Tuesday, November 22, 2011

At the Mercy of the Queen-Anne Clinard Barnhill

At the Mercy of the Queen

Anne Clinard Barnhill

St. Martin’s Griffin, Jan 3 2012, $14.99

ISBN: 9780312662134

In 1533 King Henry VIII marries Anne Boleyn. The ambitious family of the monarch’s second wife sends her cousin fifteen years old Lady Margaret “Madge” Shelton to serve as a Lady-in-Waiting to Queen Anne.

Madge falls in love with Arthur Brandon, the illegitimate son of a duke; they secretly marry as he is beneath her in social status so for them to overtly wed requires a royal decree. Meanwhile fearing her husband’s affection is waning as he has stayed away from her bed since she failed to provide him with a male heir, scheming Anne arranges for Madge to become Henry’s latest mistress before he turns to Jane Seymour.

This is an engaging look at a real historical figure who allegedly in 1535 became Henry’s mistress. Anne Clinard Barnhill paints her as a naive woman whose well-being relies totally At the Mercy of the Queen. Madge is an interesting individual caught between her love for Arthur and her loyalty to her cousin. Anne Boleyn comes across inconsistent; as she is too sympathetic in spite of her manipulation of her relative. Fans of Tudor historical fiction will enjoy her latest portrayal seen through the eyes of her cousin.

Harriet Klausner

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