Author: Laura Andersen
Provided Synopsis: The Boleyn King is the first novel in an enthralling new trilogy. Reimagining history in sumptuous detail, Laura Anderssen takes readers back to the deadly intrigue, turbulent affairs, and treacherous passions of Tudor England – and answers the compelling question What if Anne Boleyn had given Henry VIII the son he so desperately wanted?
Just seventeen years old, Henry IX, known as William, is a king bound by the restraints of the regency yet anxious to prove himself. With the French threatening battle and the Catholics sowing the seeds of rebellion at home, William trusts only three people: his older sister Elizabeth; his best friend and loyal counselor, Dominic; and Minuette, a young orphan raised as a royal ward by William’s mother, Anne Boleyn.
Against a tide of secrets, betrayal, and murder, William finds himself fighting for the very soul of his kingdom. Then, when he and Dominic both fall in love with Minuette, romantic obsession looms over a new generation of Tudors. One among them will pay the price for a king’s desire, as a shocking twist of fate changes England’s fortunes forever.
Review: Who knew that re-imagining history could be so intriguing? The premise of this new trilogy presents us with the question of what if Anne Boleyn had given King Henry VIII the son he so desperately wanted? For one, she would have saved her head, and then we would have been presented with this story.
Beginning when Henry William (the son of Henry and Anne) turns 17 and has only a year left until he can rule England without a Lord Protector, we are also introduced to Princess Elizabeth, Dominic, and Minuette. They are to serve as our main characters on this journey. Being such close friends they constantly rely upon each other, especially when a sudden death in Williams’s court brings to light hostilities against the crown. England is Protestant, the Catholics remain displeased, and someone does not want a Boleyn King on the throne. With the surprising ending to this story I can easily see this conflict remaining the central plot to the trilogy. But where will it go…?
To be honest, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. I have always been a fan of the Tudors and Anne, so this was right up my alley. The characterizations of Elizabeth and William are my favorite. Elizabeth is witty and intelligent, and her dealings with the court while her brother is away bode strong for the end-result the author promises — to have Elizabeth on the throne. Meanwhile, William is a young monarch who still holds a great deal of presence. He can be stubborn, but he also knows how to play the game and how to take advisement when it is needed. His dealings with France after brief battles impressed me with how it negotiated peace and his own desires. I’m very interested to see how this works out.
Beyond battles, politics, death, and court life there is also romance. Both Dominic and William (best friends that are as close as brothers) come to fall in love with Minuette. I personally like William with her better, but I have always (and most unfortunately) been known to ship characters that the author does not plan on placing together. My interest for the next book is to see how Elizabeth deals with this love triangle, and whether or not she will use the information of it to further her own desires. In a Tudor court you can never predict actions, and I have been enjoying the surprises so far.