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The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn

3.79  ·  Rating Details ·  5,430 Ratings  ·  326 Reviews
In this "energetic" (Kirkus Reviews) re-creation of Anne Boleyn's tragic life -- and death -- Robin Maxwell offers a pitch-perfect version of a bawdy and exuberant time filled with lust, betrayal, love, and murder.

When the young Queen Elizabeth I is entrusted with Anne Boleyn's secret diary, she discovers a great deal about the much-maligned mother she never knew. And on l

Paperback, 281 pages
Published May 28th 1998 by Touchstone (first published April 24th 1997)
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“For men love what they cannot have, and hate what they cannot control.”

One of my favorite books. Love, love, love it.

Suzanne Stolz
Feb 27, 2008 Suzanne Stolz rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: people who like historical fiction
I loved this book and would recommend it above the Other Boleyn Girl. In fact having read this book and at least one or two others about Anne Boleyn, all of which portrayed her as a woman who wanted to take control over her life instead of being having her entire life run by men and brought about her own downfall not just because she wanted too much power but because she wanted more power than a woman was supposed to want, I had trouble getting into the Other Boleyn Girl, which to me made Anne s ...more
Jun 18, 2012 Autumn rated it did not like it
So disappointed.

I enjoy historical fiction, and the addition of a little romance is usually the icing on the cake.


Though this book was listed as historical fiction at my library, it's the rankest Harelquinny, bad fan-fiction drivel, full of purple prose, silly coyness, and ridiculous sex at ridiculous times.

Folks, this is just BAD. And it's really too bad, because the adventures, sexual and otherwise, of the Tudor family en toto are rife with ideas for the imaginative writer who is willi
Kylie Cheung
May 25, 2013 Kylie Cheung rated it it was amazing
I heard a lot about the book before reluctantly reading it; its page number was so small (I typically enjoy longer novels) and I'm not such a fan of stories told in the form of diaries, and so it was a long time before The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn found its way to my read-list. I decided to read it for a school project since it was the only Anne Boleyn related book on the list, and after the first few pages I was simply pulled in. Maxwell's book is brilliant; I've always known that the lives ...more
Jan 13, 2009 Maggie rated it liked it
This was very interesting. Of course, I've read several books about the Tudors, and obviously, since it's based on fact, you pretty much know what happens.

I liked that this book had a little twist. Elizabeth is given her mother, Anne's diary. So through that, you live mostly in Anne's world, but the book also has some insight into Elizabeth's life. That made this book a little step up from your average book about Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn's relationship.

If you like historical fiction, you'll p
Jun 21, 2011 Jess rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: couldn-t-finish
Blech. I've read books about Elizabeth I since I was in 5th grade. Hands down my favorite historical figure. I hated the little I read of this book. First off, it starts with her having sex with Robin Dudley, then makes a lame claim that she didn't have periods so she couldn't get pregnant. This has no factual basis at all, and chances are very high she was, indeed, the Virgin Queen. People watched her all the time, so she couldn't just escape for a little adult fun with Robin like this books cl ...more
Oct 04, 2008 themacinator rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: noone
I picked up this book because I needed something fast and brainless. I didn't want to think, I didn't want to be depressed (I just finished Bret Easton Ellis- enough depression for awhile), and I thought Tudor England would be fun for a minute. No. Not fun. Poorly written, tedious, and I've read this book- or a version of it- before. Only whichever version I've read before was done better. I didn't have the energy to put this book out of my sight and start another, but I should have.

The only pr
Jul 25, 2011 Tori rated it really liked it
2004- This was my first reading of one of Robin Maxwell's books, and I must say it won't be my last. I already can't wait to read the next two! However, I'm getting ahead of myself. This novel moves back and forth in time from Queen Elizabeth in the present, to her mother, Anne Boleyns', life in the past. Elizabeth is presented with a diary that Anne kept, which chronicles her life right up to very end. Apparently, it was Anne's wish that eventually Elizabeth would read her writings. Elizabeth f ...more
Oct 07, 2012 Lori rated it it was amazing
What I really liked about this book, at some points it was Queen Elizabeth talking in the present time of her life until one day she was handed her mother's secret diary and then it would switch back and forth from Elizabeth's day to when she would pick up the diary and transport to Anne's life. I hope I explained that well enough. I thoroughly enjoyed this book
Mar 18, 2008 Tina rated it it was amazing
I loved it. I know there are many versions of her diary and story, and I hope to read them all, however, this one was wonderful.
Aug 13, 2013 Michal rated it did not like it
Shelves: adult-fiction
Awful. Just terrible. I deserve an award for finishing this travesty of a book.
Jul 24, 2015 Michelle rated it it was amazing
Elizabeth I, only daughter of Anne Boleyn was left an orphan at the age of three. With the unfortunate luck of having no knowledge about her mother and having to live under the shadows of her father, King Henry VII, Elizabeth unexpectedly grew to become Queen of England. Through her journey of being queen, Elizabeth stumbles upon her mothers secret diary, a couple of her mother's old friends, and an old friend which becomes her new lover. With these encounters, Elizabeth gains important skills a ...more
Sep 19, 2008 Heather rated it really liked it
Like so many others, I find Anne Boleyn fascinating. What kind of a woman could make a king so desire her that he was willing to turn his kingdom upside down in order to have her? It amazes me to think how many years she was able to keep Henry interested and chasing after her before she was finally made Queen….and then how quickly after that she met a tragic death. Fascinating.

