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Anne Boleyn

3.91  ·  Rating Details  ·  925 Ratings  ·  44 Reviews
A biography of the woman whose marriage to King Henry VIII of England resulted in an irreversible break between the Church of England and the Papacy, the birth of the future Queen Elizabeth I, and in her own beheading.
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published May 1st 1986 by Putnam Publishing Group (first published 1979)
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107th out of 801 books — 592 voters
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24th out of 46 books — 121 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,938)
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Apr 10, 2011 Sarah rated it liked it
While I quite enjoyed this book and the detail and attention that Norah Lofts payed to Anne Boleyn’s life, there seemed to be an underlying current running through the book which really made me scratch my head at times. While reading it appeared to me that Lofts actually believed that Anne Boleyn was a witch – or at least had some knowledge of and involvement with witchcraft. This idea really shocked me as I thought that we as learners and researchers of Anne Boleyn’s life had moved past this ri ...more
Where do I even start with this book? If you look at my status updates, you see my state of mind deteriorate further and further to ravings of a madman. Why? Because I love Anne Boleyn. She was an ambitious woman who knew her mind and how to manipulate people, yet she was caring and soft and she did love Henry. She was a brilliant woman born far before her time. If she lived now rather than then, she would be a CEO and in charge of the whole world by using her mind.

I'll at least start with the t
Sep 14, 2014 Gwen rated it really liked it
This book was very well written. Sadly questions are left unanswered because of poor record keeping in that time period. Thank God I was not living then. Life must have been so very difficult and we think we have it bad now with our rules and regulations. It is amazing that civilization has come as far as it has, however, that same greed that drove generations before us, still causes problems in this generation, not to mention............lust.
Jan 07, 2010 Brandi rated it liked it
I don't know why I'm so fascinated with British monarch history. This was the most honest account I've read. This is history, not historical fiction, but still very interesting. I thought it was written well. And is a quick read, with pictures. oooohh. :)
Karen Renee Collins
I found this book very frustrating. Ms. Lofts seems to believe that it is a foregone conclusion that Anne "tricked" Henry with her charms and never loved him... the whole "evil woman" thing. I can't say that that is not indeed the case, but I don't believe that it has been proven one way or the other. Is there evidence that her father was complicit in setting her up? If so, where is it? Lofts actually spends quite a bit of space giving credence to the theory that Anne was a witch who used her po ...more
Norah Lofts writes a brief biography, which is easy to read, about the unfortunate life of Anne Boleyn. A young woman wanting popularity and status, catches the eye of Henry VIII, a charming and handsome young king. He was also a man that was unforgiving and if his needs weren't met heads would roll (pun intended). The Tudor King had a very clever counsel that sought to meet the king's needs or their own selfish agenda (vengeance, power, etc. & not evaluated in the novel). Henry VIII's main ...more
Jun 25, 2016 Michelle rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: i-own, reviewed
I had a vague knowledge about Henry VIII and the relatively high number of wives he had. I remembered he really wanted a son, and that he went through multiple marriages in hopes of begetting one. I also remembered he beheaded at least one of them. Honestly, my knowledge of history outside of the U.S. isn't great.

This book was fascinating, though I was not a huge fan on the writing itself. There were some instances where the information is repeated within a few pages.

My main complaint was that
Linda Hoffman
Feb 14, 2015 Linda Hoffman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What you would expect.

Norah Lofts does her research with totally believable results. Keeps getting more interesting page after page. I would have been happy with more.
Aug 18, 2014 Sarah rated it really liked it
Great informational book did not realize her age at the time of marriage. I am so happy to be alive during this century. Marriage customs and gender roles are drastically different!
Aug 15, 2009 Marti rated it really liked it
very good research material on Anne Boleyn including some amazing portraits.
Mar 23, 2015 Megan rated it really liked it
Shelves: okay-books
This is an excellent biography and is well-written but I'm going to give it 4 stars instead of 5 because it didn't exactly grab me and I had to really force myself to keep reading in some parts.

