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Anne Boleyn: A King's Obsession by Alison…

Anne Boleyn: A King's Obsession (2017)

by Alison Weir

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This biography of Anne Boleyn is told in minute detail, and could perhaps have benefited from some editing which would have reduced the 500+ page book by about 150 pages or so. The best part was the last couple of chapters when Anne is awaiting trial and then death, and the recounting of the beheading itself was rather astounding, to say the least. Four more queens to go in this series! ( )
  flourgirl49 | Sep 2, 2017 |
As a young girl of twelve Anne Boleyn is sent to the court of Margaret the Regent of the Netherlands to serve and to learn. There she becomes the consummate woman of court - flirtatious but honourable. Her ambitious father manages to get her appointed to the court of the new Queen of France but after his death the queen returns to England in disgrace and Anne is lucky to get a place in the English royal household. There she sees her sister become mistress to the king but when Henry tries to seduce Anne she resists. his obsession with Anne means huge upheaval for the country and a war for its religious soul.

Alison Weir has an ambitious project ongoing to write fictionalised biographies of the six most famous wives in history. In this, the second volume, she turns her attentions to the notorious Anne Boleyn. As Weir acknowledges the first hand accounts and biographical materials for Anne are limited, most are from witnesses hostile to her. This means that she has to imagine dialogue and motivation far more than with other subjects. However Weir is first and foremost a historian and that shines through in this novel - the attention to detail is superb and the use of the sources, interwoven into the narrative, is subtle but adds a veneer of authenticity to this excellent account. ( )
  pluckedhighbrow | Jun 26, 2017 |
I've always been interested in the life of Anne Boleyn (and her daughter Elizabeth I) and have read about her from the pens of several authors including: Robin Maxwell, C.C. Humphreys and Philippa Gregory. I've also watched many documentaries, movies and TV shows about Anne Boleyn, including: The Other Boleyn Girl, The Tudors and Wolf Hall to name a few, and I'm currently watching The Six Wives of Henry VIII with Lucy Worsley.

Alison Weir is an established and popular historian and Anne Boleyn - A King's Obsession was my first historical fiction novel of hers. We follow Anne's upbringing in French court and the powerful women she served, including Margaret of Austria, Henry VIII’s sister in France Queen Mary and later Queen Claude.

This was easily my favourite part of the book and an aspect of Anne's life often overlooked or glossed over in other books and media. Although the rape of her sister in the French court and later at the English court was shocking to me and I'm not quite sure where the history stops and the fiction begins with regard to these events.

I'll admit I was struck by Weir's different take on Anne Boleyn and found the differences difficult to adjust to in the beginning. Weir presents Anne as never truly loving Henry as I've always imagined she did and instead being motivated by power. She describes her as having a sixth fingernail on her little finger (not an extra finger) although on further investigation, I found this description to be the more accurate one. Just a further example of how Anne Boleyn has been mythologised and portrayed over the centuries since her death.

Eventually I was able to surrender myself to Weir's narrative after I left my preconceived ideas at the door and ended up enjoying her novel immensely. Despite already knowing how Anne Boleyn died, and having read about and seen the scene play out in many genres, the author was able to create an incredibly moving 'end' and one that I found unexpectedly moving and even upsetting.

Alison Weir is clearly a huge talent in the genre of historical fiction and I look forward to reading more of her books in the future. Given this is the second novel in the Six Tudor Queens series, I know I'll be spoiled for choice.

Highly recommended.

* Copy courtesy of Hachette Australia * ( )
  Carpe_Librum | Jun 8, 2017 |
Six Tudor Queens, Anne Boleyn is second book in a series by historian Alison Weir. I didn't read the first book in the series as Katherine of Aragon is not my favourite queen but I do highly respect her and she is an important woman in our history.

I have read many books about Henry VIII and his queens and have found them all different. The facts are the same so I do know what is going to happen to who, why and when. This book is a doorstop of a read.

I approached this book a bit gingerly. I had previously attempted The Marriage Game by Ms Weir and had to DNF. I found she kept changing from fiction to non fiction and was very repetitive and it had no flow. This book however started off really well and with Anne's story starting when she was twelve before being sent abroad for nine years.

The book then became very slow with the story. There is a big chunk in the middle where Henry and Anne want the divorce from Katherine and his split from Rome. I have to admit to skipping a lot of this to get to Anne's marriage and then trial. The story is very descriptive and I don't think the reader needs to know what everybody is wearing. This alone could have shortened the book.

Overall the book is well researched but way to long which did lead to me feeling bored with it. The same story could have been an enjoyable read with at least two hundred pages less. ( )
  tina1969 | Jun 5, 2017 |
Book received from Net Galley.

I have been a fan of this author's non-fiction books for years, but I wasn't sure about her switch to historical fiction. Sometimes, though an author excellent in one genre, trying to write in another doesn't go so well. So I was pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed this book so much. She did really well in combining the fictional elements with the historical to flesh out the part of Queen Anne Boleyn's life that we don't know much about, especially her childhood. It made her a bit more human, rather than just a part of history, for me. I cannot wait to read the rest of the books in this series. ( )
1 vote Diana_Long_Thomas | May 5, 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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