Customer Reviews for

The Lady in the Tower: The Fall of Anne Boleyn

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

17 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

Great History, Well researched

I always eagerly await the release of any book written by Alison Weir - both her fictional works as well as her historical, always well researched, books never fail to please. I am happy to be able to say that "The Lady In The Tower" has been no exception! I began to re...
I always eagerly await the release of any book written by Alison Weir - both her fictional works as well as her historical, always well researched, books never fail to please. I am happy to be able to say that "The Lady In The Tower" has been no exception! I began to read it as soon as I got my hands on it and enjoyed this book all of the way through.

I have long believed that Henry VIII was a narcissistic megalomaniac - especially in the way that he treated Anne Boleyn. Despite whatever faults Anne may have had, Henry quite literally,changed the course of history in order to make Anne his Queen. In this very well researched book, Ms. Weir postulates that it was, in fact, Thomas Cromwell, not King Henry himself, who was behind the allegations made against Anne that resulted in her death. This books covers a very small window in time - 1536- and it has been Ms. Weir's task to sift through voluminous, and sometimes very conflicting, historical accounts, reports & letters to formulate her opinion that Thomas Cromwell was the cause of Anne's meteoric fall from Henry's good graces. In referencing Anne Boleyn's inability to carry a second child, the longed for son & heir, to full term, Ms. Weir postulates a very likely theory that Anne's pregnancies were complicated by the RH negative antibody. There would have been no treatment let alone understanding for this sort of complication at this time and the theory goes a long way as an explanation for the still born son who, in effect, sealed Anne's fate.

Ms. Wier has managed to make what really amounts to 19 days - from sham trial to execution - an engrossing read that will appeal to history lovers in general and, most especially, to those of us of thrive on Tudor and Elizabethan history. The wait for this book was worth it. I do highly recommend this book!

posted by ZQuilts on November 27, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

5 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

Don't waste your money!

This book was so poorly written that I was actually angry at myself for having spent the money on it. It was redundant (repeating OVER and OVER that she had to fight for her spot because she had stolen it from the beloved first wife) and there was no new information in...
This book was so poorly written that I was actually angry at myself for having spent the money on it. It was redundant (repeating OVER and OVER that she had to fight for her spot because she had stolen it from the beloved first wife) and there was no new information in this book that hadn't been released in every other book about her.

I have never been dismayed at the amount I pay for a book because I always think that anytime spent reading is worth whatever the book cost, but this book was a first for me. It was a stretch in cost for me as it was (over $20 WITH my Barnes and Noble discounts) and so that may have been a contributing factor as well.

Don't waste your money on this book. I didn't make it past the third chapter in it because it had said the same things over and over to the point that I was numb and no longer reading, but skipping pages and pages of writing to get to something of substance! I know that now I sound redundant in writing this, but I cannot stress how poorly written and researched this book was. It was like reading a high school students research paper when they are just trying to finish the required number of pages.

posted by KathrynTX on March 22, 2010

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  • Posted November 27, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Great History, Well researched

    I always eagerly await the release of any book written by Alison Weir - both her fictional works as well as her historical, always well researched, books never fail to please. I am happy to be able to say that "The Lady In The Tower" has been no exception! I began to read it as soon as I got my hands on it and enjoyed this book all of the way through.

    I have long believed that Henry VIII was a narcissistic megalomaniac - especially in the way that he treated Anne Boleyn. Despite whatever faults Anne may have had, Henry quite literally,changed the course of history in order to make Anne his Queen. In this very well researched book, Ms. Weir postulates that it was, in fact, Thomas Cromwell, not King Henry himself, who was behind the allegations made against Anne that resulted in her death. This books covers a very small window in time - 1536- and it has been Ms. Weir's task to sift through voluminous, and sometimes very conflicting, historical accounts, reports & letters to formulate her opinion that Thomas Cromwell was the cause of Anne's meteoric fall from Henry's good graces. In referencing Anne Boleyn's inability to carry a second child, the longed for son & heir, to full term, Ms. Weir postulates a very likely theory that Anne's pregnancies were complicated by the RH negative antibody. There would have been no treatment let alone understanding for this sort of complication at this time and the theory goes a long way as an explanation for the still born son who, in effect, sealed Anne's fate.

    Ms. Wier has managed to make what really amounts to 19 days - from sham trial to execution - an engrossing read that will appeal to history lovers in general and, most especially, to those of us of thrive on Tudor and Elizabethan history. The wait for this book was worth it. I do highly recommend this book!

    17 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 9, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    This is a super biography

    Historian Alison Weir takes readers on a deep look at the last days of Anne Boleyn and what led to her execution. Interestingly, the author admits her research changed several of her notions and nukes popular beliefs. The key change that Ms. Weir claims is that she exonerates King Henry VIII of directing his principal adviser Thomas Cromwell to find seditious excuses to rid himself of his second queen so that he can remarry a woman who will give him a male heir. Instead, the author makes a powerful case that Cromwell realizes his boss' spouse was a politically shrewd rival unlike her naïve predecessor Katherine of Aragon so with allies he trumped up false charges of treason and adultery with five men including incest. In other words the monarch's advisor conducted a blood of one velvet coup.