First off, I want to address the problem that it seems most of the low reviews mentioned, which is that Lofts discusses the rumors of Anne Boleyn being a witch as if they were true. After reading this common complaint, I was honestly expecting most of the book to be focused on these rumors and instead it
May 25, 2009 Amanda rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction
I almost gave this book one star but then decided that might be unfair to the author. When I first started reading this version of Anne Boleyn's life it seemed very biased against Anne. I have read one other book about Anne Boleyn (nonfiction) that seemed more fair to all sides. I don't have a firm enough grasp on the material to know which viewpoint is the most accepted, though. I just felt that Norah Lofts tried to use every sensational detail that she could find about Anne Boleyn- even going ...more
Apr 23, 2015 Linda rated it it was amazing
What I liked best about this book about Anne Boleyn is that it was condensed, yet hit all the highlights and low times of her life. Also included were photographs I'd never seen before and pictures of some of Anne and Henry's belongings that were new to me as well. I also enjoyed a fresh opinion on why Henry lost interest in Anne once they married. A really quick, yet totally absorbing, read!
Athena Ninlil
Jun 06, 2014 Athena Ninlil rated it really liked it
Comprehensive, and up to date for its time, biography on Anne Boleyn. Norah Lofts is very sympathetic in her account on the famous queen of Tudor times. I enjoyed reading her fiction on Anne, Katherine and other English queens so when I saw she had a biography on one of them, I immediately picked it up. It's not boring and it doesn't boggle you down with too many details you won't remember but sticks to the facts that were relevant to Anne and her complicated relationship with Henry and what led ...more
Oct 25, 2012 Peggy rated it really liked it
Norah Lofts gives us a concise and tightly written biography, focusing mostly on the complicated relationship between Henry and Anne and the series of events that set in motion the break with the Catholic Church. The writing flows smoothly and the illustrations are beautiful.

I love how Lofts ended this biography with a humorous anecdote. She reminded us that Anne was a woman who loved to laugh and loved a good joke, two details that are usually overlooked when we think of the tragedy in her lif
Mina Beganović
Aug 07, 2014 Mina Beganović rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
I've had a fascination with Anne Boleyn since I was in 8th grade and while I enjoyed this book enough to finish it, the underlying implication that Anne Boleyn was somehow involved in witchcraft was rather frustrating. This is supposed to be a non-fiction biography of a historical figure and you wouldn't expect that an author writing in the 20th century would seriously consider witchcraft to be a plausible explanation for anything! Norah Lofts reinforces this notion by stating that Anne Boleyn h ...more
Nov 17, 2014 Damien rated it really liked it
A fascinating coffee table sort of book with lots of interesting pictures, photographs of documents and letters from the time. It is very informative, telling the events of Anne's life in a most readable way. It gives the reader much to think about and creates a rounded picture of Anne as a human being, but not only Anne, Henry too! It doesn't allow us to glibly condemn either of them.
Jul 24, 2013 Donna rated it liked it
This was my first Kindle book and my first non-fiction by Norah Lofts. Having recently completed Hillary Mantel's two novels about Thomas Cromwell and his role in Anne's life, I found this version provided me an intriguing comparison of perspectives on these two historical figures and their intertwining lives.
Kris - My Novelesque Life
Mar 21, 2016 Stephanie rated it really liked it
This book would be worth it for the illustrations alone. Holbiens in full color, anyone? But it's a good book on the story of Anne Boleyn, the second wife of Henry the Eight.

Accomplished, attractive, intelligent, and determined, Anne set her sights on being Henry's queen rather than his mistress, and paid the price with her head. She was truly a woman who changed history, and this well-researched book does her justice.

England was the first country in western Europe to break the stranglehold of
This is supposedly a factual history book that actually cites, and repeatedly does so to the point of tedium, that witchcraft and influence of Satan were possibly if not probably the reasons Anne Boleyn became Queen of England.


Several times I checked the publication date of the book to see if it'd been written when such a thing was a probable charge or if this was some kind of parody that I'd accidentally picked up in the history section of the book store. It wasn't.

