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Laura Andersen – The Boleyn Deceit

January 20, 2014

LibraryThing Early Reviewers102. 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.

This Review on LibraryThing | This Book on LibraryThing | This Book on Amazon

Other Reviews: Fashionista Piranha, S. Krishna’s Books
Have you reviewed this book? Leave a comment with the link and I’ll add it in.

First Line: “You will not tell me what I can and cannot do with my own son!”

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. January 20, 2014 12:42 pm

    I got SO burned out on Tudor fiction for a while there, but it might be time to start reading some again. I will add the first book to my wish list. :)

    • January 20, 2014 5:37 pm

      Kailana – It’s a good choice for burn-out relief, I think, since it uses the basic knowledge of the time period but gives you new characters to care about.

  2. January 20, 2014 1:30 pm

    I’ve never heard of this series before – It looks fantastic. I love the idea of being in Tudor England but an alternate history with a Boleyn son. I think I’m a bit burnt out on straight dramatizations of that period. Thanks!

    • January 20, 2014 5:38 pm

      Stephanie – It’s a really good conceit for an alternate history, and Andersen handles the various implications really well, I think.

  3. January 22, 2014 12:16 pm

    I loved The Boleyn King and The Boleyn Deceit is on my TBR pile. Many alternate history writers set their stories around the ‘what if the Spanish Armada had conquered England’ theme, but Laura Andersen is an entirely fresh approach.

    • January 22, 2014 6:58 pm

      Alison – I’ll admit that when I’m talking about being burnt out on the Tudors, I’m almost always talking about Henry VIII; I’ve read much less about Elizabeth.

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