When I saw The Boleyn King on Netgalley I was instantly intrigued. What if Anne Boleyn’s son had not died and became the heir to the throne behind his father Henry VIII? Would Anne have met her fate at Tower Green or would she live to raise the future King of England?
There is a lot to like about this book. Henry VIII has died and William is the king. However, he doesn’t have the full power of the throne until his 18th birthday. His strongest supporter is his sister, Elizabeth. But he also has trusted friends Dominic and Minuette (whose own mother served as a lady to Anne Boleyn.) And, yes, Anne is still around and a cause for friction with William’s half-sister, Mary, and her strong Catholic supporters.
It took me a long time to read The Boleyn King (May 25-July 5). Given the size, I should have read it in a couple of days. The problem was that the first half didn’t hold my attention. I was enjoying the story and each night I would pull it up on my Kindle app but then I’d read a page or two and get sidetracked. I would play Temple Run or pick up another book. The next night, I’d remind myself that I did like the story; so, I would start reading and the same thing would happen. However, once I got past 50%, my reading pace really picked up.
My favorite parts of The Boleyn King focused on the friendship between the four main characters. Can you imagine being friends with the King of England? Minuette and Dominic are trusted but they know that they have to watch their words and actions. Even Elizabeth, his sister, is careful not to overstep her bounds.
Of course, there is a conspiracy at play – apparently there is a rumored affidavit that states that William isn’t Henry’s son but actually is George’s son. This has been the basis of many of the Boleyn stories – after all, in the ‘real’ world both Anne and George were convicted of treasonous adultery and beheaded. (The evidence appears to be arguable but history shows that Henry didn’t really care about those details.) For this story, most everyone seems to believe that William is actually Henry’s son but it will be interesting to see how the trilogy plays out.
The love triangle wasn’t one of my favorite plot points. I don’t think it’s a spoiler as I saw it coming from almost the first chapter. Both William and Dominic find themselves in love with Minuette. Dominic probably truly in love and William, I am guessing, is just infatuated. I hope that this isn’t the focus of the next book and that it works itself out quickly without any beheadings.
A good start to a new series and I will definitely read the next installment. 4/5 stars. Thank you to the publisher for providing an ARC through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.