Historical fiction set in the time of Queen Elizabeth I, when, shortly after her coronation, she is presented with a personal diary kept by her mother, Anne Boleyn, for much of her adult life. It's presented in secret by a lady in waiting who attended Anne while she was Queen as well as for the week leading up to her execution. Anne gave her the diary with a promise that she would pass it to Elizabeth if she ever descended the throne. Very interesting book and hard to put down. I don't pretend to be an Elizabethan scholar by any means, but methinks there were probably a lot of liberties taken with this book. I guess that's why it's called historical FICTION. LOL Anyway, I enjoyed it and will likely read the other two books that compose the trilogy.
I have been a lover of English history since I was a very young girl. My mom had me watch the BBC production of "The Six Wives of Henry the VIII" with her and I spent a lot of time after that soaking up all the books and information that I could read on that time period as well as from the Conqueror forward.
This book gives almost a completely different view of Anne Boleyn. One of the reviewers called it "energetic" - well, I would say it's that and more. I completely lost myself in the two time periods - Henry's and Elizabeth's.
There have been many books written about Anne Boleyn but I dont think one has been written in this manner. The present time in this book is the beginning of the reign of Elizabeth I she is 25, in love, and newly come to the throne. One day an old woman comes to her presence chamber with a diary for her the diary of her mother, Anne Boleyn. In this diary, Anne wrote of her life from before her ascendency to the throne right up to just before her execution. As Elizabeth reads through this diary she learns a lot about the mother she doesnt remember and learns many valuable lessons that she will apply during her reign as Queen of England.
I thought that this was an amazingly well written book. I enjoyed how the story bounced back and forth between the present time with Elizabeth and the time while Anne was alive, in the diary. As Elizabeth learned things from her mother she would then apply them to how she ruled her kingdom. It would be neat to think that this was actually the case. Its a unique way to look at such a sad story.
The character of Anne Boleyn was written in a sympathetic manner. She is not depicted as a cunning, power hungry woman. Instead, she is written as a woman who didnt really want what happened to her and absolutely loved her daughter. There are several touching scenes between mother and daughter that happen through this diary. Elizabeth learns about her mother first-hand, as opposed to what she has always been taught about her mother being a whore, traitor, and a witch. Elizabeth understands more of whom she is and where she came from and that forms the way she will carry herself from that point on.
I really enjoyed this book, mostly for the connection between mother and daughter and for the depiction of Anne as wholly human. I look forward to reading more of her books, I have Signora da Vinci on my shelf.
mayqueene reviewed The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn on
Helpful Score: 2
I've always been fascinated with the era of Henry the Eighth and his six wives. Anne Boleyn is probably the most infamous of all six, but so little is known about her. Now this book is purely fiction but it is soundly based in historical fact as much as any book that pretends to be someone's personal diary can be. A nice touch was the fact that you are reading the book in the person of Elizabeth the First, her daughter and eventual Queen, who finds this diary at a time when she is very new to the throne and trying to decide her own fate.
A really good read if you are interested in this time or in the wives of Henry. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
I love Tudor history and Elizabeth the 1st, and this brought her story more to life for me. I went to Tower of London in 2005 and reading this book brought back memories from my trip and I remember seeing the site of the scaffold where Queen Anne was beheaded as well as many other innocent people. Really good read...I read the book within a few hours as I couldn't put it down.
Great read! I am very interested in the Tudor dynasty and have read TONS of nonfiction and fiction on the subject. This book was intriguing because it was a well-written blend of both the facts and fiction. Very readable and engrossing. I also liked the way it presented Anne Boleyn in a new light, not just as the Great Whore, but as a woman who knew her place in society and rebelled against it.
I don't mean to just say OK but this book was just that to me. I did have to skim thru it because I thought that some of the diary parts were boring. I love Tudor England but I just could not get into it. Although I must say that what I did read was very well written.
Taken back into the 1500s, the author makes the reader feel exactly being in that time period. Anne had a difficult life, from becoming King Henry VIII's queen to being false accused of having an affair behind the King's back. The King unfairly accuses her simply so he can get on and marry another woman. Unfortunately, Anne is beheaded. In this diary that she keeps, she recounts her life for her daughter, Elizabeth, to one day know the truth. Anne truly loved Henry. It was an excellent read!
I approached this book with some interest, because it was an original idea to think of Queen Elizabeth being presented with a secret diary in her murdered mother's own hand - it *could have happened! As an avid reader of both fiction and non-fictional accounts of the Tudor era, I was entertained, but not over-impressed by the less-than-strict attention to proven facts - such as presenting the urban legend that she had a 6th finger as truth, and especially the glaring error on page 161 (yes, I remember!), where Anne, one of the foremost leaders of the Reformation and the ideals of Luther, stated that JUDAS betrayed his Lord thrice. No-no-no - PETER did that, and Anne would NOT have made that mistake, as an avid proponant of people reading the Scriptures for themselves.
Ah, well, it was presented at fiction, and it was a fun read. Just don't use it to cram for your Western Civ. Final ;)
Enjoyable read, Anne's entries full of honesty and reflection. At times her self-reflection is totally compelling. At the first half of the book some of the "fast forward" to the early days of Eliabeth's reign felt intrusive on the story of Anne's truths. further in I felt more of a connection between the growing knowlegde Elizabeth is gaining about who her mother really was and the present for her. I also have the second of this trilogy on my shelf, to be read soon
I absolutely loved this book!! I am working my way through as many books from the Tudor period and this was one of the most touching and enjoyable, i think i finished it in 2 days. I like the diary style of writing, it definately brought a new side to Anne Boleyn that you normally don't read about..as well as understanding Queen Elizabeth's motives for remaining unmarried etc.
When the young Queen Elizabeth I is entrusted with Anne Boleyn's secret diary, she discovers a great deal about the much-maligned mother she never knew. And on learning the truth about her lascivious and despotic father Henry VIII, she vows never to relinquish control to any man. But this avowal doesn't prevent Elizabeth from pursuing a torrid love affair with her horsemaster, Robin Dudley-described with near-shocking candor-as too are Anne's graphic trysts, with a very persistent and lustful Henry. Blending a historian's attention to accuracy with a novelist's artful rendering, Maxwell weaves compelling descriptions of court life and devastating portraits of actual people into her naughty, page-turning tale. The result is a masterpiece of historical fiction-so prophetic of our time that one would think it were ripped from today's headlines.
Although I am a fan of Robin Maxwell, this book was not as good as Mademoiselle Boleyn, another of her books. We all know the story, so I don't need to sketch it out for you. This book was written mostly in diary form, with some flash-forwards with Queen Elizabeth I. I felt the book would've been better written if it was just written like the author wrote her other book(s).