The Boleyn King by Laura Anderson : Review

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Just seventeen years old, Henry IX, known as William, is a king bound by the restraints of the regency yet anxious to prove himself. With the French threatening battle and the Catholics sowing the seeds of rebellion at home, William 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 William’s mother, Anne Boleyn.

Against a tide of secrets, betrayal, and murder, William finds himself fighting for the very soul of his kingdom. Then, when he and Dominic both fall in love with Minuette, romantic obsession looms over a new generation of Tudors. One among them will pay the price for a king’s desire, as a shocking twist of fate changes England’s fortunes forever.

For two week, I took a bit of the break from reading novels in the fantasy genre. During that break, I instead, read 6-7 historical fiction novels. This, is one of them. I may review one or two more of them, but  I’ll return to primarily reviewing fantasy.

The premise of The Boleyn King is to answer the question: “What if Anne Boleyn gave King Henry VIII a healthy son who lived to become king?” It follows his and Elizabeth’s life, as well as their companions Minuette, and Dominic.

I would like to note that I do enjoy Laura Anderson’s writing. She’s talented, and I think her writing makes for some pleasant light reading.

However, I did have some issues with this novel which prevented me from liking it quite so much as I would have otherwise. Anderson follows along the age-old trope of having two members of nobility fall for Elizabeth’s ladies, who is of course, the most desirable woman in the court. To me, it felt odd that a novel which had the premise of rewriting history, focused instead on love affairs, and a murder mystery.

The timeline and historical parts were pretty much as it was with King Edward, but instead, the name used is William. Though, I did find the appearances of Anne Boleyn to be fitting to her character as she was history, though, of course, time-wizened.

The Boleyn King may well be a good read if you were to go into it expecting to read a murder mystery and romance tale between four teenagers, instead of as an alternate history novel. Though, even still, as a romance it has its flaws — as the resolution to the “love triangle” is obvious within the first dozen pages.

As such, I’m unsure as to if I’ll be reading the sequel, The Boleyn Deceit when it comes out in November.

 

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