The Lady in the Tower (Queens of England, #4)

ISBN: 1400047854
ISBN 13: 9781400047857
By: Jean Plaidy

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About this book

One of history’s most complex and alluring women comes to life in this classic novel by the legendary Jean Plaidy.Young Anne Boleyn was not beautiful but she was irresistible, capturing the hearts of kings and commoners alike. Daughter of an ambitious country lord, Anne was sent to France to learn sophistication, and then to court to marry well and raise the family's fortunes. She soon surpassed even their greatest expectations. Although his queen was loving and loyal, King Henry VIII swore he would put her aside and make Anne his wife. And so he did, though the divorce would tear apart the English church and inflict religious turmoil and bloodshed on his people for generations to come.Loathed by the English people, who called her the King's Great Whore; Anne Boleyn was soon caught in the trap of her own ambition. Political rivals surrounded her at court and, when she failed to produce a much-desired male heir, they closed in, preying on the king's well-known insecurity and volatile temper. Wrongfully accused of adultery and incest, Anne found herself imprisoned in the Tower of London, where she was at the mercy of her husband and of her enemies.

Reader's Thoughts


Fascinating and intuitive first person narrative of the life of Anne Boleyn, the second wife of King Henry VIII of England. I thoroughly enjoyed the author's take on Anne, especially the decision to write the novel as if Anne had written it while imprisoned in the tower before her execution. It is laid out in a chronological, conversational, and confessional manner; as a way of looking back over the span of her life, to determine where she made her fatal mistakes, and how she may have anticipated them, or avoided them. Anne is pretty, bright, mysterious, witty, vivacious, well-mannered, observant, provocative, and hot-tempered. She remains to me one of the most enigmatic women in history.


One of the best examples of historical fiction. All the drama and tragedy that is Anne Boleyn told in the first-person. Unique and wonderful.


** spoiler alert ** Very different take on Anne Boleyn. Shows her in a way I hadn't considered before. Also shows Henry to be very creepy. Half of this tale shows Anne to be of strong moral fiber. She disgusted by her sister's behavior in France. Then is repulsed by her father basically pimping out her sister to the King of England - all for the name of family ambition. Half of this story is spent with Anne adamantly stating that this will not happen to her. King Henry tires of the sister and turns his gaze on Anne. He then goes total creeper/stalker mode. She refuses him. But then he offers her the crown - and *poof* the moral fiber has vanished. And she turns in to the power hungry, ambitious girl I'm most familiar with. The rest of the book gets repeatitive and a little boring. Finally, it ends where it began, back in the tower with Anne who should've stuck to her guns and done anything but hook up with the creepy king.


I used to love reading Victoria Holt's gothic novels. Although I wasn't as fond of the historical novels written under her pen-name Jean Plaidy, I didn't remember them as being boring or poorly written in any way. So when I saw this title available for audio download, I quickly checked it out. Unfortunately, I found it both boring and poorly written. It didn't seem like historical fiction really--more like a history lesson that someone attempted to breathe life into. The story is supposed to be Anne Boleyn's remembrances as she awaits execution (spoiler alert?), so naturally the story begins in narrative form. But when the story stayed in that narrative form, it quickly became dull. Basically, the novel consists of long passages of narration, interspersed with stilted, static, unlikely conversations. Not only that, but the author felt the need to repeat information over and over. And each time, she repeated the info as if it should be new to the reader--as if, for instance, she hadn't told us thirty times already that Anne liked to wear her sleeves long to cover the sixth nail on her hand. All in all, the book was a slog to get through. I wish a publisher would focus on bringing the Victoria Holt romances to audio, rather than the Jean Plaidy historicals.


** spoiler alert ** I loved that Anne stressed that she loved her daughter dearly, often she is portrayed as hating the child who was not a boy. The care that she showed the child was very endearing. I’m not sure if it was believable that she wished to feed Elizabeth herself.“Then it occurred to me, it’s not easy to tread safely when dealing with Royalty.” If only Anne had remembered the lessons she learned while serving Mary in the French court when dealing with Henry. Plaidy wrote a much more innocent view of the Antics of the French Court the Robin Maxwell did in her book Mademoiselle Boleyn, although she too refers to Mary Boleyn as the English Mare, ready to be ridden by any man who wanted her. I like how she choose to have Henry suggest that Anne become his queen instead of his mistress. It makes Anne seem much less calculating then she is so often portrayed to be. I also like how Anne believes that it will never happen. Plaidy writes so many warning signs to the dangers to Anne ahead. It makes me wonder if there were signs there and she ignored them.


Not my favorite characterization of Anne and it uses sources that have been discredited, but still a coherent story told well.


what an exciting read! after having visited the Tower of London 6 weeks ago , this seemed like the prefect story to continue my education into the history of English nobility in the 16th century. It kept me turnings pages with accounts of espionage, romance, adultery, and near poetic prose. I was truly enchanted. worth every minute and it wont take many!


