Book Review – Anne Boleyn: A King’s Obsession by Alison Weir


Impeccably researched tale of obsession, intrigue and power in Henry VIII’s court

About the Book

Publisher’s description: A novel filled with new insights into the story of Henry VIII’s second – and most infamous – wife, Anne Boleyn. This is the second book in the epic Six Tudor Queens series, from the acclaimed historian and bestselling author of Katherine of Aragon. It is the spring of 1527. Henry VIII has come to Hever Castle in Kent to pay court to Anne Boleyn. He is desperate to have her. For this mirror of female perfection he will set aside his Queen and all Cardinal Wolsey’s plans for a dynastic French marriage. Anne Boleyn is not so sure. She loathes Wolsey for breaking her betrothal to the Earl of Northumberland’s son, Harry Percy, whom she had loved. She does not welcome the King’s advances; she knows that she can never give him her heart. But hers is an opportunist family. And whether Anne is willing or not, they will risk it all to see their daughter on the throne…

Book Facts

  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 544
  • Publication Date: 18th May 2017
  • Genre: Historical Fiction

My Review (4 out of 5)

Informed by her trademark impeccable research, Alison Weir gives us her fictionalised account of the life of Anne Boleyn from her childhood to her tragic death at the hands of Henry VIII. She details Henry’s pursuit of Anne, the political and religious consequences of his attempt to have his marriage to Katherine Aragon annulled and Anne’s eventual downfall. This is a long book and although I very much enjoyed the early sections covering Anne’s youth in the courts of Europe, I found the parts covering the “Great Matter” (Henry’s attempts to annul his marriage to Katherine) just a little too detailed. It felt almost as interminable to this reader as it must have done to Anne.

Although I have enjoyed Philippa Gregory’s Tudor novels, I’ve sometimes found them a little light on historical content. However, I found myself rather longing for some of Gregory’s sprightly inventiveness to enliven this book. I feel Weir redeemed herself in the final sections covering Anne’s downfall as these were much more enjoyable and the final pages recounting Anne’s execution were heartbreaking. Lovers of serious historical fiction will really enjoy this book.

I received an advance review copy courtesy of NetGalley and publishers, Headline, in return for an honest review.

In three words: Well-researched, detailed, fascinating

Try something similar…Innocent Traitor by Alison Weir

weir About the Author

Alison Weir (born 1951) is a British writer of history books for the general public, mostly in the form of biographies about British kings and queens. She currently lives in Surrey, England, with her two children. Before becoming an author, Weir worked as a teacher of children with special needs. She received her formal training in history at teacher training college.  Author website


One thought on “Book Review – Anne Boleyn: A King’s Obsession by Alison Weir

Comments are closed.