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Adulteress? Sorceress? Immoral Temptress? No English Queen has been so persistently vilified as Anne Boleyn. Even after her execution in May 1536 - on trumped-up charges of adultery - the portrait that has come down to us is the one drawn by her enemies. Joanna Denny's compelling new biography of Anne presents a radically different picture of her - a highly literate, accomplished and intellectual woman, and a devout protagonist of the Protestant faith. It was Anne who played the key role in separating England from the Church of Rome. Her tragedy was that her looks and vivacious charm attracted the notice of a violent and paranoid King Henry - and trapped her in the vicious politics of the Tudor court. Joanna Denny's enthralling book plunges the reader into the fascinating, turbulent time that changed England forever.
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Joanna Denny was born near Hever Castle in Kent, Anne Boleyn's family home. Her interest in Tudor history was triggered by research into her ancestor, Sir Anthony Denny, one of Henry VIII's courtiers and she is the author of a fictional trilogy on the Tudors. She lives near Eastbourne.From Publishers Weekly:
Denny seeks to redeem Anne Boleyn from the slanders of Catholic propagandists hired to paint her as a monster. Anne and her diplomat father, Thomas, were advocates of the "New Religion"—the Protestantism spreading through England in the early 16th century. The Boleyn family's meteoric rise in status and influence threatened Cardinal Wolsey and his Catholic power base even before Henry VIII divorced the Catholic Catherine of Aragon in order to marry her lady-in-waiting, Anne, thus initiating England's Protestant Reformation. While effectively setting this scene of high-stakes intrigue, Denny focuses on Anne; in her interpretation, Anne's integrity and moral courage lay at the center of the period's vortex of personal and political strife. Brilliantly evoking Henry's bullish intensity, Denny mines the 17 existing love letters that reveal the king's impatient infatuation with Anne. By contrast, she portrays Anne as reticent, acquiescing to the king out of commitment to the Protestant Reformation rather than personal desire. Denny lucidly catalogues the technicalities of Henry's seven-year legal struggle to make Anne his wife and how Anne fell from favor when she failed to produce a male heir. Finally, Denny (the author of a fictional trilogy on the Tudors) records Anne's stoicism as she was charged with incest and adultery, tried and, in 1536, executed. Although she sometimes idealizes her subject, Denny's defense of Anne is coherent and thoroughly readable. (Apr.)
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