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The May Bride by Suzannah Dunn

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The life of the young Seymour family, of Jane whom we meet aged 15, of Edward and his spirited wife Elizabeth, both 21, and young Thomas, plus of course Seymour senior. The relationship between the girls becomes close. Edward has to fight in France and upon his return begins to wonder about the fidelity of his wife. Things start to turn sour and then nasty. Shortly after this Jane is sent to court to serve the Queen. Here, of course, she witnesses more matrimonial discord! This is a nice slant on a very familiar period.

If you like Suzannah Dunn you might also like to read books by Karen Harper, Jude Morgan and Helen Dunmore.

The Good Book Guide logo The Good Book Guide Review. Jane Seymour was Henry VIII’s third wife but little is known of her formative years. At a time when Wolf Hall, the Seymour family’s ancestral seat, looms large courtesy of Hilary Mantel’s acclaimed novel and the recent television series, it is interesting to be offered an original perspective on a familiar tale. Jane is fifteen when her brother Edward brings home his new bride, the vivacious, glamorous Katharine who immediately captivates the younger and more dutiful girl. Over the course of the ensuing two years, Jane’s life is changed forever when tragedy strikes the family, and she comes to realise that her future may lie outside the cloistered world she had envisaged as her inevitable destiny.
~ Amanda Hodges


The May Bride by Suzannah Dunn

I didn't stand a chance: looking back over thirteen years, that's what I see. In the very first instant, I was won over, and of course I was: I was fifteen and had been nowhere and done nothing, whereas Katherine was twenty-one and yellow-silk-clad and just married to the golden boy...Jane Seymour is a shy, dutiful fifteen-year-old when her eldest brother, Edward, brings his bride home to Wolf Hall. Katherine Filliol is the perfect match for Edward, as well as being a breath of fresh air for the Seymour family, and Jane is captivated by the older girl. Over the course of a long, hot country summer, the two become close friends and allies, while Edward is busy building alliances at court and advancing his career. However, only two years later, the family is torn apart by a dreadful allegation made by Edward against his wife. The repercussions for all the Seymours are incalculable, not least for Katherine herself. When Jane is sent away, to serve Katharine of Aragon, she is forced to witness another wife being put aside, with terrible consequences. Changed forever by what happened to Katherine Filliol, Jane comes to understand that in a world where power is held entirely by men, there is a way in which she can still hold true to herself.


A remarkable writer, a lyricist of ordinary life and ordinary people transfigured by extreme emotions - Daily Telegraph

Her ear for the rhythms of speech is unerring, her feeling for the minutiae of experience acute. It takes a good deal of artistry to create the illusion of real life, and she has managed something more difficult still, which is to show us how strange real life can be. - The Times

The Queen of Subtleties offers a stunningly refreshing way of retelling an old story. I often abandon historical novels nowadays, but I really could not put this one down. It brings Anne Boleyn to life as never before, and, probably for the first time ever in fiction, Henry VIII emerges as a truly credible character in an authentic setting. - Alison Weir

Suzannah Dunn...weaves...a love story that is both moving and believable...of second chances at love, and passion reawakened. - Daily Telegraph

Mesmerising and beautifully written. - Scotsman

About the Author

Suzannah Dunn

Suzannah Dunn was our Guest Editor in June 2011 - click here - to see the books that inspired her writing.

Suzannah Dunn is the author of nine previous novels, Darker Days Than Usual, Blood Sugar, Past Caring, Quite Contrary, Venus Flaring, Tenterhooks, Commencing our Descent. The Queen of Subtleties (her first novel) tells the story of Anne Boleyn's downfall and was followed by the bestselling The Sixth Wife, the heartrending downfall of Katherine Parr in 2007. Her most recent novel The Queen's Sorrow, about the tragedy of Mary Tudor, was published in 2008. She lives in Shropshire.

Author photo © Caroline Forbes

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Book Info

Publication date

30th November 1999


Suzannah Dunn

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