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“A well-written account of the relationship that changed England so…Fans of Tudor tales will want to read [this book].”—Midwest Book Review
Frances Pierce is a simple, plain country girl who enters Lady Anne Boleyn’s circle after shielding her from an angry mob. Anne is beloved by King Henry VIII, and queen in all but name. And Henry is determined to put aside his wife Catherine, marry Anne, and mak her his lawful queen—no matter the consequences.
Frances delights Anne with her poetry and her forthright ways, and soon becomes a favorite. Dazzled by her new life and the glamour of the court, and besotted with Anne’s brother George, she pays scant attention to the intrigues that swirl around her mistress. But when the king’s favor shifts, Frances will learn just how quickly those who rise far and fast can meet their downfall.
“A remarkable story, rich in historical background.”—The Best Reviews
After 2005's heavy-handed The Spanish Bride: A Novel of Catherine of Aragon, Gardner's second entry in her wives of Henry VIII eyewitness series takes a more lighthearted look at the tragic Anne Boleyn. Queen Anne's rise and fall is recounted by her maid Frances Pierce, a country girl brought to court after her impulsive leap to protect the king's paramour from a flung handful of mud. As Frances stumbles her way through the life of a royal servant, encountering court intrigue and political upheaval, she becomes Anne's closest confidante, thanks largely to her sincere devotion and na ve lack of ambition. Seeing the world through Frances's rose-colored spectacles, Gardner remains sympathetic to this controversial queen and tells her tale lovingly all the way to its sad end. Readers looking for a lower-calorie Philippa Gregory will be pleased. With nothing particularly revelatory in the historical backdrop, the novel is free to concentrate on characterization and romance, with agreeable results.