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At the Mercy of the Queen: A Novel of Anne Boleyn Paperback – January 3, 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin (January 3, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312662130
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312662134
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 1.2 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #482,964 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"A fresh take on Henry’s court that even readers exhausted of Tudor historicals will find new and exciting."
--Publishers Weekly

About the Author

Anne Clinard Barnhill has published short stories, poetry, a memoir and hundreds of articles and book reviews over the last twenty years. This is her first novel. Barnhill has taught writing in a variety of venues and been keynote speaker for numerous events. She lives in North Carolina.

More About the Author

I've been writing since I was a kid and in love with Tudor England since my early teens when I discovered I have ancestors (The Sheltons) who were very active in Tudor times. I love to daydream, listen to music, play piano, read, walk in the woods and meet new people. I absolutely adore going about in my Tudor underwear to talk about clothes in Tudor times. Next year, I hope to have the outer garments as well. I enjoy speaking at book clubs, libraries, schools, just anywhere I can talk about life in the 16th century.
I also admire Southern literature and especially books about Appalachia, where I grew up. It is my dream to visit England, the sooner the better!

Customer Reviews

If you enjoy Tudor era historical fiction, get this book!
Robert Redd
Unfortunately though, I found that the dialogue was not a good addition to the novel--in parts I felt that it was even taking away from the story.
Jennifer Rothwell
I really enjoyed Madge's story and it gave a new slant on the tragic story of Anne Boleyn, the ill-fated second queen of England's Henry VIII.
bookydame

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Anne on January 3, 2012
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
It's not easy to find friendship, much less love if you are a king or queen; this was especially true for Anne Boleyn who was despised by both nobility and commoners alike. At a time when women were ruled first by their fathers, then by a husband, Anne dared to say;"I WILL NOT". I will not be another mistress, I will not bear him another bastard, I will not go the way of my sister and countless others have. She defied them all, father, uncle and king and aimed for the highest honor that a woman could gain, to be Queen of England.

Margaret Shelton would not have chosen to go to court if she had been given the option, but she had been told to obey her uncle and do as he said so their family could advance. Anne was lucky in her father's choice of "Madge" for she came to truly love her cousin, the queen and she would put her needs above her own. She tried to keep Anne from angering the king and she warned her when the king started to wander.

Madge catches the eye of one of the king closest friends, a man with no morals who is use to having the woman he wanted. When Madge refuses his advances, Norris gets the king to allow him to marry her. At the same time, the natural son of Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk falls in love with Madge and in time she returns his love, but they both know that if they disobey the king he will probably kill them. The king was already a tyrant and many had already died or been imprisoned for daring to go against him.

For Anne, Henry VIII separated from the Catholic Church and made himself head of the church in England. This enabled him with Cromwell's help to create legalisms, which allowed him to pillage the churches, kill his enemies and steal their lands. He lavishly rewarded his friends and embarked on foolish military adventures.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By MusingCrow VINE VOICE on November 11, 2011
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I was intrigued by the prospect of reading this book because it presents the oft told story of the rise and fall of Anne Boleyn from another perspective - that of her cousin and maid-of-honor, and confidant, Madge (Margaret) Shelton I wondered if there was really another angle that would be compelling enough to make for a good read.

By my 5 star rating you can tell that I found that the book really did offer a fresh, new view. Madge Shelton was in a very unique position in the Court of Henry VIII.

Arriving from from the country as a young girl, Madge was innocent of the vagaries and morals of Court life. Her nickname at Court quickly becomes "Pretty Madge" and the reader follows her story as she rebuffs the admiring courtiers and soon becomes Anne Boleyn's closest confident and champion.

Madge becomes swept along in the story of Anne's determination to be wife of King Henry and, later of Anne's desperate attempts to fulfill her royal duty of filling the royal nursery with make heirs - as her predecessor, Katherine of Aragon had failed to do - a failure that led the Country though religious wars and the dismantling of the monasteries.

As Anne desperation for a son becomes the only focus of her life she hatches a plan to lure the King into an affair with Madge's; proffering her beauty and charms as bait in order to keep the the King from courting the King's current paramour, the milk faced Jane Seymour. Not long before Anne devises this plan to have Madge lure the King into an affair Madge herself has succumbed to lure of love - falling in love with a handsome, well placed Courtier named Charles Brandon who Madge initially called 'Sir Churlish'.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Jenny Q @ Let Them Read Books VINE VOICE on March 21, 2012
Format: Paperback
I wanted to have some good things to say about this debut, but 250 pages in I couldn't go any further, and most of the good points I'd been noting for my review were rapidly disappearing. I was very excited to get my hands on a novel about Madge Shelton, a Boleyn cousin and brief mistress to Henry VIII. I think the Tudors are overdone, but a fresh angle on them always catches my attention. Unfortunately, this is really another novel about Anne Boleyn. There is absolutely nothing new here, and Anne and Henry are depicted in such over-dramatic fashion that they don't even seem real. Little is known about Madge (compared to her cousins), so I would think a fictional account of her life would give an author many opportunities for dramatic license, but Barnhill's Madge has zero personality and floats through life doing whatever she's told to do. Nothing seems to phase her, nothing seems to concern her, even when she is asked to give up the handsome young man she loves to become old, fat Henry's mistress, she acquiesces easily. So there doesn't seem to be any real conflict for her. The author has a good grasp on historical detail, but it wasn't enough to lift me past some painfully cheesy dialogue, a whimpy, wispy heroine, and a slow-moving story.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Julie Merilatt VINE VOICE on December 14, 2011
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I was wavering between giving this book three and four stars, but I thought it was deserving of more praise, particularly for its portrayal of Anne Boleyn. When Queen Anne's cousin, Madge Shelton is summoned to court, she is an innocent 15 year-old girl thrust into a world of corruption and intrigue. As a character, Madge is nothing exceptional and easily becomes a pawn in the Queen's desperate game to maintain the king's favor. She goes so far as to offer Madge to Henry VIII to distract him from Jane Seymour, and Madge's blind devotion to her cousin allows Anne to bend Madge to her will. Thus, Madge is a pliant, naïve courtier with no major distinctions.

Anne, on the other hand, is wonderfully depicted and I couldn't help but feel sympathy towards her situation. Madge witnesses the stillbirth/miscarriage of two infants and the devastating grief that Anne succumbs to. Her behaviors, moods and motives are completely reasonable in light of her husband's wandering, um, eye, and his greedy political and religious schemes. I felt she rightly defended her position and that her strong will was demonstrated in this novel.

Historically, I found it true to events, though the author obviously had to take liberties to suit her story, and those inaccuracies were easily identifiable to anyone with general knowledge of the Tudor saga. I appreciated that Thomas Wyatt was portrayed as a kind soul and Henry Norris was a loathsome miscreant.

The reason I was leaning toward downgrading my ranking to three stars was because of the eye-rolling dialogue. The author's attempt at being authentic was a bit over the top and I was a exasperated at the overuse of words like "anon" and "'tis.
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