Anne Boleyn is the odd girl out. Newly arrived to the court of King Henry VIII, everything about her seems wrong, from her clothes to her manners to her witty but sharp tongue. So when the dashing poet Thomas Wyatt offers to coach her on how to shine at court--and to convince the whole court they're lovers--she accepts. Before long, Anne's popularity has soared, and even the charismatic and irresistible king takes notice. More than popularity, Anne wants a voice--but she also wants love. What began as a game becomes high stakes as Anne finds herself forced to make an impossible choice between her heart's desire and the chance to make history.
Do you know the real Anne Boleyn? The girl who wants to impress, but doesn't want to lose her individuality? The girl who proudly states "the Boleyns stick together," but has her doubts about her own family? When she arrives at court, she doesn't immediately make friends. Anne chooses to continue with the "French" style of dressing, making her instantly unpopular in the English court. Her sister, King Henry's mistress, is approachable and friendly, but motherly at a time when Anne wants a friend. Her brother is harsh and unkind towards her. Anne wanders through the adjustment period until she inadvertently finds a friend in Thomas Wyatt. Thomas is a married poet who has captured the favor of the King; he promises to make Anne known in court...infamously or famously, only time will tell.
The reader will love the historical accuracy (for the most part) of this book. The author has clearly done her research, adding only a little extra spontaneity that may or may not have happened to Anne. Anne literally matures before the readers' eyes. It is fascinating to see her go from an obstinate, stand-out girl to a strong, self-assured woman. Thomas Wyatt is an interesting character in his inability to leave Anne alone and his mysterious poems. There are romance themes throughout the book, but the romance aspect does not overtake the historical significance that pours through the pages. The King is a figure that the reader likely knows will factor greatly into Anne's life later on; however, during the time period this novel covers, the King does not disturb Anne's growth. Rather than being a prominent character, he becomes a character who is just "there," always present, but not necessarily noticeable. The reader will likely dislike Anne's brother. He doesn't seem to like or want to help Anne, making it difficult to like him. Her father, too, is just as rude. He does want to further Anne's chances at court...to further his own; she constantly seeks his approval, even despite herself. There are several other characters, such as Henry Percy, that affect Anne with varying degrees. Henry Percy's character helped her mature by abandoning her at a time when she needed him most.
Overall, a reader should give this novel a try. I loved the rich history and the intricately described settings and characters; I literally felt like I was in court with Anne. The innuendos and thinly veiled insults/comments made me feel like I was experiencing the true English court. This novel is recommended to young adult/teen readers.
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