Tuesday, August 9, 2011
REVIEW and Giveway: To Die For: A Novel of Anne Boleyn by Sandra Byrd
When an author tackles a story as well known as that of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn they face the challenge of bringing something new to the table so as not to tell the same tale that has been told a million times already. Instead of going the route many have gone in telling Anne's story from her point of view, here we have the never before told perspective of her best friend Meg Wyatt. This does indeed give new life to the tale because in addition to getting Anne's story (and we all know how that ends) we also get the story of fiercely loyal Meg. Meg is a very likable character and balances out the bold and ambitious Anne quite well. Where Anne is vivacious, cultured and known for her wit, Meg has a quiet intelligence and much simpler desires for her life. Despite their differences in personality, these two women are truly friends til the end. It isn't often you get a sympathetic take on the doomed Queen Anne but Byrd does that here and it is an entirely believable take on her.
Also a major theme in the novel is the reformation occurring in England as a result of Henry's desire for a divorce from Queen Katherine. Here the characters examine their beliefs and their relationship with God through the events that are unfolding. Sandra Byrd has written a lot of Christian fiction and I was a little worried when the book began to delve into the religious aspect a bit more. I like books that examine the religious viewpoints of the time but not one that seems like it is trying to preach some sort of message to me. There is a fair bit of religion and praying but it is done here in a way that completely makes sense to the story and didn't come off to me as preachy which was nice.
I do tend to like historical fiction to stay as close to real events as possible and To Die For sticks to what was known to have occurred at the time and to what is known about Meg Wyatt as well. She does mention in the author notes that she switched a few minor details in the interest of preventing confusion. The main players (Cromwell, Jane Parker, Mary and George Boleyn) all make appearances but they are more on the periphery of the story as the focus is on the friendship between Anne and Meg. I thought the writing was engaging and really enjoyed reading Anne's story through Meg's eyes. This was a pretty quick read for me and I think it is a solid choice for any Tudor fan.
And now for the GIVEAWAY:
To Die For hits bookstores today and I am pleased to offer one copy courtesy of the publisher. To enter please leave your email address in the comments. Giveaway is open to US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Giveaway is open until Midnight on August 19th. Winner will be announced on August 20th. One extra entry each will be given to those who post about this giveaway on their blog, Facebook, or Twitter. Good Luck!
Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours. These are my honest thoughts on the book.
So excited I got to kick off the tour! For additional tour stops which include more reviews, giveaways, guest posts and interviews with Sandra, click here.