I really enjoyed the format of this book and getting to hear both Anne’s story and little bit of Elizabeth’s, as well. I
Angela Holland
Jan 05, 2013 Angela Holland rated it really liked it
What I didn't like: This book started out a little slow for me and in parts a little dry. I think this was somewhat me and not used to reading something actually written in the time period it took place. This was not a bad thing as the author did such a good job of portraying Anne and writing as she would have written the journal that you felt like you were reading a true journal by Anne Boleyn.
What I liked: I loved the subject of this book. Anne Boleyn is one of my favorite historical figures t
Feb 28, 2008 Shae rated it it was ok
I am just starting this book and it is actually better then I thought it would be so far but really it's just a light fancifull read. While enjoyable it doesn't hold water to Sandra Gullands trilogy on Josephine Bonaparte.
Jul 17, 2014 Jihenne rated it it was ok
Shelves: ab
At first I was surprised by the structure of this book. I didn't know when I ordered it that Elizabeth would be a main character nor that we'd only have extracts from the 'secret diary'. I was surprised but interested. I thought the idea was nice and for a little while the portrayal of both Bess and Anne was quite alright (though Lady Sommerville was quite an unnecessary addition and could have been easily replaced by Margaret Wyatt or Lady Zouche to make it more realistic). And then, there came ...more
Aug 09, 2014 Nikita rated it really liked it
Large portions of The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn center around the fictional diary entries of Queen Anne Boleyn, second wife to King Henry VIII. Beginning around the time of Anne’s entry into the English court as a Lady in Waiting to Queen Katherine of Aragon in 1522, the diary entries chronicle Henry’s pursuit of Anne, the ascension of Anne to the throne, the birth of the future Queen Elizabeth I, and ultimately ending with Anne’s last night in the Tower of London before her execution on May 1 ...more
Jan 17, 2013 Nancy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this book more than I had expected. It’s a novel, a fictionalized account of what might have happened if Anne Boleyn had written a diary. Of course the author made assumptions that cannot be verified as fact--that’s what happens with historical fiction. What mattered to me was that these assumptions not clash with what is actually known about Anne, those around her, and the setting in which she lived. The events in her story must agree with those from history sufficiently for me to suspe ...more
Mandy Moody
Wow. The Secret Diary of Ann Boleyn was a HUGE disappointment.
Here's how I imagine Robin Maxwell came up with the idea to write this book...
"Boy, I'd really like to write a book about Ann Boleyn, her story was so tragic. To bad I don't know enough about her to fill up a traditional novel. Also, the only stuff I really care about is the stuff everyone already knows.
Hey, you know who else is cool? Elizabeth! Writing a book about her would be fun, too. But I definitely don't know enough about her
Sep 16, 2009 Dana rated it really liked it
Elizabeth I is queen and in love with Robin Dudley when she receives a diary written by her mother, Anne Boleyn. Anne Boleyn changed the course of English history.

After returning home from being in the French court Anne is seen by King Henry VIII. Her sister is already the king's mistress and Anne has no wishes to be another of his mistresses. She aims higher. She 'holds' out with granting the king any sexual favours and thus starts a six year engagement.

The pope refuses to dissolve the king's m
May 16, 2009 Alex rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
WOW! This was a fantastic book. The "sequel" to "Mademoiselle Boleyn", it starts off with new Queen Elizabeth being handed her mother's secret diary, that she left with a confidante. As Elizabeth reads the diary, she realizes all the things she ever heard about her mother are false. Her mother wasn't a cold, heartless whore who deserved her beheading. And more shocking of all, her mother truly loved her.

