The Boleyn Deceit
by Laura Andersen
Sequel to The Boleyn King
Henry IX- known as William to those close to him - may now be the king of England, but the end of the regency does not lead to greater freedom for the young monarch. Although he loves and intends to marry his childhood friend, a commoner named Minuette, William must affiance himself to a princess of France to help maintain peace. His sister Elizabeth, too, must soon be married off in a brilliant political marriage. Wedding plans aren’t the only plot afoot in England; evidence of treason can be traced to some of England’s greatest families, and even to the Catholic Queen Mary, William’s own sister. As William Tudor schemes upon his new throne, history threatens to repeat himself as his desire to marry a commoner, as Henry VIII married Anne Boleyn, divides the court into factions and stirs discord in every corner.
As I observed in my review of The Boleyn King, William seems to be largely modeled on the youthful Henry VIII, but in this book his character starts to take on some of the darker characteristics that his father was known for. William’s decisions grow increasingly erratic as his paranoia and inability to trust others grows. More disturbingly, he ceases to treat Minuette as an individual and his friend, but rather throws her up on a pedestal as a perfect, virtuous woman who needn’t trouble herself with the politics of court. It’s dangerous for both of them; the downfall that Anne Boleyn avoided by producing a son will likely fall on Minuette instead.
As a commoner, Minuette can’t afford to spurn William’s advances, but balancing his increasingly amorous designs with her own affections for Dominic, recently retitled the Duke of Exeter, only adds fuel to the fires of the tragic little love triangle. Both Minuette and Dominic know that it won’t end well, since they’ll either be forced to separate to make William happy or betray his trust and likely end up in the Tower for treason. It’s a losing situation no matter what, and the lack of resolution at the end of the novel feeds the desire to continue the story in The Boleyn Reckoning when it’s released later in 2014.
But this tangled relationship is far from the only one in the story. Elizabeth’s affection for Robert Dudley is sorely tested as she meets his wife – don’t forget, he’s married! – and suspects him and his family of plotting to overthrow the king. As Elizabeth investigates into Robert’s affairs, she learns secrets so dark they drive a permanent wedge between herself and her favorite. This may be just as well, considering her brother wants to marry her off to Spain or France, using her marriage to save the country when he ultimately breaks his betrothal with France so he can marry Minuette. The sheer amount of secrecy and lies between these four friends, who were so close at the beginning of The Boleyn King promises that the conclusion of Laura Andersen’s trilogy will be a truly explosive drama.
3.5 out of 5 stars
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Peeking into the archives...today in:
2013: Kill Shakespeare Vol. 2 by McCreery and Del Col
2012: Video: The Joy of Books
2011: Closing down for end of year Festivus…
2010: Sticklers, Sideburns & Bikinis by Graeme Donald
2009: Discussion Question: Buying Textbooks