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Brief Gaudy Hour by Margaret Campbell Barnes

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 Few things were outdated but all in all I think it stands well with newer books.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)
Format: Paperback
Pages: 390
Source: my own