Anne Boleyn’s tragic death and dramatic life — including her marriages, sibling relationships, alleged crimes, and subsequent martyrdom — have cemented her place as a notorious historical figure. From biographies to movie adaptations, Boleyn’s life still fascinates us to this day. If you’re someone who loves to read about this controversial queen, check out the novels below, complete with publishers’ descriptions.
The Boleyn King by Laura Andersen
Perfect for fans of Philippa Gregory, Alison Weir, and Showtime’s The Tudors, The Boleyn King is the first book in an enthralling trilogy that dares to imagine: What if Anne Boleyn had actually given Henry VIII a son who grew up to be king?
Just 17-years-old, Henry IX, known as William, is a king bound by the restraints of the regency yet anxious to prove himself. With the French threatening battle and the Catholics sowing the seeds of rebellion at home, William trusts only three people: his older sister Elizabeth; his best friend and loyal counselor, Dominic; and Minuette, a young orphan raised as a royal ward by William’s mother, Anne Boleyn.
Against a tide of secrets, betrayal, and murder, William finds himself fighting for the very soul of his kingdom. Then, when he and Dominic both fall in love with Minuette, romantic obsession looms over a new generation of Tudors. One among them will pay the price for a king’s desire, as a shocking twist of fate changes England’s fortunes forever.
Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel
The sequel to Hilary Mantel’s 2009 Man Booker Prize winner and New York Times bestseller, Wolf Hall delves into the heart of Tudor history with the downfall of Anne Boleyn.
Though he battled for seven years to marry her, Henry is disenchanted with Anne Boleyn. She has failed to give him a son and her sharp intelligence and audacious will alienate his old friends and the noble families of England. When the discarded Katherine dies in exile from the court, Anne stands starkly exposed, the focus of gossip and malice.
At a word from Henry, Thomas Cromwell is ready to bring her down. Over three terrifying weeks, Anne is ensnared in a web of conspiracy, while the demure Jane Seymour stands waiting her turn for the poisoned wedding ring. But Anne and her powerful family will not yield without a ferocious struggle. Hilary Mantel’s Bring Up the Bodies follows the dramatic trial of the queen and her suitors for adultery and treason. To defeat the Boleyns, Cromwell must ally with his natural enemies, the papist aristocracy. What price will he pay for Anne’s head?
Mademoiselle Boleyn by Robin Maxwell
When her father is assigned the task of spying on the French Court, the charming and sweetly innocent Anne Boleyn is delighted by the thought of a new adventure. And she is not to be disappointed, for her beautiful sister, Mary, has been handed a mission: to let herself be seduced by the King of France in order to uncover his secrets.
Mesmerized by the thrilling passion, intrigue, and betrayal that unfolds, Anne discovers the power of being a woman who catches the eye of a powerful king. And, as she grows into a beautiful young woman, she undergoes her own sexual awakening, each daring exploit taking her one step closer to the life that is her destiny.
The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory
The #1 New York Times bestseller from “the queen of royal fiction” (USA TODAY) Philippa Gregory is a rich, compelling novel of love, sex, ambition, and intrigue surrounding the Tudor court of Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn, and the infamous Boleyn family.
When Mary Boleyn comes to court as an innocent girl of 14, she catches the eye of the handsome and charming Henry VIII. Dazzled by the king, Mary falls in love with both her golden prince and her growing role as unofficial queen. However, she soon realizes just how much she is a pawn in her family’s ambitious plots as the king’s interest begins to wane, and soon she is forced to step aside for her best friend and rival: her sister, Anne. With her own destiny suddenly unknown, Mary realizes that she must defy her family and take fate into her own hands.
With more than one million copies in print and adapted for the big screen, The Other Boleyn Girl is a riveting historical drama. It brings to light a woman of extraordinary determination and desire who lived at the heart of the most exciting and glamorous court in Europe, and survived a treacherous political landscape by following her heart.
The Autobiography of Henry VIII by Margaret George
The Autobiography of Henry VIII is the magnificent historical novel that established Margaret George’s career. Evocatively written in the first person as Henry VIII’s private journals, the novel was the product of 15 years of meticulous research and five handwritten drafts.
