I've long been interested in the Tudors, and this novel by Alison Weir paints an entirely different picture of Anne Boylen than any I've read before. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and recommend it for any fan of historical fiction, but especially those interested in the Tudors and the lives of Henry VIII's wives.

Series: Six Tudor Queens, #2 
My Rating: ❀'s
Genre: Historical Fiction
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Anne Boylen is the most infamous of Henry VIII's wives, the wife that he beheaded and for who he cast aside his wife of nearly twenty for as well broke with the Church of Rome to marry. Anne has been portrayed as a seductress, a master manipulator, a woman of overreaching ambition, a witch, a whore, and hugely disliked during her reign as queen.

Alison Weir paints Anne in a light that I personally had never considered. Beginning at age twelve, we see Anne grow from a strong willed girl thirsty for life and knowledge into a woman of intelligence and a feminist at the court of Margaret of Austria, and later at the French court. She is careful to guard her virtue and plays the courtly game of love wisely and prudently while setting fashion and garnering attention from the courtiers. Anne is virtuous, intelligent, strong minded and forward thinking. At the Tudor court, she makes huge efforts to ward off the attentions of King Henry, refusing to be his mistress either in the courtly sense or the physical one until finally she agrees to be Henry's courtly mistress. He is relentless after all, and this is likely the beginning of Anne's downfall as soon Henry begins to want more.

As I read the book, I began to think that Anne was untimely placed in Henry's path as during this time, Queen Katherine enters later life and can no longer bear children, leaving Henry without a son and heir. And perhaps Anne's education and forward thinking betray her as she debates religion with Henry and encourages him to put aside Katherine so that she marry him to solidify the power she so covets in order to be a great woman of power like Margaret of Austria and even Isabella of Castile.

Once she is queen, Anne does not receive respect or power and even Henry treats her as any man of the period would a wife, as an inferior. Anne's position is suddenly uncertain, especially as she fails to produce a son and she loses the love and admiration of Henry.

I think what I found most interesting was that in this novel, Anne is not at all in love with Henry. It the queenship that she wants, the power to rule and yet this is utterly denied her. Instead of being as loved and respected as she thought to be, she is reviled and hated and then finally accused of horrid tacts and treason. I've always been sure that Anne was innocent any charges found against her and painted in this light, she becomes a woman to be utterly pitied for she was guilty of nothing more than being a feminist in the end, one who did not understand how hard it is to change the society and mindsets of those around you.

A thought provoking novel, well written and engaging. I can't read more from this author.

Happy Reading,
Jewels
May has been an epic fail for me for reading. I am reading a longer novel, but I didn't get a chance to finish it in time to review. I also had little time for blogging, or much of anything else really but hey, 4 months of 4 ain't bad when it all comes down to it, so perhaps it's not entirely an epic fail. At least, not in that light. Maybe there are no epic fails. Food for thought friends, food for thought.

But I know you didn't click here to read my musings on life and its ups and downs. And life has plenty of them. You're here to see my newest feature, Latest Acquisitions.

The name is entirely what it suggests, me sharing some book love by showcasing books I recently bought. Cuz who doesn't love a great book? And I think I picked up some winners here. They are all by beloved authors, although admittedly I have never read a Karin Slaughter novel. But the cover and title drew me in, as has the fan love.


Lisa Kleypas is a favourite author of mine, and I have been loving The Ravenels. I think the series shows the author's growing strengths as a writer and doesn't romanticize this era in history while still being romantic. I have yet to read Hello, Stranger but I love that it features a woman doctor. 

The Others is a fabulous fantasy series and the novels have yet to disappoint me. I can't wait to read more about this world and other girls like Meg. There is so much potential in this series for growth and coming to understand those that are different than ourselves. 

I have no idea what to expect from a novel by Karin Slaugther. I've heard her books are excellent and very gripping, and I'm excited to have this novel in my library. 

I hope to share more new acquisitions with you soon--hint, I didn't share them all with you today so stayed tuned ;) I also have new banners to reveal and hopefully a review coming soon. 

Happy Reading,
Jewels

Some years ago, I began reading novels by Philippa Gregory and thus really began to delve into the history of the Tudor dynasty. I am revisiting this interest again in my reading of historical fiction, and quite enjoying the change of reading pace. I had been disappointed with some of Gregory's newer novels, but this one proved far more engaging.

Series: The Plantegeant and Tudor Novels, #8 
My Rating: 5❀'s
Genre: Historical Fiction
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Now, I personally have read these novels all out of order and it really doesn't matter. Even if you don't know the history, you'll link it all up as you read so do not worry about that at all. This novel focuses on Margaret Tudor, Henry VIII's older sister, who married James IV of Scotland and was the mother to James V of Scotland. At first, Margaret's character and sense of pride in her royal lineage (new as it was) very much reminded me of her grandmother's character from The Red Queen. I could not stand her character as portrayed by Gregory, so I am was not sure if I would like this novel.

