The Boleyn King by Laura Andersen
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
[DISCLAIMER: I RECEIVED AN ADVANCED READER'S EDITION OF THIS BOOK FROM THE GOODREADS GIVEAWAY]
There were some parts of the ARC that I received that I hope have been fixed in the final edition of the book. For example, halfway through the book extra "u"s started showing up in words like "for" and "more" and "tomorrow." If the author was going for authenticity, the "u"s were completely out of place because (a) there wouldn't have been a "u" in "for" or "more" or "tomorrow", and (b) "tomorrow" back then used to be written as "to-morrow" not "tomourrow." There were also some glaring typos towards the end, not so many in the beginning. It was a distraction which I hope has been taken care of since the book was published formally on 6/4/2013.
Anyway, to the story.
I was expecting an historical fiction novel but this was more of a romance/mystery. The way the book was set up was that there would be breaks in the text when it was switching POVs from one character to another, but this could have been better accomplished by telling one person's story first, then in another chapter moving to another character. I've found several authors are doing this now, and it becomes confusing and muddles the story.
There are also sections of the story written as a diary, but they aren't signed. Sometimes the author finishes the diary entries and says something like "Minuette closed her diary," which tells us they were Minuette's entries, but again, this would have been better accomplished with a header saying something to the effect of "Entries from Minuette's diary." There was one section where Dominic is writing dispatches to William, and there is a header on those. Some consistency would have been nice.
The book read too much like a mystery novel to me, sort of a "whodunnit" that bothered me since that's not what I signed up to read. There is a plot afoot to discredit William as Henry VIII's son and most of the book is spent trying to figure out who it was, as well as who killed Alyce de Clare, a young woman who supposedly throws herself down a flight of stairs because she's pregnant. None of this is resolved by the end of the book, and no one seems to wonder or care. The reader gets closure in the Interlude at the end of the novel, and it's pretty much what I had expected.
The romance was also strange and forced. I knew Minuette and Dominic would be in love right from the start, because that made the most sense. But the other men who fall in love with her don't seem to work right. Especially the one at the end. That one is too quick happening, and the end leaves it unresolved and pretty much ridiculously laid-out. I didn't enjoy it at all.
Overall, I'm giving it two stars because I did end up finishing it, but it wasn't a great book and wasn't at all like what the description made me think it was. I didn't really enjoy it, especially as a "what-if" type book. It just didn't read as a sincere re-imagining of what the world would have been like had Henry VIII fathered a living son.
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