Anne Boleyn A King’s Obsession by Alison Weir

Hello Readers,

If you saw my blog post talking about My Favourite Anne Boleyn Portrayals, I thought I would share a full review of Anne Boleyn A King’s Obsession. I’m not going to lie I jumped in straight at Anne's book sorry Kathrine.

Before we jump in once again, I would like to quickly jump on to my soap box for a couple of minutes. I am slightly freaked out about how history has romanticised Anne’s beheading. “He clearly still loved her he got in the best swordsman in from France” and “He was kind she didn’t see it coming” HE CUT HER FREAKING HEAD OFF!!!! Slated not only her character but ruined her family name and set up her villainisation through history. What do I mean by that I mean the rumours of her being a witch, the sixth finger and the rumours around why she was arrested. I would also like to thank Six the musical I know Anne came back to England in 1522.

This book is the second book in this series by Alison Weir focusing on the Six wives who dealt with Henry VIII.  This book is a straightforward fictional biography, the book takes us from 1512 to 1536, When Anne’s is eleven years of age living in her family’s Hever Castle to the moment when the light of life leaves her eyes forever. This book goes beyond the historical facts to show Anne as a real person by cleverly taking the known facts of her unenthusiastic acknowledgment of Henry's attentions and builds a superb fictional story around them.

Alison is a master of her craft, it’s no small feat to transform all the historical records, research and information into a medium that allows a larger reader base to enjoy history. Alison’s writing is descriptive without being overbearing and you can’t help but effortlessly imagine you are at court alongside Anne. 

This book is beautifully written and gives a more rounded view and delves into Anne's thoughts, desires, and reactions. I love Alison ‘s portrayal of Anne Boleyn, in this book Anne is a lot more than a scheming “Whore” and shows the reader the “Real” person who was in an unfortunate predicament in history. Throughout this book it is clear that Anne lived her life in the shadow of Mary. Despite being a strong woman in her own right by serving in two continental courts before being summoned back to England and spending time as a lady-in waiting to Queen Katherine.

Because Henry VIII courts Anne Boleyn while he’s still married to Queen Katherine, some of their story overlaps. From the start Anne had no interest in the king and didn’t want all this attention. She refused to be another mistress who is used by Henry and cast aside. After seeing how her sister and other women have been treated not just by Henry but Francois in France, she didn’t want the same fate. Despite Henrys intentions Anne tried to serve her queen as effectively as possible. While Anne tried to stand firm, she was instructed to not to rebuff the king. Eventually Anne puts her own personal romantic inclinations aside, decides that if she must be with Henry, then it will be as his wife and Queen and helped to bring about a reform from the Church in Rome.

Despite knowing what is going to happen, because you know history, you are taken by surprise when it does. I know I have said it in my Favourite Anne Boleyn Portrayals post but I really do think Anne was completely blinded by Henry and his accusations. Each time I come across this part in Anne's life I lose a little more respect for Henry and the time period.  I was overly impressed with how Alison portrayed Anne's execution in the end. In my opinion it is up there with Natalie Dormer’s beheading in The Tudors tv series.

L x