Brief Gaudy Hour: The novel of Anne Boleyn’s passionate love by Margaret Campbell Barnes
The beautiful temptress of Henry VIII’s court…
Anne Boleyn bewitched King Henry VIII with her dark beauty. For her he divorced Katherine of Aragon, who could not give him the son he longed for, and broke England’s link with the Church of Rome. As Queen, Anne triumphed over her enemies at court – but her triumph was as short-lived as it was brilliant. Her child, the heir that Henry was so desperate for, was another daughter. And this unforgivable error was to cost Anne her life. (Goodreads)
The book starts with young Anne who is called to court by her father, telling her that she is to attend the King’s sister to France. Anne is excited to go and while in France she grows into beautiful woman who gets the attention of men. She also witnessed the love between Mary and Charles Brandon, and vows that one day she too will have great love story.
Back in England she fells in love hard but when that is destroyed she wants revenge. But she’s also gotten the King’s attention.
I quite liked this older book about Anne Boleyn. The book was first published in 1949, which can be seen at times. The sixth finger was mentioned and Anne also had step-mother called Jocunda. I actually liked to see the relationship between Anne and Jocunda so it didn’t bother me that much. Relationship between her and George was close but there wasn’t any hints about incest which as refreshing.
Anne was portrayed both vain and selfish at times but she was also loyal to her friends. The only thing that bothered me was when Anne slept with Henry Percy which I thought was little too far-fetched but I liked to see them together and how Anne was really heartbroken after their break up. Later in the book was a great a scene where both are older and meeting again after long time, and both are thinking how the other has changed.
I’ve read one of the author’s book before but I liked this one much more. Few things were outdated but all in all I think it stands well with newer books.
Published: Sphere (1971)
Source: my own
To Die For: A Novel of Anne Boleyn (Ladies in Waiting 1) by Sandra Byrd
What would you sacrifice for your best friend?
Would you die for her?
Meg Wyatt has been Anne Boleyn’s closest friend since they grew up together on neighboring manors in Kent. So when twenty-five-year-old Anne’s star begins to ascend, of course she takes Meg along for the ride.
Life in the court of Henry VIII is thrilling… at first. Meg is made mistress of Anne’s wardrobe, and she enjoys the spoils of this privileged orbit and uses her influence for good. She is young and beautiful and in favor; everyone at court assumes that being close to her is being close to Anne.
But favor is fickle and envy is often laced with venom. As Anne falls, so does Meg, and it becomes nearly impossible for her to discern ally from enemy. Suddenly life’s unwelcome surprises rub against the court’s sheen to reveal the tarnished brass of false affections and the bona fide gold of those that are true. Both Anne and Meg may lose everything. When your best friend is married to fearsome Henry VIII, you may soon find yourself not only friendless but headless as well. (Goodreads)
Meg Wyatt grew up as a neighbor to Anne Boleyn and the two were best friends since childhood. When Anne is sent to court in the service of the king’s sister, Meg is married off to an elderly baron while her heart belongs to Will Ogilvy who chooses priesthood over her.
But when Anne starts to rise at court, Meg joins her as one of Anne’s ladies and finds herself in the middle of court intrigue.
I really liked the idea of telling the story from the point of view of Anne’s friend and it was nice change as well. And I loved that she was a real person who could have actually been Anne’s friend.
Meg was likeable person but she could also see the flaws of her friend while still being loyal till the end.
I would have liked to hear and see more about Anne’s relationship with Henry Percy and what did Meg make of the rumors about Anne and George. Since Meg and Anne were childhood friends Meg probably knew George also and it would have been interesting to see her view of it,
Religion is a major theme in the novel thankfully it doesn’t come off as preachy as I feared.
Published: Howard (2011)
Source: my own