Summary: She was the dark-eyed commoner who captivated a king, causing a monumental upheaval in the land that would sever England from the rest of the Western world. Yet, after three short years of marriage, she would die by the headsman's sword, leaving behind a young daughter destined to rule as the greatest of all British monarchs. She was enchantress and martyr, manipulator and pawn, a complex, misunderstood me lange of subtlety and fire. Her name was Anne Boleyn.
With stunning vividness and lyrical power, author Suzannah Dunn brings a tumultuous era to magnificent life, as she boldly reimagines the rise and descent of a tragic, legendary queen, the second and perhaps most famous wife of King Henry VIII. It is a story of betrayal and love, of pomp and obsession, told in two unforgettable alternating voices: that of the doomed queen herself, relating the true and twisted circumstances of her triumphs, downfall, and impending death to the innocent child who will never truly know her mother ... and that of a servant, Lucy Cornwallis, witness to great and terrible events from her place in the royal kitchens. These two women -- both serving at the whim of a volatile monarch, both prisoners in a world of power and unspeakable cruelty -- share nothing except an inside view of the intricate workings of a merciless court ... and an ultimately devastating relationship with a handsome, young musician.
With wit, grace, and masterful storytelling, Suzannah Dunn weaves a compelling and unforgettable tale rich in color and detail, peopled with larger-than-life characters rendered poignantly and painfully human by an artist's expert hand. The Queen of Subtleties is a magnificent achievement --a masterwork that will live long and stand regally proud among the most loved and respected works of historical fiction.
Review: A disappointing retelling of Anne Boleyn and her eventual downfall.
I shamelessly anything about the Tudors and Anne Boleyn is a very fascinating character so I was eager to read this book. People can write her character in different ways, but it is hard to deny that she must have been a vivacious, intelligent, and ambitious girl. Dunn manages a very wish washy Anne who denies that she wasn't even attracted to the king at first and tried to discourage his attentions. It's Henry VIII. He never gives up. Dunn gives the impression that she was forced into it, which does have some truth (her family was very ambitious), but I believe she went along with it willingly. Also, Anne is downright boring and lacks wit.
The character of Lucy Cornwallis, while somewhat interesting, added nothing to the story. Though she may have been a real person, Lucy played no part in any of the events. I guess that Dunn added Lucy to show the situation from someone directly removed from the situation. I did feel sympathy for Lucy, especially for her ill fated lust (maybe love) for Mark Smeaton. Plus, the switching of past and present was annoying.
Recommendation: I would only recommend this to those who must read anything Anne Boleyn.