The Virgin’s War by Laura Andersen

The Virgin's WarTitle: The Virgin’s War
Author: Laura Andersen
Series: The Tudor Legacy
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Published: July 12th, 2016
Rating: ★★★★★ (5 out of 5) Continue reading

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Review: The Boleyn Reckoning by Laura Andersen

Title: The Boleyn Reckoning
Author: Laura Andersen
Series: The Boleyn Trilogy
Rating: ★★★★★

The Boleyn Reckoning

Okay.

Deep Breath.

Okay.

I’ve had a little while to compose myself, and I thought sleeping on it would make the jumble of thoughts in my head make sense. But I woke up just as jumbled and happy and sad and emotional as I fell asleep. I knew going into The Boleyn Reckoning that my heart was going to get crushed. There were too many possible ways for things to go wrong and only a few ways for things to go right. I thought I was prepared. I don’t think I’ve ever been so wrong.

Dominic and Minuette are married. William doesn’t know; he still believes he’s betrothed to Minuette, despite her commoner birth. William has just survived the smallpox, but it’s left him physically and emotionally scarred. Elizabeth is feeling the tensions rise along the Catholic and Protestant division in England and she knows there’s only so much time before something snaps.

I continue to love Minuette, although her character undergoes a major transformation in this novel. She is used to be the lighthearted one of the group, the one that provides happiness to everyone else. Her happiness comes second to her friends. She’d do whatever necessary to make the lives of her friends easier. In the past, this only meant being there and providing light. In this novel, it means burying pieces of herself, making her nearly unrecognizable to her friends. She becomes hardened by life, and even though pieces of the old Minuette are there, she’s forever changed by the events of the novel.

Dominic is still one of my favorite characters. He’s loyal, even to the end. His one act of disloyalty is marrying Minuette, but I can hardly fault him for doing what his heart wanted him to do. Loyalty to Minuette won out over loyalty to William in that moment. Yet, through the rest of the novel, he remains focused on supporting William and being the friend William needs.

William. Oh, William. Being King has changed him, and not for the better. The power and paranoia has gone to his head. He gets rid of every threat, whether it is necessary or not. He is more vengeful than in the past. But he’s also hurting. The three friends he thought he could count on forever-Minuette, Dominic, and Elizabeth-have betrayed his trust in different ways. He feels isolated and alone, without the support he depended on to rule fairly.

Elizabeth really finds her power in this novel. She’s always been a strong woman, but she has to take even more control in this novel. She has to decide which she loves more, her brother or her country. She’s forced to take actions that go against William, but will serve the country better. But through it all, she wants to remain friends with Minuette, As Minuette rises higher and higher within the court, it’s clear Elizabeth is mourning the loss of a friend. They are still around each other, but Minuette has become protective of herself, and that ends up blocking Elizabeth from being close.

The plot of the novel had me tense. I actually snapped at people when they tried to talk to me. I had to know what was going to happen. Tensions were so high and William had become so mad with power that I was almost afraid to but the novel down. I was anxious and I cried. I had to set the book down and take some deep breaths. I even screamed into a pillow at one point. I was on edge up until the last pages. And I loved it.

I am going to miss Minuette, Dominic, Elizabeth, and William more than I can put into words. This is the first alternate history series that I wish had been more true than not. I was so invested in these characters that it’s hurting a little to say goodbye right now. This is a series that is a definite must read for anyone who loves history, but also likes to ask What if? I loved this series and can’t wait to read more from Andersen.

If you’d like to read The Boleyn Reckoning, you can purchase it here:
Amazon
Audible
Barnes and Noble
IndieBound

Thank you to NetGalley, Ballantine Books, and Laura Andersen for advanced copies of the novel in exchange for an honest review.

 

Review: The Boleyn Deceit by Laura Andersen

Title: The Boleyn Deceit
Author: Laura Andersen
Series: The Boleyn Trilogy
Rating:
 ★★★★★

If a book is good, it makes me feel a lot of emotions. If a book is amazing, it makes me feel too many emotions and I end up face-first on the floor because the emotions take over and I can’t function. The Boleyn Deceit had me on the floor, unable to figure out what to do with my emotions and wondering why history wasn’t Andersen’s books.

