4.1 49
by Nell Gavin

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William Faulkner Competition finalist for best novel.

When Henry and Anne meet in 1970, they presume they're meeting for the first time.

They don't know they were married 434 years before. They don't know they parted on bad terms. Anne has no idea why she has a compulsion to punish Henry, a man she's only just met, and he has no idea why he can't be

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William Faulkner Competition finalist for best novel.

When Henry and Anne meet in 1970, they presume they're meeting for the first time.

They don't know they were married 434 years before. They don't know they parted on bad terms. Anne has no idea why she has a compulsion to punish Henry, a man she's only just met, and he has no idea why he can't be near her without falling in love.

They don't know they are bona fide soul mates, bound to each other through eternity. They don't know that this meeting is a test...

Several lifetimes ago, and hundreds of years earlier in 1536, Henry and Anne were at the mercy of influences outside their control, explosively incompatible, and caught in a marriage that ended in betrayal so shocking that Anne required lifetimes to recover.

Henry, seemingly in defense of Anne (but more likely acting out of "stubborn perverseness", she observes), terrorized England and decreed widespread political murder in order to protect her. Ultimately, to Anne's horror, this once passionate husband turned on her and had her executed as well.

Threads, a reincarnation fantasy, opens with Anne's execution. Her fury at her husband's betrayal has enough momentum to survive centuries, but in Threads she learns that she has been assigned a hard task: she must review their history together through a number of past lives, and find it within herself to forgive him. This may prove difficult and take some time. The husband in question is Henry VIII. The narrator is the stubborn, volatile Anne Boleyn, who is not at all inclined to forgive.

It is a very unusual love story.

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Editorial Reviews

Curled Up with a Good Book
Rated: * Five Stars *
Threads is not your run-of-the-mill historical Nell Gavin's imagination shines through...
Independent Book Publishers Online
Wonderful. A really great book. Great concept, well-organized and well-written - a beautifully woven tapestry. And loads of fun.
Writer's Digest
Threads inventive and well-researched portrait of Anne Boleyn and its aching, sophisticated love story impressed me most. Anne Boleyn is deliciously fleshed out here, the first-person narrator of a sweeping epic in the style of a non-satirical Orlando. This is a strong, smart, captivating work.

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Infinity Publishing
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5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.77(d)

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Like a shadow from the first, there was Henry, spoken of frequently in our household, reverently, as much a fixture in my life in the beginning as in the end. I heard references to him and his father the King and his brother, the heir to the throne, from my earliest days. Names that meant nothing to me were to weave themselves inextricably into my life, first as a backdrop and then as my life's primary focus.

I see my home, the very home in which I first heard Henry's name. How odd it is, the manner in which perceptions change from a distance. There were times when I found this place to be insufferably dull, isolated and provincial. I chafed with boredom and impatience, anxious to be rid of it and on my way to more exciting places and events, rarely missing it, or not missing it at all when I was away. Even thinking of it as "home" seems odd, as I lived in a number of places during my life and spent considerably more time away than I ever spent here. Yet home is what this is, and I now equate the structure and the grounds with the very word "beauty".

This homemy homewas a tiny castle in Kent called Hever, built within two concentric moats, surrounded by rolling grassy fields and thick groves of trees. Ducks glided down the outer moat, which appeared upon first glance to be a stream, and sheep grazed on shallow slopes nearby. I endured pain and loss, perhaps equal to that which I felt in other places, yet can only envision the sky above Hever as blue, the clouds as white and wispy, the air as sweet, and the flowers blooming in the meadow as if it were springtime.

My father had inherited the little castle which, while outwardly very pretty, was several hundred years old and could not possibly serve us comfortably as a home without significant improvements. So, within the castle walls and attached to the tiny castle, he had built for us a large house with three adjoining wings of three floors each. Within it, the hallways joined one another at right angles forming a square that surrounded a little inner courtyard with the castle at the forefront. On the face of it, you approached a cold, walled-in fortress when you rode up the drive, but as soon as you passed through the gates and entered the courtyard, you were surrounded by charming, vine-covered walls that displayed glinting, diamond-paned windows and architecture in the modern Tudor style. On first sight, you knew you were entering a world that was safe and warm and cheerful. It was within this world that I grew.

The courtyard led to the kitchen, so its walls were lined with barrels of kitchen goods. Within these walls were hunting dogs, servant boys struggling with water buckets or bushels of meal, scullery maids exchanging glances with horse hands, several scratching, soon-to-be-killed-and-roasted chickens, and the head housekeeper scolding all of them for being underfoot, or slow, or inattentive.

The courtyard was a very jolly place. There were whiffs of wood smoke, cooking smells of fish or game, and the heady, delicious aroma of freshly harvested herbs. There were laughs and shouts, grunts from men carrying heavy loads of goods, and the sound of voices singing. I sometimes watched these scenes from the diamond-paned windows in the hallway above, and sometimes wandered down, as a child, to immerse myself in the bustle and the company. I was not supposed to be there, mingling with the underlings, in everybody's way, but if I kept myself very quiet and stayed small in a corner or behind a barrel, I was often unnoticed and forgotten, and thus was allowed to remain. This rarely lasted long. In a short time I would speak up in order to comment on or question something I saw, or would join someone in song and betray myself, then be scolded out of my hiding place, guilty and uncovered, usually pulled back inside by my nurse.

