Wednesday, April 7, 2010

British Reviews of The Tudor Wife by Emily Purdy

From the Lancashire Evening Post:
The Tudor Wife by Emily Purdy
Review by Pam Norfolk

The charismatic court of Henry VIII is no place for a social misfit like plain Jane Parker...
But the marriage stakes are high in Tudor times and being the sole heiress to a vast fortune opens unexpected doors.

Awkward and shy, Lady Jane sets her sights on George Boleyn, one of the king's most handsome and glamorous courtiers, little knowing that his notorious sister, Anne, will become her nemesis.

Purdy's peep behind the scenes of the raunchy Tudors combines intimate and intricate historical detail with all the passion, power and perils of this intriguing family.

Through the eyes of the vitriolic but doomed Jane Parker, better known in the history books as Lady Rochford, we witness the royal love affairs, scandals – and executions – which came to define Henry's tumultuous reign.

Jane's time at court as a lady-in-waiting encompasses five of Henry's six wives; it is a period of extreme volatility when the king will stop at nothing to produce a male heir.

Overjoyed that her father has agreed to her marriage to George, Jane's joy is short-lived when she visits the Boleyn home at Hever Castle in Kent and meets his sister Anne...

Like Jane, with her beak-like nose and angular body, Anne is no classical beauty – her skin is too sallow and her eyes too prominent – but she has a voice like velvet, a sparkling wit, a body as slender as a reed and men fall at her feet.

Unfortunately, that includes George whose honeyed tones for his 'special' sister spark a bitter jealousy and resentment in Jane that can only lead to revenge, madness and death.

At court, Anne's charms attract suitors like moths to a flame and when the king himself is inexorably drawn into her circle of light and fire, the die is cast.

Becoming Henry's queen makes Anne the most powerful woman in England but it also makes her vulnerable because unless she can give him an heir, her attractions will soon fade.

So when Anne fails to produce a son and Henry starts to tire of his mercurial wife, the stage is set for Jane to commit the ultimate act of betrayal...

Purdy's tale is up-close and personal ... from court fashion to court passion – with a capital P – it's all here!
A new slant on the scintillating sagas of those terrible Tudors.

(Avon, paperback, £6.99)

History Book of the Month...

A lustful king. A thirst for power. The terrible price of revenge! When we meet the shy, plain Lady Jane Parker, she feels out of place in Henry VIII's court, which is filled with glamour and intrigue. Then she meets the handsome George Boleyn and becomes overjoyed when her father arranges a match! until she meets Anne. George Boleyn is completely devoted to his sister Anne; and as Anne's circle of admirers grows, so does Jane's resentment. Becoming Henry's queen makes Anne the most powerful woman in England; but it also makes her vulnerable, as the King is desperate for an heir. When he begins to tire of his mercurial wife, the stage is set for the ultimate betrayal! Encompassing the reigns of four of Henry's wives, from the doomed Anne to the reckless Katherine Howard, The Boleyn Wife is an unforgettable story of ambition, lust, and jealousy.

Stunningly good historical drama, set in the court of Henry VIII and centred on the life of Lady Jane Parker, wife to George Boleyn, Anne's brother - all the intrigues, mischiefs and mysteries of the Tudor court are laid bare in this thrilling, very well-written account of how Anne, George and Henry controlled and infleunced the lives of so many people during this most turbulent time in Britain's history. Emily Purdy covers ground already covered by such brilliant historical writers as Philippa Gregory, but from a slightly different perspective, and the language is different; possibly because Ms Purdy is an American, I'm not sure. It already has the authority of Gregory and it's a fantastic debut novel, a terrific read. I hope there's more to come, and soon!

Please note The Tudor Wife by Emily Purdy is published in the USA as The Boleyn Wife by Brandy Purdy.

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