Laura Andersen: The Boleyn King



Fine as a Tudor romance but abysmal as speculative fictionalternate history Review to come Read This Review More Like It At Ageless Pages Reviews25 starsWasted potentialI m sorry I know reviewers should focus only on what s in front of them but I couldn t read The Boleyn King without dwelling on the fact that it does not live up to its premise The selling point of the book the very title is the rewriting of history to suppose that Anne Boleyn didn t lose her head but instead carried her son to term and changed the face of English history Yet here are some of my notes while reading So far it doesn t have teeth Everything s basically the same just with William in place of EdwardReally we rewrote English history for a tepid murder mysteryWe re starting to experience some differences from real history but I just can t get over how odd it is to focus on two fictional characters romance insteadTepid That s a great word for what s in store here The author either believes that little would change in history or she s afraid to dig in resulting in world where England has a boy king and a powerful reagent Elizabeth loves Robert Dudley the Catholics rally around Mary Tudor Mary ueen of Scots is betrothed to the Dauphin of Franceexcept now love interests William and Dominic Courtenay I believe a completely fictional character because I can find no mention of him in other histories lead a skirmish in France How shockingI will say the most effective revision is Anne Boleyn herself though the dowager ueen is in very little of the story I did feel like she was the same woman from England s actual history just older and wiser I didn t feel the same about George who s been reduced to mysterious schemer It makes his interaction with his sister late in the book seem awkward and out of character The rest of the real characters fall somewhere in the middleHowever if we take The Boleyn King not as an alternate history but a mysteryromance between a group of four teenagers in Tudor style England ish country it becomes a perfectly fine historical fiction though not without its own problemsI found the romance to be an extremely standard love triangle between Minuette the real main character despite what the blurb would have ou think and William and Dominic The winner of which is blatantly obvious from page 11 when the boys whip out their metaphorical dicks to see who gave her the best birthday gift and it keeps right on being obvious for the next 300 pages More frustratingly the resolution wasn t satisfying and felt deceptive and gross on Minuette s part The overarching plot is the search for a document The Penitent s Confession that states that William isn t Henry s son but George s thus making him an incest born bastard and Mary the rightful heir to the throne This does jibe with real history and is a perfectly legitimate mystery for the Scooby gang to embark on If only they hadn t forgotten and ignored its existence for long periods Still the mystery does have an interesting wrinkle in the end but by that point I was so checked out I have no interest in continuing the series to find out if it s resolved I really wanted to love this book as I liked the idea of it so much What if Anne Boleyn HAD given Henry VIII a son and had not been beheaded That is something that as a Tudor fan I liked to speculate on It would have changed the whole course of historyThe book starts with 17 My Names Friday year old William on the throne His name bothered me because every Tudor non fiction book I ve read indicates that Henry wished to name his first son either Henry or Edward Indeed his son to Jane Seymour was called Edward So where the heck did the decision that he should be known as William come from When is William EVER short for Henry And ifou are going to call someone William why not just christen him William None of that makes any sense to me Our new King is a petulant little brat who is incapable of paying attention in meetings never mind running the country something I seriously doubt would happen with the son of Anne and Henry If The Gate of Heaven you look at Tudor historyoung King Edward was capable of that and he was Tutoring Lady Jane younger than William here William just sulks all the time and I don t find this character believable as KingWilliam s best friend is called Dominic which again is not really a recognised Tudor name as far as I know and is a copy of Charles Brandon Henry VIII s best friend Elizabeth is 20 and unmarried being pursued by suitors in France and Spain She is not the Elizabethou expect and seems to take orders from Minuette rather than run things herself Lord Rochford is Lord Protector Then we have Minuette Could anyone be as darn perfect Daughter of Anne s French maid she is in Elizabeth s household but Minuette always gets her own way in everything She of course is the most beautiful most charming most loved by everyone and is able to get away with anything because she is so admired GAG She is so sickly sweet she makes ou want to vomit and of course William and Dominic are fighting for her love Great The darn love triangleThen comes the mystery to be solved A pregnant woman at court is dead but did she fall or was she pushed