Book Review – ‘The Boleyn Reckoning’ by Laura Anderson

Laura Anderson 'The Boleyn Reckoning'
Laura Anderson ‘The Boleyn Reckoning’

Laura Anderson, The Boleyn Reckoning (London: Ebury Press, 2015) Paperback, ISBN 978-0-3455-34132

Genre/s: Historical / Romance / Drama

Setting: London (England)

Characters: William, Henry IX of England / Elizabeth I of England / Dominic Courtenay / Minuette Courtenay (nee Wyatt) / George Boleyn, Duke of Rochford / William Cecil / Robert Dudley / Lady Jane Grey / Renard LeClerc

Storyline: The final book in the series is very much focused on the disintegrating relationship between Dominic and Minuette, and William, because of the former’s secret marriage. There are also questions over William’s competency to rule after he makes more and more rash decisions as a result of Dominic and Minuette.

Laura Anderson
Laura Anderson

Point of View: The book is written in the third person, alternating between the view of William, Dominic, Minuette and Elizabeth. This means that, of the four main characters, we get to know the innermost thoughts and feelings of each of them, giving us a more balanced view than the characters themselves have.

Strengths: I think that the characterisation is still very strong – you really get a sense of Minuette and Dominic’s fear and courage, and William’s anger and grief, and Elizabeth’s feeling of being stuck in the middle and trying to do what is right. I also think that the description is very good, as it really gives you a sense of the places it describes, particularly Minuette’s home, which is obviously often in her thoughts.

Weaknesses: I thought that the weakest point of this book was the storyline. I think that Anderson didn’t want to kill off her main characters, so struggled at times to reconcile that with the story. It felt muddled towards the end, and I also think that Anderson wanted to finish the story to align with the historical record as neatly as possible. But it did mean that the ending felt too dragged out at times, and too rushed at others, like she couldn’t make up her mind.

Elizabeth I c.1546 by William Scrots
Elizabeth I c.1546 by William Scrots

Overall Rating: = 14/20

Recommend? = Yes, though only really as a conclusion to the series, as I don’t think it stands as well as the others in the series on its own.

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