Having just finished my latest Tudor related book, At the Mercy of the Queen by Anne Clinard Barnhill, I thought I might try my hand at writing a brief review of this book I greatly enjoyed reading. So please bear with me as this is my first review and I cannot claim to be seasoned in the dark magics of book reviewing.
I'm going to begin by saying how instantly this book grabbed me from the first few pages, I was totally hooked and it was a chore to put it down. Anne draws you straight into the Tudor world and the life of Margaret 'Madge' Shelton as you start on your journey through a tumultuous few years in her young life and that of her cousin, Queen Anne Boleyn.
With this book you get treated to a glimpse into life at the court of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn from a different perspective and from someone unaccustomed to the games that were played there, and we're not talking dice or cards, but the games played with peoples lives.
Anne manages to bring alive all the historical figures from court in this novel of intrigue and passion, lies and cunning, and of love, hate and inevitably, death! I love her descriptions of not only how people looked and dressed, but also of their character traits and mindsets.
She paints a world of luxury and sumptuousness intertwined with hardships and sacrifice. Reading about the well known story of the fatal attraction between Henry and Anne Boleyn through the eyes of one of Queen Anne's ladies in-waiting was refreshing and gripping.
Anne has cleverly bent historical fact, in a very subtle way, on very odd occasions, to make this story both enthralling and entertaining and one must remember that this is a novel of historical fiction. Those who would read this with a mind to pick on anything that might be out of place rather than just read it and enjoy it will just spoil it for themselves. Anne has provided the reader with a historically correct time-line and a history of 'Pretty Madge', to use her courtly nickname, at the back of the book.
So to concluded I strongly recommend, if you haven't already, go and buy a copy of At the Mercy of the Queen, sit back with a steaming mug of coffee (or tea, coffee is not a prerequisite) and enjoy the journey of Madge Shelton, with her Nanny and friend Cate, from the innocence of her country life, through her forced need to adapt and grow at court and an uncertain end which could go either way.
Well, that wraps up my first book review on The Rose Blog and I hope you found it interesting and maybe even enjoyable...all comments welcome, be them good or bad as I plan on writing more as and when I finish books, so you can control, to some degree, what I bang out on my keyboard in the future.
Thanks for taking the time to read my review.
(Official Photographer of The Tudor Roses)
Book cover of At the Mercy of the Queen by Anne Clinard Barnhill.
Image is Copyrighted to Anne Clinard Barnhill.