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The Lady in the Tower: The Fall of Anne Boleyn

by Alison Weir

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1,1393517,501 (3.85)57
The tempestuous love affair between Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn scandalized Christendom and altered forever the religious landscape of England. Acclaimed historian and bestselling author Alison Weir draws on myriad sources from the Tudor era to examine, in unprecedented depth, the gripping, dark, and chilling story of Anne Boleyn's final days.… (more)

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Showing 1-5 of 35 (next | show all)
I do love Alison Weir's books. This one is no exception. In this book she concentrated on the last few months of Anne Boleyn's life, covering the downfall of her family and entire court faction.
I am not convinced that Henry VIII was entirely unaware that his former love was being framed. He was too intelligent. But Anne does seem to have been taken out by Thomas Cromwell for a variety of reasons. I do believe TC ultimately got what was coming to him and have little sympathy, but that's another story.
For the accomplished armchair Tudor historian, there is not a lot of new information here, rather a concentration of resources for a specific period of a short 5 months of Anne's life. Someone just starting out on the Tudor/Boleyn journey would find this book ideal. The writing is concise and easy to read. ( Much as I love the Eric Ives book it was slow going at times!)I would recommend this book to anyone. ( )
  a1stitcher | Jun 22, 2019 |
Disappointingly Flawed

Many have recommended Alison Weir's English histories to me, however, I had the misfortune to begin with reading The Lady In The Tower: The Fall of Anne Boleyn. Like other readers, I was perplexed at how the well respected author could have written this book, or at least allowed its publication. It's as though the editing process had not even begun.

It's difficult to describe how much it lacks cohesion and narrative. It's rather like notes of a first draft of a book, where the author wrote numerous versions of the story to choose which was the best. In one chapter, there are many duplicate mentions and statings of the same ideas or actions. While acknowledging a majority of the research is based on gossip and revisionist writings well after the fact, the author presents contradictory statements within the same paragraph with little explanation. These restatements mercifully decrease in the final third of the book.

This major issue aside, the book is full of interesting, well researched detail. For instance, Weir makes the case that the dates and places of the accusations of Anne Boleyn's sexual misconduct did not happen as she was in different locations and often pregnant or had just given birth then.

The English justice system left a lot to be desired, what with two systems of justice for commoners and aristocrats, the accused only being told of the charges they were accused of when they attended their hearings, and not having the right to call witnesses or be defended. Weir makes a good case that Cromwell's case was concocted and Anne was innocent of the charges against her.

I accept this conclusion and although it's likely Anne was flirtatious and arrogant, I am struck by the rapidity of her arrest, trial and execution, and more so by Henry's marriage to Jane Seymour within 10 days of Anne's execution. A dangerous time to live and for Anne, such a tragic outcome. ( )
  Zumbanista | Mar 29, 2018 |
This is an exhaustive account of Anne Boleyn's last days. Alison Weir takes us on an extraordinarily detailed journey through Anne's final weeks. This book isn't about Anne's whole life, just the end of it. A staggering amount of research has led to the definitive book on the subject. It's heartbreaking to read of Anne's downfall and shocking when you think of how quickly everything came crashing down around her.

At times the sheer magnitude of the research threatens to overwhelm the reader, but it is well worth the effort to press on. ( )
  briandrewz | May 10, 2016 |
Many books have been written on the Tudors, not least on Henry VIII's notorious second queen, Anne Boleyn. Weir revisits her subject with a closer focus, writing primarily on the last four months of Anne's life in 1536. I'm a huge fan of Anne--I've even toyed with getting a tattoo of her signature. But despite it's sometimes claustrophobic focus, this book does not expand my understanding of her, or tell me much that I didn't already know. That Anne had few friends and many enemies, that she had miscarried several times, that she had openly declared herself the foe of Cromwell, that the diplomatic envoys she had encouraged had just failed, and that Henry had fallen in love with another woman--other books have covered all of this already. Weir doesn't even manage to provide more information on the trial. She repeats herself often (in one paragraph, she says, "The author of the 'Spanish Chronicle,' never reliable and incline to embroider or make up details, claims that Rochford had been espied leaving her bedchamber in his night robe on several occasions." Only a few sentences later, on the very same page, she writes, "The 'Spanish Chronicle' states that George Boleyn [called Rochford for his title:] 'had been seen on several occasions going in and out of the Queen's room dressed only in his night clothes,' but it is not a reliable source." Very frustrating!) She spends chapter after chapter on conjecture and "possibly this means..." but so much of the record of this period was expunged or accidentally destroyed that little can truly be claimed. And most frustratingly, she quotes Anne very rarely. Oh, she quotes what other people said of her, the rumors, the poems, the songs. She devotes a full chapter to various claims of what Anne wore to the scaffold. She gives the versions of Anne's last words (most of which vaguely agree with each other in content, none of which match exactly). But she doesn't cite a single letter that we know Anne wrote. She sprinkles rumors of what men said Anne said throughout the book, but as to Anne herself? Nothing in her own words.

In the end, I was left frustrated and bored. I suppose this is a good book for a completist, or somehow who is interested in the Tudors but doesn't know much. But anyone who has already read even ONE of the biographies of Anne Boleyn will be left wanting. The one aspect of this book that I did enjoy was Weir's tangents on the law. There are all sorts of oddments and loopholes riddling English law. For instance, when Anne died her marriage to Henry had been annulled, but her status as Queen was assured in a Law of Succession...so technically she was Queen without ever having married the ruling king! ( )
  wealhtheowwylfing | Feb 29, 2016 |
I love Alison Weir's writing. It is compelling and well informed. ( )
  Jen.ODriscoll.Lemon | Jan 23, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 35 (next | show all)
A history book written with all the intrigue and tension of a novel, Weir's just-published The Lady in the Tower is what the author calls "a forensic investigation" of the queen's last four months
added by bongiovi | editNPR (Jan 24, 2010)
Her new book focuses on the last few months of Anne’s life. She has sifted the sources, examining their reliability. Doubts have already been cast on Weir’s assumptions; the historian John Guy has recently suggested that two sources she took to be mutually corroborating are in fact one and the same person. This doesn’t invalidate her brave effort to lay bare, for the Tudor fan, the bones of the controversy and evaluate the range of opinion about Anne’s fall.
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This book is dedicated to a dear friend, Father Luke (Rev. Canon Anthony Verhees), to mark his eightieth birthday.
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This is where my interest in history began, many years ago, with Anne Boleyn and the dramatic story of her fall.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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The tempestuous love affair between Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn scandalized Christendom and altered forever the religious landscape of England. Acclaimed historian and bestselling author Alison Weir draws on myriad sources from the Tudor era to examine, in unprecedented depth, the gripping, dark, and chilling story of Anne Boleyn's final days.

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Book description
Examines the events, motives, and evidence gathered that sealed the fate of Anne Boleyn leading to her execution in 1536, and reveals the witnesses and charges against her.
Haiku summary
Should we pity Anne?
Or call her a usurper?
Or perhaps do both?

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