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Book Review: Brief Gaudy Hour

Brief Gaudy Hour: A Novel of Anne Boleyn by Margaret Campbell Barnes

This novel like 'The Other Boleyn Girl' and 'A Lady Raised High', tells the story of the infamous rise and fall of the most controversial Queen Consort that England ever had. Though the facts are well known, the fascinating short life of this woman is always interesting to read about. This novel was originally published in 1949 and so has a more subdued, moralising take on Anne Boleyn's life.

Anne is a lowly courtier blessed with the charisma to attract male attention. One of those attracted is Henry VIII, King of England. He sabotages the marriage Anne wishes to make so he have her to himself as his mistress. But Anne will not let herself be bought and sold and shortly discarded, she aims far higher. But she over-reaches herself and Henry VIII discards her to ignominy and death.

This is a good, gripping read as Anne forges her own path in a treacherous court. Queenship is no joy to Anne Boleyn and it wears her down as her mercurial husband blames her for everything that goes wrong. The author depicts Henry VIII mourning his first wife far more than history said he did also Jane Seymour is depicted as far more cold blooded than Tudor history usually portrays her. This novel will be enjoyed by Tudor fans and lovers of historical fiction.
Tags: book review, the tudors
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