The Lady in the Tower: The Fall of Anne Boleyn is a book I’ve wanted to read for a long time. I read the book a little while ago after treating myself to a pile of similar books and have been meaning to post about it having taken all of a day to read it, I literally couldn’t put it down!
As you probably already know I’m a history geek and love anything to do with the Tudors and this book certainly didn’t disappoint. I originally thought it was a historical novel, but it is infact a non fiction biography, dealing with the known facts about Anne Boleyn and the last few days and weeks of her life. Once I knew it wasn’t a novel I was expecting it to be a little stiff but it’s such an easy and enjoyable read that you get swept along in the “story” and can’t wait to find out what happens next.
It centres around Anne Boleyn but it also delves into the lives of those around her at the time of her fall. The book gives insights into the lives of her co accused, her brother George Boleyn the Viscount Rochford, Sir Henry Norris, Sir Francis Weston, Sir William Brereton and the musician Mark Smeaton which are fascinating and provide that bit of extra detail that really brings the story of Anne Boleyn’s demise to life. It isn’t the usual book on Anne Boleyn painting her as a romantic heroine accused of something she couldn’t possibly have done, rather it presents the facts and leaves the reader the chance to reach their own conclusion. It covers in detail Henry VIII’s involvement in her fall, his affair and marriage to Jane Seymour, the involvement of Anne’s ladies in her demise as well as the jealousy of Thomas Cromell the Master Secretary that he showed towards Anne’s co accused in fantastic detail.
The book also goes on to tell of the fates of the people closely involved in Anne’s fall Thomas Cromwell, who himself was executed a few years after Anne, Thomas Wyatt who was also originally accused of adultery with Anne but escaped with his life and the infamous Jane Boleyn who implicated her husband as having had an incestuous relationship with the Queen. It touches upon the effects of her mothers execution upon Queen Elizabeth I and even has an appendix entitled “Legends” which details supposed hauntings at various sites across the UK that are said to be Anne or members of her family.
So do I think Anne Boleyn was guilty of adultery and incest? That would be telling, you’ll have to read the book and make up your own mind.