Ok, so my own bias affected my ability to love this book. See, I don't like Anne Boleyn, or, rather, I love her as a villain. I liked her in the Showtime version. Sultry, confident, clever, cruel, ruthless, cunning, social climbing, manipulative, and yet still a victim of her horrible family.
I did not like Jean Plaidy's interpretation as a sweet, good, reluctant lover of the king, left pining for a quiet life with another man. She was so judgmental of her sister Mary for sleeping around both the French and English courts. Which, yeah, I get that, but I don't want Anne to be the judgy moral prude sister. The only thing Plaidy retained was Anne's quick temper, and even that seemed muted.
I did like that we got to spend some time with a young Anne during her time in the French court. Her perspective of the French king and Mary Tutor (sister of Henry) was fun to read.
Plaidy is also always good for her historical recounting, often coming across more like narrative non-fiction than fiction with the main character taking a significant part of the narrative to recount the historical goings on of the time. I can see how readers could get really bored with this style of telling not showing, but I actually like it.
What I don't like about her writing style are the constant repetitions. If all these repeated points and phrases were removed, you probably could eliminate almost 100 pages!
All in all, I liked some things and Jean Plaidy is still a solidly ok historical author that I will continue to read. But, my gosh, her portrayal of Anne was just not something I could get behind.
Looking for another book like this?
You might like: