Charlie Fenton's Reviews > Anne Boleyn: A King's Obsession

Anne Boleyn by Alison Weir
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it was ok

** spoiler alert ** I'm going to have to give up with this, which is a shame as I really enjoyed Weir's first book on KoA. It is a shame as the first part made it seem promising, for once someone was exploring Anne's early life abroad, but since then too many outlandish theories have been proposed and Weir's dislike for Anne is evident.

I will not go into too much detail as I will be reviewing it for The Tudor Society, but some of these theories are just so out there that they are almost laughable:
- Henry Norris and Anne are in love from the start, Anne even imagines Norris when she is with the king. No evidence of this and any relationship between them until the 'dead men's shoes' incident and the majority of historians put that down to a case of courtly love taken a step too far.
- Francis I of France, Henry VIII and George Boleyn are all rapists. Poor Mary Boleyn has two kings rape her but falls for Henry somehow and forgives him in the end, being devastated when he abandons her for Anne (this is seeming very similar to The Other Boleyn Girl).
- George Boleyn and Jane Parker's relationship I expected to be portrayed as an unhappy one in this, historians are slowly acknowledging that there is no evidence for this and really no details on their marriage at all, yet obviously Weir could not go against her frankly disgusting comments on Jane in The Lady in the Tower. Anne and Jane's relationship is a little better, but still sours in the end anyway, which once again we have no evidence for and no evidence that Jane was jealous of Anne and George's close relationship.

I would give this 2.5 stars but Goodreads doesn't allow that, yet it doesn't warrant a 3 star rating. That is because it is still well written and Anne's early years abroad was still a nice surprise, plus Weir does include primary sources (even if she does twist them to suit her own story). I have since been informed that Weir has made her feelings on Anne clear in interviews, stating that she was capable of murder and very well could have murdered Princess Mary had she lived longer. She holds a torch for Katherine of Aragon and so to her Anne will always be the woman who stole Henry away from his 'true wife'.
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Reading Progress

