Etienne's Reviews > The Arrow Chest

The Arrow Chest by Robert Stephen Parry
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Mar 18, 2012

it was amazing
Recommended to Etienne by: The Anne Boleyn Forum
Recommended for: Tudor history buffs, historical romance fans, fans of Gothic novels, fans of paranormal stories
Read from February 29 to March 29, 2012 — I own a copy , read count: 1

I had read -- and loved -- Mr. Parry's 'Virgin and the Crab' and was uncertain what I would get from this novel (despite all of the praise). Any uncertainty on my part was not necessary, because again, Parry has spun an incredible story which still manages to work the Tudors into his tale. I'll also admit that I don't normally care for second-person POV as many writers are barely adept at writing in first and third person; Parry is the exception as he is able to maintain it without slipping into another POV (as often happens), so for that alone he gets a thumbs-up from me.

As others have mentioned, the story has characters whose lives seems to parallel (in some ways) the relationship of Henry VIII and his second wife, Anne Boleyn, as well as Anne's friendship with poet Thomas Wyatt, only the story has been updated to 19th century England. Wyatt is now Amos, up and coming artist, and the Anne of the novel is Daphne, a great beauty who, once upon a time, was his model -- and remains his inspiration; she is now married to a wealthy industrialist -- bombastic, sometimes crass, and growing increasingly obese with every passing day, a man whose first wife failed to give him a male heir. Other Tudor personalities are hinted at as well: George Boleyn, Anne's brother and his wife, the infamous Jane; Thomas Cromwell...and while none are the out and out duplicates of the historical individuals they represent, it's still fascinating to see how Parry handles them.

And then there is Anne Boleyn herself, who occasionally makes cameo appearances -- or does she? After all, it begins when Amos is asked to draw what are believed to be the Queen's remains when her burial place at St. Peter ad Vincula is excavated and refurbished. Whether the manifestations are the overactive imagination of a pre-Raphaelite artist or reality -- well, that's for the reader to decide. What Parry spins is an incredible plot which is so visual and descriptive, that not a single word is wasted; he builds a breathtaking atmosphere of lives we learn to like and love -- and some not so much, people who want to be in control of their destinies, but often don't seem to be as the parallels between Henry and Anne Boleyn and those who rotated about them appear to be rushing headlong into unavoidable tragedy.

A definite read for Tudor fans and lovers of historical romance.
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message 1: by Robert (new) - added it

Robert Thank you for such a positive and insightful review! I am so glad you enjoyed it!


Etienne Robert wrote: "Thank you for such a positive and insightful review! I am so glad you enjoyed it!"

I saw that "Robert" had replied to my review and I said to myself "Mr. Parry?" LOL As Jack Aubrey says in the movie version of Master and Commander "What a fascinating modern age we live in." It's still amazing to me that we're able to converse and correspond so quickly! :-D Anyway, let me thank YOU personally for two wonderful books (and I really need to leave a review for Virgin and the Crab). I've been studying the Tudors since I was about 8-years-old and first read of Elizabeth in an American history book. But as much as I loved V&C, there was something about The Arrow Chest that was even more meaningful. Even with her faults and her positives, Anne remains so fascinating, and yes, I did wonder what would happen with Daphne (would she end tragically as did Anne) -- and was happy with your results. In fact, I read the final few pages twice because I didn't want it to end!

So thanks for your kind reply -- but thanks again for giving me another great read. I can't wait for your next novel. I hear it takes place in Georgian England. Not sure if the Tudors will ease their way into it as well LOL but just knowing you have another book on the way is fine with me! Take care!


message 3: by Robert (new) - added it

Robert The next story is set in the 18th century, so will be a Tudor-free zone! The repercussions of the Tudor era, the Reformation, did cast a shadow over subsequent periods - the Jacobite Rebellion, for instance - so it is just possible that one or two Tudor Notables might get a mention, after all.
Thank you again, Etienne. Yes, a pleasure to say Hello!


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