Laura Andersen – The Boleyn Deceit
102. The Boleyn Deceit by Laura Andersen (2013)
Anne Boleyn Trilogy, Book 2
Read my review of book:
1. The Boleyn King
Length: 388 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction; Alternate History
Started: 27 December 2013
Finished: 30 December 2013
Where did it come from? LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Why do I have it? I really, really enjoyed the first book.
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 18 October 2013.
Having the King fall
in love with you is not as
fun as you might think.
Summary: In this alternate history, Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn’s son, William, is past his regency and is now King of England in his own right. His court is filled with conflicting factions, unrest involving the religious strife between Protestants and Catholics, and webs of intrigue spun by his own advisors. William therefore only trusts a few people: his sister Elizabeth, his best friend and closest advisor, Dominic, and Minuette, a ward of his mother. The four of them grew up together, but their new roles, responsibilities, and secrets threaten to tear them apart. Dominic and Minuette had only recently admitted their feelings for each other when William falls for his childhood friend as well. Minuette can’t very well say no to the king, and she doesn’t want to break the heart of her friend, who she does love in his own way, even though she yearns to be with Dominic. But as is the case with royalty, William’s affairs of the heart have political as well as personal ramifications, and his interests in Minuette have jeopardized his engagement to the French princess, and made Minuette a target for those who might use her in a plot against the king.
Review: This book, like its predecessor, was on the whole really enjoyable. Andersen does a lot of things really well, that all contribute to an interesting, compelling, and easy-to-read novel. Her characters are really well built, with interesting takes on the historical figures (Elizabeth and Mary, mostly), and wonderful invented characters. I also think she does a great job balancing the personal and the political sides of the story. The William-Minuette-Dominic love triangle could get extremely soapy if that was the entire focus of the book, but by also emphasizing how those relationships affect the course of the entire country, it keeps the novel from being entirely a scandalous romance. (The converse is also true; I tend to find books that are 100% political scheming kind of dry, so including the love story – especially the hidden/forbidden love between two such appealing characters as Minuette and Dominic – made the book much more fun to read.) I still (and maybe will always) have a hard time keeping all of the various noblemen and courtiers and titles and family relationships straight, but Andersen explains things well enough that I could follow along with the various plots as they unfolded, while still leaving some things mysterious.
The major problem I had with this book is not actually a problem with the book itself, but more with my issues with the Tudors. I’ve mentioned this before, but I get burnt out on the Tudors pretty easily. And the reason is that I have a very low tolerance for Henry VIII and his “I’m king and therefore I can do whatever I damn well please” attitude. In this book, now that William is legitimately king, he is starting to act like his father in ways, and adopting that attitude more and more. And while I acknowledge that it’s a totally legitimate character choice – William is his father’s son – it made me grit my teeth a little every time he started acting like it. But overall, I still really enjoyed the book, and am definitely looking forward to the third installment in the series. 4 out of 5 stars.
Recommendation: Not at all a standalone; this book makes frequent reference to the events of the first book in the series (not to mention that readers wouldn’t know who all of these people were without reading The Boleyn King first). But the series is definitely recommended for fans of Tudor dynasty fiction, or historical fiction about royal intrigue more generally.
First Line: “You will not tell me what I can and cannot do with my own son!”
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