Amenable Women

Amenable Women

A book about a Tudor Queen and a contemporary heroine - linked through their affinity over 500 years. Flora Chapman is in her fifties when her dashing and infuriating husband, Edward, dies in a bizarre ballooning accident. Ever pragmatic, Flora seizes upon her new freedom and decides to finish Edward’s history of Hurcott Ducis, the village where they’ve spent their married...

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Title:Amenable Women
Author:Mavis Cheek
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Amenable Women Reviews

  • Tasneem

    This is a fascinating story of a new widow Flora Chapman, who attempts to retake control and direction of her life and her destiny from out of the shadows of her husband's eccentricity that masked years of neglect and emotional abuse. She does this by re-exploring Anna of Cleaves, the supposedly ugly and stupid wife of Henry VIII. Anna of Cleaves is beautiful, smart and savvy enough to pretend to be dumb. She submits, flatters without flattery and thus wins Henry, Mary and Elizabeth's affections

    This is a fascinating story of a new widow Flora Chapman, who attempts to retake control and direction of her life and her destiny from out of the shadows of her husband's eccentricity that masked years of neglect and emotional abuse. She does this by re-exploring Anna of Cleaves, the supposedly ugly and stupid wife of Henry VIII. Anna of Cleaves is beautiful, smart and savvy enough to pretend to be dumb. She submits, flatters without flattery and thus wins Henry, Mary and Elizabeth's affections for her sensibility. She is a survivor in the vicious, immoral and dangerous Tudor Court. The contrast between the women and their similarities are beautifully explored. We have the historical investigations cleverly narrated via flashbacks and conversations between the portraits of the famous Tudors which adds a bit of whimsy to the storytelling. I loved it. A really good read. As my first foray into the work of Cheek I must admit that I am hooked and will be definitely reading more of her work.

  • Jean St.Amand

    I absolutely loved this book; I too am a plain woman so I really loved and understood Flora; I'm also very interested in the story of King Henry viii and Anna of Cleves in particular. I loved how the story was told both from Flora's point of view and Anna's...how the portraits of King Henry's wives and daughters were able to communicate with each other...really a brilliant way to tell a story. Hard to believe only a little more than 400 "Goodread-ers" have read this book. Find it, read it...you

    I absolutely loved this book; I too am a plain woman so I really loved and understood Flora; I'm also very interested in the story of King Henry viii and Anna of Cleves in particular. I loved how the story was told both from Flora's point of view and Anna's...how the portraits of King Henry's wives and daughters were able to communicate with each other...really a brilliant way to tell a story. Hard to believe only a little more than 400 "Goodread-ers" have read this book. Find it, read it...you won't be disappointed!!

    Loved it just as much the second time :)

  • Ainsley

    I am fond of Anna of Cleves, and I particularly enjoyed the conceit of having her portrait (and those of other royal women) able to hear and discuss the comments made about them by gallery-goers. Interesting, too, to see the very different stories authors can produce about historical figures, given identical sets of facts to work with(compare and contrast this version of Anna with that given by Philippa Gregory).

  • Rachel

    Another book read whilst getting a baby to sleep. I really enjoyed this book, the juxtaposition of contemporary Flora and Anna of Cleves from the past - both over looked women who had successfully and unsucessfully engineered their lives together with their husbands and as single women. It is a clever plotting device and a chance to explore the misunderstood fourth queen of Henry VIII, and to enjoy the sharp remarks on the ways of men, women and marriage in modern life. One of Mavis Cheek's best

    Another book read whilst getting a baby to sleep. I really enjoyed this book, the juxtaposition of contemporary Flora and Anna of Cleves from the past - both over looked women who had successfully and unsucessfully engineered their lives together with their husbands and as single women. It is a clever plotting device and a chance to explore the misunderstood fourth queen of Henry VIII, and to enjoy the sharp remarks on the ways of men, women and marriage in modern life. One of Mavis Cheek's best.

  • Tracey

    A lovely read full of historical content about Anne of Cleves. The entwining of the lives of Anne and flora was done so subtly.

  • Amanda Patterson

    Cheek sends up English country life. She mercilessly examines middle age and its ramifications. She describes relationships that should never have begun. I enjoyed this tale of Flora Chapman and the obscure Queen Anne.

    Flora Chapman is liberated when her horrible husband dies in an odd accident. His death uncovers infidelity and a half written history of their local village which was the home of Anne of Cleves, Henry’s fourth wife. Henry called her the Flanders Mare, and was soon rid of her.

  • Kristin Davison

    3.5 stars

  • Nicole

    Some slight spoilers.

    I really loved this book, as both a history student (who loves this time period in particular) and a lover of historical fiction.

    Much like Flora, I have always thought that Anna of Cleves was the most interesting of all. I actually wouldn't have picked up this book if I hadn't seen the famous painting of her on the cover. Again, just like Flora, I think it's so dumb that she's gone down in history as The Ugly One. Why is she not known as The Survivor?

