I've seen the facts of King Henry VIII and his wives but have never really thought about the era, the culture and society of the time. Byrd brings it to life with this novel about Anne Boleyn.
We get a clear view of the King and his desire for a male heir and his frustration with queens who do not produce one. I was amazed at his conniving to be rid of Katherine so he could have Anne. That required coming out from under the authority of the pope so we read about the change in religious authority in England. Power plays are revealed and losers lose their life too. And the thought of the arranged marriages for young women made me cringe.
I appreciate Byrd's character construction of Anne. She comes across as a decent person, unlike some who paint her as deceptive. We would think she really loved the King and desired above all else to provide him with a son. But we also see the power of jealousy and false accusations. And there is the dual standard of the time. Anne had to be careful of who might be attracted to her yet the King could carouse all he wanted without worry.
I am Tudor illiterate so I trust Byrd was accurate in all she wrote. I appreciate her Author's Note explaining the difficulty of determining the characters surrounding Anne's life. Byrd also clearly distinguishes fact from fiction and explains her fictional choices. I recommend this novel to readers who want to see an interesting time in history brought to life.
My rating: 4/5 stars.
You can find out more about all the books in the Tudor Ladies in Waiting series here.
Sandra Byrd is the author of more than fifty books and has received many awards, nominations, and accolades, including a starred review from Publisher's Weekly and multiple starred reviews and Best Book selections from Library Journal. Other awards include the Historical Novel Society's Editor's Choice award, two Christy finalists, a Bookpage Top Pick for Romance, and inclusion on Booklist's Top Ten Inspirational Books of the Year list.
A dedicated foodie, Byrd cooks through the topic and location of every book she writes. In addition, she collects vintage glass and serve ware in her free time, loves long walks with her husband, and Sunday Suppers with her growing family. She lives in Tacoma, Washington. You can find out more at https://www.sandrabyrd.com/.
Quaystrokes, 336 pages.
I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.
(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)