anne boleyn

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Anne Boleyn: A King’s Obsession (Six Tudor Queens #2) – Alison Weir

Published June 25, 2017 by bibliobeth

What’s it all about?:

Anne Boleyn: A King’s Obsession by bestselling historian Alison Weir, author of Katherine of Aragon: The True Queen, is the second captivating novel in the Six Tudor Queens series. An unforgettable portrait of the ambitious woman whose fate we know all too well, but whose true motivations may surprise you. Essential reading for fans of Philippa Gregory and Elizabeth Chadwick.

‘Weir is excellent on the little details that bring a world to life’ Guardian

The young woman who changed the course of history.

Fresh from the palaces of Burgundy and France, Anne draws attention at the English court, embracing the play of courtly love.

But when the King commands, nothing is ever a game.

Anne has a spirit worthy of a crown – and the crown is what she seeks. At any price.

ANNE BOLEYN. The second of Henry’s Queens. Her story.
History tells us why she died. This powerful novel shows her as she lived.


What did I think?:

Alison Weir has been for the longest time now in my eyes, the queen of historical non-fiction and I was delighted when she began writing historical fiction especially as her new project is focused on one of my favourite time periods in history – the Tudor period in England. This will take the form of six novels over six years, one for each wife of the inimitable Henry VIII. The first book, Katherine Of Aragon: The True Queen came out last year and was utterly brilliant so I was incredibly excited to be approved by NetGalley to read the second novel, Anne Boleyn: A King’s Obsession when it was published in May of this year. Thank you so much to them and the publishers, Headline for this opportunity and for a copy of the novel in return for an honest review.

Anne Boleyn: A King’s Obsession was everything I was hoping it would be coupled with being a huge surprise and delight to read. Drawing on new research available, the author shows us a different side to Anne, certainly a shocking turnabout from how she is often portrayed in history. It’s true that Anne Boleyn doesn’t have the best reputation in the world. She embarked on an affair with Henry VIII while he was still married to Katherine Of Aragon, an affair that continued for many, many years and led to a number of upsets and permanent changes in England as a result of their relationship, particularly in Henry’s break with the Roman Catholic church. Henry was finally set free of the shackles of his marriage to Katherine, which he had become convinced was an abomination in the eyes of God as she had been originally his deceased brother Arthur’s wife. These shackles were not removed willingly however by Katherine, she was determined until her last breath that she was the true Queen of England and their marriage was right and lawful and it was only her death that allowed Henry and Anne to become (legally) husband and wife.

It is not too long however before Henry once again begins to question the validity of his marriage with Anne. She has given him one child, Elizabeth but no male heirs that he was so desperate for and certain that Anne would provide. Then the rumours start to circulate. From musicians in Anne’s chamber, to old flames and even her own brother, Henry is persuaded into believing that the innocent girl he met and fell in love with may not be so innocent as he thought.

I’m presuming we all know how the story ends? I have to say, even though I knew exactly what was going to happen, I still felt an odd sort of hope of a reprieve for Anne at the very end. It’s quite silly really, especially when I have read a couple of different accounts (fiction and non-fiction) of the events and it ends the way it truthfully did all those years ago. However, I became so attached to Anne as a character that it was hard to let her go at the end. She was a flawed, stubborn and sometimes quite precious person but I admired her ambition and determination and the way she took quite a feminist stance on a few issues, entirely alien at that time of history, something I had no idea about and found a very welcome addition to the story. Let’s just talk about her opinions and feelings towards Henry as well? Let me just say I did not see that coming! In other accounts I have read, Henry and Anne are both deeply in love with each other. So, to have it suggested that this may not necessarily have been the case was fascinating and very exciting to read as a result. Alison Weir exhibits a true mastery in re-telling the stories of the Tudor reign and her Six Tudor Queens series is really exceeding all my expectations. Do I really have to wait a whole year before reading about the next wife, Jane Seymour?

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):


The Boleyn King – Laura Andersen

Published July 28, 2013 by bibliobeth


What’s it all about?:

The Boleyn King is the first novel in an enthralling new trilogy. Re-imagining history in sumptuous detail, Laura Anderssen takes readers back to the deadly intrigue, turbulent affairs, and treacherous passions of Tudor England – and answers the compelling question What if Anne Boleyn had given Henry VIII the son he so desperately wanted?

Just seventeen years old, Henry IX, known as William, is a king bound by the restraints of the regency yet anxious to prove himself. With the French threatening battle and the Catholics sowing the seeds of rebellion at home, William trusts only three people: his older sister Elizabeth; his best friend and loyal counselor, Dominic; and Minuette, a young orphan raised as a royal ward by William’s mother, Anne Boleyn.

Against a tide of secrets, betrayal, and murder, William finds himself fighting for the very soul of his kingdom. Then, when he and Dominic both fall in love with Minuette, romantic obsession looms over a new generation of Tudors. One among them will pay the price for a king’s desire, as a shocking twist of fate changes England’s fortunes forever.

What did I think?:

I was lucky enough to get an ARC of this novel from NetGalley and Ballantine Books so many thanks to them. I approached this novel with slight trepidation as I am a big fan of the Tudor period, Phillippa Gregory for fiction, Alison Weir for non-fiction, and I was curious to see what this author would do with such a well-loved stage of our history. Luckily enough, I was pleasantly surprised! This is an alternative history, which gives us the big “what if” question, in this case what if Anne Boleyn had given Henry a son and heir? How would history proceed? What would happen to England?

We first meet the young king at seventeen years old, almost ready to take the reins of the kingdom from the Lord Protector, Lord Rochford. Tudor fans will recognise him as Anne Boleyn’s ambitious brother, accused of incest with his sister which led to his execution by Henry VIII in “real” history. In this re-telling, he enjoys his role commanding the kingdom, slipping nuggets of wisdom into the young king’s ears. William feels quite overwhelmed by his duties, but is able to put his trust in his older sister Elizabeth (Elizabeth I) and two childhood friends, Dominic and Minuette. Trouble looms as they grow older, when the two boys both fall in love with Minuette, and the King finds himself torn between duty, friendship and passion.

As an alternative history, I think its a terrific re-telling of what may have been, and I enjoyed how the author made it feel believable in that she kept elements of the primary story – for example, Elizabeth’s alleged romance with Robert Dudley. I’m not a big fan of chick-lit or romance novels, but I appreciated the romantic element in this story, as again, I felt the author did a good job of making it plausible. And hooray, there were still many plots afoot to claim the throne that kept the story fast-paced and exciting, and able to claim the title of “credible historical fiction.” I am now eagerly anticipating the next novel in the series, and will definitely look out for other books by this author.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):