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Anne Boleyn: A new life of England's tragic queen [Paperback]

Joanna Denny
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
Price: £10.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

7 April 2005
Adulteress? Sorceress? Immoral Temptress? No English Queen has been so persistently vilified as Anne Boleyn. Even after her execution in May 1536 - on trumped-up charges of adultery - the portrait that has come down to us is the one drawn by her enemies. Joanna Denny's compelling new biography of Anne presents a radically different picture of her - a highly literate, accomplished and intellectual woman, and a devout protagonist of the Protestant faith. It was Anne who played the key role in separating England from the Church of Rome. Her tragedy was that her looks and vivacious charm attracted the notice of a violent and paranoid King Henry - and trapped her in the vicious politics of the Tudor court. Joanna Denny's enthralling book plunges the reader into the fascinating, turbulent time that changed England forever.

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Anne Boleyn: A new life of England's tragic queen + The Rise and Fall of Anne Boleyn: Family Politics at the Court of Henry VIII (Canto) + The Lady In The Tower: The Fall of Anne Boleyn (Queen of England Series)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Piatkus; New Ed edition (7 April 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 074995051X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0749950514
  • Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 457,829 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Joanna Denny was born near Hever Castle in Kent, Anne Boleyn's family home. Her interest in Tudor history was triggered by research into her ancestor, Sir Anthony Denny, one of Henry VIII's courtiers and she is the author of a fictional trilogy on the Tudors. She lives near Eastbourne.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A riveting (if one-sided) read! 27 Nov 2008
Despite receiving altogether not so flattering views, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book.
However like many biographies I have read regarding the Tudors, I agree with certain statements that Denny makes and disagree with others.

I find that Denny, whilst appearing somewhat biased at times does nevertheless shed some light on certain events which have been eluded by other historians.
In particular, Denny suggests that the intense dislike for Anne Boleyn by her future sister-in-law, Mary Tudor, was the result of Anne's disapproval of her behaviour in the court of Francis I.
And also, the scandal that later errupted when Mary allegedly tried to enlist Francis' help to secure her marriage to Charles Brandon.
Starkey makes little mention of these events and Joanna Denny presents a convincing argument to state her case that Anne was the polar opposite of her sister, Mary Boleyn, and did not approve of her sister's "licentiousness".

Whilst Denny omits the fact that Mary Tudor and Catherine of Aragon were friends, this has also been somewhat omitted by some other notable historians such as Ives and Starkey who both cite the events at Francis I's court to explain Mary's intense dislike for Anne.

