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DOOMED QUEEN ANNE by Carolyn Meyer

DOOMED QUEEN ANNE

By Carolyn Meyer

Age Range: 12 & up

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2002
ISBN: 0-15-216523-1
Publisher: Gulliver/Harcourt

Meyer, who has told the story of the Tudor women from the perspective of his daughters Mary, Bloody Mary (1999) and Beware Princess Elizabeth (2001), returns to take the side of Anne Boleyn, the pot-stirrer, as it were. Beginning on the eve of her beheading, it is Boleyn’s voice that explains how it all came to pass. And what a voice it is: vain, cunning, and spiteful. She is jealous of her sister (who was King Henry VIII’s mistress before her), hates Queen Catherine whom she hopes to replace, plays a dangerous game with Henry, not surrendering her virginity to him for years, waiting for him to be rid of Catherine and to marry her. There is much loving description of gowns and jewels, and some indication of the difference styles of lavishness in English and French court life. What is more interesting is the tangled web of court intrigue at work and how Anne’s fate is finally determined. All the implicit melodrama of her life is given full play here, but it will take some work to get to it. As in Meyer’s earlier accounts, the first chapters are difficult and ponderous, full of enough detail to warrant backing up and starting over several times. Fortunately, there is a chart of the family at the front—an essential element in keeping track of the connections. Eventually, though, the story begins to gain momentum, rewarding the steadfast reader with a different perspective on the perils of ambition. (historical note, bibliography) (Historical fiction. 12+)