The Boleyn Deceit follows shortly after The Boleyn King. Minuette and Dominic are in love, but William has his heart set on Minuette. Elizabeth is wishing she could admit her feelings for Robert Dudley without repercussions. Minuette is still searching for the person behind the death of her friend, and is becoming the center of rumors and death threats. All the drama and intrigue of the Tudor court is there and it’s hard to believe this isn’t how history happened.

Elizabeth is the same, stubborn, strong, determined woman in this series as she is written in the history books. She is levelheaded most of the time, but both she and William have the Tudor temper to deal with at times. Dominic is calm, controlled, and rational. Minuette is innocent, but not as naive as others believe. She may not be as experienced in the darker side of court life, but that doesn’t mean she can’t play the game.

The dynamic between these four has changed from the first novel. In the beginning, the weight of responsibilities didn’t weigh so heavy on them. They were never carefree, but they were able to forget their troubles, if only for a little while, and just be friends. William looked to these three to be his support, to always tell him the truth because they are the only ones he trusts. In The Boleyn Deceit, secrets have changed their relationships and even though they say they still trust each other completely, William becoming king means that is not always true. As William adjusts to being king, his relationships become more about usefulness and that in turn changes the relationships between the close four.

The weaving of the deception and trickery is so fantastic that just when I thought everything had been revealed, Andersen adds another twist that fits to perfectly that I couldn’t believe I didn’t see it coming. There are layers of deceit and just as one knot unravels, another forms. It’s deliciously tangled and I love it.

The Boleyn Deceit is a novel just as amazing and breathtaking as any story from history. Andersen has created characters and plots that are so perfectly in tune with the period that I forget I’m reading an alternate history novel. I’m a huge history buff and while I contemplate how things would have turned out if one thing were changed in the story, I’m usually sticking with the facts. Andersen makes me wish this is how everything turned out. Her writing and story are so perfect that for once, I want to change history. The Boleyn Reckoning cannot get here soon enough.

If The Boleyn Deceit sounds like your kind of novel, you can purchase it here:
Amazon
Audible
Barnes and Noble
IndieBound

Thank you to Random House publishers and NetGalley for an advanced copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.

Review: The Boleyn King by Laura Andersen

Title: The Boleyn King
Author: Laura Anderson
Series: The Boleyn Trilogy
Pages: 368 pages paperback/ebook, 386 pages Kindle
Rating: ★★★★★

Okay. So. Alternate history. I wasn’t sure about this. I’m a huge history buff. As I write this review, the History Channel is on in the background and they’re talking about the founding fathers. Not only do I love history, but Tudor history is a time that fascinates me. Every person had a part, even the women (even though they were severely underestimated) and the fact that a country and religion was turned upside down because of a few select people amazes me. Writing a rewrite of that history could either be one of the best things I’ve read or one of the worst.

I am over the moon that The Boleyn King awed me. The way Anderson has crafted her story makes it feel as though this really could be the true history. She could have easily made the characters fit the better moral standards we have now, but it would not have felt authentic. The drama is there, both in the court and with France, and Anderson has done an extraordinary job of imagining how the past could have been dramatically different. With one change, so much potential was unleashed and Anderson took full advantage.

The story is written mostly in 3rd person from four points of view; Minuette, Dominic, Elizabeth, and William. Minuette is an orphan born on the same day and William and grows up as a part of his and Elizabeth’s lives. She is fortunate and knows it, but never takes advantage. Dominic is the best friend of Will and always speaks his mind when others would lie to the king. William knows he needs that and trusts Dominic more than nearly everyone else in his household. Elizabeth is the dutiful princess wishing for something a little more free. She knows her role, but that doesn’t stop her from dreaming of having choices.

These four have grown up together and their friendships create a fantastic story. I cared for every single one of them and the dynamic between all these characters unfolded wonderfully. Will and Elizabeth had their moments of being royal, and then a few pages later they are just people with their friends. Minuette and Dominic are able to speak more freely with the royals than most and that creates a special kind of tension and jealousy within the court.

The Boleyn King drew me in on the first page and it only got better from there. It’s not hard to picture this as a history book instead of a fiction novel and that is what I love most about it. Anderson completely convinced me of this alternate history and waiting for the next book is going to be its own form of torture.

If The Boleyn King sounds like your kind of book, you can purchase it here:
Barnes and Noble
Amazon
IndieBound

Thank you to Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine and NetGalley for an advanced copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.