on her own emotional journey. Meticulous research is magically transformed into a riveting narrative which takes us into the places non-fiction history cannot reach. It’s what Alison Weir does better than anybody - and what historical fiction was created to do." (Sarah Gristwood)

"It was engrossing and enjoyable, and even though we know what will happen, it keeps the sense of page-turning suspense to the last. Vivid characters and a wonderful sense of time and place combine with the story of a gentle, kind heroine who I really cared about, the more so because she was so cruelly robbed of her life at the moment of her greatest happiness." (Barbara Erskine)

"I don't know how you managed to create such a robust and engaging storyline out of such scant knowledge and evidence about Jane Seymour. But you have - many congratulations on the accomplishment." (Mavis Cheek)

"If you had vowed never to read another word about the Tudors, don't give up on them until you have finished this hugely enjoyable fictionalisation... Alison Weir knows her subject, and has a knack for the telling and textural detail. Fascinating too are the author's theories on what killed Jane..." (Daily Mail)

"Alison Weir’s stature as a historian is beyond question and the increasing popularity of her fiction titles is testament to her skill in using her extensive historical knowledge to inform her novels. Here, undoubtedly, is a writer of historical fiction without equal. In this, the story of Henry VIII’s third wife, we find the young Jane Seymour at first reluctant to join the royal court, until the discovery of a dark, explosive family secret propels her towards her place in history. What then follows is a story full of subtly-drawn, colourful undercurrents of intrigue and deceit in which our sympathies are always with the initially ingenuous Jane. Alison Weir weaves a compelling tale which puts Jane’s story into historical perspective against a background of controversial religious reform. Its great strength is that it also gives the reader thought-provoking insights into Jane’s interaction with her predecessors, Katherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn, both of whom are very much alive when the story begins. Here too is an immensely human portrait of a king who is obsessed with the need for a male heir to his throne and is prepared to go to extraordinary lengths to ensure the succession. With Jane Seymour: the Haunted Queen, Alison Weir has reached the half-way point in her “Six Tudor Queens” series and it bids fair to become the authoritative interpretation of the lives of the six women who married the most notorious, colourful king in English history. This story of Henry’s third Queen, Jane Seymour, is a hugely satisfying and rewarding reading experience. A masterpiece." (Mari Griffith, author of Root of the Tudor Rose)

"Alison Weir is a woman with a mission. She is passionately driven to bring the life stories of the wives of Henry VIII, as well as all those close to them, into the 21st century through both fact and fiction. In Alison's third novel in her 'Six Tudor Queens' series, the brilliantly crafted 'Haunted Queen', Jane Seymour, comes to life as a surprisingly complex yet morally grounded woman, one adept at negotiating the serpent's nest that defined Henry VIII's court. A delightful literary weaving of the known, suspected, and can't be known, Alison spins a fascinating, face-paced and entertaining story of the tragically short life of Henry's most beloved wife and Queen." (Beth von Staats, www.queenanneboleryn.com)

"Alison Weir's stunning new novel reveals a refreshingly different side to the character of this often overlooked Queen, remembered primarily for providing Henry VIII with his longed-for male heir. A vivacious and purposeful woman emerges from the shadows in which she has been hidden for many centuries, providing us with a refreshingly different perspective of Henry VIII's third wife. The Tudor court with all its intrigue and tumult is brought vividly and colourfully to life in this beautifully written book. This has to be one of Alison Weir's greatest triumphs - it is a real page-turner that is both mesmerising and unputdownable. A sensational achievement. I really loved it, and it has to be my favourite of the Six Tudor Queens series yet. I couldn’t put it down! It has smashed all the traditional ideas that we have about Jane - it’s brilliant!" (Nicola Tallis)

"Weir offers a dramatic and empathic portrait of Jane Seymour. Deft, authoritative biographical fiction." (Kirkus Reviews)

