Title: The Boleyn Bride
Author: Brandy Purdy
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Historical Fiction
Star Rating: 1 out of 5 Stars
This book was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review--thank you so much, Brandy!
I have a fascination with history that started from the time I was a kid. It doesn't really matter what time period--I am, indiscriminately, a history junkie. But a time that has always captured my imagination is the Tudor era, even now. Henry VIII and his many wives have always ignited my imagination, exciting me and spurring me to do my own research. Anne Boleyn is one of the most notable, as she seduced the monarch and caused him to leave his wife of some twenty-odd years, Catherine of Aragon.
The Boleyn Bride is about the mother of Anne Boleyn, the beautiful, vain and shallow Elizabeth Howard, married at sixteen to the notorious 'court toady', Thomas Bullen. It begins just after the execution of her daughter Anne and son George, and goes backward from there, to explain her political ascension, and her many paramours, as well as her children's fate--beautiful, golden Mary, moody, mercurial George, and ugly duckling Anne.
Ugh. I wanted to love this book--historical fiction is one of my favorite genres--but Elizabeth Howard really just rubbed me the wrong way. She was spoiled and rude and mean, even to her own children. She was so selfish that her own needs took precedence over everyone else's, and any sympathy I had for her was long since lost by the end of the novel. If I felt sorry for anyone in this book, it had to be her three children, used by their parents and their king as they saw fit, until they were no more.
I also didn't like Elizabeth's spouse--Thomas was, I daresay, even worse than his shallow, superficial wife. But perhaps their dark deeds only served to shine an even greater spotlight on their children, who, for me, through the eyes of their mother, were the real stars of the novel.
King Henry, too, that pompous and foolish old windbag, really had me frustrated, though Purdy portrayed him perfectly--by turns joyous and jolly one moment, then screaming for someone's head the next.
I liked the clothing and food porn of this novel, as well as the characters of Mary, Anne, and George, but that was about it. In the eyes of Elizabeth, everything seemed to be so trite and false, and it really bothered me. Nonetheless, though, I enjoyed some of the novel. The bottom line: An untold story in Tudor history, Elizabeth Howard--the mother and grandmother of England's queens--tells her story--and I wanted to love it, but I just couldn't relate to the main character at all. Next on deck: Cursed by Monica Wolfson!