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Anne Boleyn, A King's Obsession: A Novel (Six Tudor Queens) Hardcover – May 16, 2017
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“This is a stunning, engaging, comprehensive and convincing novel. . . . Anne Boleyn: A King’s Obsession is important, page-turning biographical fiction, hauntingly and beautifully told in first-person narrative. It is psychologically penetrating and packed with wonderful, vivid scenes. [Alison] Weir’s characterisation is superb, and this complex novel will be, without doubt, one of the most admired works of historical fiction of 2017.”—Historical Novels Review
“[Weir] explores Anne’s influences and motivations, creating a multifaceted portrait of an ambitious woman who reluctantly accedes to Henry’s courtship and later acts out of desperation to protect herself and her daughter, Elizabeth. Even readers who know Anne’s story well should gain insights from this revealing novel.”—Booklist
“A richly detailed rendering of the familiar Tudor drama . . . Weir brings considerable expertise to her portrait of Anne as ‘a flawed but very human heroine, a woman of great ambition, idealism and courage’ . . . [and] vividly depicts court life.”—Kirkus Reviews
“A well-written and fast-paced novel that should appeal to fans of Tudor-era fiction looking for a fresh look at one of the period’s most popular protagonists . . . Weir’s Anne, an intellectual and ambitious woman highly interested in the latest thinking about both religion and women’s social roles, fits in well with the recent impulse in both scholarship and fiction to reclaim Anne from being portrayed as merely a manipulative temptress and cold-hearted homewrecker. Anne in the years before she catches Henry’s eye is particularly interesting.”—Library Journal
Praise for Katherine of Aragon, the True Queen
“Alison Weir starts off her six-volume fictional series about the wives of King Henry VIII with a nuanced portrayal of Katherine of Aragon.”—The Christian Science Monitor
“In this first novel of the Six Tudor Queens series, Alison Weir dazzlingly brings Katherine of Aragon to life. She emerges as a charismatic, indomitable, and courageous heroine whose story never fails to enthrall.”—Tracy Borman, author of Thomas Cromwell
“As always, Weir demonstrates a keen eye for crafting dramatic scenes of beautiful, accurate detail, instilling in the reader a vivid sense of being there. . . . If this greatly impressive inaugural installment is any indication, Tudor lovers have much to look forward to.”—Booklist (starred review)
“An illuminating and engaging portrait of ‘the true queen.’”—Historical Novels Review
About the Author
Alison Weir is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels Katherine of Aragon: The True Queen; The Marriage Game; A Dangerous Inheritance; Captive Queen; The Lady Elizabeth; and Innocent Traitor and numerous historical biographies, including The Lost Tudor Princess, Elizabeth of York, Mary Boleyn, The Lady in the Tower, Mistress of the Monarchy, Henry VIII, Eleanor of Aquitaine, The Life of Elizabeth I, and The Six Wives of Henry VIII. She lives in Surrey, England, with her husband.
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Top Customer Reviews
Some of the plot lines (spoiler alert) such as Anne's lustful crush on Norris seem random other than a lead up to a paragraph or two where Anne chooses power (Henry) over love (Norris). Also, the novel suggests Anne was flat out oblivious to Henry's "obsession," until one day - pretty much out of the blue - he declares himself to her and Anne's response reads like, "What? Who, me??" I find it hard to believe Weir's spin here...it seems more plausible that Anne was in on the game early on, especially with all her "training" with Margaret and Margeurite in courtly love and how to be noticed through clothes, manners and talents.
Bottom line: I like Alison Weir's work, but this one falls short. She does not add anything new or interesting (in my opinion) to the Boleyn narrative.
After that, Anne Boleyn, A King’s Obsession, was somewhat of a letdown. I got the impression that Weir, having so much respect and affection for Katherine, struggled to create an unbiased portrait of Anne Boleyn. The result is a book that is a bit flat. In trying not to make Anne appear in a negative light, Weir left her with too little personality. It’s odd because if any of Henry’s wives had abundant personality, it had to be Anne.
The first part of the book was welcome and refreshing, although it did go on too long. It deals with Anne’s stay at the court of Margaret of Austria and at the French court (Queen Mary and Queen Claude). This part of Anne’s life is usually ignored, so I did learn quite a bit. When Anne finally arrives at the English court, she seems too naïve to be true – she was not a young girl, but seems like one.
The second part of the book deals with Henry courting Anne. Again, Anne’s personality seemed a bit flat, and Henry was simply irritating.
The third part of the book, when Henry’s obsession leads to personal and political upheavals, is where the book comes to life. Finally, Weir has something that she can, figuratively speaking, sink her teeth into. We see Anne’s emotions as she suffers fears, anxieties and horrible disappointments, followed by the ultimate verdict. It’s the best part of the book.
Overall, the book is insightful and looks at Anne and Henry’s relationship from a different and refreshing viewpoint. I don’t always agree with Weir (e.g., Anne’s feelings for Henry Norris, and I think she is too generous towards Henry VIII), but that’s okay, it makes me think, and I like books that do that. Someone who is interested in the complete story and the range of people and politics involved will find the book somewhat lightweight and superficial. So, my overall opinion is that the first part of the book needed editing but the final section is quite well done. The book is certainly worth reading and essential for those who want to continue with Weir’s series on the six wives of Henry VIII. I look forward to reading Weir’s take on Jane Seymour.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
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take on her that I had not read before.Read more
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