The imprisonment and execution of Queen Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII's second wife, in 1536 was unprecedented in English history, and never before has there been a book devoted entirely to her fall. But here Alison Weir has reassessed the evidence and created a richly researched and detailed portrait of the last days of one of the most influential and important figures in English history.
©2009 Alison Weir (P)2010 WF Howes Ltd
I really enjoyed listening to this book and admired the depth of research that went into it. Mention of other texts and arguments why these should/should not be relied on was most interesting. There was just a little too much repetition of information for me. I was jarred out of concentration quite a few times by a sense of de ja vu. Glad I bought this book.
I thoroughly enjoyed this stunning portrayal of Anne Boleyn's final weeks. Sometimes non-fiction books can seem a little dry, but this account of the fall of this most controversial queen will have you holding your breath on quite a few occasions. No amount of films or novels of Anne's life can live up to the real thing.
Often, when we read about great characters from history, time distances us from them, making us feel detached, or their stories are embellished for the modern audience. Not the case here.
Alison has managed to cut away all the myth and legend surrounding Anne, thus transporting us back in time to watch events as they unfold. You are quickly caught up in the drama of the time, watching it as if you don't have the gift of hindsight. She brings to life all the important movers and shakers of the time, and I particularly liked the way the author dealt with the men who were accused with Anne, giving mini biographies of them along the way. As for Anne herself, the account of her execution will take your breath away.
The narrator in this recording did a wonderful job, particularly when quoting from contemporary accounts of the time. She was very easy to listen to.
All in all, highly recommended:)
"History brought to life"
This book is a lively and interesting account of the rise and fall of Anne Boleyn combining historical scholarship with plausible invention that makes for a great listen. The narrator, Judith Boyd, brings the characters to life in this roller-coaster of a story. The basic story is very familiar, but I found the input of the author as an historian added to my enjoyment. She, to my ears, gives an unbiased account of the evidence for and against Anne being either a wicked fornicator or a woman set-up by her enemies who might have included Henry VIIIth eager to be rid of her so he could marry Jane Seymore. The story reminds one again and again what a dangerous place the Tudor Court could be for those jockeying for favours and position and the extraordinary power of the Monarch over his courtiers. The outrageous intrigues and disloyalty even within the high-born families stands at variance with their outwardly professed piety. I had earlier listened to the Audible's version of Hilary Mantel's excellent book 'Wolf Hall' which pairs very effectively with this book as it overlaps the same time period but tells the story from the different perspective of Thomas Cromwell: he, who at first, supported Anne but later became her enemy and instigator or collaborator in her downfall.
"interesting information but lacking in pace"
A very thorough account of Anne Boleyn's last months, with a full examination of every aspect of the events which would lead to her downfall and death. It is a story familiar to many of us, but I would imagine that anyone who is not a specialist in the period would learn much which is new. However, the book is rather excessively keen on all the minutiae, and moreover Alison Weir sometimes repeats detailed information which she has already examined earlier on. This rather turgid effect is heightened by the over-deliberate reading of Judith Boyd - her voice is very clear and easy to understand, but the book needs more pace in the delivery to save it from seeming rather inflated and pompous. Overall, I found it interesting but at times irritating.
THIS HAS TO BE AT THE TOP!
ANNE BOLEYN! HAVING READ MANY BOOKS IN THE PAST, ABOUT HENRY THE EIGHTH, AND HIS SIX WIVES.THIS AUDIO BOOK SAID SO MUCH MORE ABOUT ANNE, AND HER LIFE BEFORE,AND AFTER HER THREE SHORT YEARS OF MARRIAGE TO HENRY THE EIGHTH.
IT WAS NOT ANNE WHO WANTED THIS MARRIAGE,AS SHE LOVED PERCY, BUT WHEN HENRY SET HIS EYES ON HER ,HER FATE WAS SEALED.ANNE BLAMED CARDINAL WOLSEY AND NEVER FORGAVE,OR FORGOT THAT HE HAD PERCY SENT AWAY,AND MARRIED.SHE THEN REFUSED TO BE HENRY'S MISTRESS. IF I SAY ANY MORE IT WOULD SPOIL THE STORY IF YOU DON'T KNOW IT..
THE WAY ANNE STOOD HER GROUND,AND REFUSED TO GIVE IN TO HENRY'S ADVANCES UNLESS THEY WERE MARRIED.SHE TOOK A GREAT RISK IN DOING SO,AS HENRY WANTED HER TO BE HIS MISTRESS,LIKE HER SISTER HAD BEEN BEFORE HER.. THIS WAS NOT FOR ANNE AT ALL,SHE WANTED MORE THE INTRIGUES,AND PLANS BETWEEN HENRY, ANNE, AND WOLSEY WAS EXTREMELY INTERESTING,AND A VERY VIVID PICTURE OF ANNE WAS BROUGHT TO LIFE BY THE NARRATOR JUDITH BOYD.
ALISON WEIR IS EXTREMELY GOOD ON ROYAL HISTORY,AND I HAVE PURCHASED OTHER AUDIO BOOKS BY HER.
I FOUND THE WHOLE BOOK A MIXTURE OF EMOTIONS.
FOR ANYONE WHO LIKES THE HISTORY OF ROYALTY OF LONG AGO. I THINK THEY WOULD ENJOY THIS BOOK.
"Very Interesting and enjoyable"
I enjoyed this book and its not often that a non-fiction work can be described as enjoyable, they are informative and interesting but rarely do you actually enjoy them.
This book is a very good listen and the narration does it justice.
I really enjoyed this 'read', fascinating history, written interestingly. I want to know more ............
I already had a reasonable knowledge of Boleyns life and execution - but this book provided new details and background 'feel'- a very worthwhile purchase!
I will visit the Tower of London on the anniversary just to see if the 'roses' story still holds good!
"Balanced and fair"
I would definitely listen to this again because it is full of very rich detail which it is possible to miss on a first listen.
This fits very much within Weir's series of books on the Tudors. Although these books are well researched, Weir's writing makes them very accessible in audio format.
I was quite surprised to find myself having some sympathy for Anne, despite the fact that she was largely the architect of her own downfall due to the enemies she made cementing her position as queen,.
This is a fascinating read on the politics and personalities at play in the downfall of Anne Boleyn. Although you do not need to know much of Anne's background to make sense of the book, I think that readers will gain more from it if they know something of Anne's rise to prominence. This is because many of her actions, and many of the enemies she made as a consequence, are relevant to her incarceration and subsequent death. Although sympathetic in her portrayal of Anne, Weir's account of her final days is very balanced in terms of the available evidence and the motives of those involved.
"Too much detail for audio"
I had very much looked forward to listening to this book but found that the attention to, and repetition of, detail interrupted the flow of the narrative. I found myself 'switching off' then having to 'rewind' to discover what I had missed. I am fascinated by this period of history and am going to buy a printed copy, hoping that it is a better 'read' than 'listen'.
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