The Queen of Subtleties Author:Suzannah Dunn 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... more » and martyr, manipulator and pawn, a complex, misunderstood mélange 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.« less
Interesting perspective on the rise and fall of Anne Boleyn - seen through her eyes and the eyes of the palace confectioner. If you enjoy historical fiction, it's worth a read... but if you only want to read ONE book about the Boleyn years, "The Other Boleyn Girl" by Phillippa Gregroy is a superior novel.
It took me a while to get into this book & at the first I wasn't all that sure I would like it. The author made Ane Boleyn come across as such an egocentric, heartless shrew that I figured if she was really like that then it was no wonder she had her head lopped off! I decided to give it my 75 page test, meaning if it hasn't captured me by page 75 then it's done for. Amazingly enough, it did capture me around page 65. It was the character of Lucy, the King's confectioner, that hooked me. However, the hold didn't last as the bits about Anne were just so loathsome that I couldn't finish after all.
ugh! watch the capter titles VERY closely. The story jumps all round within a decade - without adding anything to the story except making the reader say "wait a minute..."
The story of the confectioner adds nothing to the plot nor does it fill in any background nor does the confectioner have any personality or characterization other than the insufferable crush she has on a young man who is probably gay.
Anne Boleyn was a fasinating person, but, all you see of her is her vanity, shallowness and lack of comprehension of anyone else other than how much they cater to her ego. All of her wit is used to come up with nasty monikers for the existing queen. This Anne Boleyn is strictly one dimensional, so, by the time King Henry says he is leaving her for Jane Seymor becuase she is "nice", you applaude King Henry's decision!
Even the upcoming war with Spain and the religious reformation are both seen as only an inconvience or as assistance to her cause. Both Woley's and More's politics are also seen as being all about her and only her.
The writing is great. This would make a great romance story, just drop the pretense of any history, give the characters more than one dimension each, correct the timeline. The author made a fasinating person into a Paris Hilton clone, except without the depth of character and depth of emotion as Paris Hilton. Yes, it is that bad.
I expected an in-depth look at Anne Boleyn, and I got vanity and smugness. The writing in this book really threw me off, especially the talk about the king or queen "partying", and the coarse language used by the queen. Written in too modern of terms, and not really interesting.