Had the Queen Lived:: An Alternative History of Anne Boleyn
This fictional what if thriller is the first in a series by author Raven A. Nuckols that examines the life and times of Queen Anne Boleyn, her heirs and explores what might have happened had she not been executed in May 1536. Anne was the second wife of King Henry VIII of England, serving from 1533-1536 until she was beheaded on false charges of treason, adultery, and incest with her brother, as she was accused by Thomas Cromwell, the Lord Privy Seal. Prior to her tragic downfall, Anne was the main catalyst for England's break with the Roman Catholic Church during the Reformation. Henry's intense passion for her, fed by her refusals, ignited a fire that tore the country apart. This book evaluates the history of how different England might have been had factors leading up to her execution not have happened. Would Anne have continued her passion for religious reforms? Would she eventually have made enemies of Cromwell? What would have become of her friends and enemies? Would she have given Henry the longed-for male heir? What would have become of Elizabeth? All of these questions and more are answered!
What people are saying - Write a review
**SPOILERS** I warn people who read this review that there are a few spoilers as I truly feel the need to point out some of things that make this book really not worth reading.
I have to say as a huge Tudor History geek and a lover of both fact or novel style books, I was enticed when I saw this book in my recommendations on Amazon. I have often wondered what England would have been like if Anne had not miscarried her 2nd child to Henry and given him his hoped for son and heir. This book, I thought at the time, would have given me an insight in to that possibility and so I bought it and was excited to get started.
However, upon reading the book I have to say I am disappointed. I was slightly irritated when I read the 1st chapter which deals with the events before Henry started paying court to Anne. Not only does the author say that Catherine of Aragon was 5 years Henry's senior, when she was actually 6 but the author also states that Elizabeth 'Bessie' Blount was married when she conceived Henry's child. Bessie actually gave birth to Henry Fitzroy in 1519 and was not married until 1522 making it certain that the child was Henry's. These mistakes I was willing to overlook as I was still anxious to read on and get past the events that actually took place and get to the 'what if' part of the book.
As I read on, I became more and more exasperated by the stream of nonsensical sentences, spelling mistakes, bad grammar, constant contradictions, things just happening without cause or reasoning and general poor writing style. The word 'Act' seems to appear constantly capitalized, even when the same letters appear of the middle of words. For example on page 162, the word exact appears as exAct, which was annoying.
But I feel the nonsensical sentences and reoccurring contradictions really had me wondering if the book had been properly proof read before been sent to the publishers. For example when speaking about the fate of The Lady Mary, this sentence appears: 'Cromwell, previously a man without high regard for faith, felt a mix of both sadness and guilt for his feelings of joy at Mary's situation.'…..What!?! Either he was joyful or was feeling sad and guilty, make up your mind.
Also when talking about the end of the rebellion that was started by the commons in 1536, a sentence appears that has an obvious contradiction in it: 'After Mary's death, Henry took full advantage of his ability to go back on his word to the rebel leaders; he had them removed from their comfortable guest rooms at Whitehall palace and had them placed in the Tower where they had been languishing since their own arrest on bills of attainder two days after Mary's arrest.' So hold on a sec, they were 1st removed from Whitehall after Mary's death but then, all of a sudden, had been in the Tower since two days after her arrest? Right, okay then, that makes sense doesn't it?
Another thing that really did not add up was that at Christmas time in 1536, Henry announced to the court that Anne was once again pregnant, and you as the reader knew that she had been pregnant for a few months. But later on in the book, whilst dancing with her ladies in August 1537, almost a full 8 months after this announcement, she had a miscarriage and delivered a still born baby girl only a 'few month's old'. Again, I am confused at how the baby could have been so young in gestation when it is obvious that Anne would have most likely been full term at this point and all ready in her 'lying in' chamber.
These are a few of many annoyances that stole away my enthusiasm for the book. I would say if you are an avid reader, as I am, not to read this book as you will end up realising it was a complete waste of money, as I have.
This is a fantastic book for a first-time author. Ms Nuckols makes the characters come alive with a very readable writing style. It is obvious that she has done her research - I studied Elizabethan history in college and cannot find any flaws - and is actually excited about her topics, which is a far cry from what you get from some historian who merely bangs out a book to bring in a dollar or two.
The story is entirely plausible, and although I may have questioned what happens in the end (not going to spoil it for those of you who buy the book!), I can now see that given the times that this was set in, it may well have happened "Had the Queen Lived".
Buy this book if you are a (both real or alternative) history fan, or just enjoy a good read!