December 15, 2016 – Started Reading
December 15, 2016 – Shelved
December 15, 2016 –
page 0
0.0% "Excited to start Alison Weir's second book in her six wives series as I really enjoyed her Katherine of Aragon one. Anne Boleyn: A King's Obsession is due out in May 2017 and I was kindly given another proof copy (was given the KoA one last year) by Headline Publishing in exchange for an honest review in The Tudor Society magazine."
December 15, 2016 –
page 3
0.57% "'People had often said, within her hearing, that Mary was the more beautiful of the two Boleyn sisters. Yet they were both brunettes, with long glossy hair, high cheekbones and pointed chins, and both slender and graceful, for the deportment fit for royal courts had been drummed into them. So what was it that made a girl beautiful? What made the arrangement of Mary's features better than hers?'"
December 15, 2016 –
page 5
0.95% "'For all her mock reproof, she felt sorry for George. She knew how deeply it gnawed at him, being the youngest of three sons. It was sixteen-year-old Thomas who would inherit Hever and all their father's lands and wealth - and it was Thomas who, to George's envy, had been sent to the household of the mighty Duke of Buckingham at nearby Penshurst to learn courtly manners and the martial arts'"
December 15, 2016 –
page 8
1.51% ""The Regent Margaret was most interested to hear of your accomplishments and has offered to take you into her household as one of her eighteen maids-of-honour... I know, it is highly unusual for the younger sister to be advanced before the elder, and Mary speaks good French. But," and he gave Anne a calculating look, "I believe that you have what it takes to succeed at court and be a credit to me.""
December 15, 2016 –
page 17
3.21% "'From her father and Sir John, Anne had learned a great deal about the lady she was soon to serve. Margaret of Austria was the only daughter of the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian - a wily old fox if ever there was one, her father had said - by his late wife Mary, the Duchess of Burgundy. It was through their marriage that the Burgundian Netherlands had come to the House of Habsburg.'"
December 16, 2016 –
page 23
4.35% "'After just a week, the Regent sent for her. "I have written to your father to tell him that I am delighted with you," she said, "and to thank him for sending you to me. He could not have given me a present more welcome. I have told him that I find in you so fine a spirit, and such perfect courtesy for a young lady of your years, that I am more beholden to him for sending you than he can be to me for receiving you.""
December 16, 2016 –
page 28
5.29% ""A gentlewoman must at all times take care not to forget who she is, or the honour of her family, or their hopes for her future. And it is up to us ladies to rein in and civilise the lusts of men." She hid a smile at their smothered giggles. "You may flirt, you may encourage, you may even bestow favours - to a point - but the ultimate prize is your virtue, which is the greatest gift you will bring to your husband.""
December 16, 2016 –
page 35
6.62% ""You partnered the King well, Mademoiselle Anne," the Regent said.\n"Thank you, Madame."\nThe Regent turned to Etiennette. "You, young lady, overstepped the bounds of propriety. King Henry is a married man.""
December 16, 2016 –
page 36
6.81% ""I love him, and he loves me, and what we do is none of your business."\n"He loves you? Tomorrow he will be gone from here, back to England, and you will never see him again."\n"I know." Etiennette crumpled, her eyes brimming with tears. "He told me last night that he would always care for me, and that when I marry I should let him know, and he will send ten thousand crowns for my dowry.""
December 16, 2016 –
page 40
7.56% ""Ah, but it is the way of the world, la petite Boleyn! And for compensation, the delightful Mary will be queen of France. You and your sister are to serve her. She has asked for you both, and naturally your father could not refuse. As for me, I will be deeply sad to lose you. But I think you have benefited from your time here, and been happy. Your French is now excellent, and you have a certain polish about you"
December 16, 2016 –
page 46
8.7% "'Queen Mary propped herself up on one elbow, regarding her new maid-of-honour. She had exquisite features, with green eyes, pouting lips, and fair skin like her brother, King Henry; a tendril of flaming red hair had escaped from her cap. She looked younger than her eighteen years, with her slender child's hand extended to be kissed.'"
December 16, 2016 –
page 57
10.78% "'not want to be rusticated in England with the Queen, for Mary had said that she and Suffolk would have to live quietly in the country; nor did she and her sister want to go home to Hever, so Anne wrote to Father explaining their dilemma and asking for his help. He was quick to act. Not two weeks had passed before Queen Mary informed them that Queen Claude had honoured them by offering them places in her household.'"
December 16, 2016 –
page 62
11.72% ""I must go," the Queen said. "Mistress Anne, I wish you well at the French court. After what has happened, I don't need to warn you to guard your virtue - it is the most precious jewel you will ever possess." She smiled sadly, watching Mary's retreated back. "I think you are wise, and do not need mu advice. You would not let any man take advantage of you.""
December 17, 2016 –
page 81
15.31% "'She looked happy, and Anne guessed that marriage must suit her. Mary had wed in February; her new husband, William Carey, was an important, rising man in King Henry's court - the King's own cousin, no less! Father had hastened home for the wedding, as well he might, for it had taken place in the Chapel Royal at Greenwich Palace, in the presence of the King and Queen themselves.'"
December 17, 2016 –
page 95
17.96% "'Anne spoke up. "Madame, a church that encourages people to buy salvation through the sale of indulgences by greedy priests should be reformed. How can the princes of that church - aye, and the Pope himself - justify their wealth and magnificence when they are meant to he emulating our Lord, who was a humble carpenter?""
December 17, 2016 –
page 97
18.34% ""Your father is at court," Mother said, leading them into the parlour, which now seemed small and old-fashioned, "but he has sent excellent news. He has secured you a place as maid-of-honour in Queen Katherine's household. You are to go to the court at Greenwich with all speed.""
December 17, 2016 –
page 100
18.9% "'She found herself warming to Katherine, whom it was impossible not to admire. And the Princess Mary, who was often with her mother, was the most delightful child, graceful, well-spoken and entrancing. Within that first week, Anne knew that she had much for which to be grateful in being appointed to the Queen's household.'"
