Review: Anne Boylen, A King's Obsession by Alison Weir

by 6/17/2018 1 comments
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 E


I'm a thirty something girl who loves to read, write and dream. Because I'm so addicted to the written word in all its forms, I created this blog to share the books that devastate me with you.


DirectLinda said...

Great review! I have only read Alison Weir's nonfiction book on the history of the War of the Roses but this sounds like an interesting take on Anne Boylen. Very informative, thanks.