Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Doomed Queen Anne: Carolyn Meyer

After reading Beware Princess Elizabeth and loving it, I went to my favorite used book store and bought two more books from The Young Royals series. Carolyn Meyer has written four novels in The Young Royals series, each about a different notorious woman in King Henry VIII's court. These are young adult novels, written as historical fiction. Each novel is narrated with the youthful tone of their title character. Blending historical accuracy with all of the emotional teen drama we expect from young adult fiction, Meyer has created a special voice in her writing that makes centuries-old royalty seem as accessible as the girl next door.

If King Henry VIII is the most memorable King in English history, certainly Anne Boleyn is the most memorable Queen. Her life story has been told and retold so many times that the truth seems unobtainable. The younger sister of one Henry's many mistresses, Anne Boleyn has long been accused and suspected of being motivated not by love, but by aspirations of royalty. Her rise to--and subsequent fall from--royalty was aided by family members with political agendas. There are some historians who question if Anne loved her king at all. Meyer writes about Anne with more honesty than you will see in the movies by illustrating her physical flaws and her emotional insecurity. In this novel Anne is not a confident, manipulative femme fatale, but a young woman with a girlish crush on her king. As she gets closer to Henry, she narrates her fear of his temper. Her frequent blushes and flusters give her a sense of propriety not often associated with Queen Anne.

Despite it not being a new story to me, I was riveted by this telling of Queen Anne. I love Carolyn Meyer's writing and how accessible she has made the Tudor history.

Rating: $$$


  1. I think Queen Elizabeth would give you a royal backhand for regarding her mother as more famous than she. ;-)

  2. Not famous, memorable. Queen Elizabeth I certainly had the most to offer and with her long reign, she was an amazing royal. But Anne convinced the king to become the head of the church of England. She convinced him to have his marriage annulled--something never previously done. And then she went and got herself beheaded. See? Memorable.