    Some slight spoilers.

    I really loved this book, as both a history student (who loves this time period in particular) and a lover of historical fiction.

    Much like Flora, I have always thought that Anna of Cleves was the most interesting of all. I actually wouldn't have picked up this book if I hadn't seen the famous painting of her on the cover. Again, just like Flora, I think it's so dumb that she's gone down in history as The Ugly One. Why is she not known as The Survivor? She was the wife who Henry wanted to get rid of and didn't lose her head. She got herself out of there, got a good divorce settlement, and lived pretty well. Not many people who got on Henry's bad side could claim as much. The fact that she randomly comes in as a narrator of the story was delightful, though it threw me so much when it first happened.

    I also loved Flora and how she learned from Anna. It was so frustrating, come the end and what happened. I was like 'no! Don't let him take the credit! Stand up to your freaking awful daughter!', but I got why. Much like Anna, she knew going quietly would work out for her in the long run. It sucked, but it made sense.

  • Josephine (Jo)

    When I started this book I found it a little hard to get into, part one was about a marriage with an overbearing husband and a bored wife.

    I kept on reading hoping that there would be more too it than that and I am pleased to say that my patience was rewarded. Part two was also about an overbearing husband and a bored and much maligned wife, Henry VIII and Anna Of Cleves.

    The author brings Anna to life in a unique way, makes her point of view so powerfully that I felt that I actually

    When I started this book I found it a little hard to get into, part one was about a marriage with an overbearing husband and a bored wife.

    I kept on reading hoping that there would be more too it than that and I am pleased to say that my patience was rewarded. Part two was also about an overbearing husband and a bored and much maligned wife, Henry VIII and Anna Of Cleves.

    The author brings Anna to life in a unique way, makes her point of view so powerfully that I felt that I actually knew Anna and had a greater understanding of what it was to be a pawn in the political marriage game during Tudor times. So much depended upon the way that Anna behaved when Henry decided she was 'not to his liking'. She could have ended up as her predecessor had, without her head. Due to her tact in handling the situation she managed to salvage her life and maintain quite a high standard, with several households, beautiful gowns, parties etc. Most importantly she stayed on the right side of Henry and became friends with both of his then illegitimate daughters, both of whom remembered her kindness when they became two of the most powerful women in history.

    A good read and a really unique way of letting her characters tell their own tale, which I will not spoil for those of you who are hoping to read the book.

  • Caroline

    This is an interesting two tier novel – firstly about a newly widowed woman living in modern times, and secondly about Anne of Cleves, briefly Henry VIII’s fourth wife.

    The modern-day widow – Flora Chapman - has much to come to terms with. We hear about her relationships with her dead husband, her daughter, and with various people in the small village she lives in. As time moves on, she decides to pick up and continue a history project started by her husband, and this turns into a major piece of research

    This is an interesting two tier novel – firstly about a newly widowed woman living in modern times, and secondly about Anne of Cleves, briefly Henry VIII’s fourth wife.

    The modern-day widow – Flora Chapman - has much to come to terms with. We hear about her relationships with her dead husband, her daughter, and with various people in the small village she lives in. As time moves on, she decides to pick up and continue a history project started by her husband, and this turns into a major piece of research into Anne of Cleves.

    And thus opens a whole new story. Even today, Anne is commonly referred to as ugly and stupid – notoriously known as “the Flander’s mare”. Henry was said to be so repelled by her that he couldn’t even stand the smell of her, and he divorced her within 6 months of their marriage.

    Anne as painted by the workshop of Barthal Bruyn the Elder in Cologne. Painted in the 1530s.

    A miniature of Anne as painted by Holbein in 1538. This was the portrait shown to Henry VIII - which made him decide to marry her.

    A painting of Henry VIII three years before he married Anne. There was a 21 year age gap between them. Painting after Hans Holbein the Younger.

    Well, Flora was highly suspicious of the usual negative descriptions of Anne, and threaded throughout the book are her investigations into a wholly new and totally different Anne of Cleves...very different to the one commonly represented. Her research was fascinating, and I think entirely plausible. It made for very good reading.

    I found the bits of the book dealing with Flora Chapman’s life in contemporary England less gripping.

    I also found the ending of the book frustrating. The author seemed to be trying to wring out every inch of suspense from a situation that was not all

    exciting. I was a bit irritated and underwhelmed.

    Overall though I enjoyed the book, especially all the wonderful snips about people like Henry VIII, Bloody Mary, Elizabeth 1st and of course Anne of Cleves. The author writes from an oblique perspective. It is extremely interesting – and I thought what she said made a lot of sense.

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    Rough notes for myself from

    about Anna/Anne of Cleves....

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    Pictures of Anne of Cleves taken from the

    Pictures of Henry VIII taken from

    .

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