- Paperback: 400 pages
- Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark (March 1, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1402211759
- ISBN-13: 978-1402211751
- Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.2 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 38 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #394,186 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Brief Gaudy Hour: A Novel of Anne Boleyn Paperback – March 1, 2008
Top 20 lists in Books
View the top 20 best sellers of all time, the most reviewed books of all time and some of our editors' favorite picks. Learn more
Customers who bought this item also bought
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
From Publishers Weekly
The current Tudormania makes Barnes' historical fiction (My Lady of Cleves, etc.) as welcome today as in 1949, when this novel first appeared. Barnes lucidly envisions the well-documented events of Henry VIII's second wife's brilliant short-lived career: her education in manners, dress and dance at the French court; her tutoring in political scheming by powerful relatives who wish to be more powerful still; her determination not to end up a discarded royal mistress like her older sister. She offers credible interpretations of undocumented aspects of the Boleyn legend (such as Anne's sixth finger) and convincingly depicts Anne as she manipulates Henry to divorce Katherine, break with his chief advisor Cardinal Wolsley and abandon the Catholic Church. She's less good on Anne's relationship with poet-ambassador Thomas Wyatt, and on her loss of Henry's affection: in Barnes's old-school retelling of the journey from courtship to queenship to execution, sexual innuendo stops at innuendo. But she vividly depicts Anne's hopes and fears in an age where royal marriages were brokered like a cattle fair, and beheading could befall even a Queen.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
"The enigmatic Anne Boleyn comes to life in this charming, brilliant portrayal by acclaimed British novelist Margaret Campbell Barnes... I was drawn into the story and absorbed from beginning to end, closing the book with a heartfelt sigh of satisfaction.
" - Reading Adventures
"Brief Gaudy Hour is a novel that captures the spirit and essence of Anne Boleyn, and it's a novel that any historical fiction enthusiast will enjoy and ponder over for days to come.
" - The Mystic Castle
"In short, I loved this book. BRIEF GAUDY HOUR by Margaret Campbell Barnes is a rare treat that brings life and love out of the history books and right into the reader's heart. " - Romance Reader at Heart
"Margaret Campbell Barnes has written a powerful book that brought me to tears. No matter what I thought of Anne Boleyn and the machinations to help her gain power, the book itself is an excellent tale of the history of those times. " - The Romance Studio
"If you're one of the few people on earth who hasn't read a historical novel about Anne Boleyn, this one would be an excellent one to start with; if you've read many novels about the queen, this one is a worthy addition to your list." - Reading, Raving and Rantin
"What author Margaret Campbell Barnes does is create a sympathetic and complex character in Anne. The Queen who only ruled for three years wasn't without faults by any means but she was also very much a pawn and paid for her actions dearly." - Bookgirl's Nightstand
"From a person who loves historical fiction and has read numerous pieces of Tudor fiction, A Brief Gaudy Hour was a refreshing approach to a known tale. Even those who aren't versed in or naturally drawn to historical fiction will find this a brilliant story and character portrayal." - Armchair Interviews
"The narrative is beautiful and the history of the court and the people are very intriguing." - Ramblings on Romance
"Definitely read this one if you want a different take on Anne Boleyn; I found it very refreshing. " - Revisiting the Moon's Library
Browse award-winning titles. See more
Top customer reviews
About a third of the book is devoted to establishing Anne's relationship to her family, friends, and early admirers. It details her first love affair, that with Henry Percy, the heir to the Earl of Northumberland, said to have been the love of her life, until Cardinal Wolsey, at the behest of King Henry VIII, nipped it in the bud, causing him to incur Anne's lifelong enmity. This portion of the book sets the tone for the rest of the book, grounding the events that were to follow in the context out of which they arose.
When King Henry VIII finally made his intentions clear, Anne had no interest in ending up as the King's discarded mistress, as had Mary, her younger sister. Instead, she led King Henry VIII a merry chase for many years, refusing to become his mistress despite his ardent wooing. He became bewitched by her very being, so irresistible did he find this cultivated and intelligent young woman. Anne, however, always kept her eye on the prize, seemingly oblivious to the pain that she was causing her rival, Katharine of Aragon, Henry's wife and Queen of England.
Henry, who was desperate to secure a male heir for the throne of England, eventually set in motion a series of events that were to have great ramifications for Catholicism in England. It would cause Henry to set aside his wife of twenty years so that he could marry Anne Boleyn and have her crowned Queen of England. It would set the stage for the Reformation in England. It would also bring about the downfall of Cardinal Wolsey, the man for whom Anne had no love and in whose destruction she positively reveled.
Without the cautionary, staying influence of Wolsey, however, Anne would find herself unable to rein in her husband. She would see him begin to turn from a loving husband and genial king into the tyrannical despot he would eventually become. She would find herself powerless against him and without influence but would not realize it until it was too late. When Anne failed to deliver the promised male heir, having only given him the Princess Elizabeth, she found that he wished to rid himself of her by any means necessary. After having been Queen of England for nearly three years, Anne would be convicted of treason of the foulest sort and condemned to die a traitor's death.
This well-written book is one that those who like historical fiction will enjoy. It is rich with period detail, replete with all the pomp and circumstance of the Tudor court. It also paints a well-drawn portrait of one of the most fascinating women in history.
Barnes does take some liberties with history, as she portrays Anne's sister, Mary as being the younger of the two girls, which most certainly is not true. Mary Tudor, Henry VIII's sister, actually detested Anne and the warm relationship between the princess and Anne are a figment of the author's imagination, but a delightful figment nevertheless.
Henry VIII comes across in the book as a much more attractive personality than he probably was, with his loud and infectious laughter and his childlike love for masquerades. His adoration of Anne is a thing of wonder as he pursued her for six years. And the long romance is beautifully portrayed in the book. When he becomes disillusioned with both Anne and the sheer horror of her miscarriages and the horrible loss of a son and admonishes her "You will get no more sons by me" you do feel a twang of sympathy for him. But author Barnes' heart is with Anne.
One of the most intriguing personalities in the book is Mark Smeaton, who tried to rise above his lowly station, and become one of Anne's intimate group only to be rebuffed by her. He lay at her knee and played the lute and sang but he didn't understand that he could not indulge in courtly love for her because he was not a gentleman. He tried to rise above his station. He spent all his money on expensive clothes (but couldn't ride a horse well). He betrayed Anne in the end.
Anne's nasty uncle Thomas Howard,, Thomas Cromwell, Anne's father Wiltshire, her brother George, her weak and submissive sister Mary, Francis I of France, the enigmatic Jane Rochford, and many other personalities of the era are brought into sharp and brilliant focus for this is a splendid feast of the middle sixteenth century spread out before you in all its glory and its infamy. And Anne shines through it all- perhaps she could be considered the lynch pin of Henry Tudor's court. A must-read for Anne Boleyn and Tudor aficionados!