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Interesting instalment in the series on the wives of Henry VIII by the respected historian.

I thought there wasn’t much more you could say about the most notorious and most written about of Henry VIII’s six wives, Anne Boleyn.

At least 24 books plus a couple of plays and TV series have featured her just in the past decade, ranging from the serious to the slightly silly (the vampire version).

But I was wrong. Historian Alison Weir here turns her extensive academic research into a popular novel, tracing Anne’s life from her earliest years – an area often ignored by writers in favour of her dramatic and tragic later years.

It makes a good companion piece to the serious history Weir wrote some years ago about Anne, The Lady in the Tower, which focuses on the final stages of her life. In making the switch from history to popular writing, Weir has modernised the language, sometimes going too far into the jarringly modern (“Orders is orders,” Sir Edmund barked).

This is the second in Weir’s comprehensive series The Six Tudor Queens, each installment told with a fair degree of sympathy from that queen’s point of view.

The result is a portrait of a doomed queen that feels both accurate and very human, in a book that is enjoyably engrossing.

My review of book 1 in this series: Six Tudor Queens: Katherine of Aragon, the True Queen, by Alison Weir


My (brief) published review of the precursor to this book: The Lady in the Tower: The Fall of Anne Boleyn

Popular British historian Alison Weir concentrates on Tudor queen Anne Boleyn’s downfall, from the time she first suspects she’s in trouble to her death on the scaffold – just four months – and the aftermath. Weir sets the record straight on a number of myths in this awesomely thorough account, with the rare (for a history) result that these feel like real people caught in a real tragedy. However, that incredible depth on a narrow subject can feel like too much detail. A must for fans of Tudor history.