The Lady in the Tower: The Fall of Anne Boleyn by Alison Weir

The Lady in the Tower: The Fall of Anne Boleyn
Author: Alison Weir
Genre: Nonfiction, History, Biography
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Release Date: 2010
Pages: 464
Source: My State Public Library
Synopsis: Nearly five hundred years after her violent death, Anne Boleyn, second wife to Henry VIII, remains one of the world's most fascinating, controversial, and tragic heroines. Now acclaimed historian and bestselling author Alison Weir has drawn on myriad sources from the Tudor era to give us the first book that examines, in unprecedented depth, the gripping, dark, and chilling story of Anne Boleyn's final days.

     The tempestuous love affair between Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn scandalized Christendom and altered forever the religious landscape of England. Anne's ascent from private gentlewoman to queen was astonishing, but equally compelling was her shockingly swift downfall. Charged with high treason and imprisoned in the Tower of London in May 1536, Anne met her terrible end all the while protesting her innocence. There remains, however, much mystery surrounding the queen's arrest and the events leading up to it: Were charges against her fabricated because she stood in the way of Henry VIII making a third marriage and siring an heir, or was she the victim of a more complex plot fueled by court politics and deadly rivalry?

    The Lady in the Tower examines in engrossing detail the motives and intrigues of those who helped to seal the queen's fate. Weir unravels the tragic tale of Anne's fall, from her miscarriage of the son who would have saved her to the horrors of her incarceration and that final, dramatic scene on the scaffold. What emerges is an extraordinary portrayal of a woman of great courage whose enemies were bent on utterly destroying her, and who was tested to the extreme by the terrible plight in which she found herself. 

    Richly researched and utterly captivating, The Lady in the Tower presents the full array of evidence of Anne Boleyn's guilt—or innocence. Only in Alison Weir's capable hands can readers learn the truth about the fate of one of the most influential and important women in English history.

     My Review: Anne Boleyn was the first queen of England to be executed. Her fall attracts many to her story. We have asked the question, how could Anne’s downfall happen so suddenly after she married Henry VIII. Alison Weir attempts to answer the questions by examining Anne’s final days. In The Lady of the Tower, Mrs. Weir claims that Anne was framed. Her influence over the king caused her enemies to plot against her. They arranged a political coup in order to bring about her downfall.

   Mrs. Weir shows us a balanced but sympathetic view of Anne. Anne has her flaws. Her flirtatious manner has given her enemies the opportunity to bring about her downfall. However, Anne was unjustly killed. Her enemies framed her to get rid of Anne. Henry also wanted to be free of Anne so that he could marry the young Jane Seymour. He wanted the court to announce a guilty verdict. Evidence of this is the fact that he summoned Anne’s executioner before the court pronounced Anne guilty. Mrs. Weir also admires Anne’s courage. Anne bravely defends herself against her enemies. Even her enemies were impressed with her. Anne also dies with the grace of a queen.

  Overall, The Lady in the Tower is a nonfiction book that reads like a gripping thriller. It begins with Anne’s miscarriage to the chilling and dramatic moment when Anne is on the scaffold. The false charges that Anne was accused of shows Anne as a scapegoat. There were some new  and shocking information that I learned from The Lady in Tower. For instance, the gruesome fact that Anne may still have been conscious for a few seconds after her decapitation chilled me to the bone. Even though it is a thick book, it is very fast-paced and it was hard for me to put down. The only thing that slowed down the pace of The Lady in the Tower was after Anne’s death when it discussed what happened to each person that was involved in Anne’s downfall. This book is obviously written for those who knows Anne’s story. It writes as if the audience already know about Anne’s background. Therefore, for those who have never read much about Anne’s life, I advise you to read other biographies of Anne before you read this book. The Lady in the Tower proves that Alison Weir is one of the best Tudor historians.

Ratings: 4 out 5 stars


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