"Often overshadowed by her infamous predecessor, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour is often remembered as Henry VIII’s meek third wife who died after finally giving him a son. Here, Weir paints a fuller picture of Jane’s life that attempts to answer lasting questions about her desires and choices, and the role she played in Anne’s fatal fall from grace. Weir resists casting Jane as a mere pawn of her ambitious family, instead showing how her deep religious faith and time spent serving Katherine of Aragon as a young woman may have helped her justify her romance with Henry as an irresistible opportunity to play a part in her country’s destiny and right past wrongs. As with the earlier novels in the “Six Tudor Queens” series, about Katherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn, Weir focuses tightly on the sole perspective of her protagonist, thereby finding enough relatively fresh territory to keep even die-hard Tudor buffs interested. A fascinating afterword sheds light on Weir’s departures from the confirmed historical record and on the additional research she did for this novel, including an investigation of how exactly Jane died. VERDICT Highly recommended for fans of the period." (Library Journal, starred review)

"Jane Seymour, the queen who bore Henry VIII’s longed-for son and died shortly afterward, left little behind in period sources, and popular history stereotypes her as meek and plain. Best-selling Weir’s impressive novel shows why Jane deserves renewed attention. Without any dull moments, Weir illustrates Jane’s unlikely journey from country knight’s daughter to queen of England.This third volume in Weir’s exceptional Six Tudor Queens series offers new angles on its earlier subjects: Katherine, aging, resolute, and losing influence, yet kind to her ladies; and sharp-tongued Anne Boleyn, whose religious beliefs Jane finds dangerous. As Anne’s influence wanes, Jane intelligently navigates a path amid a surprising romantic pursuit by King Henry, whose love and generosity initially overshadow his crueler side, and her family’s ambitions. From the richly appointed decor to the religious tenor of the time, the historical ambience is first-rate. With her standout novel in the crowded Tudor-fiction field, Weir keeps the tension high, breathing new life into a familiar tale and making us wish for a different ending." (Booklist, starred review)

"The Haunted Queen is a brilliant and engaging read." (Good Housekeeping)

"Alison Weir is a woman with a mission. She is passionately driven to bring the life stories of the wives of Henry VIII. In the brilliantly crafted ‘Haunted Queen’, Jane Seymour comes to life as a surprisingly complex yet morally grounded woman, one adept at negotiating the serpent’s nest that defined Henry VIII’s court. A delightful literary weaving of the known, suspected, and can’t be known, Alison spins a fascinating, face-paced and entertaining story of the tragically short life of Henry’s most beloved wife and Queen. [Her] crafting of Jane Seymour is brilliant. [She] weaves an intriguing and plausible life story, rich with historical detail, strong character development, and exquisitely crafted scenes that at times are nothing short of gut-wrenching. Most impressive is King Henry VIII’s character development throughout the three novels. Jane Seymour: The Haunted Queen is an outstanding historical fiction novel. Finely crafted, [it] is a wonderful portrayal of Henry VIII’s most beloved queen and an outstanding continuation of the Six Tudor Queens novel series." (Beth von Staats, www.queenanneboleyn.com)

"She has a knack of grounding her subject in interesting and textural detail…. It is an enjoyable and deceptively easy read - and the author’s theories as to what killed Jane after giving birth to the longed-for male heir are fascinating." (Daily Mail)

"Historical fiction at its best – vintage Weir." (The Tudor Times)

"Don't be put off by the sheer weight of this lengthy fictional biography of Jane Seymour; once you've started it, you won't notice the pages turning. She has been rather overlooked until now. Yet, as Alison Weir skilfully tells us, her life was one dominated by fear. Weir brings the Tudor court vividly to life and leads the complex Jane out of the shadows." (The Lady)

"I loved the Jane Seymour book. She's so tricky and you had a wonderful perspective." (Nancy Bilyeau, author of The Crown series)

"This is a sumptuous historical novel anchoeed by its excellent depiction of Jane Seymour. Weir does not stint on the various scandals and uproars of the time. This is a must for all fans of Tudor fiction and history." (Publishers Weekly)

"Weir’s Jane is a more rounded character than the meek mouse of historical convention.Thanks to its sheer comprehensiveness and ambition, this six-book series looks likely to become a landmark in historical fiction." (The Times)

Bookbub USA rated Jane Seymour: The Haunted Queen among the top 10 books for 2018.