Suddenly our four friends decide to investigate This is where the book became like a Famous Five adventure with spiffing fun and loads of ginger beer It was like a YA cozy mystery with the oung uns sneaking around behind the backs of the adults to solve the crimes and I was not very impressed This is not really a proper Tudor novel We get very little in the way of current world events or the type of intrigue we expect or anything much outside of a plot about four YA friends wandering around Court and doing virtually nothing of interest Where are all the great characters Anne Boleyn one of the most interesting women in history is reduced to sitting sewing in the background in the scenes she features in This was for teens than adult Tudor fans Maybe it should have been called Five go to Hampton CourtI mean one of them was bound to have a dog ARC obtained from Random House through NEtGalleyI am not British and am no expert in British history I do know however the basics about Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn I do know the conseuences of their affair breaking with the Catholic Church and creation of the Anglican Church I also know that Anne Boleyn did not have a happy ending being beheaded after accusations of incest with her own brother And I do know that Henry VIII had no legitimate sons CORRECTION he did have a son who ruled for a short time and that the throne passed to his daughter Elizabeth who did not marry and was the last of the Tudor dynasty to rule England Not bad I thinkHowever this books starts with an intriguing premise what if Anne Boleyn had given birth to a boy And what if that boy grew up to become king of England What would have happened then Alternating between the points of view of William the Boleyn King Elizabeth his older sister Dominic and Minuette close friends to the royal siblings Laura Anderson spins a tale of a king on the edge of legal adulthood fighting to prove himself amidst whispers of treason and calls for war relying on his sister and his friends to guide him and support him while facing their own problems in the dealings of courtI was very intrigued by the book synopsis Having read The Other Boleyn Girl by Phillipa Gregory and knowing that things did not end well for the Boleyn family I was compelled to read an alternate version of history And I did not regret my choice I loved to see the intricacies of life in court and came to the conclusion that I would not last a day in there And I loved the characters Seeing their relationship develop and they all contributed to the resolution of the treason plot no book about the Tudors is complete without treason plots What I also liked is how while playing an important role the treason plot did not take over the other aspects of the book Certainly a king would not have been able to simply stop everything to try and dig out traitors I mean what would become of a country if a king did thatFor the next book I expect romantic difficulties for all four of them they are teenagers in spite of their roles in court life after all as well as learning about George Boleyn he is truly a Boleyn there s no denying that Perfect for fans of Philippa Gregory and Alison Weir and Showtime’s The Tudors 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 ears old Henry IX known as William is a king bound by the restraints of th.

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Ind the enhanced version of this and other reviews at admit I had to gather my courage before diving into Laura Andersen s The Boleyn King Devoted as I am to history I find the concept of alternative fiction fascinating In the right hands it presents a tantalizing opportunity for brilliance but in the wrong hands well in the wrong hands the term epic disaster seems most appropriate So where in this spectrum does Andersen fall huh In all honesty somewhere between three and four stars but I m willing to give her the benefit of the doubt for creativity This novel is based on the what if Anne Boleyn s son had lived and became king after the death of his father Henry VIII I m generally not too fond of these types of novels but I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised at this one I thought the author did an excellent job of imagining a new world and how everyone s lives are so changed just from one child reaching adulthood You ll find all the usual players and familiar names oooh that Robert Dudley There s a bit of a love triangle a mystery and dastardly plots to be solved by our foursome of teen sleuths Henry sister Elizabeth and their two childhood friends Sometimes the teens acted a bit too modern but otherwise is was a very enjoyable read and I plan on reading the next two in the series when they become availableMy copy obtained via library loan I debated what to rate this because once again Goodreads doesn t use half stars This will most likely get three and a half stars on my own review blog Shameless plug And the main character is the problem But on that later First the plot Anne Boleyn doesn t lose her child but rather gives birth to the son Henry has been longing for The story proper picks up seventeen ears later where that son named William is getting ready to enter his majority He is