Posted By Claire on March 11, 2014
Le Temps Viendra: A Novel of Anne Boleyn Volume I was published back in August 2012, which seems a long time ago now, so I was relieved when Volume II was released in December 2013. Obviously we all know how Anne Boleyn’s story ends, so readers weren’t left completely hanging, but Le Temps Viendra had two main characters – the modern day Anne, who was having a relationship with a married man, and the sixteenth century Anne Boleyn, who was having a relationship with the married Henry VIII – and I was desperate to know what would happen to modern Anne as Anne Boleyn’s story reached its tragic end.
As readers of Volume I will know, Le Temps Viendra is two stories in one, a kind of parallel lives novel, and is about a modern day woman being transported into Anne Boleyn’s shoes after being taken ill at Hever Castle, the Boleyn family home. Le Temps Viendra Volume I covered just one year in Anne Boleyn’s life, from 31st May 1527 to June 1528, and ended with Anne Boleyn being taken ill with sweating sickness and the modern Anne leaving her. Volume II opens with the modern day Anne waking up as Anne Boleyn on 1st September 1532, the day that Anne Boleyn is made Marquis of Pembroke, and ends with Anne’s execution on 19th May 1536. Although Anne Boleyn’s life has fast-forwarded four years, the modern Anne has only been “stranded” in what she describes as “a colourless twenty-first century” for two years.
Although Volume II is much longer than Volume I (632 pages compared to 398 pages), I found it faster paced and more enjoyable. I don’t know whether this was because the events of 1532-1536 are themselves more exciting or whether it was the writing style, but I found myself much more involved in the story. I was desperate to know how Sarah Morris would tie the two women’s lives together. What would happen with modern Anne and her boyfriend? What would happen if the modern Anne was in Anne Boleyn’s body when she was executed? Would things end happily for modern Anne or would she die too? Would modern Anne take any steps to change history because of her historical knowledge? So many questions and they were answered in a way that left me satisfied at the end of the book. I found the end very moving and it was very well written.
As I said in my review of the first part – see Le Temps Viendra: A Novel of Anne Boleyn – it doesn’t seem quite right to call Le Temps Viendra a “novel” when Sarah Morris has worked so hard to make her story historically accurate. Obviously, Sarah has filled in the blanks and has used her imagination in bringing Anne Boleyn to life as a person vividly through the modern Anne’s eyes, but it worked and it didn’t “jar” with me at all. It all tied in with what we know and what she did with the story made sense. The length of the story and the incredible amount of detail, plus all the end notes, again makes it more of a novel for those who are “au fait” with Anne Boleyn’s story and Tudor history, rather than those looking for a lighter historical read, but it’s the detail Tudor history fans will love.
All in all, it was an enjoyable read and I loved how Sarah ended it.
Blurb from Goodreads
Anne is a young twenty-first century woman in the midst of a life-long love affair with the sixteenth century and the enigmatic Anne Boleyn. Having been taken ill during a visit to the British Library, for a second time, she is catapulted back 500 years and into the body of her long-time heroine. From the zenith of Anne Boleyn’s power and influence, the modern day Anne experiences, with poignant intimacy, the exhilarating days of Anne Boleyn’s clandestine marriage to the mighty King Henry VIII and her subsequent, triumphant Coronation, through to the devastating stillbirth of Anne’s second child in the summer of 1534. Dragged between two lifetimes by a pledge of eternal love, the twenty-first century Anne watches both her fragile lives hurtle toward disaster as jealousy, greed, passion and betrayal leaves both woman teetering on the edge of oblivion.
This heart-wrenching story of two women, two lives and one love reaches its dramatic climax in Le Temps Viendra: a Novel of Anne Boleyn, Volume II.