Book Review: The Great Matter Monologues by Thomas Crockett

Genre: Historical fiction

Publisher: John Hunt Publishing Ltd

Pub date: 28 February 2020


The great matter as we know it refers to Henry VIII’s divorce from Katharine of Aragon to allow him to marry Anne Boleyn. This book by Thomas Crockett offers a different approach to the story in the form of monologues from Henry, Katharine and Anne. The chapters switch between the three voicing their experiences and memories.

It begins in 1527 when Henry is seeking divorce and covers events including Henry’s banishment of Katharine, the divorce trial, deaths of Thomas Wolsey and the rise of Thomas Cromwell. The book ends in 1536 when both the fate of Katharine and Anne is sealed.

I’m immensely intrigued by the great matter so jumped at the chance to read this especially with its different approach.

There isn’t anything new in this that hasn’t already been covered so don’t go in to this expecting to learn anything new if you are already a fan of this era.

I have mixed feelings about this book, the language has been modernised which could be beneficial to those new to reading history books. I actually didn’t mind the modern language it was an interesting way to show the events and feelings of those involved.

However, I did not like how Anne was portrayed in this. She came across as a very nasty, angry lady who does nothing but yell at people and belittle them and Henry came across as doing things just to please her and avoid arguments.

Although I found the modernised language interesting I found myself hating Anne and I definitely do not hate her. I also wish the book had covered her eventual downfall to see how she felt at that time but it ends just before.

Overall, this is a nice way to be introduced to the great matter but readers should bear in mind that Anne is definitely portrayed in a very negative manner. I did very much enjoy the monologue style of writing though, it was something new to me.

Thank you to NetGalley and John Hunt Publishing for the opportunity to read this in exchange for my review.

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