getting anxious to be free of his regent Lord Rochefort his mother s brother George Boleyn while fighting off the Catholics who still support his sister Lady Mary The few people William trusts are his sister Elizabeth and their friends Dominic Courteny and Genevieve Minuette Wyatt The four find themselves pulled into political intrigue when Minuette s roommate is found dead And as they go deeper down the rabbit s hole they find themselves involved in complicated love relationships Elizabeth is drawn to her friend the very married Robert Dudley William takes on a lover while mulling over political marriages Dominic and Minuette start to feel an attraction toward each other and it isn t long before William feels the same How will this effect their friendships England And what about that plotSo back to the main character who proves to be Minuette Most of the story is hers though Andersen gives time to the other three as well But the problem is Minuette is a Sue She shares a birthday with William and is good friends with him and Elizabeth She s beautiful and entices many men at court Including William and Dominic who both are fiercely protective of her Elizabeth too She is spirited and does things that would probably get other ladies of the court scolded but she only gets smiles She is as intelligent as Elizabeth and it is noted that when Henry once visited their classroom he was impressed with her and showed her affection rather than his own daughter And Elizabeth doesn t begrudge her that because it s Minuette And that s really where I drew the line over how much I could tolerate from this character And she had nothing else to redeem her Nothing else to endear me to her There were a few hints of something dark happening to her as a child when she visited her mother after the woman s remarriage to Stephen Howard view spoilerIt s a bust in the end though as the big dark secret she couldn t remember is walking in on her mother and stepfather having sex Look I know no one wants to walk in on our parents doing it and let s face it even when we learn about sex we d still rather pretend we came from the storkcabbage patch But at the rate it was going I thought she had been sexually assaulted as a child by a Howard relation Especially as Andersen wants us to believe Minuette is so desirable hide spoiler Dear Anne BoleynI m so sorry for the way Every Good Girl you died I hated the wayou were branded witch whore traitor I shudder in horror at how A Sixpenny Christmas you died beheaded reviled by a nation betrayed byour own husbandBut man the alternative if Last of the Few you had lived is so fucking dullAfterour death My Darling, My Hamburger you ve been the subject and inspiration of many works of poetry literature films You are now a legend everything from the aforementioned witch to temptress to innocent woman caught in the middle of a vast web of manipulation I m sorry to say thatour horrible untimely death granted Love Virtually youour current mystiueBut had Our Island Guide you actually given birth to a son things would have sucked For readers that is Forou see our beloved Tudor Court is now usurped by a fucking Mary Sue Her name is Minuette And she s the most adorable thing in the entire worldMinuette is the daughter of our imaginary French maid now Horn (Horn, your ward Her real name is Gwendolyn She is lovely beyond words Minuette is so fucking darlin that the 3ear old Princess Elizabeth gives her the nickname of Minuette when she can barely pronounce the actual word she intended to use which is mignonette Elizabeth thought me too little for the name my French mother had given me She attempted to call me Mignonette meaning dainty and darling but her three تعلم jQuery فى 120 دقيقة year old tongue did not pronounce it properly I have been Minuette to my friends ever since Never mind how a threeear old can even SPEAK French D aww Isn t that just fucking cute and improbable Tas de merdeShe s so cute and charming and adorable and charming and beautiful and charming and lovely and charming that she charms eeeeeeeveryone in the whole fucking worldDid I forget to say say she s charming She is Minuette is adored by everyone she meets Minuette is not only beautiful but charming and so nice and naive and innocent that nobody can hate her EVER Minuette had always had charm not the studied showy type but natural as breath and as much a part of her as her honey coloured hairElizabeth might have hated her for that charm if Minuette weren t so utterly without guile JUST TRY TO HATE HER BITCHES Let s see who loves Minuette Dowager ueen Anne The orphaned of course Minuette is so beloved that after her mother s death ueen Anne takes her on as her ward to be Elizabeth s lady s maid and playmate The late King Henry So sweet so charming that even little itty bitty baby Minuette is adored by King Henry VIII over his own child Princess Elizabeth Though he d complimented Elizabeth s mind it was nine Damian (The Caine Brothers year old Minuette who had disarmed him When the formidable enormous King Henry had left it had been Minuette whom he d hugged goodbye Henry s just a big ole softy isn t he Princess Elizabeth Minuette is now Elizabeth s lady s maid and she has Elizabeth wrapped around