Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Boleyn Wife-Brandy Purdy

The Boleyn Wife
Brandy Purdy
Kensington, Feb 2010, $15.00
ISBN: 9780758238443

In the Court of King Henry VIII, plain Jane Parker may be shy but she is not stupid as she knows she cannot compete with the beauty and glamour of the women who toss themselves at the monarch; yet for some unknown reason men seemed to desire her. She was uninterested in any of them beyond furthering her position at court until she meets charming George Boleyn. When Jane and George are directed to wed, he obeys without much passion while she is ecstatic.

However, she quickly realizes that his devotion is entirely to his sister emotive Anne. Not one to cry over what could have been, Jane waits for Anne who has become queen to self destruct. When the moment arrives, she betrays her cold husband and her sister-in-law accusing them of incestuous adultery, which both denied even as they were executed. She outlasts the next wife Anna of Cleves and gives her support to Anne's cousin Katherine Howard as Henry’s next wife. Jane arranges the trysts between Katherine and her lover Thomas Culpepper. However, when Henry learns he is cuckolded, he has his wife, her lover, and their go between executed.

The Boleyn Wife is an interesting work of historical fiction that provides a fresh look at the novelization of the court of King Henry VIII. Loathed by most historians as a false accuser and betrayer, Brandy Purdy brings a wider perspective of a jealous young wife who wanted the love of an uncaring husband, but learned she could not compete with her sister-in-law so she chose vengeance instead. Readers will relish this fine portrait of a “scorned” spouse whose reprisal against the Boleyn brood proved pivotal in the reign of Henry VIII.

Harriet Klausner

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