After reading The Kiss of the Concubine by Judith Arnopp, I felt I had a different view of what Anne Boleyn’s life must have been like. The story of Anne Boleyn has fascinated me since school history lessons and Judith tells this beautifully evocative story in the first person, weaving Anne’s thoughts skilfully with known facts from the time.
It is a wonderful chance to imagine what it must have been like at the Tudor court and how she might have felt about her family and the then very dashing King Henry. Her daughter, Elizabeth, who went on to be one of England’s greatest queens, is much loved in this story, but the marriage was always about a son, an heir and a future king.
From Anne’s viewpoint in this story I feel she must have loved Henry and was terribly saddened about not being able to give him what he wanted most. A son.
Of course the story doesn’t have a happy ending, but Judith leads us up to those last days and shows a very calm woman, accepting of her fate. I could imagine how she must have felt as she returned to The Tower, to the rooms she’d occupied prior to her coronation, but this time through Traitors Gate.
I felt her unease as she lived in comfort, but watched the scaffold being erected for her own execution? Only last week I stood looking down on the green where the execution was believed to have taken place and The Kiss of the Concubine was very much in my mind.
Despite the known unhappy ending of this story, Judith created one which leaves the reader with hope that Anne was at last at peace and is well worth reading.
Next month Jay Bartlett has chosen The School Gate Survival Guide by Kerry Fisher and I’m really looking forward to reading this. Reviews can be found here and if you’d like to join us and talk about the book that would be wonderful.