Thursday, September 1, 2011

Blog Tour Review: To Die For: A Novel of Anne Boleyn by Sandra Byrd




To Die For: A Novel of Anne BoleynFrom the Back Cover:

What would you sacrifice for your best friend? Would you die for her?Meg Wyatt has been Anne Boleyn's closest friend ever since they grew up together on neighboring manors in Kent. So when twenty-five-year-old Anne's star begins to ascend, of course she takes Meg along for the ride.

Life in the court of Henry VIII is thrilling...at first. Meg is made mistress of Anne's wardrobe, and she enjoys the spoils of this privileged orbit and uses her influence for good. She is young and beautiful and in favor; everyone at court assumes that being close to her is being close to Anne.

But favor is fickle and envy is often laced with venom. As Anne falls, so does Meg, and it becomes nearly impossible for her to discern ally from enemy. Suddenly life's unwelcome surprises rub against court's sheen to reveal the tarnished brass of false affections and the bona fide gold of those are true. Both Anne and Meg may lose everything. When your best friend is married to fearsome Henry VIII, you may soon find yourself not only friendless but headless as well.

My Thoughts:

So, I really thought I was Anne Boleyned out--but then To Die For came along. A take on Anne from the point of view of Meg Wyatt, Thomas Wyatt's sister and Anne's best friend? That's different. Wait, this is Christian fiction? About Anne Boleyn? That's definitely different. I'm in!

This novel really stands out from the crowd of today's Tudor fiction, and puts a very different spin on Anne Boleyn. It was refreshing to read about Anne from the point of view of someone who loved her; someone who was looking out for her, who had her best interests at heart. In fact, Meg often puts Anne's interests above her own, and I found her to be a highly plausible and well-drawn character. Coming from a lesser family, she has no courtly aspirations, she wants only to escape from beneath her father's brutal thumb to marry the man she loves and have children. But life has other plans for her. When her sweetheart, Will Ogilvy, chooses to follow his calling to the Lord, Meg's father marries her off to a sickly man old enough to be her grandfather.

On the outside Meg remains the dutiful daughter, wife, and friend, but on the inside she rails in anger and despair against a God she believes has demanded so much from her and given nothing in return. When the years pass and her dreams of a happy marriage and a family quietly fade away, she finds purpose and solace in her friendship with Anne. As mistress of Anne's wardrobe, she has a very important job. It's no small thing to be in charge of a queen's appearance. And it's no small thing to be a shoulder for a queen to lean on, either.

This is the first novel to help me see how far Anne's star really rose, and how central Anne was to the reformation of the church. Through her personal appointment of various clergy members and her ability to influence the king on their behalf, she was instrumental in making the Bible available to the common people of England, and in bringing priests in to share the Word with them. And in the story, this also brings Meg the chance to renew her faith in God, and maybe even the chance to find love again. But Meg stands to lose everything when Anne's failure to provide the King with a male heir gives her enemies ground to move in and take her down, and no one close to Anne is safe.

There was much to enjoy about this novel. The story is compelling from beginning to end, the characterization is deep and meaningful, and the inspirational theme fits in perfectly with the subject matter, and really offers a unique and uplifting take on Anne. My only real complaint is that at times I found the author's phrasing to be rather stilted, like she was trying too hard to give her prose an old-world vibe, and I found myself re-reading some sentences to make sense of them. But this didn't happen enough to detract from my overall enjoyment of the novel. I was easily drawn into this satisfying read, and I was done in by the bittersweet ending. I recommend this to any Tudor enthusiast, and to anyone interested in a different and thought-provoking perspective on this enduring legend's life.

My Rating:  4 Stars out of 5


To Die For is on a Blog Tour!
Sandra Byrd will be here tomorrow with an interview
and a giveaway of To Die For!
Click Here to see the rest of the tour stops!




9 comments:

  1. Sounds like an interesting look at Anne Boleyn- thanks for the review.

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  2. Awesome! I am currently reading The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn by Robin Maxwell(great read)! Now I am going to have to add this book to my list! Thanks for a great review!
    http:bugnroosmom.blogspot.com/

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  3. Adding this one to my wishlist! It sounds great, I took a break from Tudor novels but I think this one sounds fantastic. Great review!

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  4. It was Christian fiction? I did not know that...hm

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  5. I've wanted to read this and I'm curious about Meg. She's not featured in many books so it could be nice change.
    Thanks for the review!

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  6. Definitely will be adding this to my WL! By the way saw your banner with Vishous on it..Love!!

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  7. Thanks so much for the review, Lady Q! I appreciate you having my book on your blog!

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  8. I have a feeling this book will be very popular.

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  9. Nice review. I'm looking forward to reading this one soon. I like that it's told from a friend's perspective.

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