I first read this book when I was a teenager - at least 20 years ago now. It was just as entrancing this time around as it was the first!Plaidy's style isn't for everyone. I devoured her books as a teen and enjoyed the romance novel style these historical novels were written in. All of them are in first-person and from the point of view of the person whose story is being told. The Lady in the Tower is about Anne Boleyn, and she is telling her own story. In this way, Plaidy does bring history alive, at least for me. Her descriptions of famous historical people help me to envision them, and it's easy to incorporate any images I have from historical paintings with the picture drawn by her words.I did see some criticism of this particular book that said there were repetitions of blocks of text; I have to say that I did not notice that at all. For example, while Anne is probably overly concerned with her "sixth finger" she doesn't describe it in detail more than once, and while she talks about her sleeves being long to hide her finger more than once, she doesn't get into it in the exact same way every time. I suspect these people's editions were faulty (they often were reading e-books, so that could be the difficulty).Having read this book, I am definitely interested in purchasing more of Plaidy's work from the current re-issue HarperCollins has produced. The scholarship is thorough and more ways to learn history is a good thing! Obviously it is fiction, but it is interesting and entertaining, and so while you can't say that the conversations happened the way they're written, you can enjoy reading them and come away with a better understanding of the events surrounding Henry VII's marriages and the creation of the Church of England as a separate church from the Roman Catholic Church.Definitely a good read, and if you want to be educated (at least a little bit) while being entertained, this is a good choice.


I was glad to get a new to me perspective on Anne Boleyn. Everything I had read recently, even the book I, Elizabeth was kind of negative about Anne. I think I’ve mentioned this before, but I consider her to be a really sympathetic character and I’ve always felt like everything that happened to her was a real shame. It amazes me when I realize how little so many people know about this woman who vastly changed the course of history. Her impact on what happened in England is ginormous – could any of us imagine an England without Elizabeth I in its history? How different would things have been if this one woman had simply had a male child survive?To read the rest of my review, please visit:


I was disappointed that this novel wasn't more engaging. I didn't know much about Anne Boleyn (except what I knew from The Tudors) before I read this.It started off pretty well, but by the time Anne has decided that she will accept Henry VII's advances, the story just dragged on. I understand that the author was trying to stay true to reality (-ish) but I think some events could have been fast-forwarded over.And it was very confusing trying to remember who was whom and how they were related. At one point, Anne mentions that "Mary" comes to visit. It took me a while to figure out she ultimately meant her sister. Not Henry's sister, not Katherine's daughter, and not one of the umpteenth people named "Mary". The author could have clarified such little annoyances.I never got a good sense of why Anne did what she wanted. Even though the novel is written in first person, the narration is very much cobbled together descriptions of what other characters think, or seem to think, about Anne.I may try a few of the other novels by Ms. Plaidy (or her numerous pseudonyms) but that's not high on my list.


Ann Boleyn came alive for me like never before in this book. Her mannerisms, relationships, hopes, moods, losses all took on meaning for me. Plaidy tells these tales as well as, or better than anyone. That one can sympathize, become annoyed with, and ultimately find themselves relating to the life and times of any British queen from 500 years ago is startling to me..Plaidy has the gift of bringing the reader to the protagonist's table, so to speak, and at that point the reader partakes even when the story is grim, the characters small or detestable. I guess Plaidy is legendary for a reason...hers are classic tales told with truly great skill.


Anne Boleyn describes her life from the confines of her apartments in the Tower awaiting her execution. I enjoyed the first-person narrative and dialogue. A much different take on Anne than I have read before and found it fascinating and intriguing.Jean Plaidy is quickly becoming a favorite author with her amazing insights (albeit fictional) into the Tudor complexities and personalities. This account shows Anne as a young child and adolescent placed in the French court and sheds light on her young experiences that would establish the unstable foundation on which she then lives our her very short life.Highly recommend and will be reading more of this series.

Mary Campbell

I bought this book via Audible, having just finished listening to A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES in preparation for AN ECHO IN THE BONE. This is my fifth Anne Boleyn book -- the only one told in the first person, the only one beginning in her early childhood, and the second in which it is related that (1) her mother dies young, and (2) she has the nail of a sixth finger and a mole that her "B" pendant hides. At this point in the book, Anne is lady to Queen Mary (Tudor) of France, Henry VIII's sister and Louis XII's wife. Mary will become, incidentally, Lady Jane Grey's grandmother.


I enjoyed this book as I have always been interested in Anne Boleyn. I've always wondered what she was really like. Did she scheme and plot to get the eye of the King, and to get rid of the Queen, or did she just get caught up in events? Jean Plaidy's portrayal of Anne was somewhere in the middle. She didn't seek the attention of the King, but once she had it, she certainly became ambitious. It will be interesting to read "The Other Boleyn Girl" by Philippa Gregory and compare. The only complaint I had with this novel was that parts of it were quite dry and took forever to get moving.

Keith Nield

As normal a good Plaidy book to read, always get a good picture of the main characters, or at least Plaidy's view. It was a bit repetitive in places and kept getting the feeling that I had read it before. Interprets the periods so well making it a somewhat frightening period to live at what ever level you are. Looking forward to my next read, although I do tend to use Ms Plaidy as a resource I can use as a good read, when I cannot make my mind up about what other author to read next, she is my Ms Reliable.

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