The Six Wives of Jenny the 8th – Laura Garcia
Intriguing story tinged with dark humor
As you might guess from the title of this book, it’s a modern take on the story of the life of Henry VIII. It spans fifteen years of the life of Jenny York, beginning with her as a university student aged nineteen. She’s already been married once at that point, to a Dutch woman she met on an exchange trip but it ended after a few months and she’s now back in the USA studying filmmaking and finance.
It’s very hard to write this review without giving too much of the story away, but suffice to say Jenny is not that lucky in love, and one failed relationship leads to another, for a variety of reasons. However, she is incredibly successful at work, and having already inherited a fortune from her parents, who died when she was sixteen, she’s never short of money or people who want their share of it.
As her story unfolds, almost exclusively told from her point of view, we discover that Jenny has hidden strengths and talents that can see her out of many a difficult situation. Some of these talents are questionable from a moral or legal position, and it left me as the reader unsure as to whether I actually liked her or not. They also had me laughing, and then questioning my own morality for doing so! That’s not a bad thing, though, and was actually quite refreshing compared to a lot of lesbian fiction out there.
The writing style is also intriguing. In the vast majority of fiction, the author always lets us see inside the characters’ heads. We hear how they feel, how a situation affects them, what their emotional response to another person is. It took me quite a few chapters to realize that was missing entirely from this book. We are told what happens as each chapter unfolds, but not how the character feels about it. So, we are left to surmise and guess, and on the one hand this is an interesting way of writing, on the other it’s a little frustrating. I’m not certain I really understood who Jenny was, or what made her tick, and so in a way, although the story did have me hooked and I read it in one day, I was still left feeling like I’d missed something important.
There are some good secondary characters that Jenny relies on for most of the story, her lawyer being the main one, and they added some different color to what could otherwise have been a dull narrative given the point I made in the previous paragraph.
Don’t get me wrong – I enjoyed the book, and if you’re looking for something very different from a lot of the fluffy stuff that floods the lesfic market, you’d probably enjoy this
The Six Wives of Jenny the 8th by Laura Garcia is available from Amazon