her wee adorable charming fingers William has givenou leave Elizabeth let her annoyance leak out You are a member of my household And Driven by Desire you would never say no to me Minuette smiled triumphantly King William That s right ueen Anne had given birth to a son after all His name is William and he is England s 17ear old king Who is head over heels in love with Minuette I can t see her et Not et Elizabeth I need time to To forget the smell of her hair and the taste of her skin and the feel of her body against mine To forget that I wanted her so desperately I d have overthrown all honour to have her at that moment with a dead body lying dead not ten feet away gag Dominic William s În excavator (Trilogia Nomilor young mentor and best friend his most trusted advisor AND EMBROILED IN A LOVE TRIANGLE WITH MINUETTE Bros before hos Hardly When he at last entered the great hall his eyes went straight to Minuette with the unerring instinct of a man besotted EEEEEEEEVERYONE Courtiers noblemen ambassadors everyone adooooooores Minuette She can be anyone play anything act as a perfect fucking spy because nobody ever suspects the butterflyShe s got the whole world in her pretty pretty ever so charming hands One does not argue with His Majesty s wishes Really I argue with his wishes all the time Minuette positively dazzled as she added And I always win Soeah with all that beauty with all that intelligenc. E regency et 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 oung orphan raised as a royal ward by William’s mother Anne Boleyn Against a

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E Minuette doesn t need to do a single fucking thing when she has a big strong man to do it for her Her first thought was Dominicbecause he was the steadiest man she knew and she needed someone steady to tell her what to do So ueen Anne not only did Poppet (Jack Caffery, you living curse us to suffer thiscreature of the light s existence but nowour brilliant daughter Princess Elizabeth has been reduced to a really boring normal royal princess a wasted pampered worry free life She no longer needs to fight for her life she no longer needs to worry about politics about reclaiming her throne about whether ueen Mary will kill her nextLiz is free to just chill be the Princess be spoiled by her brother be his personal secretary because the King has important things to do than to respond to letters from his subjectsand instead spend time pining over that which she cannot have But for all that Elizabeth knew she might have been severely tempted to plead with her brother to consider such an uneven match if not for the simple fact that Robert Dudley was already married You gave birth to one of the most interesting illustrious intelligent manipulative rulers that England has ever known and Elizabeth is just completely wasted in this alternate historyYou know what they say Like father like son Well sorry to tell The Siege Winter you but William ain t much better than his dad He would wed for practicality and take his pleasures where he could For all the unorthodoxy of his parents marriage that was the way of kings The only difference is that unlike Daddy Willie boy doesn t have a tendency to take people s heads offYetHe s still a philandering brat though I mean I can t blame him in some sense Imagineourself as a darkly handsome The Accidental Romance young man with the Boleyn looks and the Kingdom of England atour feet I don t blame him for wanting to fuck everything with a hole And that he does Will really doesn t give two craps about people s feelings To him and to this alternate reality women are there to be used bought and sold If they open their legs to him it s becaues they want something so he can fuck anyone he wants Even if said woman is married Even if he s the one who forces her into a marriage But it s ok because she would have wanted the marriage anyway Have Chalk Cheese you given any thought to the lady beyond whatou desire William hovered on the point of real anger before shrugging it off I assure Christmas with Grandma Elsie (The Original Elsie Dinsmore Classics you Eleanor is uite content with the arrangement No matter how long she however long we she will be the daughter in law of one of the premier dukes in England It s than her family ever dreamed And for some fucking reason he just falls in love with Minuette But it s ok because as I mentioned above eeeeeeeeeeeeeveryone falls in love with fucking MinuetteSo with all that said with all due respect I m gladou died when Doctor Who you didSincerelyKhanhPS I M SORRY I KNOW GETTING BEHEADED MUST HAVE SUCKED SO BADPPS I REALLY AM SORRY What missed opportunities A really intriguing what if is marred by two dimensional unrealistic characters a plot that makes no sense too much melodrama and too many stereotypes I m surprised one character isn t named Snidely Whiplash he s such a textbook cardboard villain The main characters are uirky American teenagers magically transported to Tudor England The author has no clue about Tudor forms of address or naming conventions hint the Duke of should NEVER be called Lord jeez ifou don t even know that extremely basic detail ou shouldn t be writing in this era and she has the King s