Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Dangerous Game of Court Intrigue Continues

"I honestly don't know. And that's why I'm lying to you and breaking my own heart as I do so"
--Laura Andersen, The Boleyn Deceit

Genre: Adult Historical Fiction, Alternate History
Publisher: Ballantine Books, 416 pages
Publication Date: November 5th, 2013
Source: eARC provided via publisher by NetGalley
Previous Books in Series: The Boleyn King

Goodreads Description

Henry IX, known as William, is the son of Anne Boleyn and now the leader of England, his regency period finally at an end. His newfound power, however, comes with the looming specter of war with the other major powers of Europe, with strategic alliances that must be forged on both the battlefield and in the bedroom, and with a court, severed by religion, rife with plots to take over the throne. Will 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 Anne Boleyn. But as the pressure rises alongside the threat to his life, even they William must begin to question-and to fear....

My Thoughts

You guys…YOU GUYS! I know that I always say dystopia and fantasy are my comfort genres but there is just something so magical that happens to me while reading historical fiction…GOOD historical fiction. If you know me or read this blog before you may know I have an intense obsession with Anne Boleyn, the Tudor family, and the War of the Roses era. Obsession is an understatement.

Laura Andersen’s alternate history about Anne Boleyn’s son living and becoming king is a story that is so amazing words will most likely fail me in this review. So, I LOVED The Boleyn King and freaked my shit a little bit when I saw it on NetGalley. I don’t think I’ve checked my email that obsessively for a while. I digress.


Our story continues with the holy quartet, Minuette, Dominic, William, and Elizabeth. First of all, I love these characters. They are so strong, intelligent, and loyal to one another and their dynamics between each other are my favorite parts. I love friendships that have grown since knowing each other their whole lives. However, as adults things have become much more complicated. William is king and with that comes a lot of difficult decisions to keep the realm in order. While some of his decisions were not always ‘for the good of England’ and more for the good of Will, his job is not easy and I liked seeing him come into his own more as a monarch.

A lot of his independence, I think, comes from being to well advised by Dom. *sigh* I love Dom. LOVE LOVE LOVE. He is so strong, level-headed, smart, quiet, and totally devoted to those he loves *coughMinuettecough* But I’ll get to that later. No, forget this, I’m getting to it now. The romance. YOU GUYS! This love story is epic and secret and slightly forbidden. My heart was racing and breaking and soaring all at different times. The agony of reading about Will loving Minuette and stealing moments with her all while Dom has to stand by and watch BROKE MY HEART! I lurve him so much. Anyways. And the few moments we do get between Dom and Minuette…*le sigh* Major sighing action going on. I adore them. The realization that none of this can end well sat in my chest the entire book. Like, how is this going to end happily for my Dom and Minuette…how?!?

But really, that’s not the entire story. It’s just my favorite part. I think my favorite character development of the book was Elizabeth. She is not perfect and makes some poor decisions, but they are her decisions. She is starting to stand on her own and realize she needs to start taking her own counsel, as much as she loves her brother. Minuette continues to surprise me at every turn. She is bold, charming, and so smart. I love that she wants to be in the know of the political world and not shoved off to the side like every other female in this time. She is not stupid and she refuses to be treated as such because of the fact that she is a woman. I love her fire.

The plot continues to twist, unfold, and then refold in on itself. I love this. The constant feeling of betrayal, hidden motives, and treason are a staple in this story. You never know who is to be trusted and what everyone is angling for. I loved seeing an alternative version of events being played out. Certain people dying for a different reason that what they actually died for, I loved it.

I love reading about this time period. The dresses, the feasts, the travels, I love it all. There is something so seductive about the restraint between the sexes (for the most part). Everything is communicated with sidelong glances, a certain look in the eyes, body movements during a dance. I just can’t get enough. It’s not all out there like it is now. It was a constant dance of intrigue and suppressed sexuality. I love the game. There is a part of me that will always wish I was a player in the dangerous game of court intrigue in 1500s England.

This book is fantastic. It is an amazing follow-up to the incredible Boleyn King. I never wanted to leave this world. I wanted to stay with these characters long after the final page and it was quite a shock when I was finished to look around and not see 1555 England…sad day. This story is one that stays with you and I miss these characters already. I want more! I cannot WAIT to get my hands on The Boleyn Reckoning. Is it May 2014 yet!?

Should You Read This? YES! If you love historical fiction, the Tudor era, or alternative versions of history, hell to the yes. 


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