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Vengeance Is Mine: A Novel of Anne Boleyn,…
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Vengeance Is Mine: A Novel of Anne Boleyn, Katherine Howard, and Lady…

by Brandy Purdy

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I'm almost embarrassed I read this.

I mean, I'm no stranger to trashy Tudor fiction -- I have read everything Philipa Gregory has had to say on the subject, for instance. I'm certainly no stranger to actual Tudor history, having been fascinated by the dynamic Henry VIII for as long as I can remember.

This was, without a doubt, the worst, most lurid, and poorly-researched piece of fiction I have every read about the Tudors.

I was so excited by the idea of this book -- who ever tells this story from Jane Boleyn's perspective? -- that even though I requested that my local library order it, I then went out and bought it for myself so i wouldn't have to wait. I was really hoping the author could add some facets to a historical figure that is usually propped up like a cardboard villain.

Instead, I got cardboard villain from inside the head of cardboard villain. Her motivations were unclear even as she's explaining them.

But that's not all. There was a serious lack of accuracy in the book, from the usage of nicknames that were not extant at the time, incorrect time lines, alterations of famous speeches, placing historical figures in the wrong place at the wrong time, and a few brazen passages that couldn't have been mistakes. They must have been intentionally incorrect.

I would describe how absolutely pornographic this book was, but I'm afraid this isn't the venue for it. I've read coyer erotica. By the time I got to the ludicrous sex scene between Catherine Howard and Anna of Cleves (no really!), who kept shouting "Ya Liebchen!" (And don't get me started on the whole line about giving the "Flanders Mare" the ride of her life) it just got funny. I was reading passages aloud to my howling friends, tears streaming down our faces.

And yet, it might have gotten away with it all, or at least some of it, if the writing quality was any better than that of your average internet fan fiction. Really, I swear people did not constantly refer to each other as "Bluff King Hal," "The Rose Without a Thorn," "The Goggle-Eyed Whore," and so forth. It's as if the author was so proud of having unearthed these well-known nicknames, she had to use them as frequently as possible. And the dialect of Anna of Cleves (particularly in the aforementioned sex scene) was... oh there are no words. There were tense shifts, point of view shifts, and if anything else could be shifted, it probably was.

I'm just so terribly disappointed to see such and interesting subject treated so badly. Although it is non-fiction, and therefore less speculative and exploratory, I guess I'll have to be satisfied with Julia Fox's biography.

For the connoisseur of Tudor history, even the fluffier sort, stay away. There are much better things out there that, even when they aren't 100% accurate, are at least better told. ( )
6 vote C.Vick | Aug 16, 2008 |
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Also published as Vengeance: A Novel of Jane Boleyn
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0595481248, Paperback)

There was room for only one woman in George Boleyn’s heart—his sister, the mercurial and fascinating Anne Boleyn, who was destined to change history and wear a crown. To his adoring wife, Lady Jane Rochford, he was cold and indifferent.

When Anne failed to give Henry VIII the son she had promised him, and he was tiring of her tart tongue and tantrums, false charges of adultery were hastily concocted. Lady Rochford provided the crowning touch when she accused her husband and his beloved sister of incest. Both died upon the scaffold.

Lady Rochford paid dearly for her treachery. She was left alone, shunned and friendless, until wild, sweet, wanton Katherine Howard danced into her life and became Henry’s fifth queen.

When Katherine, disgusted by the obese and impotent King’s fumbling attempts to make love to her, took a lusty young lover Lady Rochford helped them meet. And when the truth came out, she was the first to betray them.

As she sits in the Tower of London, being tormented by the ghosts of George and Anne Boleyn, and awaiting her own appointment with the headsman’s axe, Lady Rochford takes up her pen. Vengeance Is Mine is her story.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:00:03 -0400)

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