Whilst I do not agree with Denny's position with regards to Catherine's refusal to submit to the divorce, I do agree with her proposition that Catherine's marriage to Arthur may have been consummated. This is also the suggestion made by David Starkey and there is contemporary evidence arising from the testimonies of those close to Arthur and Catherine's own conduct with regards to the divorce, to suggest that this was the case.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
I have been interested in the life of Anne Boleyn for many years now, and i was excited to read a book that portrayed Anne in a positive light. The book covered Anne's life from her birth to the aftermath after her death in great detail.
I found the book read almost like a novel, in the sense that i could not put it down, there were moments i laughed out loud and moments i cried..
I think any tudor fanatic should read this book. In response to opinions of Catherine of Aragon being shown in a negative light, i agree, but i feel it was justified. As the book explains (and Starkey touches on this too) at the time it was custom for a marriage consumation to be watched - so many reported Catherine and Arthur had consumated the marriage. Also, with Catherine's lies about her fake pregnancy, it's difficult to believe her when she claims against witness statements that she was a virgin when she married Henry VIII.
Overall, i found the book well written and riveting, taking a whole new perspective of Anne Boleyn. I highly recommend it :)
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars well written but extremely biased! 18 April 2006
I enjoyed this book, it was well written and interesting, it is just a shame that Denny made it totally unconvincing and so one sided. Anne Boleyn was painted as some kind of Angel whilst everyone around her were evil villains. I think it is generally agreed that Anne wasn't guilty of what she was accused of and she had many admirable qualities-but neither can she have been that perfect. Joanna Denny lets herself down as an historian by giving such a biased view. There seems to be plenty of evidence to suggest that Anne was more than capable of being bad tempered, vindictive and malicious but she seemed to be ultimately a good person. It is not fair to villify everybody who didn't like her; for example Denny claims that Mary (Henrys sister) didn't like Anne because she disapproved of Mary's flirtatiousness whilst they were in france together. This may be true, but she leaves out the fact that Mary and Catherine of Aragon were close friends-so it follows she would side with her. Her attitude towards Catherine of Aragon is particularly unfair, she describes her as 'arragont and stubborn' for not submitting to divorce-I think Catherine's reaction was perfectly natural, the man who she had been married to for over 20 years and loved deeply was trying to shrug off their marriage for somebody else. Catherine was also fighting to prevent her daughter being made illegitamite thus losing her place as heir to the throne, and her religion forbade divorce. Denny accuses her of lying to the king about her miscarriage. Starkey offers the more plausabile view that Catherine didn't know enough about sex and pregnancy to realise she was no longer pregnant-she just went with what the Doctors told her at the time. Read more ›
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another look at Anne Boleyn 14 Aug 2004
By A Customer
I enjoy reading about the Tudor period and the kings and queens. I liked reading Joanna Denny's book about Anne Boleyn for the most part; some parts I disagreed with (especially coverage of Queen Catherine and Princess Mary). Denny examines Anne's life and times, in the background of the Tudor court and the turbulent love story of Anne and Henry VIII. Ironically, giving birth to a daughter who became Elizabeth I was considered a "failure." Elizabeth grew to be one of the greatest monarchs in British history. The author stresses the intelligence and beauty of Anne and refutes the stories that Anne was a "witch" and a "temptress." She noted just how influential Anne Boleyn was in the separation of England from the Catholic Church. Also, there is an intriguing look at Anne's family background, her sister Mary (who was an earlier mistress of Henry VIII) and brother George. Denny believes that Mary's two children Catherine and Henry were fathered by Henry VIII (other books contend they were from Mary Boleyn's marriage). If true, it would make the story of Elizabeth and Essex more intriguing, since he would be descended from Henry VIII.
What I didn't like was Denny's negative attitude towards Catherine of Aragon and Princess Mary. She contends that Catherine may not have told the truth about her virginity (and that her marriage to Prince Arthur was consummated). Being a religious woman, it is highly doubtful she would lie. Henry VIII was very anxious to marry Anne Boleyn and his case against Catherine was that she was married to his brother. Catherine stated that her first marriage was never consummated. Also, Denny talks about Catherine's arrogance in daring to challenge Henry. Why wouldn't she challenge the divorce? They were married all those years and she cruelly displaced as Queen of England.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars A new take?
Tries to produce a new take on the much- digested évidence; it doesn't quite manage a truly original interprétation. A post Howard Brenton production?
Published 14 months ago by Mme Hurworth
1.0 out of 5 stars Propaganda
The first time I read this book I was quite impressed as I did not know much about the Tudor era. Now that I've studied it at university (I'm French so I never studied it at... Read more
Published 17 months ago by alexandra
5.0 out of 5 stars well researched book
Denney has obviously researched this well, providing new insight into a well documented period of history and has not been afraid to enter a different opinion of peoples views and... Read more
Published 20 months ago by bagpuss
5.0 out of 5 stars thoroughly good read
What a pleasant change to find a book that doesn't vilify Ann. This book really explores the view that Ann wasn't an evil temptress set out to ensnare the King. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Flora the Faerie
3.0 out of 5 stars Biased and unapologetic
Having read the reviews from the other reviewers, I was curious to see how biased Denny was about her subject. Read more
Published on 15 July 2012 by Cheryl Ann Hartnett
3.0 out of 5 stars heavily tendentious - but even so...
Yes, this has to be the most tendentious piece of historical writing I've ever come across. At times I thought I was reading a Protestant religious tract, and a virulently... Read more
Published on 15 Jun 2012 by alan12345
1.0 out of 5 stars Lost Your Head?
Denny has the admirable task of attempting to right a wrong - she believes (quite rightly as it happens) that Anne Boleyn has been unfairly villified for centuries. Read more
Published on 25 July 2011 by Kokino
1.0 out of 5 stars Contains at least four cases of misrepresentation
I recently re-read this book, six years after first reading it. The first time I wasn't impressed, since I found it impassioned, and eager to cheer on its heroine and portray... Read more
Published on 11 Feb 2011 by Judith Loriente
4.0 out of 5 stars Anne Boleyn: A new life of Englands Tragic Queen
Over the years i,ve read many books about Anne Boleyn and expected this one to be much like all the others. Read more
Published on 29 Jan 2011 by christine pryce
3.0 out of 5 stars Fact or Fiction?
I enjoyed this book with reservstions. It was refreshing to read a book about Anne Boleyn that put her in a positive light. Read more
Published on 7 Nov 2010 by Dee
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