However, this novel proved a fascinating read. Margaret's was far more interesting than I thought, and it foreshadowed some of Scotland's later history as the second time around Margaret marries for love and this proves politically disadvantageous for her and for Scotland. This reminded me strongly of Mary Queen of Scots, but luckily for Margaret her story does not have such a violent ending. While Margaret makes some serious errors throughout the course of her so called reign as Regent, her story is compelling as her brother largely ignores her, makes war on her people and uses her for his own political ends. He is nothing like a brother should be. Largely alone in the world, Margaret must survive by her wits and yet she never loses her sense of who she is, a Tudor princess and the mother of the king of the Scotland.

I admired her for her feminist forward thinking, and I liked her for her sense of morality. The novel also cast new light on other historical characters, such as Katherine of Aragon, who did not seem as long suffering and pious as I had always thought of her as, and instead is portrayed as just as flawed as Margaret herself.

An interesting tale of a Tudor princess much forgotten about in history, this novel examines women's history and gives voices to the women of the time while highlighting how even queens and princesses had little power.

Happy Reading,
Jewels

Ages ago I added this book to my TBR pile and recently I borrowed an audiobook copy of it and began reading. I have to say, I wasn't sure what to make of this book at first. It started off as you might expect in the romance genre; girl is in distress, boy stops to offer assistance. But this rather obvious chance meeting did not take off from there the way you might expect at all.

Series: Belle Meade Plantation #1
My Rating: ❀'s
Genre: Historical Romance 
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I thought this romance might sizzle considering the way the hero and heroine meet, but the heroine Olivia is prim and proper and not interested in romance due to her violent  marriage to a brute of a man. Which is completely understandable. Outcast due to her husband being a traitor to the South, Olivia is now dependent on the kindness of a family friend for a home and work. This is an arrangement however, she knows cannot last long and it looks as though  against her wishes, a marriage will be arranged for her. Meanwhile, our hero Ridley is learning everything he can from a former slave on the plantation, Uncle Bob, so that he can open his own horse ranch out in Colorado.

So far, this does not a romance make and I will admit, I was seriously considering not finishing this book because I simply felt the story wasn't going anywhere. But, then Olivia and Ridley began interacting a little more, and the attraction between them began to heat up so I became more invested in the story.

I'm glad I finished this book. It really touches upon some important issues such as the education of the former slaves, and the rights and freedoms of peoples in my opinion. As the novel develops Olivia's independent nature becomes more apparent and I really admired her character. I thought she was exactly the sort of woman who could build a life on the frontier. I loved that the author painted Olivia as a woman willing to stand up for what she thought was right, for what she loved and I loved seeing Olivia grow from a woman who was prim and proper and therefore, quiet and meek, into one who was strong and more willing to assert herself.

Because the novel is very character driven, this is a book with a lot of meat to chew on, and the romance is one that is built over time coming to fruition in a sweet happily ever after. You won't get any scenes that steam up the windows in this novel but I thought the romance beautifully developed and didn't miss it one little bit.

A bit of a longer read, it really is worth it and I would recommend this novel for any lover of history and romance. I have to say the narrator did an incredible job, each character had their own distinct voice and listening to this was very enjoyable. My hats off to both author and narrator.

Happy Reading, 
Jewels

The month of April has gotten away from me. It seems like only yesterday I was celebrating Easter, which fell on April Fool's day, and now the month is wrapping up.

Without me having written a single review! Largely because the book I was reading was loooong--longer than I thought and then I had to return it on Overdrive and wait while someone else was listening to it, grrrrrrr.

Ah well, them's the breaks. But what I really wanted to blog about today was a tiny face lift I'm giving the blog. You might have noticed some time ago I changed around some things, polishing up the sidebar and widgets, hoping to make it more friendly for my readers and hopefully more useful as well. I started this blog five years now--which blows my mind--wanting to give my readers honest reviews, share my love of reading with those who had similar reading tastes and have the blog reflect a little bit of me. Over time, I've added features, removed some, reviewed a ton of books, changed the look of the blog several times now and polished things to give the blog more of a focused focus if you get my drift there. I haven't really changed much in a while because I finally got a look I love a couple of years ago and have stuck with it ever since. But a tiny face lift is all I thought the blog needed, and a tiny face lift is what is has been given.

Plus these new feature banners. As you know, I run three features on this blog that are all my own, What's the Scoop??? where I muse and share everything from all things bookish to updates on the blog, like today. The other two features are Quote It! and Feature Favourites and both have new banners as well. You'll see them soon. But today is the unvieling of the What's the Scoop??? new banner and while it's not really super exciting blog news, I thought I'd muse a little about how my blog has changed over the years and what not. My Devastating Reads has grown and changed with me and I hope it still offers you all honest reviews that are spoiler free (most of the time) and fun to read.

A book review it coming soon. I just finished up my loooong read today, whew!!

Happy Reading everyone, and stay tuned.

Jewels