Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Heads Will Roll

"It's a jump, Minuette, that's all it is.
A jump out of this world, straight into my arms"
--Laura Andersen, The Boleyn Reckoning

Genre: Adult Historical Fiction
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Pages: 416
Publication Date: July 15th, 2014
Source: e-galley provided by publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
Find on Goodreads
Previous Books in Series: The Boleyn King & The Boleyn Deceit
Goodreads Description

Perfect for fans of Philippa Gregory and Alison Weir! After presenting readers with an irresistible premise in The Boleyn King (what if Anne gave birth to a healthy royal boy who would grow up to rule England?) and returning to the dangerous world of the Tudor court in The Boleyn Deceit, Laura Andersen brings to a triumphant conclusion the enthralling tale of the Tudor king who never was.

Elizabeth Tudor is at a crossroads. After a disastrous winter, the Duke of Northumberland has been executed for treason while his son, Robert Dudley, claims from the Tower that the true traitor has not yet been caught. And though her brother, William, has survived smallpox, scars linger in the king's body and mind and his patience is at an end. As English ships and soldiers arm themselves against the threat of invasion, William marches to the drumbeat of his own desires rather than his country's welfare. Wary of this changed royal brother, Elizabeth assembles her own shadow court to protect England as best she can. But William, able to command armies and navies, cannot command hearts. Minuette and Dominic have married in secret, and after an ill-timed pregnancy, they take to flight. Faced with betrayal by the two he loved most, William's need for vengeance pushes England to the brink of civil war and in the end, Elizabeth must choose: her brother, or her country?

The History 

Holy hell, where do I even begin?! I have flailed and fangirl'd about these books since that fateful day I saw The Boleyn King on NetGalley and whether Protestant or Catholic I thank God I did because I LOVE these books. When I saw The Boleyn Deceit and then this book on NetGalley, I'm not kidding you, I checked my email waiting and hoping for approval every half an hour. I don't think I have had a review book I've been approved for that I dropped almost everything to read immediately. I cannot even begin to describe my love for these books. The alternative history Laura Andersen writes where Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII's son lives and reigns is steeped in rich visualization that makes you forget what century you are in. You read these books and are engrossed in the setting. The plot runs sky high with court drama and the stakes in this book are at their peak. And let me tell you something about my historical fiction Tudor obsession. I've read countless books about this era which boggles many people's minds because I KNOW what happens before the books even end. History is history and the fact don't change...but they do in Laura's world. The entire premise of this series is brilliant and is done beautifully. I loved how certain historical character meet their deaths differently, earlier than normal, or years later than what they really were. All bets are legitimately off because anything can--and does--happen. I love love LOVED it.

The Conflict 

While the plot of this story breaks my heart as well as lifts it, I cannot give enough credit for where Laura takes this story. I had NO idea what would happen and the twists she takes us on are surprising and jaw-dropping. I could NOT turn my pages fast enough because of how INTENSE the story is. The action never ceases and it had my heart pounding--see feels section for me. And while we need conflict to progress the story, it didn't make it any easier on my frail body and emotional state while reading. The plot is developed in a way that is both surprising but realistic with what we know about the characters...if that makes sense. I couldn't wait to see where our characters journey would eventually take them and what would happen in this world versus actual history. I cannot say enough how absolutely enthralled I am with these books and the plot progression.

The Darkness 

This book has beckoned us to the dark side. Y'all, this is a story involving Henry VII and Anne Boleyn's son. If you know anything about these two in history it is this...do NOT piss them off. Their offspring? Same rules apply if not more. Without any spoilers and without revealing the plot of the previous two books, something happens that Will does not like and the repercussions are exactly what you would expect...ugly. That's all I'm willing to say but the places Laura takes us in regards to this aspect of the plot were haunting and shocking. I was emotionally reeling for hours *coughDAYScough* after reading. Hell, I'm still thinking about it.

The Feels 

You guys...YOU GUYS. Dom and Minuette...I can't, I just CAN'T. With their love story added to the plot and the dark themes we have a story that LITERALLY had me ugly crying and clutching my chest. I'm not kidding you. I was actually gasping and my hand was flying to my chest every few minutes. IT IS THAT GOOD! The emotional journey we take with Dom, Minuette, Elizabeth, and Will over the course of this series has you rooting for all of them...and knowing they all will not get a happy ending. I needed to channel  my more analytical reader's mind because I just COULD NOT handle ALL THE FEELS. I obviously love feeling that sort of connection but holy hell did it hurt while reading because I love these characters so much. Elizabeth's journey and growth into the queen she wants to be whether in England or abroad is beautiful. She starts to really see the bigger picture as she started to in The Boleyn Deceit. She is a woman of elegance and honesty. Her character development is the absolute best over the course of these three books. But for real, special shoutout to Erin from Fiction Fare because I'm pretty sure that while I stayed up until 2am to finish this, she woke up to at least 8 texts of me freaking out my shit. 

The Pace 

The fact that at 8 pm I was at 40% thinking I'd read a little bit more before bed...then I hit the 50% mark and the story just rockets into the territory of  'I-cannot-go-to-sleep-without-knowing-how-this-book-ends.' The thought of falling asleep was painful because I couldn't do it without knowing what happened to my friends, I mean characters, so I stayed up until 2 am to finish. No regrets, play like a champ. 

OMG WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?! If you love The Tudors, historical fiction, epic love stories, or you have no knowledge or interest in history at all and just love a good story, this book is for you. All the love. ALL the love!


  1. Ohhh...I haven't heard of this series but I am SOOO intrigued after reading your review. I love me some historical fiction but add in an alternate twist and I am there! Thanks for such a great review!

  2. Just reading this review has made me want to do a re-read of this entire series....


  3. I haven't read this series but I like the idea of a story around the Tudor king who never was!


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