Reviews for Lady in the Tower : The Fall of Anne Boleyn


Booklist Reviews 2009 December #2
Acclaimed novelist and historian Weir continues to successfully mine the Tudor era, once again excavating literary gold. This time around, Anne Boleyn falls under her historical microscope. Though Boleyn's life has already been dissected by a bevy of distinguished scholars, novelists, and filmmakers, Weir nevertheless manages to introduce a fresh slant on the ill-fated second wife of Henry VIII. Focusing almost exclusively on Anne's final months, she paints a portrait of an impassioned religious reformer who aroused the suspicions and the animus of a number of court insiders, including the influential Thomas Cromwell. Although it cannot be disputed King Henry desperately desired a male heir, it appears there were more politically complex motives behind the plot to derail the unpopular queen. Caught in an inescapable web of royal intrigue and maneuvering, Anne steadfastly maintained her innocence against a host of trumped-up charges. Weir's many fans and anyone with an interest in this time period will snap up this well-researched and compulsively readable biography. Copyright 2009 Booklist Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2009 October #1
Is there a facet to Henry VIII and his wives that novelist and biographer Weir (Mistress of the Monarchy: The Life of Katherine Swynford, Duchess of Lancaster, 2009, etc.) hasn't yet brought to light?It's hard to believe, as the author maintains, that there has never been "a book devoted entirely to the fall of Anne Boleyn," but here we have the sad tale of the isolated, doomed woman. Weir looks at Henry's growing disenchantment with his second wife; his sense that she lied to him about being virginal at their marriage; his desperation to have an heir after her second miscarriage of a boy; and his susceptibility to the conniving of his ministers, especially Thomas Cromwell. With the death of Katherine of Aragon in 1536, a rapprochement with her nephew Emperor Charles V seemed possible, while other European powers had not considered his three-year marriage to Anne legitimate. She was not popular and had many enemies at court, including the imperial ambassador Eustace Chapuys. A passionate evangelical and reformer, she was held responsible for the "heretical" views of a violently anti-clerical nature and considered by Chapuys to be "more Lutheran than Luther himself." By May Day, Henry VIII had stopped visiting her, having already taken up with Jane Seymour. Anne's household was questioned and trumped-up charges of adultery were delivered. Conveyed to the Tower of London, she was charged with seducing five men, including her brother. The case against the queen had to be airtight; as Weir notes, "Henry VIII was to be portrayed as the grievously injured party." The show trial was open to the public, all the while Anne protested her innocence; she became the first queen of England ever executed. An adept guide through the thickets of evidence, hearsay and apocrypha, Weir considers how later generations came to regard Anne, including her daughter Elizabeth, "the concubine's little bastard."Weir knows her subject and lends her seemingly inexhaustible interest.Author tour: five cities by request. Agent: Julian Alexander/Lucas Alexander WhitleyCopyright Kirkus 2009 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Library Journal Reviews 2009 September #1
Who better than noted historian Weir to recount the final days of Anne Boleyn? Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

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Library Journal Reviews 2009 November #2

Premier popular historian Weir (Mistress of the Monarchy: The Life of Katherine Swynford, Duchess of Lancaster) delivers a most impressively researched book about the last days of Anne Boleyn. Imprisoned, tried for treason (she was accused of adultery, incest, and plotting to murder the king), and beheaded, Anne Boleyn, the second wife of King Henry VIII of England, lived an ultimately tragic life that has continued to fascinate people for centuries. Weir examines Boleyn's last few months in depth by concentrating primarily on contemporary primary sources. Referring first to them and then to other historians' research, Weir is able to offer a fresh perspective on the end of Anne Boleyn's life, dispelling long-held facts as myths, refuting some theories of modern historians, and even correcting some of her own previous research. What emerges is the most complete and compelling portrait available of Anne Boleyn in her last days. Weir's impeccable research and gift for storytelling help readers understand the fall of one of the most influential queens in English history and the world of Tudor England. VERDICT A superb example of a nonfiction page-turner that history lovers cannot afford to miss.--Troy Reed, Southeast Reg. Lib., Gilbert, AZ

[Page 70]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information. Copyright 2009 Booklist Reviews.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2009 October #4

Rejecting as myth that Henry VIII, desirous of a son and a new queen, asked his principal adviser Thomas Cromwell to find criminal grounds for executing Anne Boleyn, the prolific British historian Weir (The Six Wives of Henry VIII) concludes that Cromwell himself, seeing Anne as a political rival, instigated "one of the most astonishing and brutal coups in English history," skillfully framing her and destroying her faction. Ably weighing the reliability of contemporary sources and theories of other historians, Weir also claims that though perhaps sexually experienced, Anne was technically a virgin before sleeping with Henry. Anne was also, Weir posits, a passionate radical evangelical, with considerable influence over Henry regarding Church reform. Weir wonders if Anne's childbearing history points to her being Rh negative and thus incapable of bearing a second living child. Dissecting four of the most momentous months in world history and providing an eminently judicious, thorough and absorbing popular history, Weir nimbly sifts through a mountain of historical research, allowing readers to come to their own conclusions about Henry's doomed second queen. 15 pages of color photos. (Dec.)

[Page 43]. Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

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