I love history. Especially European history. When I was in college, my senior thesis was on the rise and fall of Anne Boleyn, so you can guess how I felt when I realized I won an ARC of Brandy Purdy’s The Boleyn Bride from Kensington Books.
The book isn't actually about Anne, but her mother, Elizabeth (Howard) Bullen/Boleyn. And, it is amazing!
In fact, it’s probably one of the best historical fictions I've ever had the pleasure of sticking my nose in (not that I’d do that. It’d be weird, right? Right?)
Anyway, the book starts with Elizabeth as a sixteen-year-old hopeful girl, who was watching the arrival of Katherine of Aragon, who had come to London to marry Prince Arthur (Henry’s older brother). It continued on throughout the remainder of Elizabeth’s life, as she meets her lover, Remi Jouet, and eventually her husband Thomas Boleyn.
It’s really eye opening to the period. We always think of people, especially women, of that time period to be chaste, respectful and obedient. While that may be true on the outside, we also often forget they are still human. Purdy helps us to remember that as we watch how Elizabeth acts and hear her inward thoughts about the world around her; her husband, lover and her three children.
While I say it was possibility the best historical fiction I’ve ever read; I also had to retain the history major trying to climb out of my soul while I read. There are obviously a lot of historical inaccuracies, such as the description of Anne, that was only mentioned from Anne’s enemies years after her death (and has been disproved by numerous historians).
However, there are also numerous accuracies, such as the marriage of Katherine and Arthur and the reasons used for Henry to dissolve their marriage. Purdy has obviously done a great deal of research to write the novel and did a wonderful job of condensing the information to around a little over 250 pages.
All in all, if you love history, or even if you don’t, you should read it. I know I’ll be purchasing as many books as I can find by Purdy.
Christy Howell is the author of the Eloquentia series