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Anne Boleyn: A King's Obsession (2017)

by Alison Weir

Series: Six Tudor Queens (2)

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2901064,447 (3.87)16
Anne is barely a teenager when she is sent from her family's Hever Castle to serve at the royal court of the Netherlands. There, and later in France, Anne thrives. 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-- he is a married man who has already conducted an affair with her sister, Mary. This rejection only intensifies Henry's pursuit, tempting Anne even as it proves to be her undoing.… (more)



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Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
Its a very brave author to take on a Tudor subject in the wake of the Wolf Hall juggernaut, but veteran Alison Weir, with the confidence of being a respected Tudor historian in her own right, has launched into a series of 6 novels dealing with each of Henry's wives, Anne, naturally, being the second in the series. Weir takes Anne's story from being a young naive provincial girl, sent to the most dazzling courts in Europe, where she learns to dress, act and flirt like a court lady, but her horror at finding that one of her friends has been raped by a royal, and she begins to develop decidedly feminist ideals. Returning to England she caches the idea of the still young and attractive King Henry, who's own marriage has gone cold due to lack of a male heir. Anne is not at all attracted to Henry, she has lost her heart to another, but under pressure from her family, she begins to see the advantages of being the King's favourite but will accept nothing less than being Queen. She guards her virginity zealously for long years before the King can make her his wife, but her desires are ultimately disappointed by her failure to produce a son, the continuing dislike of her subjects, who want Queen Katherine back, and her husband's failure to subdue the resistance of her stepdaughter Mary. All the while she nurses her secret desire for her real love, and in the end it an an innocent moment with him that proves her downfall. Her end is tragically well-known but Weir gives it an extra tinge of horror by positing that Anne remains conscious for several seconds after he decapitation. Weir's Anne is smart, vivacious, and bold, she can also be waspish and brutal when it comes to ensuring her percieved place in the world. This is a tidy book, somewhat spoiled by a long drag in the middle, but well-realised and well-crafted. Worth reading by anyone who loves the Tudor period. ( )
  drmaf | Jul 7, 2020 |
I found this book to be a vast improvement from the first in the series in several ways. First, the writing seemed to be much more lively. In the book on Anne Boleyn's predecessor the writing was stiff, whereas here it was more down-to-earth. Possibly the difference had to do with the subject. Second, I found the story from Anne's POV to be much more entertaining, and believable. Most books that I've read on Anne Boleyn with a 3 person narrative tended to make her out to be a scheming hateful person, but she comes across much better in this book.

However, as much as I enjoyed these differences there were still aspects that could stand some improvement. The book could have stood additional editing - there were way too many detailed scenes that could have been eliminated and the story still would have been just as good. The first half /three quarters of the book had Anne as a strong decisive woman, but the last section has her as a whiny paranoid hag. Only the last scenes with her in the tower redeemed the last section.

Overall, a fascinating look at a woman who may have only wanted to improve the world and had to take Henry VIII as a husband to do it. ( )
  cyderry | Jun 13, 2020 |
Anne Boleyn: A King's Obsession is a fictional telling of Anne Boleyn's life that reads (to me) like a biography from her point of view. It details her life from 1512 to her death in 1536.

Anne Boleyn: A King's Obsession is as captivating and fascinating as her life was. As this is my first Alison Weir novel I have nothing to compare it to and will be rectifying that oversight in the near future.

I wholly recommend this book to anyone that is interested in Tudor history.

I received this book for review on Celtic Dragon Book Reviews. All opinions are my own.

( )
  HistoricalJunkie | Sep 17, 2019 |
This is the second in noted Tudor historian Alison Weir's fictional series, "Six Tudor Queens," about the wives of Henry VIII.  At 541 pages, this one is a little shorter than the first in the series, but would still have benefitted from some trimming.  The long seven years when Henry was waiting for his first marriage to be annulled are quite tedious.

Much more interesting were the first and last parts of the book.  I knew Anne Boleyn had spent time in the French court, but was not aware that she had also spent time in the Netherlands under the regency of Margaret of Austria, who was a capable ruler.  Weir implies that these two experiences led to Anne's progressive attitudes, and she also supposes that Anne did not love Henry beyond his capability of putting her in a powerful position.

Once Anne and Henry do marry, the book gets interesting again.  Weir sets up various situations that could explain Anne's innocence of the charges later brought against her.  Her depiction of Anne's death is rather gruesome.  All her suppositions are explained in an eight-page author's note, but there are no references in this work of fiction.  Oh, and the family tree at the beginning of the hardbound edition I borrowed is very messed up in layout.

Weir sums up her purpose with this book in the author's note as follows:

"In writing this novel from Anne's point of view, I have tried to reconcile conflicting views of her, and to portray her as a flawed but very human heroine, a woman of great ambition, idealism, and courage who found herself in an increasingly frightening situation."

I think Weir succeeded.  I will be reading the rest of the books in this series.

© Amanda Pape - 2018

[This book was borrowed from and returned to my local public library.] ( )
1 vote riofriotex | Jan 16, 2018 |
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 under 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. ( )
  jepeters333 | Nov 27, 2017 |
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Her skin was rather sallow, Anne thought as she studied herself in the silver mirror, and she had too many moles, but at least her face was a fashionable oval.
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