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Customer Review

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Historically Detailed and an Excellent Read, 16 Dec. 2012
This review is from: The Queen's Promise (Hardcover)
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A new novel by an author who has been regaling us with fine historical drama over many years has got to be of interest. The Queen's Promise is the much related story of Anne Boleyn, queen of the 1,000 days. This follows the line of many previous novels in tracing her birth in Norfolk through her early days at Hever Castle, and then details her many homes at the courts of Europe, through her childhood and early teens and so to Court. It draws a careful picture of the young Anne as dutiful, lively, accomplished and vivacious but always a pawn in her father and her wider family's schemes.

However, this is a novel about Anne Boleyn with a difference. Although she is the central character, she shares this billing with Henry Percy, heir to the earldom of Northumberland, a boy only a few years older than Anne herself and with whom her life is entwined. This novel also details the Percy heir's early life, painting a picture of the harshness of life on the Borders for a delicate, sensitive and cultured young man whose fine attributes were not considered of worth in the era in which he was born. Henry Percy's attempts to always do his duty and to fulfil the role expected of his despite his ill health and distaste for its privations are well described.

Other figures, such as the poor Will Chatton who Percy begs as his squire and Robert Aske, the young lawyer, also provide much in the way of rich insights into life in Tudor England as Lyn Andrews faithfully draws their characters throughout the novel.

The young Percy and Anne meet at court and become secretly betrothed, a fact which incurs the wrath not only of Percy's father, the 5th Earl of Northumberland, but also Cardinal Wolsey. The young lovers are banished - Percy to the North as General Warden of the Marches, and Anne to her home at Hever. Percy is eventually married off to his childhood `bete noire' Mary Talbot with disastrous results whilst Anne eventually catches the eye of King Henry VIII. The rest, as they say, is all history. It is left to an immigrant, Will Chatton's wife, Joanna, to wonder aloud whether, if only Anne and young Percy had been allowed to follow their hearts, all the lives of the characters in this novel and, indeed, the course of British history, would have been different.

This is an excellent read for anyone who enjoys an historical novel which faithfully adheres to the historical facts. However, the characters within are very carefully drawn and crafted to give the reader a real insight into the mores and workings of the time. Highly Recommended!
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