Who was Anne Boleyn? Was she a martyr or a witch, a saint or a seductress? Since her execution in 1536, historians throughout the ages have asked this question. Out of the conflicting tides of popular opinion, Carolyn Meyer draws her Anne, a proud woman whose unquenchable ambition leads to her eventual downfall.
Young Anne Boleyn's first wish is to be as beautiful and well-loved as her sister. Mary Boleyn has caught the eye of King Henry VIII, but Henry tires quickly of his mistresses. Anne is determined to win the heart of the king, not as his mistress but as his wife and, eventually, as the queen of England. Her ambition is all-consuming, and she does not care who gets trampled underfoot in her lust for the crown—queens and princesses, lords and cardinals, even the Pope himself. But a crown ill-gotten is a lonely crown, and Anne's quest for power is doomed from the start.
Carolyn Meyer chooses to include some well-known but probably untrue details about Anne, like her sixth finger. Her interpretation of Anne is fraught with sympathy, but it ultimately condemns her. Be aware that the book is full of references to the rampant promiscuity of King Henry's court. Though nothing is ever described that's inappropriate for fourteen and up, we do get some rather disturbing insight into Anne's mind as she executes her plan to make the king fall madly in love with her.
However, this being the story of Anne Boleyn, we also see where all of her conniving leads. Anne may be outwardly passionate and beautiful, but inwardly she is eaten alive by her thirst for power. Her relationship with King Henry VIII crumbles away because it is founded solely on lust. Carolyn Meyer shows us an Anne who is a cautionary tale—doomed by her actions and her own ambition.
Review by Lauren Shearer
Lauren Shearer writes words for fun and profit. She also makes films, but everyone knows you can't make a profit doing that. Her other hobby is consistently volunteering way too much of her time. You can read more of her reviews here
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