on 9 February 2002
When I sat down to read 'Mistress Anne' I expected to read about the woman who still inspires many Britons today and who for seven years sat a top the pyramid of Tudor power politics through the strength of her own intelligience and wit.
Instead I was read to a book that ommitted massive details concerning Anne's life, a book that ignored Anne's passionate religious convictions and happily glossed over the fact that Anne did not sleep with Henry VIII until 1532!
Carolly Erickson fills the entire book with scandolous gossip that circulated in the 16th/17th centuries, and presents it as fact. She also seems to think that everyone the King married bar Katharine of Aragon was 'unchaste,' Anne Boleyn required a reputation for 'unchastity' as did the bambi-eyed Jane Seymour. AVOID THIS BOOK AT ALL COSTS AND READ ALISON WEIR, LADY ANTONIA FRASER or ROBIN MAXWELL!
on 11 September 1999
Having read and liked other of Ms. Erickson's biographies, I was very much disappointed by this one. Already on page 1 one realises that Ms. Erickson has the basic assumptions all wrong. She gives a birth date of 1507, rather than 1501, which has been the accepted date for at least the last decade and, similarly, she has Anne accompanying Mary Tudor to France as a small child - when in fact Anne was, at this time, already a teenager and had spent years at the Habsburg court in the Low Countries. Unfortunately, these assumptions are crucial, since it makes quite a difference whether Anne Boleyn was an in-experienced girl of 16 when Henry VIII started courting her, or a grown woman of the world who had experienced life at the very different Habsburg and French courts. Consequently, these basic faults impact the entire book negatively and, furthermore, Ms. Erickson relies almost entirely on sources hostile to Anne. The end result is a book which does not do justice neither to Anne herself, nor to Henry the VIII. My recommendation would be to stay away from this book...
on 24 April 1999
While Mistress Anne is interesting in the way a novel is interesting, I would not recommend it if you are seriously researching either Anne Boleyn or Henry VIII. Rather, I would point you *TO* Alison Weir's "Six Wives" which is both well-written and meticulously detailed, and *AWAY* from Retha Warnicke's "Rise and Fall of Anne Boleyn" (pretentiously, ponderously written, hard to follow, containing some conclusions that are neither fully supported by the facts, nor arrived at by other historians). While Mistress Anne is "fun" -- I fully recommend it for a "good read" -- it does not detail events satisfactorily. Dates are missing in an excessive number of instances, and some events are presented out of chronological order, causing some confusion. However, like I said, it's great fun to read and gives you a good overview of the subject.