    This is a super biography that is rich with supporting data yet is easy to read and follow the detailed support and conclusions drawn by Alison Weir; who makes a strong case that Anne declaring her innocence all the way to the gallows was telling the truth. Other related "truisms" are also shredded, but it is the historian's powerful argument of Anne Boleyn's innocence, Thomas Crowell's diabolically successful plotting, and King Henry's being bamboozled that make for a great look at who did what leading to the second wife's execution.

    Harriet Klausner

    9 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 24, 2010

    Detailed information not found ANYWHERE else! A great read!

    WOW! I loved this book....the information is fresh, even after 500 years! The author really digs in deep in the details....you can really invision the tower, the trial...everything. The most shocking part, of course, is that no other author (that I know of) that has written on the subject of Queen Anne's death, has actually described in detail what happens during a decapation...what the person experiences. I had never read anything like that....and the compassion I felt for her, in that moment of no return, was heartbreaking. The hardest part of the book, what I found most difficult, was the authors use of exact quote's....the way people spoke 500 years ago is much different than today, so, at times, I would have liked her to translate the meaning so that the modern reader can understand the context better. However, it is also because of her use of direct quotes, that the author is even more creditable.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 22, 2010

    Don't waste your money!

    This book was so poorly written that I was actually angry at myself for having spent the money on it. It was redundant (repeating OVER and OVER that she had to fight for her spot because she had stolen it from the beloved first wife) and there was no new information in this book that hadn't been released in every other book about her.

    I have never been dismayed at the amount I pay for a book because I always think that anytime spent reading is worth whatever the book cost, but this book was a first for me. It was a stretch in cost for me as it was (over $20 WITH my Barnes and Noble discounts) and so that may have been a contributing factor as well.

    Don't waste your money on this book. I didn't make it past the third chapter in it because it had said the same things over and over to the point that I was numb and no longer reading, but skipping pages and pages of writing to get to something of substance! I know that now I sound redundant in writing this, but I cannot stress how poorly written and researched this book was. It was like reading a high school students research paper when they are just trying to finish the required number of pages.

    5 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2012

    Great book!

    I really enjoyed this account of Anne's final months. Weir takes you through all of the players' involvement in Anne's downfall, including historical documents to support her theories. She proceeds to take you through the mock trial of the accused and supports the conclusion that the trial was nothing but a farce to clear the way for the Seymours. An interesting fact that Weir points out to support the circus was that Henry had sent for the French swordsman, her executioner before the trial had ever even started. Weir proceeds to conclude the volume by showing the aftermath of the scandal, including its inevitable impact on her young daughter, the future Queen Elizabeth I. An excellent book for any Tudor buff.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 25, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A Must Read for Anne Boleyn Fans

    Great historical read. Goes into great detail of the events surrounding Anne Boleyn's downfall with good background information. She makes some very good points but never comes out and says whether she believes that Anne was set up or not. Overall, if you are an Anne Boleyn/Tudor Fan, read this book. You won't be disappointed.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 20, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    She lost her head but issued a Queen

    Allison Weir is THE living expert in Tudor history. She takes on the story of a very complex and controversial figure with gusto. Ann, the second of Henry's wives, is a most complex woman. She is rude and ruthless, virturous and tender, ruthless and loving-a complex person. Weir portrays her as a strong woman who gets caught up in intrigue and she is ultimately sacrificed to make way for the next wife. But, in fact the story is much more intriguing and involved. Weir paints a much more compelling series of events that took hold of Ann's life and lets you follow the story and understand that her death was about much more than not providing Henry with a male heir.
    Weirs writing is detailed, clear, concise and very understandable. She makes history alive and the people she describes have both great beauty and unsightly warts. That is, the characters are real.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 2, 2013

    One of Alison Weir's Best

    THE LADY IN THE TOWER tells of the fall of Anne Boleyn. It is well researched, but not sensationalized. It examines the background and the personalities, from Thomas Cromwell to Henry VIII, and the women who help condemn Anne. It is very readable, and even though, very sad. It brings Anne alive, and studies the effect of her death on Elizabeth I. I recommend this for everyone, from casual readers, to students of history.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2013

    Alison Weir never disappoints!

    Great read and insights into this Tudor story! Alison Weir has such a talent at research and conveying her findings in a readable way! If you are interested in Anne Boleyn, you must read this book!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 30, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    One of Alison Weir's BEST

    WOW. Well-researched with perspectives on multiple opinions; superb writing skills with chapters organized to perfection. Colored images & portraits included. To find this book uninteresting you'd have to have no imagination. Weir brings to life a mysterious part of history that many people, even some 400 years later, are still intrigued with. The book covers detailed information not only on Anne's fall, but also the men accused with her, as well as a chapter dedicated to the after-effects. Anne Boleyn's story is ever-changing as new documents are unearthed, and to have an up-to-date work like this is stupendous. I'm a religion/history major obsessed with the Tudor era & own MANY books on the subject, and believe me, Weir's works are graciously satisfying to a vivacious passion like mine. I'd love to go on about it, but the other reviews here seem to cover everything. You honestly can't find anything better than Alison Weir.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2012

    Well researched and written. An interesting book.

