What a fantastic alternative to the typical "Henry VIII was a big pig" take on one of the most vibrant and fascinating Tudor monarchs. Plus it supplemented for me what I find lacking in books like those from Phillipa Gregory - I love their scope, research, and historic accuracy, but in my opinion, lack interesting character development; also, any of her books involving Henry tend to reinforce the typical stereotype of the iconic Holbein portrait: a fiendish and fat lecher with enormous appetites, no conscience, and no morals.
This book by Margaret George attempts to step inside the head of Henry and conjure up what it would be like to meet the man, who, according to this telling, was in a chatty, love-obsessed, deeply religious, witty, engaging and educated man who was an absolute pleasure to spend time with. I do admit, it took me almost 500 of the 1000 pages for the book to really "grab" me; somewhere near the beginning, one the notes penned by his fool, Will Somers, mentions that the tune Greensleeves was composed by Henry (a myth; it's actually thought to be from the Elizabethan period and possibly foreign in origin), it put my guard up for the same reason as "The Tudors" series on Showtime - of all such historical figures, Henry VIII is probably the least in need of "embellishment" and factual flights of fancy to remain riveting. However, if you love reading about the period, you'll certainly be glad you got to know this charming, overbearing, religious, open-minded, suspicious, game-playing, and yet all-too-human & whole-hearted individual.
This book was okay. The introduction is that Will Sommers is forwarding a secret autobiography written by King Henry VIII to Henry's illegitimate child by Anne Boleyn's sister, Mary. The artistic license with history continues from there. Many of the psychological insights to Henry through the years are seemingly accurate given his pathological behavior. In short, good read, perhaps not accurate, but worth reading anyway.