Much has been written about the mighty, egotistical Henry VIII: the man who dismantled the Church because it would not grant him the divorce he wanted; who married six women and beheaded two of them; who executed his friend Thomas More; who sacked the monasteries; who longed for a son and neglected his daughters, Mary and Elizabeth; who finally grew fat, disease-ridden, dissolute.
Now, in her magnificent work of storytelling and imagination Margaret George bring us Henry VIII’s story as he himself might have told it, in memoirs interspersed with irreverent comments from his jester and confident, Will Somers. Brilliantly combining history, wit, dramatic narrative, and an extraordinary grasp of the pleasures and perils of power, this monumental novel shows us Henry the man more vividly than he has ever been seen before.
The Last Boleyn by Karen Harper
She survived her own innocence, and the treachery of Europe’s royal courts.
Greed, lust for power, sex, lies, secret marriages, religious posturing, adultery, beheadings, international intrigue, jealousy, treachery, love, loyalty, and betrayal. The Last Boleyn tells the story of the rise and fall of the Boleyns, one of England’s most powerful families, through the eyes of the eldest daughter, Mary.
Although her sister, Anne, the queen; her brother, George, executed alongside Anne; and her father, Thomas, are most remembered by history, Mary was the Boleyn who set into motion the chain of events that brought about the family’s meteoric rise to power, as well as the one who managed to escape their equally remarkable fall. Sent away to France at an extraordinarily young age, Mary is quickly plunged into the dangerous world of court politics, where everything is beautiful but deceptive, and everyone she meets is watching and quietly manipulating the events and people around them. As she grows into a woman, Mary must navigate both the dangerous waters ruled by two kings and the powerful will of her own family in order to find a place for herself and the love she so deeply desires.
The Dark Rose by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles
1501: The turbulence of Henry VIII’s reign brings passion and pain to the Morlands as they achieve ever greater wealth and prestige.
Paul, great-grandsom of Elanor Morland, has inherited the Morland estates, and his own Amyas is set to be his heir. But Paul fathers a beloved illigitimate son, and bitter jealousy causes a destructive rift between the two half-brothers which will lead to death. Paul’s niece, Nanette, becomes a maid-in-waiting to Anne Bolyen, and at the court of Henry VIII she becomes embroiled in the King’s bitter feud with Rome.
Through birth and death, love and hatred, triumph and heartbreak, the Morlands continue proudly to claim their place amongst England’s aristocracy.
Brief Gaudy Hour by Margaret Campbell Barnes
The enigmatic Anne Boleyn comes to life in this charming, brilliant portrayal by acclaimed British novelist Margaret Campbell Barnes.
The infamous love of King Henry VIII and the mother of Queen Elizabeth I, Anne Boleyn undertook a rocky journey from innocent courtier to powerful Queen of England. A meticulous researcher, Margaret Campbell Barnes immerses readers in this intrigue and in the lush, glittery world of the Tudor Court. The beauty and charms of Anne Boleyn bewitched the most powerful man in the world, King Henry VIII, but her resourcefulness and cleverness were not enough to stop the malice of her enemies. Her swift rise to power quickly became her own undoing.
The author brings to light Boleyn’s humanity and courage, giving an intimate look at a young woman struggling to find her own way in a world dominated by men and adversaries.
The Concubine by Norah Lofts
Acclaimed and beloved historical novelist Norah Lofts brings to life the danger, romance, and intrigue of the Tudor court that forever altered the course of English history.
The king first noticed Anne Boleyn as a heartbroken 16-year-old, sullen and beautiful after a thwarted romance with the son of the Earl of Northumberland. “All eyes and hair,” a courtier had said disparagingly of her, but when King Henry VIII fell for young Anne, nothing could keep him from what he desired. Against common sense and the urgings of his most trusted advisors, Henry defied all, blindly following his passion for Anne, using the power he held over the bodies and souls of all who reside in his realm and beyond. Anne’s ascent to the throne elevates her from lady-in-waiting to the highest position a woman could attain, but her life spirals out of control when Henry is driven to desperate acts of betrayal and violence. The consequences of Anne’s rise to power and eventual demise are felt well beyond the inner circle of the court. Loyalties, to church, to queen, to country, are tested, and — in the wake of the king’s volatile passions — can be an unpredictable matter of life and death.
