Book: Anne & Henry by Dawn Ius
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Date Published: September 1st, 2015
Date Started: September 27th, 2015
Date Finished: October 4th, 2015
In this wonderfully creative retelling of the infamous—and torrid—love affair between Anne Boleyn and King Henry VIII, history collides with the present when a sizzling romance ignites in a modern-day high school.
Henry Tudor’s life has been mapped out since the day he was born: student body president, valedictorian, Harvard Law School, and a stunning political career just like his father’s. But ever since the death of his brother, the pressure for Henry to be perfect has doubled. And now he’s trapped: forbidden from pursuing a life as an artist or dating any girl who isn’t Tudor-approved.
Then Anne Boleyn crashes into his life.
Wild, brash, and outspoken, Anne is everything Henry isn’t allowed to be—or want. But soon Anne is all he can think about. His mother, his friends, and even his girlfriend warn him away, but his desire for Anne consumes him.
Henry is willing to do anything to be with her, but once they’re together, will their romance destroy them both?
Inspired by the true story of Anne Boleyn and King Henry VIII, Anne & Henry beautifully reimagines the intensity, love, and betrayal between one of the most infamous couples of all time.
I thought that I’ve had difficulty writing reviews before, but I think this might be my most difficult one yet. I believe this might be due to a couple of reasons. When I was in college, my major was history. Specifically, I decided to study English History with an emphasis on Tudor Politics and Warfare. I’m by no means an expert on Tudor history, but I feel like I’m knowledgeable enough. So when I heard that there was a young adult retelling of Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII, I couldn’t get it soon enough.
The one thing I learned from this book is that Anne and Henry’s love story does not translate well into modern times. Plain and simple. This book was stripped of all the politics, all the influences from foreign political pressure, religious pressure, etc. When you do that, all you’re left with is Anne, Henry, and a few of the people closely related to them. I believe this was the author’s intention, to strip down to the relationship and create a story that is based on two people who fell for each other in this crazy whirlwind. This story takes place over what appears to be just a few weeks. Anne and Henry’s real story actually took place over several years. And that’s the problem. All these characters were just crazy without all the outside influences. It was just hard for me to transform the English realm into a simple high school setting. It doesn’t translate well. For example, the high school has its own court for student conduct. It just came off as ridiculous because in real life that court would have no power, let alone the power to determine the fate of a student.
There was not a single character in this book that I liked. I thought that everyone was crazy, cruel, and dysfunctional. Anne and Henry’s relationship was super dysfunctional. Henry’s friends were trying to protect him, but in a high school, it came off as extreme bullying and harassment. I know that during the 1400’s, a woman’s virtue was the best weapon against her, but it got way too intense in this book. It seemed like on almost every page, there was some sort of attack on Anne’s character or past, calling her a slut or trash. This is another reason why I didn’t think the story translated well.
I was disappointed on the treatment of Anne’s story. I believe she had a greater impact on English politics than what was perceived in the book. Anne just came off as clingy and crazed at times. I think the reader was supposed to be sympathetic towards her, but I just didn’t care much for her or her outcome.
I feel like this is more of a loose retelling of Anne and Henry, to be honest. The names and a few bare bones of the story are what remained. I feel like this story could have done with more of the complexity of the real story.
Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII’s story do not translate well into modern times. As a history person who loves Tudor history, I was disappointed with this one. Maybe Anne and Henry’s story should remain in its own respective timeline.