The Boleyn King
by Laura Andersen
Read: April 15-22, 2013
Challenge: No Challenge
Yearly count: 19
Blurb: 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?
Review: Oh. My. Goodness. I almost don’t know where to start with this review. I can’t begin to tell you how much I truly enjoyed this book. And how much I hate that it’s a trilogy and I can’t hardly wait to get my hands on the second book.
Personally I liked the premise of this book – what if? What if Anne Boleyn hadn’t miscarried? What if she had given birth to a healthy baby boy? That’s where this book really starts. Then it skips forward to when William is 17 and is about to become a “full” king – not having to have his councillors.
While William would obviously be the main character, most of the book is written in Minuette’s perspective. As Elizabeth’s lady-in-waiting and a close childhood friend to both Elizabeth and William, she really has a nice place for herself within the court. But it’s really amazing to see just how things change when these childhood friends grow up and become young adults. Add into it the fact that royalty is involved, it really makes for some interesting ideas.
Overall I found this book to be really good. But that’s not to say that it was perfect. There were a few issues that I had with it. First, I sometimes had a hard time keeping the characters straight. Not the main characters, but the ones who were William’s councillors. I guess that’s probably because they were secondary characters and popped in and out throughout the book. I’m not sure why I struggled with that. I also had a slight issue with how the transitions to different characters were done. Or I really should say, lack thereof. I felt like this was the weakest part of the book. The reader would be going along with Minuette’s character and then we would be immediately thrown into the battlefield with Dominic. I found it a little difficult to keep track of at times. However, it didn’t really make me like the book any less, but it was something that I noticed throughout the novel.
I must warn you, dear readers – this book ends with one heck of a cliffhanger. I almost couldn’t believe it! I kept hitting the forward button on my Nook hoping that the book wouldn’t end how it did. It is what it is, but it will definitely leave you wanting more immediately!
I think I’ve read more historical fiction this year than I have in the past 5 years combined, but for some reason it’s really caught my interest. I thoroughly enjoyed it and am looking forward to finishing the trilogy – I can’t wait to find out what happens!! (That cliffhanger … !!)