Anne Boleyn by Evelyn Anthony
Set against the intrigue and pageantry of the 16th-century English court, Evelyn Anthony’s novel tells the love story of Henry Tudor and Anne Boleyn, who would become his wife, his queen, and the mother of one of Britain’s greatest monarchs.
On a lovely midsummer afternoon, Henry Tudor rides to Hever Castle. There, he feasts his eyes on Anne Boleyn, who caught his roving attention at court a few months earlier. Anne is in no mood to receive her king. He has torn from her the one man she loved: Harry Percy, who was forced to marry another. But King Henry VIII is not a man who gives up — the thrill of the chase only excites him more. Yet the woman he desires so passionately is no fool. Educated at the French court, Anne vows that she will not share the fate of her naïve younger sister, Mary, who after bearing Henry a bastard son was cast away and married off to a country squire. No, Anne will settle for nothing less than the crown of England, even if Henry has to break with Rome in order to marry her.
History comes thrillingly alive in a novel that features a teeming canvas of iconic real-life characters: Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, the enemy Anne vows to destroy; Henry’s first wife, the proud and pious Queen Catherine of Aragon; and Thomas Cromwell, who engineers Anne’s downfall. From the halcyon early days of courtship to her imprisonment in the palace tower for treason, this is a tale of love, ambition, and the tragic destiny of Anne of the Thousand Days.
The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn by Robin Maxwell
In this “energetic” (Kirkus Reviews) re-creation of Anne Boleyn’s tragic life — and death — Robin Maxwell offers a pitch-perfect version of a bawdy and exuberant time filled with lust, betrayal, love, and murder.
When the young Queen Elizabeth I is entrusted with Anne Boleyn’s secret diary, she discovers a great deal about the much-maligned mother she never knew. And on learning the truth about her lascivious and despotic father, Henry VIII, she vows never to relinquish control to any man. But this avowal doesn’t prevent Elizabeth from pursuing a torrid love affair with her horsemaster, Robin Dudley — described with near-shocking candor — as too are Anne’s graphic trysts with a very persistent and lustful Henry. Blending a historian’s attention to accuracy with a novelist’s artful rendering, Maxwell weaves compelling descriptions of court life and devastating portraits of actual people into her naughty, page-turning tale. The result is a masterpiece of historical fiction — so prophetic of our time that one would think it were ripped from today’s headlines.
Murder Most Royal by Jean Plaidy
One powerful king. Two tragic queens.
In the court of Henry VIII, it was dangerous for a woman to catch the king’s eye. Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard were cousins. Both were beautiful women, though very different in temperament. They each learned that Henry’s passion was all-consuming — and fickle.
Sophisticated Anne Boleyn, raised in the decadent court of France, was in love with another man when King Henry claimed her as his own. Being his mistress gave her a position of power; being his queen put her life in jeopardy. Her younger cousin, Catherine Howard, was only 15 when she was swept into the circle of King Henry. Her innocence attracted him, but a past mistake was destined to haunt her.
Painted in the rich colors of Tudor England, Murder Most Royal is a page-turning journey into the lives of two of the wives of the tempestuous Henry VIII.
At the Mercy of the Queen by Anne Clinard Barnhill
A sweeping tale of sexual seduction and intrigue at the court of Henry VIII, At the Mercy of the Queen is a rich and dramatic debut about Madge Shelton, cousin and lady-in-waiting to Anne Boleyn.
At the innocent age of 15, Lady Margaret Shelton arrives at the court of Henry VIII and quickly becomes the confidante of her cousin, Queen Anne Boleyn. But she soon finds herself drawn into the perilous web of Anne’s ambition.
Desperate to hold onto the king’s waning affection, Anne schemes to have him take her guileless young cousin as mistress, ensuring her husband’s new paramour will owe her loyalty to the queen. But Margaret has fallen deeply in love with a handsome young courtier. She is faced with a terrible dilemma: give herself to the king and betray the love of her life or refuse to become his mistress and jeopardize the life of the her cousin, Queen Anne.
Anne Boleyn, A King’s Obsession by Alison Weir
The story of Henry VIII’s second and most infamous wife, Anne Boleyn, unfolds in the second novel of Alison Weir’s epic Six Tudor Queens series, which began with Katherine of Aragon, The True Queen.
Release date: May 16, 2017
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