Norah Lofts is so
Jun 16, 2016 Laurie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biographies
This is a jewel of a book about Anne Boleyn that is filled with gorgeous and fascinating color plates! As I read it, I fell in love with the writing style of Norah Lofts and was amazed by the interesting detail about Anne Boleyn's life with Henry VIII. Although it was written in 1979, I would highly recommend it to British royal history fans. This was well researched and the book plates perfectly matched the content on the opposing pages making for an easy read.
Nov 23, 2012 Lauren rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lofts' skill as a novelist comes to the fore and makes it an engaging read. However, it's lack of references makes some of her statements seem unsubstantiated if you are not familiar with the source material from other reading. For the most part, although this book offers nothing new to readers, it offers a remarkably balanced view of Anne and the other major players. It is only when Lofts tries to introduce serious consideration of Anne being a witch that the narrative stumbles and jars. She wo ...more
Mar 13, 2015 Vanessa rated it it was ok
If you've read "The Concubine" then you don't need to read this. Basically a re telling of that story but with numerous grammatical and punctuation errors.
Gautama Siddartha
Dec 02, 2015 Gautama Siddartha rated it it was ok
David Stimpson
May 21, 2014 David Stimpson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
well ..I love the Tudor times and this book has reinforced that affair
Nov 10, 2011 Tina rated it it was ok
THe book is a fun read and nothing more. Her facts don't agree with the rest of the world history about her at all. At one point the author claimed that Mary went to spend time with the Duchess of Savory and not anne. Which is completely false, Mary was in France and Ann was with the duchess. Her facts can be aggravating, to the point I stopped quoting the book, because I found it unreadable and very bias. It was refreshing to another person view of Anne, no matter how much i disagreed.
Heather Domin
Aug 12, 2009 Heather Domin rated it it was ok
I know Norah Lofts was Team Katharine, but wow, I didn't know she was that much Team Katharine. I mean, seriously, witchcraft as an actual possibility? Really? The writing style had a good flow, and I enjoyed the color plates, but the information (and gender attitude) is dated and the bias is painfully visible. I'm bummed; I really love her fiction, but this nonfiction felt less scholarly.
Jan 03, 2009 Barbara rated it it was amazing
The original ( now corrected, thank you so much ) quoted opening paragraph is NOT from from Norah Lofts' biography of Anne Boleyn . Indeed the paragaraph appears nowhere in that work. It is from Wendy J Dunn's fiction work.

Perhaps the poor reviews belong to Dunn's work too?
Certainly Loft's excellent, if now inevitably outdated, work does not deserve them.
Oct 29, 2015 Annie rated it really liked it
I am a history buff, but I am not a historian. What I liked best about this book is that it is written for the everyday reader and not for scholars. Ms Lofts told us what happened but made it interesting and accessible. One of the best things I've read on Anne Boleyn, including the many popular novels written about her.
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Retro Chapter Chi...: December 2015: Anne Boleyn by Norah Lofts 19 10 Dec 24, 2015 10:06AM  
Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Feb 15, 2015 03:57PM  
  • Mistress Anne
  • Katherine Howard
  • The Rise and Fall of Anne Boleyn: Family Politics at the Court of Henry VIII
  • Anne Boleyn: Henry VIII's Obsession
  • Dear Heart, How Like You This?
  • Tudor Women: Queens & Commoners
  • A Lady Raised High: 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
  • The Six Wives of Henry VIII
  • The Early Loves of Anne Boleyn
  • Henry: Virtuous Prince
  • Henry VIII: The Mask of Royalty
  • Mary Tudor: The Spanish Tudor
  • Love Letters of Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn
  • The King's Secret Matter (Tudor Saga, #4)
  • The Fifth Queen
Also published using the pseudonyms Juliet Astley and Peter Curtis

Norah Lofts, née Norah Robinson, (27 August 1904–10 September 1983) was a 20th century best-selling British author. She wrote over fifty books specialising in historical fiction, but she also wrote non-fiction and short stories. Many of her novels, including her Suffolk Trilogy, follow the history of a specific house and the residen
More about Norah Lofts...

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