Friday, February 15, 2008

"Why on earth would anyone refuse to be the queen of England?"

It's a concept that eight-year old Anne Boleyn can’t quite wrap her mind around when Charles, the grandson of Maximilian, patriarch of the Hapsburg family and Holy Roman Emperor, tells her that his aunt Margaret had refused to marry Henry VII. Charles plans to be the Holy Roman Emperor one day (not an unreasonable expectation, given hereditary lines and all~also given the fact that it is fulfilled). Anne plans to be the queen of England one day (this seems like a much more unreasonable expectation…but isn't it funny, isn't it strange how sometimes those, ever so unreasonable expectations come to pass? . . . )

Robin Maxwell considers her Mademoiselle Boleyn to be a prequel to her previous (rather excellent) works as it tells of Anne’s youth (before she rather fatally catches the eye of the lecherous King Henry IVIII, much of it spent in the French court of King Francois and Queen Claude (daughter of King Louis XII). She befriends Leonardo da Vinci (not mentioned in the history books but imagined, i suppose reasonably, by Maxwell).

It's been quite some time since i read her earlier works and, memory being what it is, though i remember liking them, i don't remember many of the details (though i did recommend The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn to a costumer just the other day because of course i had Mademoiselle Boleyn checked out at home~i just hate having to recommend books to customers~even though it is a big part of my job when they are completely uncooperative in telling me about their personal likes and dislikes, "Well, what do you like?" they so unhelpfully ask, as if we would have the exact same tastes, anyway...)

I've been watching The Tudors lately on Showtime and Maxwell seems to have her historical accuracy down much better than the creators of that show (although i'm not quite so much up on Anne's upbringing or the peripheral figures of the Tudor court as i could be~history never was my strong point, much as i loathe to admit it). But the Showtime people seem to have confused Henry's sisters as well as a few other characters which bothers me just a tad and i wonder what else they got wrong~still and all it is a very interesting series and i would recommend for its entertainment value and for some of its historical value.

From what i know Maxwell got right i tend to trust her other details and she does have some interesting after notes. Overall, i can highly recommend this book and it gives a much better (and much more sympathetic~and i do see many of Henry's wives as quite sympathetic characters~they really were victims of there age~and the only one i would wish to be is Anne of Cleves~she had it the best of anyone of her time and all because she was judged to be ugly~go figure...) portrait (in my ever so humble opinion) than that, ahem, other, Boleyn, historical receiving so much attention of late...

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