This news rocks Elizabeth's world, and leads to the shocking decision to never marry, and end
Dec 16, 2007 Graceann rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: historical fiction fans
Please see my detailed review at Grace's "Boleyn Diary" Review

Please click that the review was helpful to you at Amazon so that my rating continues to climb! Thanks!

This one took a little while to get going, but once it did - wowee. I love these sorts of premises for novels (hidden diaries, newly-unearthed). In Maxwell's hands, it was handled in a very interesting fashion and I'm so glad I stuck with it past the first few dry pages.
Mar 05, 2014 Christine rated it really liked it
Let's say your father was an execution-happy tyrant and your mother was a manipulative slut. Now, miraculously, you somehow find yourself queen of the most powerful empire in Europe. (Ah no, that is just one side of the story!)

I am fascinated by all things Tudor and I greatly enjoyed this book. Young Queen Elizabeth is given a diary written by her mother Anne Boleyn. The diary records her courtship with Henry VIII and all the tragic events that followed. I love Robin Maxwell's style, her books
I liked this book. I did. It just took me way too long to read. I was surprised how much sexy business was going on back then especially because the people were pretty dirty. I wikipedia-ed all the major players while I was at work. What did I learn? Besides being horny, these people were pretty wacky.
Ugh. Seriously, I am done trying to give Robin Maxwell a chance. The topics are delightful but the writing style and the actual storylines are that of a young adult's imagineering mind. Not for the intelligent.

Gina Maples
Aug 12, 2007 Gina Maples rated it really liked it
Historical fiction and hard to put down! It was very interesting and I enjoyed reading it. However, I must admit that I liked The Other Boleyn Girl better!
Desiree Alvarez
Apr 13, 2008 Desiree Alvarez rated it it was amazing
A great book to read. Robin Maxwell does a good job giving readers a book based on Anne's point of view.
Mar 20, 2017 AzulClarito rated it it was amazing
Que libro tan espléndido, si bien las películas y series ambientadas en la realeza siempre llaman mi atención, este es el primer libro que leo, sobre este género y de verdad no me arrepiento...
los diarios de Ana intercalados con la vida diaria de Isabel, me transportaron a esas época en que ser una reina no res solo llevar una corona en la cabeza, ya que esta en cualquier momento puede ser cortada. La relación que entablo Isabel con su madre hace varios años muertas y como la llego a
Mar 01, 2011 Kelly rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2006

Oh! the poor defenseless creature! Sticking it out though rumors arose of six fingers, a myriad of warts. Such a woman was destined to be a lady of royalty running amok. Such an interesting career of choice, that dripping of charm for the king's stately arm (ouch, it seems my father's adoptive speech of Lear is getting to me). Mechanically obsessed with the Tudors, it was the main consumption of my summer and well into winter days. The 'callous' gossipy whisps of dialogue about this woman seemed
Jul 24, 2014 Diane rated it liked it
"Men love what they can not have and hate what they can not control. I was both to Henry."

Queen Elizabeth I has just come to the throne. She is in the middle of a torrid love affair with Robert Dudley. Lady Summerville pays the Queen a visit one day and gives her a diary written by Elizabeth's mother, Anne Boleyn. Elizabeth barely knew her mother before she was beheaded and was raised to think that Anne was a traitor. Suddenly, she has an extraordinary chance to learn the truth about her mother
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 3 Feb 16, 2015 03:12AM  
  • The Lady in the Tower (Queens of England, #4)
  • A Lady Raised High: A Novel of Anne Boleyn
  • Brief Gaudy Hour: A Novel of Anne Boleyn
  • Vengeance Is Mine: A Novel Of Anne Boleyn, Katherine Howard, And Lady Rochford  The Woman Who Helped Destroy Them Both
  • Anne Boleyn: In Her Own Words & the Words of Those Who Knew Her
  • At the Mercy of the Queen
  • The Concubine
  • At the King's Pleasure  (Secrets of the Tudor Court, #4 )
  • The Queen of Subtleties: A Novel of Anne Boleyn
  • Mistress Anne
Robin Maxwell began writing novels about the historical figures she had been obsessing about since graduating from Tufts University with a degree in Occupational Therapy. Her first novel, "The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn," now in its 24th printing, won two YA awards and has been translated into fourteen languages. "The Wild Irish" - an epic tale of Ireland's rebel queen, Grace O'Malley - closed ou ...more
More about Robin Maxwell...

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“For men love what they cannot have, and hate what they cannot control.” 65 likes
“Some promises are lies we never meant to tell.” 9 likes
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