Search This Blog

Sunday, May 11, 2008

A Lady Raised High

Gardner, Laurien. A Lady Raised High.

6 word synopsis: Henry disposes of Catherine and Anne.

We all know how this story begins and ends. In fact, we know most of the basic information along the way because Henry is still infamous for having had six wives: "Divorced, beheaded, died/ Divorced, beheaded, survived."

Yet his relationship with Anne Boleyn still fascinates. Actually, this novel is ostensibly about Frances Pierce, who becomes one of Anne's ladies and remains with her until the execution. Because of Frances' position in the court, her story is entangled with Anne --and with Anne's friends and enemies; so while Frances tells her story, she is also recording Anne's rise and fall.

For those unfamiliar with some of the political dynamics of this historical event, there is much information interwoven with Frances' story, but the novel lacks narrative weight and the characterization isn't as strong as it could be. My favorite novel about Anne is still Brief Gaudy Hour.

Fiction. Historical fiction. 2006. 284 pages.


  1. I have been meaning to read the three books that were published under this author name for so long. One day!

  2. Marg - I'm snowed under with that "one day" feeling myself

  3. I'd forgotten about 'Brief Gaudy Hour' but you're right, it's really good. I think most of what I know about Anne Boleyn came from there.

  4. Why is it that people are so facinated with Anne Boleyn?? I've read few books myself, and I think of all his wives, she was the most colorful. Scary, actually. I haven't heard of this book, but now I think I have to read it!!

  5. Ann - I think I'm going to try to find a copy of Brief Gaudy Hour -- it has been years and years since I read it. However, I did read it several times way back then! It is the best novel I've ever read about Ann.

    Stephanie - She was definitely the most colorful! Although I feel sorry for all of them...

  6. I am a huge fan of "The Tudors" on Showtime (as a first time commenter, I hope I do not offend by mentioning television!) and have read some novels by Phillipa Gregory about the time period. Yes, Anne Boleyn does still fascinate. I have not heard of the books mentioned but look forward to reading them.

  7. merrymary - I haven't watched The Tudors, but can understand the appeal. I wouldn't have wanted to live back then...too much intrigue, too risky, but certainly fascinating!