Posted By Claire on February 22, 2012
When best-selling author Carol Wolper sent me an email introducing her book and describing it as “the story of Anne and Henry updated for 2012” and saying “Not a lot has changed since the 16th century. Shorter skirts and iPhones, that’s about it”, I was intrigued and agreed to read and review it. When it arrived and I read the back cover I was even more intrigued, but also worried that I just wouldn’t be able to cope with Anne Boleyn’s story set in present day Hollywood. I’m not a lover of chick-lit or Hollywood type novels so I really had my doubts, and I have strong feelings about Anne Boleyn and how she is presented, and often misrepresented, in fiction. How would I cope with this novel?
Well, I was bemused by the first few pages and then I was hooked. I read it in two evenings, staying up rather late last night to finish it because I wanted to know what on earth Wolper was going to do with Anne, and they were two very enjoyable evenings. Wolper has cleverly brought Anne’s story to life in 21st century LA “Hollywood: the flashiest, most treacherous court of all” and it is entertaining, gripping and, at times, funny. You’ve got all of the elements of Anne’s true story – love, passion, intrigue, betrayal, infidelity, conspiracy… – but with cocktails, iPads, Hollywood parties, threesomes, viagra and pot thrown in. It works!
Let me introduce you to some of the characters:-
- Henry Tudor – Described as “A Los Angeles power player with sex appeal that matches his wealth”. The ‘King’ of Hollywood.
- Anne Boleyn – His girlfriend and not the usual woman to catch Tudor’s eye – she’s not an A list celebrity.
- George Boleyn – Anne’s brother and best friend who might just have a thing for men, rather than women – Yes, I know, this was one of two character I had trouble with, the other being his spiteful wife Lacy.
- Mary Boleyn – Anne’s sister, Henry’s ex and a pot-loving woman who just wants to be free to live her own life
- Theresa Cromwell – “A mature woman in a world that places a premium on youth. Henry’s brilliant VP is determined not to lose her perch on the pinnacle of power.”
- Catherine Aragon Tudor – Henry’s ex-wife and mother of his daughter, Maren.
- Ferdinand Aragon – Catherine’s politician father
- Carl Wolsey – “The wily funds manager”
- Jane Seymour – The blonde jewelry designer from San Francisco
- Wyatt – Parking valet and musician who writes a song for Anne
- Leo de Vince – The artist everyone wants to be painted by
Now, if that list makes you cringe and think “that will never work”, let me tell you that it really does. I cringed, I laughed and then I read the book and thoroughly enjoyed it. It was entertaining and the reader really does empathise not only with Anne, but also with the other characters. You are left thinking that people just have not changed over the last 500 years!
An entertaining read to be taken with a dose of humour. Leave academia behind and enjoy the ride.
Here’s the blurb from Amazon:-
“Skirts may be shorter now, and messages sent by iPhone, but passion, intrigue, and a lust for power don’t change. National bestselling author Carol Wolper spins a mesmerizing tale of a twenty-first-century Anne Boleyn.
Wily, intelligent, and seductive, with a dark beauty that stands out among the curvy California beach blondes, Anne attracts the attention of Henry Tudor, the handsome corporate mogul who reigns in Hollywood. Every starlet, socialite, and shark wants a piece of Henry, but he only wants Anne. The question is: can she keep him?
Welcome to a privileged world where hidden motives abound, everyone has something to sell, and safe havens don’t exist. With her older sister Mary, a pathetic example of a royal has-been, Anne schemes to marry her beloved Henry and even more challenging, stay married to this man who has more options than most and less guilt than is good for either of them. Success will mean contending with backstabbing “friends,” Henry’s furious ex-wife, and the machinations of her own ambitious family, and staying married to a man who has more options than most and less guilt than is good for either of them will take all her skill. Anne will do anything to hold on to the man—and the lifestyle—she adores, however, even if sticking your neck out in Hollywood means risking far worse than a broken heart. With Henry’s closest confidante scheming against her, and another beautiful contender waiting in the wings, Anne is fighting for her life. Can she muster the charm and wit to pull off her very own Hollywood ending?”