EDITORIAL RECEPTION

 

"A terrific novel! 

 

"Thanks to a blissful afternoon spent curled up in the company of Jane Seymour yesterday, I am delighted with the way this novel layers in yet more depth to the previous two novels by giving us Jane's point of view on now familiar events. I know the readers of the series are going to be every bit as thrilled as I am with the way the tapestry of characterisation and plot is increasing in beauty and complexity book by book. But as a piece in its own right, it is riveting to hear Jane's voice - so much more naïve and open, in many ways, than the previous two queens. Fascinating."

 

"I wanted to write to say how much I've enjoyed JANE SEYMOUR. I was really looking forward to discovering Jane's story, as she's one of the queens who has been rather two-dimensional in my mind, following the legendary Anne! So it has been captivating to learn more about her in such a powerful and accomplished novel. I'm really pleased with the way Jane, while experiencing similar situations and challenges to Katherine and Anne, has such a distinct voice and character throughout. Her innocence and innate morality are gradually tested, and her responses to life at court and her emotional development bring out a new and sometimes unexpected picture of Henry's third queen. The new theories about Jane's life are beautifully worked into her story here, and it was very interesting to read about the background research to these in your author's note.
   Jane wrestles with, and compromises, her sense of honour and right versus ambition in a fascinating way, and with her close, if disrupted, family background she brings a new understanding of family to the royal court and to Henry. You bring out the different characters and relationships within her family, whose influence of course is going to continue into the next books. I did like your creation of Nan [Stanhope], who with all her flaws is an intriguing character! Henry, while remaining consistent with the King in your Anne and Katherine novels, is softened and more controlled in her presence, and you show that really nicely. I certainly found myself speculating on how altered our national history would have been had Jane survived longer. Jane's story becomes more and more compelling as we moved into the insights on her marriage, and the increasing poignancy that comes with knowing her ultimate ending. And I particularly enjoyed Jane's take on Anne's downfall. Jane's fears and the secrets she decides she must keep make her strongly conflicted, and I think "haunted" describes her reign as queen very well. I think this is going to be a fabulous addition to the series. Thank you!"
 

"I had the pleasure (and sorrow!) of finishing your wonderful novel this weekend.  I loved it! I was totally immersed, feeling as if I was living in Jane's world all the while.  It is so multi-layered, it gave me insights into so many aspects of Henry and Jane, of course, but of court life in all its complexity and the way that family rank, ambition, and favoritism play into it.  As Flora says below, an added benefit of your series is the marvelous portrait it provides of Henry as he evolves as a king and a husband; it becomes completely understandable how he veers from the sexy, alluring Anne of his younger days to the sweet, submissive, pure Jane.  And how Jane is that woman, yes, but it's also the façade she must keep intact as his wife, except for those select few times when she dares break out of it.  You have made her a much more interesting woman than history usually portrays her. But overall what I have to say is that the novel kept surprising me. You portray the action in scenes so effectively, so we witness the action and development rather than being told about them in the narrative.  And these scenes and the way they played out were so often unexpected in their approach. What a test - to read a story that I felt I knew the basic bones of, but to be continually surprised, always engaged, and more deeply informed about this story I thought I knew so as to make my previous knowledge seem miniscule in comparison!

This is such a strong follow up to our first two novels that I'm truly excited by what we're now going to be able to offer readers.Congratulations Alison on a marvelous novel!"


