Tuesday, May 21, 2013

ARC Review: The Boleyn King- Laura Anderson

There is always another secret...

Goodreads Synopsis

Laura Andersen brings us the first book in an enthralling trilogy set in the dramatic, turbulent, world-altering years of Tudor England. What if Anne did not miscarry her son in January 1536, but instead gave birth to a healthy royal boy? Perfect for fans of Philipa Gregory and Allison Weir.

Henry IX, known as William, is a 17-year-old king struggling at the restraints of the regency and anxious to prove himself. With the French threatening battle and the Catholics plotting at home, Will trusts only three people: his older sister, Elizabeth; his best friend and loyal counselor, Dominic; and Minuette, a young orphan raised as a royal ward by Anne Boleyn. Against an undercurrent of secret documents, conflicting intelligence operations, and private murder, William fights a foreign war and domestic rebellion with equal resolve. But when he and Dominic both fall in love with Minuette, romantic obsession menaces a new generation of Tudors. Battlefields and council chambers, trials and executions, the blindness of first love and the betrayal of true friendship...How far will William go to get what he wants? Who will pay the price for a king's revenge? And what twists of fate will set Elizabeth on the path to her destiny as England's queen?

My review

Laura Anderson is the third historical fiction author I’ve tried out this year and I’m beginning to grow quite fond of the genre. I received a copy from the publisher at Netgalley for an honest review and hope that I’ve captured the book’s essence here. For my ease of dissection and the readers’ ease of comprehension I will start with the things that were spot on followed by certain aspects of the story that could’ve been better.

Where Anderson hit the nail on the head…

  • The setting of the story:- Tudor England where Anne Boleyn remains queen and Henry Tudor is deceased. Now that held scope for an excellent historical fiction novel, especially amidst all the speculation about whether Anne’s son William is the real heir to the throne or just a product of incestuous relations between Anne and Rochford.
  • Characterization and the writing style:- Great descriptions and interesting characterization. Elizabeth and Mary Tudor’s characters seemed incredibly realistic, what with Elizabeth inheriting her mother’s shrewdness and her father’s tenacity and Mary being appropriately resentful with a desire for vengeance. Dominic’s impenetrable composure and unwavering loyalty, along with William’s impulsiveness and occasional petulance (no doubt a side effect of being fawned over forever) were also quite endearing.
  • Plot:- I’d been wary about the kind of story the author would come up with- whether it would just be some meaningless love triangle or if there would actually be an intricate plot to support the intriguing assortment of characters. Seems like my fears were unfounded. Not that the romantic element was lacking in any way, but a dramatic plot and an unexpected ending only augmented the book’s appeal.
  • The love triangle:- A Tudor king, used to getting what he wants, and his loyal best friend fall for their mutual best friend, who incidentally loves them both. Need I say more?
  • Also, loved the underlying message- ‘There is always another secret’- it seemed quite chilling when used in a certain context.

Things that could’ve been better….

  • Minuette’s character was a bit of a let down sometimes. Though she seems intelligent enough, she is very confused about her love life. I suppose that’s essential to the theme of the story but owing to the fact that I dislike that in female protagonists and throwing herself at one guy and then running off to snog another was very Eleanor Howard kind of behavior, it was a little off-putting.
  • Also, I’d always thought that if Anne Boleyn had not been executed she would have the real power in the kingdom, what with her being the woman for whom Henry had given up his queen, daughter and religion. But she kind of faded into the background in the book- something that seemed just wrong,  along with Rochford having so much power at court.

But apart from these couple of minor loopholes it was quite an enjoyable read. I am quite eager to see William’s reaction to Dominic and Minuette’s relationship in the next installment and getting more info on Rochford’s schemes….

Rating:- 3/5 stars!

No comments:

Post a Comment