Book Review: Kings and Queens by Terry Tyler

Title: Kings and Queens kingsandqueens

Author: Terry Tyler

Published: April 24th 2014 by Cranium X

Genre: Romantic Drama

Pages: 387

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

Description from Goodreads:

Terry Tyler’s seventh novel is a romantic drama spanning the years 1971 – 2007, with an unusual echo from history …

“KINGS AND QUEENS” tells of the life and loves of charismatic Harry Lanchester, which just happen to mirror the story of Henry VIII and his six wives. All the passion and suspense of the Tudor court, but set in modern times.

Harry’s realm is his South of England property developing company, Lanchester Estates, while his ‘wives’ are the twentieth century sisters of their historic counterparts: Anne Boleyn is reincarnated as the equally intriguing Annette Hever, and Henry VIII’s fifth wife with the risqué past, Catherine Howard, lives again in 1999 as Keira Howard, a former lap dancer.

The saga is narrated by each of the six women, in turn, interspersed with short chapters from the point of view of Harry’s lifelong friend, Will Brandon.

Don’t worry if you know nothing of this period in history – “Kings and Queens” can be enjoyed as a contemporary family drama, very much in the vein of Ms Tyler’s previous novels. Readers with an interest in the Tudors, though, will pick up on many similarities, references and metaphors, some quite amusing. For those non-Tudor fanatics who would like a brief look at the life of Henry VIII before reading, the author has included, in the Kindle book, a link to a mini-biography on her blog.

A sequel, following the lives of Harry’s three children, is already planned

My Thoughts:

I received my copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Kings and Queens was my very first Terry Tyler novel but it definitely won’t be the last! Kings and Queens tells the story of Harry Lanchester, property developing magnate, whose life is very similar Henry VIII, except he lives in modern times. Kings and Queens begins in the 70’s when Harry is a teenager and runs all the way through to 2007. I’m a big fan of Henry VIII novels, such as The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory, so I was very interested to see how he would translate to the present. My biggest question was ‘how would he get rid of all of his wives when he can’t just behead them?’ I certainly wasn’t disappointed!

Terry Tyler clearly has an extensive knowledge of the Tudors which was evident in all of the subtle and quite funny references to real people and events. I don’t think that knowledge of the Tudors is necessary to enjoy Kings and Queens,  but the renames and references to the past were done so skillfully that I did have a laugh at most of them. The author also includes a mini biography on Henry VIII for anyone who would like to brush up on the real Henry as well, which was a very thoughtful touch.

Kings and Queens was written in first person narrative from the perspective of all of Harry’s wives and these were broken up by entries by Harry’s best friend, Will Brandon/The Duke of Suffolk. I think it added to Harry’s mystique that we never heard his perspective throughout the novel. He certainly is a fascinating character!

Each of the characters that we do hear from has their own distinct voice and each time the perspective changed I would find myself taking their side in things, even though that required a complete 180 from the previous chapter. I’ve never changed my mind so many times in one novel! Every single character was developed so well, with just the right balance between acknowledging their historical counterparts and making them a brand new character who lives only in this novel. I could definitely ‘hear’ each character in my mind while I was reading.

Kings and Queens also had quite a few funny moments. I loved all of the bad fashion descriptions from the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s and there was just the right amount of British slang to be funny, not contrived.

As you can probably tell, I loved Kings and Queens. Fans of Henry VIII will enjoy the nods to the past, but anyone who likes a good romantic drama or interesting and well developed characters and story lines should add Kings and Queens to their TBR pile. I can’t wait to read the sequel, Last Child, which is coming out soon!

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