Saturday, July 20, 2013

REVIEW: The Boleyn King by Laura Andersen

Synopsis: The Boleyn King is the first book in an enthralling trilogy that dares to imagine: What if Anne Boleyn had actually given Henry VIII a son who grew up to be king?
Just seventeen years old, Henry IX, known as William, is a king bound by the restraints of the regency yet anxious to prove himself. With the French threatening battle and the Catholics sowing the seeds of rebellion at home, William 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 William’s mother, Anne Boleyn.  Against a tide of secrets, betrayal, and murder, William finds himself fighting for the very soul of his kingdom. Then, when he and Dominic both fall in love with Minuette, romantic obsession looms over a new generation of Tudors. One among them will pay the price for a king’s desire, as a shocking twist of fate changes England’s fortunes forever.

My Thoughts: I think it is no secret that I love the Tudors and while I don't normally go for alternate history books, the premise of this one intrigued me enough where I had to pick it up.  The possibility of an author tackling a well known period with what if scenarios and the endless opportunities for completely mucking it up had me cringing inwardly.  In this case the what if is"What if Anne Boleyn gave birth to a boy who became king?".  Color me surprised at how much I ended up enjoying Laura Andersen's take on this alternate Tudor-verse!

This new world is shown to us through the eyes of Minuette a childhood playmate of William-the future king-and Princess Elizabeth.  Rounding out this group is Dominic, Williams best friend.  Although the question of what England would have been like under the rule of Anne Boleyn's son is intriguing enough on its own this story also contains intrigue in the form of a murder, a conspiracy, and a heavy dose of romance.  Usually I am not a fan of the romance part of books I enjoyed the love triangle developing between William, Minuette, and Dominic.  I grew to like each of the four main characters in this novel although if I had one gripe it would be that Minuette could have been a bit more flawed.  She is smart,  beautiful but doesn't realize it, and everyone loves her.  It seems her only flaw is a penchant for making poor decisions in regards to her safety.

By far the biggest surprise to me was the author's take on Lord Rochford who serves as Lord Protector for William until he reaches his majority.  While in other novels we see George Boleyn as somewhat of  and a schemer like the rest of the Boleyns, here is he is an wily and astute politician and one who is not too keen on handing the power over to his nephew.  I cannot say much more without giving too much away but the story was intriguing, there was plenty of action throughout, and even though this is not how history truly happened Andersen's version is plausible and well written.  There is much to be resolved in the second book in this trilogy and I plan on devouring it just like I did this one.

This book was provided to me by the publisher for review via NetGalley. These are my honest thoughts on the book.

1 comment:

  1. I haven't read any alternate fictions - we have one on our bookshelf about WWII I think but haven't read it. This idea is ripe with possibilities though - a boy would really have changed things in Tudor England. I'm glad to know you liked this book!