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A Matter of Faith

author Judith Arnopp brings Henry VIII to thrilling life

Living in Germany as an impressionable middle schooler, I treasured my family’s visits to Great Britain. Everywhere we went, people spoke our language and the bookshops were filled with historical novels packed with royal drama. I’ll never forget our visit to Hampton Court palace, Henry VIII’s most famous residence. The famous Tudor king was a man of outsized appetites, an overinflated ego, and breathtaking cruelty toward his many wives, I decided. Case closed.

But British novelist Judith Arnopp has succeeded in getting me to look again at Henry VIII. While my general view of him hasn’t changed since reading her beautifully-written, nuanced book A Matter of Faith, I do see him in a much more sympathetic light. Thanks to Arnopp’s insightful writing and excellent world-building, I feel as if I inhabited Henry VIII’s mind during the absorbing hours I spent reading the novel. I felt I understood for the first time what it might be like to be a monarch surrounded by sycophants, never certain who is truly loyal and who is simply out to gain an advantage. A Matter of Faith (part of The Henrician Chronicle series), which opens with Henry adjusting to life with his fiery new spouse Anne Boleyn, is a drama-packed and poignant look at a compelling chapter of British history.

Finally free of Catherine of Aragon, Henry VIII, is now married to Anne Boleyn and eagerly awaiting the birth of his son. In a court still reeling from the royal divorce and growing public resentment against church reform, Henry must negotiate widespread resentment toward Anne. He places all his hopes in a son to cement his Tudor blood line, but his dreams are shattered when Anne is delivered of a daughter.

Burying his disappointment, Henry focuses on getting her with child again, but their marriage is volatile and as Henry faces personal bereavement, and discord at court, Anne’s enemies are gathering. When the queen miscarries of a son, and Henry suffers a life-threatening accident, his need for an heir becomes critical. Waiting in the wings is Jane Seymour, a lady-in-waiting who offers the king comfort and respite from Anne’s fiery passions.

But, when Anne falls foul of her former ally, Thomas Cromwell, and the king is persuaded he has been made a cuckold, Henry strikes out and the queen falls beneath the executioner’s sword, taking key players in Henry’s household with her.

Jane Seymour, stepping up to replace the fallen queen, quickly becomes pregnant. Delighted with his dull but fertile wife, Henry’s spirits rise even further when the prince is born safely. At last, Henry has all he desires but even as he celebrates, fate is preparing to deliver one more staggering blow.

Henry, the once perfect Renaissance prince, is now a damaged middle-aged man, disappointed in those around him but most of all in himself. As the king’s optimism diminishes, his intractability increases, and the wounded lion begins to roar.

Where to buy the book

This title is available to read on #KindleUnlimited.

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About the author

When Judith Arnopp began to write professionally there was no question as to which genre to choose. A lifelong history enthusiast and avid reader, Judith holds an honours degree in English and Creative writing, and a Masters in Medieval Studies, both from the University of Wales, Lampeter.

Judith writes both fiction and non-fiction, working full-time from her home overlooking Cardigan Bay in Wales where she crafts novels based in the Medieval and Tudor period. Her main focus is on the perspective of historical women from all roles of life, prostitutes to queens, but she has recently turned her attention to Henry VIII himself.

Her novels include:

A Matter of Conscience: Henry VIII, the Aragon Years. (Book one of The Henrician Chronicle)

A Matter of Faith: Henry VIII, the years of the Phoenix (Book Two of The Henrician Chronicle)

The Beaufort Bride: (Book one of The Beaufort Chronicle)

The Beaufort Woman: (Book two of The Beaufort Chronicle)

The Kings Mother: (Book three of The Beaufort Chronicle)

The Heretic Wind: the life of Mary Tudor, Queen of England

A Song of Sixpence: The story of Elizabeth of York

Intractable Heart: The story of Katheryn Parr

The Kiss of the Concubine: A story of Anne Boleyn

Sisters of Arden: on the pilgrimage of Grace

The Winchester Goose: at the court of Henry VIII

The Song of Heledd:

The Forest Dwellers


Her non-fiction articles feature in various historical anthologies and magazines and an illustrated non-fiction book, How to Dress like a Tudor will be published by Pen & Sword in 2023.

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  1. judith arnopp says:

    Thank you so much for hosting me and writing such a lovely review! I hope you enjoy book 3 just as much x

  2. Cathie Dunn says:

    Thanks so much for hosting Judith Arnopp today, and for your gorgeous image of Hampton Court and lovely introduction. Much appreciated.

    Cathie xo
    The Coffee Pot Book Club

  3. Amy Maroney says:

    A true pleasure. I loved the book and have great memories of visiting Hampton Court as a kid.

  4. judith arnopp says:

    Thank you so much for hosting me today!

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