friends addressing him familiarly in an age where that simply wasn t ever ever ever done even a ueen didn t address her husband familiarly outside of their bedThis book should have been marketed to teenage girls given the age and maturity of the protagonists but the sex and violence makes the book unsuitable for that market What a wasted afternoon I m going to have to agree with Khanh on this one The lure of what would have happened if Anne Boleyn had lived is a strong one for Tudorphiles It appeals to our sense of correcting injustice and makes a great hook The way the hypothetical is usually phrased is that Anne does not miscarry in January 1536 thus setting up the alternate timeline That s what the author does here The problem is with Anne getting her happy ending here the alternate timeline is utterly boring There s not nearly as much fascinating drama and excitement to hold my interest King Henry IX is almost as scummy as his father and Princess Elizabeth now lives a dull pampered lifeAnd es the worst part is the invented fictional characters Something about them just felt constantly off Sometimes it s the choice of a name that was not common or unheard of during the 16th century Sometimes it s their use of 21st century slang Sometimes it s just the whole character as in the case of the protagonist Minuette Her surname is Wyatt but she doesn t seem to be related to the Wyatts her mother is a fictional lady in waiting she was born on the same day as the fictional Henry IX she s Anne Boleyn s ward and Elizabeth s lady and the oung king and his best friend are in love with her and she s a super good spy AND everyone simply adores her Isn t that cute No No it s not Minuette is a Mary Sue and I can t stand her Look if ou re going to write an alternate history where Anne Boleyn remains ueen guess who I want to hear about Yes Anne Boleyn I want to know what happens in the immediate aftermath of the point of divergence to her I m not interested in reading about some fictional perfect little miss decades later whilst Anne just sits in the background and then dies That would be boringI should say it didn t help that the story was peppered with modern Americanisms and the author freuently misunderstood the historical era as if she d consumed too much of the sensationalist tripe that s been floating around in popular media the past few ears note noble families did not pimp out their daughters to the king in exchange for flimsy transitory favoursI won t be continuing with this series3 out of 10 History is full of what ifs What if Mary I had had a healthy child What if Catherine of Aragon s son had lived in 1511 What if even before that prince Arthur had not died in Ludlow and had become king A biggie in the Tudor world is of course what if Anne Boleyn had not miscarried in January 1536 The Boleyn King explores this premise In this book Anne Boleyn was not executed and delivered a healthy son in the summer of 1536 Henry William When Henry VIII dies in January 1547 it is Anne Boleyn s son not Jane Seymour s that becomes king as Henry IXAn alternative history gives an author an ideal opportunity to explore a what if scenario with freedom Some things remain such as the executions of Lady Salisbury and the Earl of Surrey the date of Henry VIII s death the existence of Lady Jane Grey and the status of Lady Mary as unmarried and illegitimate Other things become open to interpretation Elizabeth is not a bastard here but an influential princess royal Anne Boleyn an ageing dowager ueen and Lord Rochford a scheming Lord ProtectorAnne Boleyn remains in this novel a highly controversial ueen and the legitimacy of her children uestionable The religious divisions of the mid sixteenth century still plague this England with Mary as a catholic figurehead There is a dangerous plot to remove The Boleyn King from his throne who is behind this plot and why William Elizabeth and their friends Dominic and Minuette work to solve this mystery Weave into this plot a classic love story element and the result is a satisfying readThe prose of the novel switches between storytelling and the diary entries of Minuette whom I would call the main character of this story The language is modern and uncomplicated the writing smooth and fluid There was the occasional Americanism the use of fall instead of autumn for example but that didn t irk too much and did not distract me from the story Even though the history is alternative research has clearly gone into the period detail of this novel which makes it feel authentic The ending is brilliant and sets the next novel in this Boleyn trilogy up perfectlyOverall this is an easy satisfying read ideal for historical fiction fans in general The romance is not overdone but neither is the politics On the whole a good read. Ide 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 foreve.

Laura Andersen has one husband four children and a college degree in English that she puts to non profitable use by reading everything she can lay her hands on Books shoes and travel are her fiscal downfalls which she justifies because all three ‘take you places’ She loves the ocean but not sand forests but not camping good food but not cooking and shopping there is no downside