Wife After Wife by Olivia Hayfield
Random House: 1/21/20
eBook review copy; 464 pages
Wife After Wife by Olivia Hayfield is a recommended modern retelling of the life of Henry VIII.
Hayfield spins the story of Henry VIII into the tale of a present day
womanizing media mogul. Harry Rose is head of the Rose Corporation and
our stand-in for Henry VIII. The narrative opens in 2018 and then goes
back to 1985 and progresses forward in time covering every affair and
dalliance Harry was involved in. For those familiar with the story of
Henry VIII, Hayfield includes a list of the cast of fictional characters
and the person whom their character is based on. The list is at the
opening and continues at the end of the novel. For those of you who
already have a vague idea about history or don't care, you can read the
novel without knowing what character correlates to what real person.
The story is told through Harry's point-of-view and then the various
women in his life. Hayfield deftly handles the historical aspects,
covering how Harry acquires his wives and later eliminates the unwanted,
and wraps it around a compelling story. As is expected, Harry is
unlikable, a misogynist, and a self-centered
cad. You can talk about how good looking or charismatic he is, but it
seems that today women should be a little more aware - this includes in
1985. Of course money is an allure.
A plus to the story is all the pop culture touch points and popular
songs of the day that Hayfield includes throughout the story. This made
the story interesting and placed in firmly in the time periods in which
she set the plot. It is an interesting update to the story and Hayfield
does a good job creating her characters and writing the dialogue. I will admit to getting a little tired of the tale; it was the totality of Harry's bad behavior and womanizing.
My review copy was courtesy of Penguin