Book Review: Anne Boleyn by Marie Louise Bruce

Genre: History, nonfiction
Publisher: Sapere Books
Pub date: 20 December 2020
Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Few queens of England are as famous as Anne Boleyn.

Yet, who was this woman? What was her life like before Henry VIII became infatuated with her? And just how influential was she in reshaping English religious and political life during the early years of the Reformation?

Marie Louise Bruce’s engrossing account of Anne Boleyn charts the rise and fall of this remarkable young woman through the course of her short life, from her early days at Hever Castle to the luxurious courts of France and England to her terrifying last days in the Tower of London.

By utilising a wealth of primary sources, including the love letters between Henry and Anne along with innumerable documents written by courtiers and ambassadors, Bruce brings to life the splendour of the Tudor court and its most famous king and queen.

Thoroughly enjoyed this account of Anne Boleyn. Bruce provides a detailed account with excerpts of letters between Anne, Henry and Wolsey. The narrative is almost conversational, making it a very easy and enjoyable read.

Bruce doesn’t note Anne’s time at the court of Margaret of Austria and instead refers to Mary spending time there. I don’t necessarily agree with all aspects of Bruce’s interpretation of Anne herself but I am of the opinion her personality is always open to individual opinion.

The book is clearly the result of much research and covers the matter of Henry’s Great Matter in much detail using George Cavendish’s account of Wolsey as a fascinating source. Bruce conveys the tumultuous relationship between Anne and Wolsey which I found extremely interesting.

The original edition was published in 1972  and has been credited in works of other biographies of Anne.

If you are looking for an easy to read interpretation of Anne’s life I would highly recommend this book.

Thank you to NetGalley and Sapere Books for the opportunity to read this in exchange for an honest review.

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