Wodandis's Reviews > Jane Boleyn: The True Story of the Infamous Lady Rochford

Jane Boleyn by Julia Fox
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's review
Jan 21, 2012

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Read from January 21 to 25, 2012 , read count: 1

It's really hard to rate this book! The author's writing is lyrical, descriptive and thoroughly enjoyable, and she gives a vivid picture of the details of daily life for a noblewoman attached to the court of Henry VIII,. However, what other reviewers have said is true: most of this is pure conjecture. The book is filled with statements such as "Jane may have been there with Anne" or "Jane must have felt..." In reality, we really cannot know much about what Jane did or felt, definitively, and we will never know as much about her as we do about her sister in law simply because she was never queen. Ironically, what we do know about her possessions is probably due to the fact that they were inventoried after her execution (as is also the case with Anne).

There is a poignant note, however, in the author's conjectures about how Jane's father may have subtly conveyed his feelings about her death at the scaffold in one of his translated manuscripts, and the epilogue does offer a convincing argument (with citations from the writings of her contemporaries)for what we do NOT know about Jane, but what has apparently been falsely assumed on the basis of comments made during the reign of Elizabeth I: that Jane was instrumental in Anne's death. If the writer is correct, her greatest sins may have been poor judgement and cowardice, not the malice that has so often been portrayed.
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