Anne Boleyn and Lucy Cornwallis: queen and confectioner, fatefully linked in a court rife with intrigue and treachery. She was the dark-eyed English beauty who captivated King Henry VIII, only to die at his behest three years after they were married. She was both manipulator and pawn, a complex, misunderstood mélange of subtlety and fire. Her name was Anne Boleyn.
In The Queen of Subtleties, Suzannah Dunn reimagines the rise and fall of the tragic queen through two alternating voices: that of Anne herself, who is penning a letter to her young daughter on the eve of her execution, and Lucy Cornwallis, the king’s confectioner. An employee of the highest status, Lucy is responsible for creating the sculpted sugar centerpieces that adorn each of the feasts marking Anne’s ascent in the king’s favour. They also share another link of which neither woman is aware: the lovely Mark Smeaton, wunderkind musician—the innocent on whom, ultimately, Anne’s downfall hinges.
I picked this up in the local thrift store, and it will be heading back there just as quickly as it came home. After my seemingly bad run of luck with books recently, I was hoping that a historical piece of fiction might help break the dam; it was not going to happen with this book and, to be honest I didn’t finish it either.
I had many issues with the book as far as I read. The character of Anne Boleyn was rather insulting when compared to what is known of her from historical documents. In this interpretation of her character she is portrayed as being the innocent pawn of her Families’ ambitions to rise higher within the Tudor Court, rather than the driven and confident woman who readers are used to. As one of the narrators of the book, the language she uses is far too modern for the time period in which it is set, and this was the reason for my not finishing the book. The language used by both Anne and the other narrator was extremely distracting and, I can’t help but feel the Author wrote this book in this manner to make her work more accessible to the modern reader.
I wish I could say something good about the contents of this book, but the only saving grace about it for me was the cover image, which I kept returning to look at time and again and this was the reason for my 1 thumb review. I will not be reading anything else by this Author, and find it a hard book to recommend to anyone who enjoys a good historical novel.