Posted By Claire on April 10, 2014
I am incredibly hard to please when it comes to fiction featuring Anne Boleyn as a character because I have spent a few years researching Anne and so have built up my own idea of her and her family members in my head, one that is bound to be different from a novelist’s idea of her. I did, however come to this book with an open mind and a willingness to give it a chance.
I was nearly put off at the very start of the book by the author’s use of “Henry V111″ and “Louis X11″. It grated on me and distracted me from the flow of the book, and I actually stopped and emailed the author. She apologised for this, it was how she was taught to write it, and said that she will be changing it in future editions. I felt happy to then ignore the strange numbering and get on with the story.
It is clear that Angela Warwick has spent a considerable amount of time researching Anne Boleyn’s life story, and there is a bibliography at the end. There are, of course, things I didn’t agree with in the storyline, for example, Warwick has Anne going to serve Margaret of Austria and Queen Claude as a child, but having quite adult thoughts and behaviours at times. At one point, Francis I even tries to seduce her, which, to me, just didn’t seem right when she was so young (not even a teenager). Henry VIII also seems interested in the very young Anne, and this just didn’t seem appropriate. However, the further I got into the story the more relaxed I became, and the more I enjoyed it. It is an enjoyable read.
Warwick definitely brought Anne to life, and her last days in the Tower, and her execution, were very moving. I also enjoyed the scenes and relationships Anne had with other characters, such as Thomas Wyatt and his sister, Margaret. As a reader I definitely empathised with the Anne of the story and cared what happened to her. I also thought that Warwick’s idea of Anne and Henry’s relationship, and her explanation through the storyline of how Henry could have abandoned the woman he spent so long chasing, were very convincing. The story worked and the reader is able to understand how it could have all gone wrong for Anne.
All in all, I enjoyed the story. It was interesting to see Warwick develop Anne’s character from the young child who left England to join a foreign court with so many hopes and dreams, to the mother, wife and queen who died as the result of a tragic miscarriage of justice.
She was one of the most fascinating women of her generation; intelligent, clever and alluring. But despite all of her undoubted talents, her fate was sealed from the moment Henry VIII set eyes on her.
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