Amanda's Reviews > To Die For: A Novel of Anne Boleyn

To Die For by Sandra Byrd
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's review
Jun 30, 2011

really liked it
Read from June 30 to July 04, 2011

Yes, another Anne Boleyn novel. They seem to be coming off an assembly line. Mistress Bolyen has been explored so much lately in popular fiction, TV and nonfiction lately that I'm getting a little sick of her. Not only is Anne being overused, but so is Henry VIII and his entire Tudor court. Sure, it's hard to not enjoy the soap opera-like life of Henry VIII with his six wives and countless mistresses, but really- enough already!

This was exactly what I was thinking when I saw To Die For. How could it be worthwhile when I already know how the story is going to end, and there isn't any way they could change it? But, since I had the opportunity to read the book through Simon & Schuster's Galley Grab program, I thought it would be worthwhile to at least check out. May be a good summer read, and I could get my Anne on.

But, To Die For was different from the multitude of Anne Boleyn novels out there. Instead of following Anne's story exclusively, To Die For tells Anne's story through the eyes of her best friend, Meg Wyatt. The sister of the somewhat famous Thomas Wyatt, Meg had lessons alongside Anne, her sister Mary and her brother George in their younger years. While Meg hears or sees little of Anne after she Anne goes to France, their paths cross again when Anne and Meg is married off in a loveless marriage. Though she is soon widowed, Meg finds herself at court, and thoroughly pulled into the tangled threads of Anne's intrigue with the king, and her ambition to get rid of Katherine and take the crown.

What fused this novel so much refreshing originality was the use of Meg as the narrator, so readers could enjoy something unexpected by experiencing her story. Though it was mostly fictional, Meg's tale is based on some known facts about her life, and naturally and easily intersects with Anne's well-documented rise to power and ultimate fall from the king's favor.

Told in excellent prose, author Sandra Byrd weaves together fact and fiction do perfectly, that most readers won't be able to tell the difference. Byrd does a great job of painting the period while ] exploring the character's world and portraying Anne as a sympathetic, yet ambitious woman whose luck simply ran out.

Highly recommended for fans of Tudor-era fiction.
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