QAB Interview with Alison Weir — “Jane Seymour: The Haunted Queen” http://queenanneboleyn.com/2018/05/06/qab-interview-alison-weir-jane-seymour-haunted-queen/

Alison Weir on Jane Seymour: interview in BBC History Magazine, May 2018



Why did Jane Seymour die in childbed? You can read my article here in The Tudor Times http://tudortimes.co.uk/guest-articles/why-did-jane-seymour-die-in-childbed


Jane Seymour: Henry VIII's Favourite Queen: History Extra Podcast https://www.historyextra.com/period/tudor/jane-seymour-henry-viiis-favourite-queen/

Books: This month's best historical reads: Meet the Author, in the June 2028 issue of History Revealed magazine.



JANE SEYMOUR: THE HAUNTED QUEEN - ten fascinating facts

Was Jane Seymour the virtuous instrument of an ambitious family and an ardent and powerful king? Or was she ambitious and active in bringing down her predecessor, Anne Boleyn? The research that underpins my book answers this question.

Around the age of twenty, Jane suffered the pain and humiliation of a family scandal.

The mother of a young man who was put forward as a husband for Jane was so against the match that she immediately arranged his betrothal to another.

Jane had good cause to regard Anne Boleyn as ‘the other woman’.

Henry VIII proposed marriage to Jane before Anne Boleyn was even arrested.

Jane had a mind of her own, and was not afraid to speak out in support of causes she held dear.

Jane may have been pregnant when Henry VIII married her, and there is good evidence for another doomed pregnancy.

Jane felt at a disadvantage as queen, beside the great ladies of the court, and saw the need to emphasise her high rank.

Contrary to popular perceptions, Jane’s long labour almost certainly followed a normal course, without complications.

It is highly unlikely that Jane died of puerperal fever, as is often stated. Shortly after giving birth, she suffered two different illnesses in succession, which, combined, proved fatal.




UK e-shorts for JANE SEYMOUR. THE GRANDMOTHER'S TALE is out on 8th March and THE UNHAPPIEST LADY IN CHRISTENDOM on 6th September.





Jane Seymour’s career spanned three of the most tumultuous years in England’s history. She was at the centre of the turbulent and dramatic events that marked the Reformation, a witness to the fall of Anne Boleyn, and an adherent of traditional religion at a time when tumultuous changes were taking place in the English Church.  
  
Historians endlessly debate whether or not Jane was the demure and virtuous willing instrument of an ambitious family and an ardent and powerful king; or whether she was as ambition as her relations and played a pro-active part in bringing down her mistress, Anne Boleyn. 

We know that Jane held the old Roman faith dear – and that she had a mind of her own.  Like most of Christendom, she did not regard Anne as Henry VIII’s lawful wife, a view that permitted her to encourage the King’s advances without moral qualms. She probably saw Anne as the author of many of the ills that were blighting the kingdom – reform that looked like heresy, and the shedding of the blood of good men.

As queen, this knight’s daughter felt at a disadvantage beside the great ladies of the court. One senses a certain gaucheness in her. Her recorded utterances are few, but they suggest a humane and sympathetic personality, a thinking, caring woman who was not afraid to speak out on principle.

Yet many see her in a more sinister light, as the ‘other woman’ who helped bring Anne Boleyn to ruin. But the only evidence for Jane’s involvement in Anne’s fall is of her agreeing to denigrate Anne in Henry’s ears. That isn’t the same in conniving in the plot to annihilate her. Nothing we know about Jane Seymour suggests that she tried to compass Anne’s death.

Maybe Jane found the charges against Anne believable, or was willing to. We might wonder why she was so anxious to be informed of the verdict at Anne’s trial. Was it because she was longing to wear a crown? Or was it because she was suffering from guilt and dreaded to hear that she would be queen, literally, over Anne’s dead body?

Possibly Jane gave herself to Henry months before their marriage - and possibly she conceived at least one other child besides the future Edward VI. That might explain the haste with which Anne Boleyn was brought to her death.

Traditionally, it has been assumed that Jane died from puerperal fever, yet there is no mention of fever in the sources. And when I looked at the chronology of her last illness, I found some anomalies. I am enormously grateful to the five medical experts I consulted for their ground-breaking theories and opinions, which shed new light on why, and how, Jane died.

