Anne Boleyn: A King’s Obsession – Alison Weir

Title: Anne Boleyn: A King’s Obsession
Author: Alison Weir
Series: Six Tudor Queens #2
Genre: Historical Fiction
May 16th, 2017 (Ballantine Books)

A novel filled with new insights into the story of Henry VIII’s second – and most infamous – wife, Anne Boleyn. The second book in the epic Six Tudor Queens series, from the acclaimed historian and bestselling author of Katherine of Aragon.
It is the spring of 1527. Henry VIII has come to Hever Castle in Kent to pay court to Anne Boleyn. He is desperate to have her. For this mirror of female perfection he will set aside his Queen and all Cardinal Wolsey’s plans for a dynastic French marriage.
Anne Boleyn is not so sure. She loathes Wolsey for breaking her betrothal to the Earl of Northumberland’s son, Harry Percy, whom she had loved. She does not welcome the King’s advances; she knows that she can never give him her heart.
But hers is an opportunist family. And whether Anne is willing or not, they will risk it all to see their daughter on the throne…

The second book in Alison Weir’s Six Tudor Queens series tells the story of Anne Boleyn. Anne leaves her family at the age of eleven for the court of the Netherlands. The glimpse into her years with Regent Margaret and then at the French Court are interesting and show very well how her experiences and lessons in childhood shaped her decisions in later years on the path to becoming Queen and beyond. Most interesting however, was to see that Anne initially dislikes and attempts to evade Henry, but eventually sees the power and prestige in becoming Queen.

Personally, I have always found Anne Boleyn to be the most interesting of Henry’s wives and was rather looking forward to seeing how Weir recreates her story. I was not disappointed. While definitely historical fiction in every sense of the word, the Tudor court comes alive in this fascinating novel. Having read many, many versions of Anne’s story, this is the first novel that made me sympathize with her at all.

Alison Weir has depicted Anne marvellously, with both her good qualities and her flaws laid out without bias. By far the most comprehensive retelling of Anne Boleyn’s story I have come across, this is historical fiction at its finest.

While this is a rather heavy read, and not just in terms of the number of pages, it is definitely worth the time and effort it takes. A must-read for Tudor enthusiasts!

Other reviews in this series:
Book 1: Katherine of Aragón: The True Queen
Book 3: Jane Seymour: The Haunted Queen
Book 4: Anna of Kleve: The Princess in the Portrait


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