“Mary had run straight to me, poor girl, expecting some comfort from her mother, bursting into my bedchamber in a flurry of weeping, rumpled blond curls, and gold satin, and blurted it all out between wracking sobs and showers of tears. Henry had just told her that they must, because of her condition, part. … something had gone terribly wrong. The tea of tansy and white poplar had, for the first time, failed, and, for this, King Henry blamed her.”
“Poor Mary, she wept and wallowed and buried her face in my lap, leaving behind a smeared imprint of her features painted on my nightgown, before she slunk away, hurt and bewildered, wondering why her mother had failed to give her the comfort she had expected and so desperately needed.”
“‘There are other teas, daughter!” I called after her. ‘Some penny-royal, perhaps mixed with …'”
From carefree young woman to disillusioned bride, the dazzling lady who would become mother and grandmother to two of history’s most infamous queens, has a fascinating story all her own…
At sixteen, Elizabeth Howard envisions a glorious life for herself as lady-in-waiting to the future queen, Catherine of Aragon. But when she is forced to marry Thomas Boleyn, a wealthy commoner, Elizabeth is left to stagnate in the countryside while her detested husband pursues his ambitions. There, she raises golden girl Mary, moody George, and ugly duckling Anne–while staving off boredom with a string of admirers. Until Henry VIII takes the throne…
When Thomas finally brings his highborn wife to London, Elizabeth indulges in lavish diversions and dalliances–and catches the lusty king’s eye. But those who enjoy Henry’s fickle favor must also guard against his wrath. For while her husband’s machinations bring Elizabeth and her children to the pinnacle of power, the distance to the scaffold is but a short one–and the Boleyn family’s fortune may be turning.
(Synopsis and book cover image provided by Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours)
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My thoughts on The Boleyn Bride will be presented a bit differently in this review. Because there were a number of things I disliked and some I liked, I have decided the easiest way to share these with you is by way of a list of each.
- I love any book centering around this time period, one filled with Boleyns, Henry VIII and others in his court, and the general history filling out the story being told. I enjoy learning history via historical novels where the research is accurate.
- Brandy Purdy is one of those historical authors who has done her research well. I appreciated the time and effort that goes into doing this.
- As a memoir writer, I also enjoyed hearing the story of the Boleyn children — Mary, George, and Anne — as told by their mother, Elizabeth Howard Boleyn. It is a very different approach to historical fiction and reflects not only on the court and its members but also on Elizabeth’s life as well. I found this very effective.
- A 26-page prologue which seems as though it will never end. Much of what is in the prologue could have been simply worked into the rest of the book. The prologue dampened my enthusiasm for the book rather than tempting me to want to read more.
- The myth of the changing last name of Thomas Boleyn through variations of Bullen and a long list of others is, in my opinion, overused here. Typically, in Elizabeth’s dialogue or thoughts, she refers to him as “Thomas Bullen — I mean Boleyn!” Other references are made to her name for him applicable to his sexual ability, or lack thereof. Here she calls him ” Thomas Bull-In.” One or two such references for each variation would have been enough. I got the hint that she despised him the first time.
- Brandy Purdy has a grasp of language and words which is amazing. However, many times in her attempt to describe a scene for her reader the sentence becomes too long, filled with too many adjectives, and a lack of breathing room:
That night she rewarded Henry by giving him ‘a little taste–a foretaste–of heaven.” She led him into her bed–a fat white feather bed covered in quilted white satin, hung with white lace curtains, like a tantalizing veil, where she lay, a black-haired angel in alluring, clinging white satin, whilst in each corner, blindfolded, white-winged and gilt-haloed harpists played, and I sat, unsmilingly, doing a mother’s duty and acting as my daughter’s chaperone, in a straight-backed gilded chair outside her open bedchamber door.
- Although I have read many historical novels on Anne Boleyn and her life at court during King Henry VIII’s reign, I was disappointed to find that Purdy dismisses the drama leading up to and including the trial for Anne, George and their friends. Suddenly they are whisked away and very little said about the trial. And then they are dead.
- Elizabeth is presented as a rather complex character and not a great image of motherhood. However, I would have liked to have known more about her impressions of the lifestyle she lived at court, the happenings inside the Queen’s chambers, more about who Elizabeth was as a woman.
Despite my opinion and lists of likes and dislikes, some have praised The Boleyn Bride and others have had similar concerns with it. To learn more about the book from other reviewers on this tour, click on the image below to find the entire tour schedule:
Meet the Author:
Brandy Purdy (Emily Purdy in the UK) is the author of the historical novels THE CONFESSION OF PIERS GAVESTON, THE BOLEYN WIFE (THE TUDOR WIFE), THE TUDOR THRONE (MARY & ELIZABETH), THE QUEEN’S PLEASURE (A COURT AFFAIR), and THE QUEEN’S RIVALS (THE FALLEN QUEEN). An ardent book lover since early childhood, she first became interested in history at the age of nine or ten years old when she read a book of ghost stories which contained a chapter about Anne Boleyn haunting the Tower of London. Visit her website at www.brandypurdy.com, you can also follow her, and her cat Tabby, via her blog at http://brandypurdy.blogspot.com where she posts updates about her work and weekly book reviews.
(Bio provided by Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours)
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Where to Buy the Book:
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DETAILS ABOUT THE BOOK | DISCLAIMER:
Publication Date: February 25, 2014
I received a copy of The Boleyn Bride from the publisher via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours in exchange for a fair and honest review. The opinions and recommendations expressed are my own.
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The giveaway is for two paperback copies and is limited to residents of the United States.
Follow the link below to a super easy entry form. Two winners will be selected by Random.org, and the
results will be posted here, via Twitter and on Facebook on Tuesday, March 5th.
Giveaway closes at midnight on Monday, March 4th.