December 17, 2016 –
page 104
19.66% ""And he was angry." Mary dabbed at her eyes. "It started at Christmas. He paid me compliments, gave me gifts - and I thought he was just flattering me. But then he started to drop hints that he was prepared to be very generous indeed, and last month he gave Will a grant of land. Will was delighted, but I knew it for what it was - an inducement to let me know that I would be well rewarded.""
December 17, 2016 –
page 113
21.36% "'Gradually, over that enchanted month of May, the carapace she had built around herself broke down, yielding before Harry's kindness and devotion. Their first kiss was stolen in an arbour in the Queen's privy garden, and it felt very sweet. She knew that she was falling in love with him, but there was more to it than that. She felt more strongly than ever that he was the right man for her.'"
December 17, 2016 –
page 116
21.93% ""I told Hal - I mean, the King," she sniffed. "He has not summoned me since. I think it is over... He will not own it. He told me there is a legal presumption that any child I bear is my husband's, so there is no cause for scandal. But Anne, I never thought to say this - I miss him. I had grown fond of him. There is something about him...""
December 17, 2016 –
page 123
23.25% "'Of losing her beloved Harry she dared not think, for that way lay madness. To have had all within her grasp, and to have lost it in an instant was more than cruel. Never again to see that beloved face, feel those warm lips on hers, those loving arms around her... He had been the one man she could love, the essence of all that was good in his sex. She would never find another like him.'"
December 17, 2016 –
page 125
23.63% "'Anne was barely holding herself together. "I thank Your Grace. You have been very kind. But Madam, I have been treated most unjustly, and I have been insulted." Wolsey would pay for that. "If ever it lies on my power, I will work the Cardinal as much displeasure as he has done me!" The Queen stared at her and swallowed.\n"I hope that in time you will find it in your heart to forgive him," she said.'"
December 17, 2016 –
page 137
25.9% "'In March, Anne was relieved to hear that Mary had been safely delivered of a son, Henry, who, Mother wrote, was unmistakably Will Carey's child. Mary had put her affair with the King firmly behind her, and was now a happy wife and mother. Things had worked out rather well, Anne thought, as she made her way to the Queen's lodging.'"
December 17, 2016 –
page 137
25.9% "(Oh no not another portrayal of Jane Parker and her 'unhappy' marriage to George Boleyn :( there is no proof of this and it just makes me even more eager to get on with my novel on her)"
December 17, 2016 –
page 148
27.98% "''Declare I dare not' indeed! What was the King about? She had told him, several times now, that she could not love him or be his mistress, as he was married. She had said it in sorrow, in regret, in indignation and in anger - and still he would not take no for an answer.'"
December 17, 2016 –
page 150
28.36% "'Father still thought that Mary could have done better for herself by holding the King to his responsibilities and asking for money, but at least Mary was happy now. And she herself had learned a salutary lesson from her sister's experience, for it had forewarned her of the King's fickle nature. The woman he pursued today might easily be discarded tomorrow.'"
December 18, 2016 –
page 152
28.73% ""I cannot love you!" she replied. "Not only on account of my honour, but also because of the great love I bear the Queen. How could I injure a princess of such great virtue? I live in daily dread of her finding out about..." She would would not say the word 'us'. It implied collusion. \n"She would not know." Henry hastened to assure her. "I would act with the utmost discretion.""
December 18, 2016 –
page 164
31.0% ""But, Anne, the good Bishop has directed me to the Book of Leviticus in the Bible, and I have been reading it over and over again, for it warns of the penalty for those who incur God's displeasure by taking their brother's widow to wife, 'They shall be childless'! And having on a daughter, I am as good as childless. All my sons with Katherine died.""
December 18, 2016 –
page 165
31.19% ""Sir, these doubts you have - they are not on account of me, I trust?"\n"No, Anne. I have asked myself that. But had I never met or loved you, I would still have them, and still be wanting an annulment. I have to provide for the succession. It is my duty as king.""
December 18, 2016 –
page 168
31.76% "'H. autre ne cherche R. Henry the King seeks no other. And around Anne's initials the King had drawn a heart. It was that little symbol which made her mind up. It struck a chord in her own heart, and made her believe that yes, in time she might come to love him, even if it was not the kind of passionate love that she had tasted so briefly.'"
December 18, 2016 –
page 206
38.94% "'Her whole body seemed to be in pain, snd the worst of it was an intense feeling of agitation. Consciousness came and went, and when she did wake, her thoughts were in turmoil. She was aware that she had the sweat, and could remember hearing someone say that a sufferer could be merry at dinner and dead at supper, and that only those who survived the first twenty-four hours could hope to live.'"
December 19, 2016 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-5 of 5 (5 new)

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Charlie Fenton Unfortunately yes she is, I guess she doesn't want to admit she was wrong! There are two older boys other than George, as well as several Anne refers to as having died in infancy :/ they did of the sweating sickness in the novel, so yes many problems, too many to note really!


message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

I could weep!!


message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

Oh, my last but one comment disappeared! Anyway, I admire your perseverance with this book. What you'll do for the Tudor Society!


Megan Charlie: is the bias really that bad? I want to read this but if it's really that inaccurate I might have to pass :-/


message 5: by Luthien (new)

Luthien Why do so many authors who dislike Anne insist on writing about her... (novels or otherwise)? Also, there's no evidence that Anne even gave the supposed order to have Mary's ears boxed, which so many people love to lay on her doorstep (at least Eric Ives never mentions it), much less would order her death in the theoretical future, gah!


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