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Cover image for Anne Boleyn, a king's obsession
Anne Boleyn, a king's obsession
Large print edition.
Waterville, Maine : Thorndike Press, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning, 2017.
Physical Description:
843 pages (large print) : genealogical table ; 23 cm.
Number in series:
bk. 2.
General Note:
"A novel"--Cover.
Born into a noble English family, Anne is barely a teenager when she is sent from her family's Hever Castle to serve at the royal court of the Netherlands. This strategic move on the part of her opportunistic father also becomes a chance for the girl to grow and discover herself. There, and later in France, Anne thrives, preferring to absorb the works of progressive writers rather than participate in courtly flirtations. She also begins to understand the inequalities and indignities suffered by her gender. Anne isn't completely inured to the longings of the heart, but her powerful family has ambitious plans for her future that override any wishes of her own. When the King of England himself, Henry VIII, asks Anne to be his mistress, she spurns his advances -- reminding him that he is a married man who has already conducted an affair with her sister, Mary. Anne's rejection only intensifies Henry's pursuit, but in the absence of a male heir -- and given an aging Queen Katherine -- the opportunity to elevate and protect the Boleyn family, and to exact vengeance on her envious detractors, is too tempting for Anne to resist, even as it proves to be her undoing.


Call Number

On Order


Author Notes

Alison Weir was born in London, England on July 8, 1951. She received training to be a teacher with a concentration in history from the North Western Polytechnic. Before becoming a full-time writer, she worked as a civil servant and ran her own school for children with learning difficulties from 1991 to 1997. Her first book, Britain's Royal Families, was published in 1989. Her other books include The Six Wives of Henry VIII; Children of England; Eleanor of Aquitaine; Henry VIII: King and Court; Mary, Queen of Scots; and Isabella.

Her first novel, Innocent Traitor, was published in 2006. Her other novels include The Lady Elizabeth, The Lady in the Tower: The Fall of Anne Boleyn, The Captive Queen, A Dangerous Inheritance, and Katherine of Aragon, the True Queen.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Kirkus Review

A notorious Tudor queen is sympathetically imagined.Weir (Katherine of Aragon, 2016, etc.), prolific Tudor historian, biographer, and novelist, offers the second volume in her fictional series about Henry VIII's six wives, focusing on the outspoken, doomed Anne Boleyn. Anne is certainly the most famous of those unfortunate women and, as Weir admits in an afterword, the least knowable. While Katherine of Aragon left abundant letters, Anne did not, and testimony about her comes mainly from an ambassador to the court who was hostile to her. Weir brings considerable expertise to her portrait of Anne as "a flawed but very human heroine, a woman of great ambition, idealism and courage." Because Anne spent formative years at the French court, where feminist ideas were debated, Weir chooses to see her as an early feminist, repulsed by the widespread incidence of rape in the royal courts of France and England. Henry raped Anne's married sister, Mary, who continued an affair with him, ending up pregnant and cast aside; and even Anne's beloved brother George confessed, to her shock and disgust, that he "forced widows and deflowered maidens," inflamed by uncontrollable lust. Weir vividly depicts court life: the hundreds of attendants, the sumptuous pageants and celebrations, and Anne's amazing gowns and jewels. She reprises the plight of Katherine of Aragon and her daughter, Mary, both of whom Anne fervently wished dead; and she gives ample evidence for England's resentment of Anne, in and out of court. Despite Weir's well-informed portrayal of her cast of characters, the novel suffers from its focus on Henry's machinations to dissolve his marriage to Katherine, a process that took six long years of "unbearably frustrating" and nearly intolerable delays, marked by skirmishes, controversies, and conversations that become repetitive. After the pair are married, Weir deals sensitively with Anne's increasing desperation as she fails to produce a living son and witnesses the king's blatant philandering. The plot intensifies once Anne is accused of adultery and treason, culminating in a truly shocking and emotional execution scene. A richly detailed rendering of the familiar Tudor drama. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

Prominent royal biographer and historical novelist Weir is well-placed to craft this detailed fictional portrait of Henry VIII's second wife. Second in the Six Tudor Queens series, following Katherine of Aragon (2016), it begins with Anne Boleyn's youth at the courts of the Netherlands and France, where she receives an education, learns to value independent thought, and views men's perfidy firsthand. Also transforming her character are her ongoing rivalries with her sister, Mary, and Cardinal Wolsey, who she blames for her greatest romantic disappointment. Naturally, considerable space is devoted to the king's Great Matter, the political and religious entanglements that ensued as Henry sought to divorce Katherine and wed Anne. Weir isn't blindly sympathetic toward Anne and doesn't excuse Anne's malice towards Katherine and her daughter, Mary. Instead, she explores Anne's influences and motivations, creating a multifaceted portrait of an ambitious woman who reluctantly accedes to Henry's courtship and later acts out of desperation to protect herself and her daughter, Elizabeth. Even readers who know Anne's story well should gain insights from this revealing novel.--Johnson, Sarah Copyright 2017 Booklist

Library Journal Review

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.-Mara Bandy Fass, Champaign P.L., IL © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.