Took me to Tudor England- To Die For: A Novel of Anne Boleyn (Ladies in Waiting #1) by Sandra Byrd


The blurb reads,

To Die For is a Library Journal “Best Books of 2011” pick.

What would you sacrifice for your best friend?
Would you die for her?

Meg Wyatt has been Anne Boleyn’s closest friend since they grew up together on neighboring manors in Kent. So when twenty-five-year-old Anne’s star begins to ascend, of course she takes Meg along for the ride.

Life in the court of Henry VIII is thrilling… at first. Meg is made mistress of Anne’s wardrobe, and she enjoys the spoils of this privileged orbit and uses her influence for good. She is young and beautiful and in favor; everyone at court assumes that being close to her is being close to Anne.

But favor is fickle and envy is often laced with venom. As Anne falls, so does Meg, and it becomes nearly impossible for her to discern ally from enemy. Suddenly life’s unwelcome surprises rub against the court’s sheen to reveal the tarnished brass of false affections and the bona fide gold of those that are true. Both Anne and Meg may lose everything. When your best friend is married to fearsome Henry VIII, you may soon find yourself not only friendless but headless as well.

A rich alchemy of fact and fiction, To Die For chronicles the glittering court life, the sweeping romance, and the heartbreaking fall from grace of a forsaken queen and Meg, her closest companion, who was forgotten by the ages but who is destined to live in our hearts forever.

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I want to start off by saying, WHAT A BEAUTIFUL COVER!!

 

I’ve always had something special for the Tudors. I’ve been to Hampton Court in England and listening to the history really transported me back to the era. I was and to this day remain fascinated with that era. Of the royalty and of course, scandalous Henry VIII. He was the tyrannical ruler who is infamous in history for having 6 wives. And what he did to them. There is a popular rhyme, Divorced, Beheaded, Died, Divorced, Beheaded, Survived.

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This novel doesn’t talk about Anne Boleyn. It talks about Anne’s best friend and lady in waiting, Meg Wyatt. Through her eyes, we see Anne as a human wife, who made the mistake of falling in love with the King while he was still married to Katherine of Aragon.

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I can’t process the multitude of emotions that rush through me after I’ve finished this.

This book chronicles the story of one of England’s most controversial queens, Anne Boleyn, second wife to King Henry VIII. Anne was beheaded for incest and treason. She left behind an heir, Elizabeth I, who as History would hold, became one of England’s most powerful rulers of all times.
I feel now that Anne was grossly injusticed throughout history and Henry VIII certainly must be burning in hell for his numerous infidelities.

I have loved this book. I have laughed with Anne, sat stunned at her with and resource and grieved with her. Indeed, I even grieved her death, however much of fiction was embedded in this. Anne left an heir who would change England forever and is perhaps considered one of England’s greatest Monarchs.

I really do wish Anne’s soul rests in peace, even after all these years.

I grieve, I really do, because concepts like dowry were prevalent even then. To all the people who curse India for harbouring such thoughts, it was mayhap borrowed from the British too, because they too treated women as mere tools to provide them heirs with a girl child being a waste, or merely a burden whose dowry a rich father could partake. It sickens me to the core. In that sense, I’m glad Anne made the king bow down to her wishes, albeit a few times, rather than vice versa.

This book is so heavy with historical references and I don’t doubt that they must all be true. The end is especially horrifying. The author takes us through Anne’s beheading and when I read that, I sat on my bed, absolutely stunned. I couldn’t believe what was happening. King Henry’s cruelty, masochism and fickle mind was well known across history but this book made me wonder the sort of people who got called ‘royalty’ simply by birth without having any redeeming qualities.

Historians now say that the portrayal of Anne was skewed by people who were jealous of her rise to court. Now they say that she was a shrewd politician and was in favour of reform in the catholic church. She was behind getting the Bible translated into English and being made more accessible to the people. All this makes me feel how quickly we accuse someone when we see their mistakes rather than take it on ourselves. Anne was not at fault for her miscarriages. Neither was she at fault for giving birth to a daughter who was healthy and sons who were sickly. The gender of the child is determined by a sperm and it is tragic that the realisation has come too late in history, that men are responsible for the gender of the child, not a woman.

This book weighed heavy on my conscience when I read it. I was so scandalised with whatever I had read about Anne before and somehow this book gave me a different perspective.

This was indeed a time machine to take me back in time and witness everything as lucidly written from Meg Wyatt’s perspective

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