Prince Henry has been raised with the inherited expectation that he will be one day be King and also, that he will never be denied. Anne Boleyn has little affection for the young King, though she absolutely recognizes and respects his singular determination to succeed. With the support of her ambitious family, young Anne is tasked with securing the success of the Boleyns. In the time of such masterminds as Thomas Cromwell, a woman needs to have her wits about her in order to survive the constant plots and dalliances that are part of daily life in the English court. Anne Boleyn has served in foreign courts, and eventually comes to serve the Queen of Henry VIII. Not a great beauty and not even the eldest in her family, Anne is however soon in the sights of a young monarch who does not take no for an answer.
The charm with having also read the first "Queen" book in this series (about Katharine of Aragon) is that the timelines do cross over. Each Queen has knowledge of the next so we will be receiving their own individual viewpoints in each subsequent book; the events that lead to their downfalls are relayed via their own interactions and also via those of their supporters. It is fascinating to see what each Queen might have thought of the other, and also of the various affairs that King Henry VIII carried on with whilst married to each of them.
Of course there seems to be a cast of thousands, each with their own alliances and family entanglements so the reader will need to keep sharp on this throughout the various court intrigues. Henry VIII's flailing attempts to satisfy his own desires and ambitions are quite astonishing and the cruelty shown to almost all women of this time still sits heavy, hundreds of years later.
Author Alison Weir has delivered an accessible piece of historical fiction that both educates and entertains. This brutal time in English history relates as fresh and new as if it all had just occurred and every character is sketched in such a way that we are quick to feel sympathy or disgust. You don't need to be full bottle on the Tudors to enjoy this book as the historical facts are all story interwoven and given weight by the knowledge that real historical figures were involved. Weir's writing style is relatively economical and you do get the sense this is because of the huge amount of content needed to be inserted into the narrative whilst not causing the reader's eyes to glaze over from the factual overload.
You might be a English history buff, a fan of regency drama fiction or just into the chaotic stories of Henry VIII and his doomed queens. SIX TUDOR QUEENS; ANNE BOLEYN, A KINGS OBSESSION will comfortably satisfy all of these reader requirements and give you a fresh take on what we thought was a well known period of English royal history.