"Sometimes he envied his people
--not the nobles and courtiers who surrounded him at all times,
but the staunch, worthy everyday Englishmen
who worked the land and served in the background
and never had to trouble themselves about politics or treaties.
They married for love..."
--Laura Andersen, The Boleyn King
Genre: Adult Historical Fiction
Publisher: Ballantine Books, 368 pages
Publication Date: June 4th, 2013
Source: egalley provided by publisher via NetGalley
Oh. My. Gosh. I love historical fiction. You all know this. Like...LOVE...OBSESS...I cannot get enough even though with all Tudor and Plantagenet historical fiction, you know the ending of the story before you even begin. Oh but watch yourself now! THIS book...THIS BOOK is an alternate version of history...what if Anne Boleyn never miscarried and instead gave birth to a healthy baby boy? Anne Boleyn was not beheaded. Henry VIII only had 2 wives. OH MY GOSH ARE YOU SERIOUS?!?! That was my first thought when I found out this book existed. To say I was excited was the understatement of my bookish year. Not only is Anne Boleyn my favorite historical lady, this book gave an insight on what could have been...
...and it did NOT disappoint. So seriously. I just cannot say enough what an amazing, unique, and fresh idea this was. We get to meet the would-be son of Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII--Henry IX, who goes by William. His ever-infamous sister Elizabeth is present, as well as Minuette and Dominic, both close friends since childhood. These four make up a very tight knit group and rely and trust only each other. The underlying plot of the story is the tension with France...as well as a plot to kill the King, claiming he is not the true son of Henry VIII. Beyond that we have the character driven emotions of their personal lives.
I LOVED these characters. I really warmed to William for some reason, I just adored him. He had the presence and authority of a king without the cruelty. He may be a bit lax on some things, especially when dealing with their horrid sister Mary, but he really does hold his own. Dominic is a soldier and Will's best friend who I also adored. Definitely keeps more to the background and is a very sturdy and dependable presence for the group at all times. Elizabeth was okay to me. I know that she was a definite part of the quartet but I always felt like she was still kind of on the outside. I just never really felt her as being a part of the group, I hope we can get more of her inclusion in the next books. Minuette...LOVED. She is kind and is always underestimated. She always sees more than she lets on and her snarky remarks were fabulously timed and always struck true.
The romance between Minuette and Will and Dominic is subtle...slow...and then BAM! It really was well paced as to not overshadow the whole story and it really just built up the intensity the entire time. By the end I was just mentally screaming, "WHAT'S GONNA HAPPEN?!" I loved it! I loooove both boys. Really, I do.. But...Dominic is...on another level. That slow-burn of love and attraction between him and Minuette is to die for. And there are WORDS and FEELS at the end that mad me want to faint!
I really cannot wait to see where this story goes!! And it can go anywhere! The spin on history that we know has taken place but that happens in a different way because of a man that never existed in deliciously entertaining to the mind...as well as a total mind freak in a good way. The story flows so well and the political aspect of the story is never dull. Andersen re-wrote this history so it is SO amazingly cool that I have NO IDEA what happens. The only fate we know for sure is Elizabeth...and how she gets there...we shall see...
My heart breaks to try and think how this comes about because I fell in love with Will. I just really, really liked him! Besides death, I do not know how he will get out of being King...hmm, WHERE IS THE NEXT BOOK!? Pause that...WHERE ARE THE NEXT 2 BOOKS!?!?
Should You Read This? Do you like historical fiction?-YES! Do you like alternate versions of history?-YES! Do you like fantastic characters with a slow-burning then erupting love story?-YES YES YES! I just loved this book! The concept, the story, I couldn't put it down. Go forth and read!