Book Review: Anne Boleyn – A King’s Obsession by Alison Weir

Jane Seymour (15)

Lately I’ve been on an Anne Boleyn kick, reading everything about her that I can get my hands on in the hope of better understanding the woman she became during her reign as queen.

When I originally ordered “Anne Boleyn – A King’s Obsession” I was excited to read it because I had really enjoyed Alison Weir’s first book in the series called, “Katherine of Aragon: The True Queen”. Almost a year after finishing the one on Katherine I picked up this book…made it to page two and closed it. You see, I was discouraged by the fact that Weir immediately mentioned Anne’s extra nail. This is a topic I’m so tired of reading about and to be honest there is no proof that it actually existed. So I set the book down and swore I wasn’t going to read it.

About a month and a half later I decided to try again.

I began reading again and this time made it past the extra nail – I was reminded why I purchased the book in the first place. Alison Weir is a magnificent storyteller. She has a way of putting her knowledge of the time into use while writing a novel. This book is listed as fiction but you’ll find a lot of fact between the pages.

Weir’s story of Anne is refreshing, making Anne into a real person – one who never loved Henry VIII and was content to settle for power over love. Her relationship with her sister Mary was as troubling as we’ve always known and her love for her younger brother George was fierce. We see a side of her father, Thomas Boleyn that only slightly differs from other books about him. The part I liked about him was that he eventually reached a point and asked if it was all worth the trouble. This was prior to the marriage of his daughter and the king.

Anne’s physical attraction to Sir Henry Norris (in this story) surprised me but left me wanting them to have a stolen kiss. Then again I’m a sucker for romance in history. When Anne lost Henry Percy (because of Wolsey) Anne believed she would never again find love like she had with Percy – so when Henry pursued Anne she was confident that she would not fall in love with him because she was still saddened over the loss of her true love. She couldn’t love the king anyway, not after the way he treated her sister Mary – by raping her – he was a monster. She would not fall in love with him. Ever.

In every story about Anne that I’ve read she is always depicted as a woman who was intelligent and knew how to get what she wanted from men – something she learned while in Mechelen and at the court of Francis I. This book is no different. Anne’s cunning could compare to any woman of present day. She grew to love the power that came with being queen and became irrational when Henry embarrassed her by having mistresses.

If you are looking for a great novel about Anne Boleyn I’d highly recommend this novel – go back and read the one on Katherine, too. Well worth it. I’d give them both 5 out of 5 stars.

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