Book Review: The Scandal of Christendom (Above All Others; The Lady Anne Book 4) by G Lawrence

Genre: Historical fiction Publisher: Independently published

Pub date: 7 March 2018

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟


Autumn, 1530.

Cardinal Wolsey has fallen. 

The notorious Cardinal and Chancellor is gone. But even with the death of her greatest enemy, Anne Boleyn finds herself no closer to her goal to become Queen and marry the man she loves. Katherine of Aragon is still Queen of England, Rome and the Emperor Charles of Spain stand against Henry’s wish to place Anne on the throne, and there is increasing dissent in England. Armed with words and deeds, Anne must fight on. She has allies and friends, but as her path to the throne becomes increasingly controversial, she finds many foes too… including Bishop Fisher and Sir Thomas More.

Believing the King must be pushed into a radical mind-set, Anne, along with Cromwell and Cranmer, work through Parliament, the Church and court, attempting to make their King into both Pope and Emperor within England. Henry will rule over a Church of England, as the temporal and spiritual leader of his people, and with that title will come the break from the shackles of Rome.

In a war against the Church, against slander, sedition, and many enemies, Anne struggles on, yet even as the dawn of her new life arrives, it does not come easily. And as she toils, Anne becomes aware that the fight for her throne is transforming her into a different person; one who is isolated, volatile, and at times, cruel. Reasurring herself that when she becomes Queen, all will be well, Anne strides ahead, but will the love that has sustained her for so long endure under such pressure? And will the people of England ever accept her as their Queen?

Like the ancient God Janus, I am chaos and balance bound in one form

The fourth book in this so far fantastic series covers the time between Autumn 1530 and the summer of 1534.

Anne’s biggest adversary Cardinal Wolsey is dead. Anne is now setting her mind to encourage Henry to take steps to become head of the Church of England. To do this she needs allies and finds two in Thomas Cromwell and Thomas Cranmer. I enjoyed reading about the relationship between Anne and these two and how it developed over time. Lawrence has done a fantastic job in showing how Cromwell became more confident in his abilities and secure in Henry’s favour whilst Cranmer remains humble and shy.

These are the years when Anne finally gets what she wanted. Henry breaks from Rome, they get married, Anne is crowned Queen and of course gives birth to Elizabeth.

In the run up to these events Anne still battles on in her fight against Katherine but new enemies become known who were allies until they achieved their joint aim to bring down Wolsey. Charles Brandon being one of them, he doesn’t wish to see Anne crowned. This is one of the many times we read of Anne being spiteful and spreading malicious rumours to make someone look bad in Henry’s eyes. In the previous book I disliked some of Anne’s behaviour and it continues in this book but I begin to understand herΒ  reasons even if I don’t agree.

Of course, the descriptives in this book are just as vivid as previous when reading about the feasts, clothes and the court. I think this along with the prose is a large factor in why I love this series so much.

Lawrence provides an understanding of how the relationship between Anne and Henry began to change following their wedding with the beginning of Henry expressing tyrant behaviour. Anne realises that even tho she now has Henry she has to continue her fight to keep him as mistresses begin to appear. This is where we read about Anne really beginning to reflect on her past behaviour and treatment of Katherine.

I think this may be my favourite so far, I absolutely loved the knowledge Lawrence shows in writing this. The functions of the church, the workings of the court and the meticulous details to this era are very much present throughout and it’s clear it has been researched thoroughly.

Yet another fantastic book by Lawrence as we near the end of Anne’s tale and her downfall.

You can get your copy here, and it’s available on Kindle unlimited

Amazon UK

If you’ve read this series what did you think?

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