"We are all players in this game, but we do not choose our own moves."
Feb 27, 2009
Anne of Cleves. Katherine Howard. Jane Rochford. These three women share an inheritance born of deceit and political ambition, cast upon a stage with monarch Henry VIII, a man who has deluded himself into believing he is the direct recipient of God's word. By the time Henry has given Anne Boleyn over to the court for execution, he is infected with a persistent madness that touches all those around him. Advised by the Duke of Norfolk, who raised two Howard women to the throne of England only to see them die and the pliant inquisitors who do the king's bidding, Henry has become a terror: "He is a danger... be warned." In this fascinating novel, Gregory reveals the inner lives of Anne, Katherine and Jane, their dreams and terrors, interpreting their lives from a female perspective and their place in history, ever at the mercy of powerful men.
Not long after Jane Seymour dies in childbirth, Henry arranges a marriage with Anne of Cleves in 1539. Anne arrives at court unable to speak any language but German; her lack of communication causes a faux pas that costs her Henry's enmity for the duration of their marriage and nearly her life. Fortunately for Anne, Henry is anxious to put her aside to wed Katherine Howard, a fifteen-year-old in the queen's entourage who takes his fancy, allowing the aging king to imagine his youthful manhood reinvigorated. Katherine is clearly a fool, but ignorant of the dangers of court life, falling into a trap of the Howard's making, left to fend for herself when the king turns against her. Lady-in-waiting to both queens, Jane Rochford, wife of George Boleyn and sister-in-law of Anne, gave evidence against brother and sister, thereby saving her own head in lieu of theirs. A convenient and loyal pawn of the Duke of Norfolk, Jane does his bidding in an attempt to secure her future no matter the cost to the queens she serves.
Anne is stolid, Germanic in temperament and not pleasing to Henry, yet the most fortunate, her stodgy ways separating her from Henry's wrath once he has put her aside as wife. When he desires Katherine, Anne is only worried for the girl's lack of common sense. Jane Rochford is the most challenging in her self-delusion and easy complicity with the Duke's plans, rationalizing her behavior, resisting to the end the shame of her existence. In the voices of Anne, Katherine and Jane, the story spins out over a few years, the court out of control under Henry's truculence and ill-temper, the country in thrall to the whims of a madman. By the time Katherine is beheaded, the women have played their parts, puppets of a megalomaniac and his minions. In this chilling account of life in Henry's court, betrayal abounds, the days harrowing as Jane, Anne and Katherine scramble for security. As hardy, brave and complex as any of their counselors, paramours or agents, Gregory's female characters are infinitely compelling, rising from the pages of history to claim their own inheritance. Luan Gaines.
The timeline of The Boelyn Inheritance follows that of The Other Boelyn Girl; Anne and George Boelyn have both lost their heads (literally) to Henry VIII....who is now poised to take yet another wife. The seemingly naive Anne of Cleves--who with her German accent and odd (to English eyes) manner of dress manages to alienate the aging, ill king in their very first meeting. It is, however, a political and strategic union (as most of them are)....but the king has taken an immediate dislike to his betrothed … more
An artist/writer, I have traveled the world, walked on the moon and learned the complicated language of humanity, the enormity of the universe... all through the written word. My first passport was a … more
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