Anne Boleyn, a King's Obsession

Ballantine. (Six Tudor Queens, Bk. 2). May 2017. 560p. ISBN 9781101966518. $28; ebk. ISBN 9781101966525. F
The most controversial of Henry VIII's wives takes the spotlight in historian and novelist Weir's (Innocent Traitor) second entry (after Katherine of Aragon, the True Queen) in her "Six Tudor Queens" series. Weir follows Anne's path from naïve girlhood through her marriage to Henry VIII after his infamous divorce and up until her execution, including abundant time spent on periods not often covered in other novels, such as Anne's time spent in other European royal courts. Weir's Anne, an intellectual and ambitious woman highly interested in the latest thinking about both religion and women's social roles, fits in well with the recent impulse in both scholarship and fiction to reclaim Anne from being portrayed as merely a manipulative temptress and cold-hearted homewrecker. Anne in the years before she catches Henry's eye is particularly interesting, especially the inclusion of other lesser-known powerful women of the era such as Marguerite of Austria.
VERDICT Though Weir's prose gets bogged down in detail at times, overall this is a well-written and fast-paced novel that should appeal to fans of Tudor-era fiction looking for a fresh look at one of the period's most popular protagonists.
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