Book Review – ‘The Concubine’ by Norah Lofts

'The Concubine' by Norah Lofts (1963)
‘The Concubine’ by Norah Lofts (1963)

Genre/s: Historical / Drama / Romance

Setting: London (England)

Characters: Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn, Lady Bo, Emma Arnett, George Boleyn, Mary Boleyn, Thomas Boleyn, Henry Percy, Cardinal Thomas Wolsey

Storyline: Anne Boleyn falls in love with Henry Percy, heir to the Earldom of Northumberland. The relationship is broken so that Anne can surrender to Henry VIII. He pursues her for seven years and just three years after her marriage he has her executed for adultery.

Point of View: Told from the point of view of both Anne Boleyn and Emma Arnett.

Anne Boleyn Hever Castle Portrait
Anne Boleyn Hever Castle Portrait

Strengths: Description is excellent and characterisation was good, but seemed to trail off. The general storyline was accurate.

Weaknesses: Characterisation weakens towards the end. Although the general storyline was accurate, the details were lacking. The key one that struck me straight away was that Anne Boleyn’s mother was dead (she actually died after Anne) and Thomas Boleyn had remarried. There is evidence to the contrary. I didn’t feel the need to read on a lot of the time.

Overall Rating: 11/20

Recommend? No, it doesn’t really pull you in as a good novel should, and it feels like a chore to keep reading it.

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