This is the story of Anne Boleyn, but told from a slightly different angle, putting her early love affair with Lord Henry Percy centre stage. For those who have read many books on Anne Boleyn, you will, of course, be aware of her early flirtation with Lord Percy and a secret marriage to him which caused Wolsey to go into overdrive with damage limitation once it was discovered. For Anne, the marriage was seen as an impertinance with Lord Percy above her in station and rank. Yet, once Anne aimed higher, the entire affair had to be hushed up in order to protect the reputation of both the King and future Queen.
Lyn Andrews tells the story of Anne Boleyn and Lord Percy with the emphasis on the latter. In order to flesh out the story, the author uses the device of a fictional squire, Will Chatton. Will is a very sympathetic character and, as the novel progresses and things begin to go wrong for Lord Percy, his squire actually succeeds in life. Strangely, this lightens the mood of a book about a doomed love affair and also introduces a lot of interesting information about the Tudor court and life during that period. Overall, this is a very traditional historical novel (thankfully without the current vogue for a modern day narrator which seems to have been done to death with varying degrees of success) and the young lover's plight still causes you wonder "what if?" Anne and Henry Percy had been allowed to marry. Would the "King's great matter" have never reshaped a country and ended with the death of Anne, who was once just a young and vibrant woman who always dared to aim high.