Anne Boleyn: A King’s Obsession
Six Tudor Queens, Book #2
By Alison Weir
Author website: http://www.alisonweir.org.uk/
Brought to you by OBS reviewer Kayt
In this second novel of Alison Weir’s epic Six Tudor Queens series, the acclaimed author and historian weaves exciting new research into the story of Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII’s most infamous wife, a woman ahead of her time whose very life—and death—forever changed a nation.
Born into a noble English family, Anne is barely a teenager when she is sent from her family’s Hever Castle to serve at the royal court of the Netherlands. This strategic move on the part of her opportunistic father also becomes a chance for the girl to grow and discover herself. There, and later in France, Anne thrives, preferring to absorb the works of progressive writers rather than participate in courtly flirtations. She also begins to understand the inequalities and indignities suffered by her gender.
Anne isn’t completely inured to the longings of the heart, but her powerful family has ambitious plans for her future that override any wishes of her own. When the King of England himself, Henry VIII, asks Anne to be his mistress, she spurns his advances—reminding him that he is a married man who has already conducted an affair with her sister, Mary. Anne’s rejection only intensifies Henry’s pursuit, but in the absence of a male heir—and given an aging Queen Katherine—the opportunity to elevate and protect the Boleyn family, and to exact vengeance on her envious detractors, is too tempting for Anne to resist, even as it proves to be her undoing.
While history tells of how Anne Boleyn died, this compelling new novel reveals how fully she lived.
Of all of the queens in this era, Anne Boleyn had always been the one I liked least. I guess that is from the snippets I had heard about her. In Alison Weir’s Anne Boleyn: A King’s Obsession I learned things about this queen that I had never heard or read. Yes some of this book is fiction, but based on the few writings available about this misunderstood lady. I always saw her as sneaky and out for herself, maybe that part is true, but there was so much more about her that I never saw or even wanted to know. After reading this well plotted and wonderfully descriptive novel, I see a person that was pushed into things she may not have really wanted, a woman way ahead of her time that fought for things no one could have thought possible and a lady that had a good head on her shoulders until it was brutally cut off by her King and husband.
As a young teen, Anne (noble born), is sent to server in Netherlands. There she learns so much, she thrives and finds a dedication to progressive writers and thinkers. She sees that woman are really nothing but breeders in their world, yet capable of so much more. She learns how she must play a part in the royal goings on, to flirt, but not touch, to speak, but sometimes not say anything. This is what is expected in the company of lords and royalty. In her own time, she absorbs the writings of forward thinking writers, sits at the feet of her benefactor and learns how to really think for herself. Not that in her time she will be able to do that all of the time.
Through the machinations of her greedy father and family she is pushed into things she has no desire to do. King Henry the VIII becomes enamored with her and wants her as his mistress. She is not excited about the prospect as she really does not find him to be attractive. Older than her and of a different mind, she tries to put him off. Unfortunately this has the opposite effect. When her father sees this as a way to move the family forward, she must play the game. This is the relationship, pursuit and eventual marriage that changes the face of England. As an added benefit she feels she can also right the wrongs she has been faced with and get some revenge.
I loved the first book in this series and cannot wait to read the others as well. I was not sure I would enjoy an entire book about the queen with the worst reputation, but I thoroughly loved reading about Anne. She was so much more than I had thought. She was a feminist back when no one could even imagine such a thing. She did her father’s bidding and ended up changing a religion, a country and herself. In the end she paid with her life, but she also gave birth to the ruler who would be at the helm of England for over 50 years. Elizabeth lost her mother when she was 2 years old. Anne must have been an amazing person and thanks to Alison Weir, I am able to see just that. If you are a fan of the Tudor family, you will love this. If you enjoy a wonderful written historical novel, you will love it as well.