Thursday, 22 September 2016

THE LADY ANNE (Above All Others: Book Two) by Gemma Lawrence

5 out of 5 stars

Tudor historical fiction

On Amazon UK HERE
On Goodreads HERE

I was so looking forward to this book, having adored the first in the series, and I read it over a period of two days.  It follows the period of Anne Boleyn's life between her arriving back in England after her education in France during her early and mid teens, through to her ill-fated betrothal-that-wasn't to Henry Percy of Northumberland, to her falling in love with Henry VIII and he with her, and his deciding that he will end his marriage to Katherine of Aragon so that Anne may be his queen.

I loved the portrayal of Anne as a young woman, so full of life and all that stood before her, so sophisticated and wise in some ways, yet in others a romantic idealist; she projects onto Percy the qualities she wanted the man of her dreams to possess, only to find him wanting.  I noted that she sees herself, at first, as much more practical and wise than her older sister, Mary, though in fact it is Mary who is the realist, accepting her life for what it is, whereas Anne has high and sometimes unlikely ideals.  And, of course, it was Mary who ended up with the happy life...

I enjoyed her thoughts on affairs of the heart, desire and jealousy:
'We become so blinded by jealousy that when it takes hold of us we cannot see that it is removing us still further from our goals with its malicious fingers.'
'A life with no risk taken, especially for love, is a life that is not worth living.'

I liked the first half of the book alot, but I loved the second half; I was eager to see how Ms Lawrence would portray the affair of the heart between Henry and Anne, and I was glad to see that she thinks, as I do, that Anne loved Henry as much as he loved her.  Of course there was some ambition, but in the early days it seemed that she was working alongside her father and Norfolk to achieve her goals for herself, not as a pawn used by the two scheming men.

Something else I liked: a little glimpse into the future.  I found out, via this book, how Anne's cousin and a later wife of Henry, the ill-fated Catherine Howard, ended up living in poorer circumstances; I never knew exactly how she and Anne were connected before.  As I was reading about Anne looking on her as a baby, I thought, ah, if only they knew....

Gemma Lawrence's portrayal of Anne Boleyn continues to be the most convincing, in depth and fascinating of those I have read, and I am so looking forward to the next book.  Highly recommended.

LA PETITE BOULAIN, the first book in this series, is reviewed HERE, with Amazon buy links and links to my reviews of other books by Gemma Lawrence.


  1. Wow, Terry! You've read it quickly. I'm a bit stuck with other books but I hope I'll get there soon. Great to know is as good as the first one if not better. Thanks!:)

    1. Oh, I read a book non-stop if I really like it, hardly put it down! I must admit I quite like being the first to review a new book, too, but I dropped everything to start this :)