There are many, many Anne Boleyn books to read. I’ll give you a few more in this post. I’ve already posted my favorite ones here:
Anne Boleyn wearing her initial pendant
In my opinion, the best thing to do would be to pass on both of those options and start saving your pennies to buy my diamond and 18K gold interpretation of the necklace. My version isn’t a literal interpretation of the necklace from the portrait because I was striving for a more graceful effect. The original is kind of clumsy-looking, don’t you think?
- The Concubine by Norah Lofts. This is my favorite of this list. It is told from multiple viewpoints, including those of Anne, Henry VIII, Katherine of Aragon and Anne’s maid. I find the novels that use multiple narrators are often the most effective since they limit a writer’s urge to turn a single protagonist into a fine, upstanding citizen no matter what unsympathetic acts that person might have committed in real life. I always find books that hew to reality much more interesting than a whitewash.
- The Queen of Subtleties by Suzannah Dunn similarly uses Anne and Lucy Cornwallis, the king’s confectioner, to tell the story. While Anne comes to life vividly, the character of Lucy never worked for me. I was irritated by her chapters.
- Like The Other Boleyn Girl, The Last Boleyn by Karen Harper views Anne through her sister Mary’s eyes. The Other Boleyn Girl is the superior book.
- The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn by Robin Maxwell has its moments, but in general I dislike the “hidden diary” concept. As I said before, I find it distracting to have to consider whether this “diary” could have been safely hidden in a potted plant or up someone’s ass a la Christopher Walken’s character in Pulp Fiction. (A quote from Pulp Fiction: “The way your Dad looked at it, this watch was your birthright. He’d be damned if any slopes were gonna put their greasy yellow hands on his boy’s birthright. So he hid it in the one place he knew he could hide something. His ass. Five long years, he wore this watch up his ass. Then when he died of dysentery, he gave me the watch. I hid with uncomfortable hunk of metal up my ass for two years. Then, after seven years, I was sent home to my family. And now, little man, I give the watch to you.”)
- Brief Gaudy Hour by Margaret C. Barnes. The role of the observant servant is played by Simonette, the French governess, but fortunately she doesn’t dominate the book.
- A Lady Raised High by Laurien Gardner. And the role of the “simple, plain country girl” is played by one Frances Pierce. Much of the book concerns the Frances character’s romance, which was of very little interest to me.
- The Lady in the Tower by Jean Plaidy. Plaidy also wrote Murder Most Royal, about Anne and her cousin Katherine Howard, who became Henry’s fifth wife (but “only” the second beheaded wife).
Photo I took of the “blue garden” at Hever, Anne’s childhood home. This garden of blue and purple flowers is a recent though beautiful addition. It didn’t exist in Anne’s time.
Finally, there’s a persistent myth that Anne had a sixth finger and/or a disfiguring goiter on her neck. It’s safe to say that is untrue. No eyewitness accounts mention any such physical characteristics, and people at the time pored over the appearance of kings and queens the way you study those hi-res upskirt shots of Britney Spears. Don’t lie to me. I know you’ve done it. Also Henry had a horror of illness and physical deformity. While he became grossly obese with oozing sores in his later years, he wouldn’t tolerate flaws in his women. He was the king! He didn’t have to. Anne was dark-haired and olive-skinned, so she wasn’t the ideal beauty at a time when the preference was for rosy-skinned blondes. She had great charisma, though, and alluring dark eyes, the latter causing the 16th century haters to refer to her as “the goggle-eyed whore.” Yeah, they were just “jellus,” as we say nowadays.
Miss J. says
Love the entry today. Did you enjoy Sophia Copolla’s Maria Antoinette? I was really disappointed with that movie. I love the Virgin Suicides especially Lost in Translation but Marie Antoinette was rubbish and the only saving grace of that film is the costume and the fab cakes.
Miss J, I did enjoy Marie Antoinette, no doubt because I was there to see the costumes and cakes! 🙂 They were so beautiful!
Love the dress, love the necklace. Oh and I also adore Marie Antoinette. Amazing film. Didn’t learn much historically but amazing film.
It’s off-with-her-head Thursday again 🙁
I just can not sink my teeth into these gals for some unknown reason…
Speaking of heads off gals, I saw M.A. in Paris and was the only one to walk out after snoozing for 20 mins..
If only it had been in French.
I did buy the DVD so I can hear it in French while gazing at the macarons…
@ PB, the desserts alone should have made it your favorite movie ever!!!! At the after party, I ate so many macarons that my teeth hurt!
that pink bush behind you is incredible! i can’t believe the colour!
Vintage Bunny says
I read the book by Norah Lofts.
Thats a great picture of you.
And you wonder why I have headless pictures!!!
Moda Maga says
thanks for the encouragement! you are so accomplished its insane. btw i’m loving the herve leger dress.
I watched TLC shows/documentary of Anne Boleyn, her castle, her lover etc, and I’ve to say, was intrigued! Someday I’ll take the photos at the her garden, Wendy!
Good job! You look great as always.
Moose on the Loose says
Hever looks so beautiful! I want to go!!!!
Bobble Bee says
Wendy, this is such a post !
I loved it from the very beginning i started to read it… you know how obsessed I am myself with old times jewelry and costumes!
Thanks Thanks Thanks
i loved marie antoinette. the surroundings of versailles alone were enough for me but throw in the clothes, delectables, pugs, asia as the whore, and (half) the soundtrack and i don’t know how anyone couldn’t enjoy this film.
ok and i desperately need rows of those pink flowers shipped to my cottage immediately. do you know what they are?
Carolina Lange says
Very interesting post!
The garden is so beautiful, love the last picture with the pink flowers!
i loved marie Antoinette even if i am particial to miss kirsten dunst. and you have a vintage herve leger????? im so jealous right now
Oh those pink flowers are great! What a cool pic to have of you there… I could have sat with those a long time 🙂 Enjoyed your post today… the necklace is great!
“Your necklace” that is 🙂
@Jen, I do know the name of those flowers but it’s eluding me right now. Hopefully it will come to me or a gardening enthusiast will tell us! @Bobblebee, I’m so glad you enjoyed the post. I was working on it forever and worried no one would read it! And thanks to all the other peeps who said kind things too! Thankfully, the remaining four wives of “Henry teh 8” don’t have such complicated stories.
i just LOVE your version of the necklace.
You never mention the Showtime’s Tudors in your posts about Anne. They had an amazing actress play her there! Love your blog!
Thanks, Sandman! There are so many Tudor film/TV options that I’m not tackling them right now! I did throw in a picture of the Anne Boleyn actress from The Tudors here:
Gotta give her her props!