I hope that this novel offers a rounded, convincing portrayal of Henry VIII’s third wife, who is so often dismissed as a nonentity or a sly, scheming operator, yet was almost certainly neither.







JANE SEYMOUR - author's cuts
 

 

1535

"I love this place," Thomas Seymour said. "I could settle in a house like this." His gaze took in the broad sweep of Sudeley Castle, the gardens and the park beyond. He and Jane were enjoying a short respite from the frenetic round of their duties and the busy schedule of the progress.

   They strolled on through the grounds, enjoying the warmth of the sun and the mild breeze, and presently walked into the small church that lay beyond the east garden. Jane crossed herself and knelt briefly in prayer. When she got to her feet, Thomas was staring at the chancel with a strange expression on his handsome face.

   "Brother, what is it?" she asked.

   He dragged his eyes away. "You've heard people say that a ghost just walked over their grave? Well, I just had that feeling." He walked back towards the altar and stopped just to the left of it, as Jane followed him, bewildered.

   "By God, do you feel it?" he asked, looking unlike his usual easy-going self. It came to her that he was frightened - Thomas, who had never shown himself fearful of anything. And then she stood beside him and found herself enveloped in deadly cold and suffocating sadness. She shivered and looked around her. There was nothing to account for it. She moved away, and everything was normal. Two steps back, and she was chilled. The day was warm. How could this spot be so cold?

   "Let's go," Thomas urged, and Jane was only too glad to comply. On their way out, they met the priest coming in, and asked him if he had noticed anything strange in the chancel.

   "No," he said, looking puzzled. "I expect it's just a draught."

   Thomas sighed. "I cannot explain it. Maybe I imagined it, hah!" He attempted a smile.

   "And maybe it was a draught," Jane said. They sat down on a bench and she looked back at the church. And suddenly, there came into her mind, from nowhere, a vision of a funeral procession, with banners and black-robed mourners following the hearse, and at the head of them all a very young girl. It made no sense. Maybe her imagination was running amok too, or she had somehow seen something that had happened here once. Or, and she prayed she was wrong, it had been a portent, and someone important - it must be, given the pomp of that procession - would die soon. 

 

 

1536

It was hard to sleep that night. Jane hated having her curtains drawn together, so the moonlight was streaming in through the lattice-paned window, casting shadows in the room. Jane closed her eyes, so that she didn't have to see them. She thought of Henry, wondering what he was doing and thinking, and of Anne, immured in her prison in the Tower. She could only imagine her agony of mind. What must it feel like to be locked up there, fearing - and with good cause - that the only way out would be via the scaffold?

   She thrust the thought away and made herself think of Mother and Father, who would hopefully be on their way to London soon. She prayed she would be gone from Beddington by then. It was so quiet in this vast, empty house, especially with Harry sleeping in the other wing. She was grateful for the presence of Meg, snoring softly nearby.

   When the church bell tolled three, she gave up trying to sleep, got up and padded to the window. The church was just opposite. It had a square tower with windows on each side. Jane was sure there was a light behind them, a pale moving light shaped like a disc. There it was again! And then suddenly there was a disembodied face in the window, a face with a black beard and no body, or so it appeared from where Jane was standing. Then everything went dark and it was gone.

   Blind terror gripped her. Her first instinct was to run, but where should she go? Down into the darkness of the cavernous, empty hall? She could not face that, so she burrowed into her bed and pulled the covers over her head. She realised she was whimpering.

   "Are you all right, Mistress?" came a sleepy voice from the pallet bed.

   "No, Meg, I am not," Jane confessed, peering out at her. "I was looking out the window, and I saw a face at the window of the church tower. Just a face, with a black beard! What on earth was he doing up there in the small hours?"