    Well researched and written. An interesting book.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 1, 2011

    Loved it!

    As usual, alison Weir does a fantastic job making the story come to life :)))

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 15, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Anne Boleyn is intriguing

    I absolutely adore the reign & wives of Henry VIII. Most interesting of all the wives is Anne Boleyn. She was a strong, ambitious, intelligent, willful woman in a time when such traits were not pleasing for a lady. She refused to be a pawn and became a player in a most dangerous game. She would not settle for anything less than the title of "Queen of England". This book helped me to get to know this woman who was the love of one the most scandalous kings in history in a way I never had before. Henry VIII adored her and you will too.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 23, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Great Read

    Im almost done with this book and i must say i love it i enjoy reading it. Great read on Anne Boleyn.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 10, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A must have for Tudor history buffs

    Having read all of Ms Weirs books as well as those of other historical fiction authors, this book was the frosting on the cake as regards Anne Boleyn. This details those involved in Henry's court during her reign and the part they played in her arrest. It favors no one but provides a real taste of the law in those days and moral attitudes of the time-all of which contributed to her fall. Anne and those accused with her went to a horrible and needless death. Ms Weirs does a great job of explaining why. She gives indepth descriptions of all the events and lets you know what happened to the descendents of those executed. Even medical descriptions of decapitation, which although graphic, brings the horror of the times to life. Not the fast read of fiction but very hard to put down the closer you get to the scaffold and after your eyes are cast away. Highly recommended!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Not Ms. Weir's best work.

    The story of Anne Boleyn is mostly a mystery, since after her fall as queen Henry VIII had most records of her destroyed and her name was never spoken in his presence again. However, I am a huge fan of Alison Weir's work and I found myself disappointed in this one. She portrays Anne as a woman who had to fight every day to earn the love of her king after the birth of the Princess Elizabeth. She points out that the entire court was rioting for Anne's downfall, but the evidence she finds is from the Emperial Ambassador Chapuys who was incredibly biased against Anne.
    Anne was an amazing and intellegent woman who found herself in circumstances beyond her control, and therefore could no longer use only her intellect to find a way out. Ms. Weir is usually wonderful at presenting all sides of the argument and fully researching her topic. Although Anne Boleyn is a difficult subject to research, given the lack of unbias materal left to us through history, the subject could have been more evenly portrayed.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 10, 2015

    About five years ago, I wanted to read about the notorious six w

    About five years ago, I wanted to read about the notorious six wives of King Henry VIII. A co-worker’s personal field of study is the Tudors and all history majors like myself know of the controversy and politics surrounding Henry VIII and his several wives. But I don’t know the details and am still learning. I read the first chapters of several notable works on these six women by David Starkey, Antonia Fraser, and Alison Weir, and Weir’s writing style was the most readable and interesting to me. I very much enjoyed that book and this did not disappoint either.
    This book tightly focuses on Henry’s second wife, Anne Boleyn, the mother of Queen Elizabeth I, and only on the final harrowing and frightening month of her life.
    It’s a chilling story of deceit and treachery, of religion and politics, of court favor and power and, in Weir’s hands, it becomes history at its best that reads like a good novel. She impartially weighs evidence–limited as it is–on both sides and lets readers make their own judgments.
    Did Henry merely tire of the second wife he fell passionately in love with and waited seven years to wed? Or was it because she didn’t give him his much-needed heir, a son? Or was it her open and direct manner, her vivacity and wit, and her ambition–qualities that attracted him in the first place?
    Whatever the reasons, in less than a month the queen, along with her brother and five other men were accused of adultery, incest, and treason against the king, were arrested, imprisoned, tried, and executed. 
    Within ten days of Anne’s death, unbelievably, Henry married Jane Seymour, the woman who would finally bear him a son and raise her own family into prominence.
    Along with a gripping narrative of the events leading up to Anne’s execution, Weir discusses the precariousness of the Crown, the overwhelming influence of religion, as well as daily manners and customs of the Tudor era. 
    She also discusses the impact of the tragedy on Anne’s daughter, the powerful Queen Elizabeth I, who renounced marriage herself no doubt because of “her conviction that wedlock was an insecure state." 




    ”…were she to marry, her husband might ‘carry out some evil wish, if he had one.’“




    It is interesting that many of the very people who condemned Boleyn and the others met later with premature and brutal death themselves.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2014

    Interesting but

    However interesting I find this book and however astute Weir's judgements, the writing itself leaves much to be desired. No, I am not one of those readers who object to vocabulary above the middle school level; it's rather that she too often says something that she doesn't quite mean and I had to reread to establish just what she meant. Was this proofread?

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2012

    A student in history would like this book

    If I was in collage in a history class I would recommend this book. From my point of view I was bored and expecting so much more. Sorry, I didn't even finish the book, and wasted the money that I could have used on a much better book.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 7, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Loved it!

    No text was provided for this review.

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