Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Review: "The Boleyn Bride" by Brandy Purdy

Synopsis:  From carefree young woman to disillusioned bride, the dazzling lady who would become mother and grandmother to two of history’s most infamous queens, has a fascinating story all her own…

At sixteen, Elizabeth Howard envisions a glorious life for herself as lady-in-waiting to the future queen, Catherine of Aragon. But when she is forced to marry Thomas Boleyn, a wealthy commoner, Elizabeth is left to stagnate in the countryside while her detested husband pursues his ambitions. There, she raises golden girl Mary, moody George, and ugly duckling Anne–while staving off boredom with a string of admirers. Until Henry VIII takes the throne…

When Thomas finally brings his highborn wife to London, Elizabeth indulges in lavish diversions and dalliances–and catches the lusty king’s eye. But those who enjoy Henry’s fickle favor must also guard against his wrath. For while her husband’s machinations bring Elizabeth and her children to the pinnacle of power, the distance to the scaffold is but a short one–and the Boleyn family’s fortune may be turning.

My Thoughts:  I've read a lot of books about Anne Boleyn and I can't remember one where her mother was ever mentioned so I was very intrigued by the premise of this book.  The Boleyn Wife tells the story of Elizabeth Boleyn, mother to three infamous figures in English history, in her own words.

I'm going to say it, Elizabeth Boleyn was not a likable character in this book.  She was really interesting and had a lot of layers to her personality but she was very difficult to like.  The only time you could see that she had the potential to be a nice person was when she was with Remi.  He was the last person I would expect her to fall in love but he was perfect for her.  During the times they were together, she seemed almost to be a different person as though the only time she could be herself is when she was with him.  Despite being unlikable, I still really enjoyed reading about her.  She was kind of a pawn; her father married her off to Thomas Boleyn for his own advantage and Thomas Boleyn used her and their children to boost his standing at court.  I did feel bad for her because a lot of her bad behavior was the result of her unhappiness with her marriage. 

I really like Brandy Purdy's books and I thought that this was a unique take on the Anne Boleyn story.  As a reader, it was really cool to see such a well-known period in history described from a completely different point of view.  The story is fast moving and kept me interested from start to finish and I really wanted to see how things would turn out for Elizabeth and how she would react to the events leading up to the deaths of Anne and George.  If you have any interest in Tudor England, I would highly recommend this book.  3 stars.

About the Author:

Brandy Purdy (Emily Purdy in the UK) is the author of the historical novels THE CONFESSION OF PIERS GAVESTON, THE BOLEYN WIFE (THE TUDOR WIFE), THE TUDOR THRONE (MARY & ELIZABETH), THE QUEEN’S PLEASURE (A COURT AFFAIR), and THE QUEEN’S RIVALS (THE FALLEN QUEEN). An ardent book lover since early childhood, she first became interested in history at the age of nine or ten years old when she read a book of ghost stories which contained a chapter about Anne Boleyn haunting the Tower of London. Visit her website at, you can also follow her, and her cat Tabby, via her blog at where she posts updates about her work and weekly book reviews.

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1 comment:

  1. I've read a few Brandy Purdy books and have enjoyed each one. This one does intrigue me though, because it's from a slightly different perspective than you're used to, so I do think it's one I'd enjoy.


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