   "They do say that church is haunted, Mistress," Meg said, a touch avidly, "though I never seen anything myself." She got up and padded to the window. "It's all dark now. But I reckon you've seen Old Scrat. My old granddam used to say he showed himself round-abouts whenever something big were going to happen. It's a portent!"

   "Old Scrat? But that's the Devil!"

   "Aye, and when he appears, there's devil's work to be done, so my old granddam told me." 

   Jane shivered. There could be no better way of describing this business with Anne. Devil's work. Yet a large part of her refused to believe that she had seen the Devil himself!  She could not say what she had seen, but she feared it had indeed been a portent.

 

 

The next morning saw the sun blazing in the sky, and she and Harry rode out to make the most of the good weather. It was a relief to be out of the house. For all its splendour, it felt oppressive and unwelcoming.

    They rode along a shady lane that led them eventually to a village street lined with dilapidated houses. At the end of it was a large church, which looked in need of repair, with an old well nearby. Here, the road had opened out; to their right was a large mill pond, and beyond it a park in which was set a manor house. Ahead lay farmland. They turned their horses to the right after the pond, and found an inn bearing the sign of a swan. Harry went in to fetch them some ale, while Jane waited outside on a bench. She noticed some of the village folk staring at her, and became aware that the good cloth of her riding habit proclaimed her a lady of rank. If only they knew, she thought.

   Harry brought the drinks and sat next to her. "You're preoccupied today, Jane," he said.

   "I have much to be preoccupied about," she replied, and told him what she had seen in the night.

   "It was probably just the moonlight reflecting on the glass," he said, his rugged face all concern. "You have enough on your mind without conjuring up phantoms or devils."

   "I don't like it here," she said. "I feel so isolated, and the house seems sinister."

   "It won't be for long," Harry said, patting her hand, "and I'm here with you. In truth, it's a relief to be away from the court and all the gossip. If you listened to all the wild tales that are being bruited, you'd think that, since Adam and Eve, there was never anything so wicked in comparison to what is said to have been done by the Queen."

   "Are you saying she is innocent?" Jane asked, perturbed.

   "Do you?" he answered, searching her face. "I mean, honestly, Jane, isn't it all rather opportune? The King wanted an heir; he wanted you. And evidence was conveniently laid against the Queen."

   "You are wrong!" she countered hotly. "I believe she is guilty. I have the evidence of my own eyes!"

   He gaped at her.

   "It rides with what the King confided to me. Harry, you must not mention this to anyone, ever! I can tell no one what I saw, even you. I would not have her going to her death on account of anything I've said."

   Harry looked appalled. "I am ashamed that any woman would descend so far. I pray God will give her grace to repent while she lives."

   "So do I," Jane breathed.

   They untethered their horses and rode south, cresting hills and weaving their way through lush woodland. All the time, Jane was hoping that a message from the King would be waiting for her on her return. But there was nothing. She could have cried from frustration. What was happening? She needed to know.

   Dejectedly, she tidied her hair, washed her hands and then went downstairs to dine in a little parlour, where a table had been set ready. Carew had been right - his cook was a marvel, but Jane was not hungry.

   The afternoon dragged. What on earth was she going to do to fill the time here? Embroidery left her with too much time to think, so she woke Harry from his nap and got him to play cards with her. By the time supper was eaten and dusk had fallen, she felt a little better. But when she retired to bed, she made sure that the curtains were drawn and that a candle was left burning.  

 

Those familiar with the period will probably have guessed that Jane sees visions of the future in these passages: Sir Walter Ralegh in Beddington Church, where his head is almost certainly buried, and the funeral and burial of Katharine Parr in the chapel at Sudeley Castle. I can never resist a touch of the supernatural. Beddington Park - now known as Carew Manor - is near to Carshalton, where I live. The area still preserves a villagey feel, and is rich in history. The scene above is set in the village of Carshalton, where there was once an inn called the Swan. When I came to read over the finished book, I realised that I had been indulging myself in writing these passages, and that they do not really move along the story, so I cut them.