The family did not enter by way of the kitchen as the help did, but instead we made our way up a winding stone staircase just inside the castle gate. Inside the house were wood-paneled walls, elegant tapestries, and sumptuous furnishings lovingly polished by servants. Most of the rooms were forbidden to my siblings and me when we were small, and our early lives were spent in the narrow confines of playrooms and nurseries on the second floor.

My own room, located in a far corner, was only large enough to contain my bed. Mary's room, of course, was larger, she being the eldest, and George's room the largest of all (even though he was the youngest) since he was the male heir. As a female, and a middle child of very limited worth, I was provided with only the tiniest of drafty, leftover spaces, and a window too high to look out until I was grown. However, my room had the advantage of providing me with a spiral stone staircase in one corner that allowed me convenient access and ready escape to the floor below if I heard someone unwelcome approaching from the hall. For this last reason, I considered myself a very fortunate little girl indeed, and my position an enviable one.

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What People are saying about this

Rated: * Five Stars *
Occasionally readers will encounter a book that changes their whole outlook. Steinbeck's "Grapes of Wrath", "Brave New World" by Aldous Huxley, Kafka's "The Trial" and a lesser known novel "The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists" by Robert Tressell are high on my personal list. After reading "Threads" I am sure Nell Gavin's first novel will find its way onto the "top ten life-changing books" lists of many future readers for the wisdom and insights it offers in a witty, stylish and entertaining narrative.
— poet, broadcaster and writer
Jack Mauro
Rated: * Five Stars *
Nell Gavin does a remarkable job of reaching into the essence of Anne Boleyn. If her insight isn't exactly in sync with the lady herself - a possibility we can of course never know - it doesn't matter. Gavin is true to the circumstances we're familiar with and unflinchingly honest in bringing to life this extraordinary character. It FEELS honest, it feels right. Moreover, there's a lovely and dreamy quality throughout. Brava, Nell Gavin.
— author of Gay Street, Spite Hall and Enola's Wedding
Waller, Stephan
Threads is a treasure…a compelling, wonderful book.
— author of Night Music

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Threads: The Reincarnation of Anne Boleyn 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 49 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
When Anne Boleyn dies at the scaffold in 1536, she finds herself faced with a mysterious Voice (her spiritual 'guide'), severe emotional and psychological trauma, a lifetime's worth of memories she has to sort through (usually unwillingly), and an assignment: forgive Henry Tudor for having her put to death because she didn't have a son.

It appears on the surface that Anne's failure to have a son was the reason she was put to death. But in Threads, her story is much more complicated than that.

During the time Anne Boleyn was queen, she was wildly unpopular with the English subjects, and under constant siege by her enemies. She was always terrified, and had the sort of personality that caused her to get unpleasant under stress. It was her nervous harping, nagging and complaining that got her executed, NOT the fact that she didn't have a son.

But it goes even beyond that, back to a lifetime in Egypt where her problems first began. Anne, throughout history, has never liked women much, and always passed judgment on their behavior. She was especially judgmental toward women who were adulterous or sexually 'loose'. In one lifetime after another, she has earned karma from her treatment of other women that eventually accumulated to the point where, as Anne Boleyn, she would be accused of, and executed for things she didn't do, called a 'whore', and publicly accused of sexual indescretions that even involved sleeping with her own brother.

Threads tells the story of Anne Boleyn from her point of view, while it weaves the tale through various other lifetimes. You learn that Anne was more mischievous than manipulative, had incredibly poor judgment at times, but actually married Henry VIII out of love. You find out which lifetimes and which choices resulted in what circumstances. Then you watch her carry the karma she earned as 'Anne Boleyn' into future lives.

Eventually, she and Henry VIII meet up again...

I would really recommend this book. It is historical fantasy, but more than that. It deftly explores the thoughts and emotions of a real woman, rather than parrotting the usual two-dimensions of an 'historical character'.

Not only is it a good read (it's almost as though the words have little 'suction cups' on them that pull you into and through the story no matter where you open the book!), but it is philosophical and inspirational without preaching - in fact, if you don't feel like being inspired, just read it for the story! Otherwise - especially if you've ever experienced any sort of psychological trauma yourself as I have - you may find that Anne's observations and experiences will touch you and start you thinking. Anne shows us how much we all, as human beings, have in common.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What a pleasant surprise when I gave it a chance and read it while on vacation! I was gripped from the first page. Threads is well-written, intriguing, and surprisingly emotional at times. I truly loved it. I carefully brought it back with me from my trip instead of leaving it on the plane, and even bought another copy to give to my sister. Threads was just what I was looking for - an excellent story. I've discovered a new favorite author. Anne's path from that of an unloved and abused young girl, to the position of Queen of England, is presented by Anne herself as she looks back upon the circumstances that eventually led to her execution. Although there really isn't a lot of actual historical information about Anne, Gavin has created believable personalities with strengths and weaknesses, imperfections and understandable desires. Using a combination of fact and legend, she tells a story of passion, obsession, and heartbreak that will capture readers with its depth and humanity. Though it is fiction, it is more like a historical fiction (it has a bibliography in the back). It is not quite a historical fiction either though as the disembodied spirit of Ann Boleyn relates in the first person the details of her life with Henry VIII as well as their relationships in several other lives, including more recently in America. Although the context of the review is that this was just one of many lives, the bulk of the story deals exclusively with her life as Ann Boleyn with occasional references to a former life in Egypt as a wife turned prostitute and a enjoyable stint in a traveling circus in another time and place. The language is elegant and jewel-like and the story is transcendant. The use of the Hindu concept of reincarnation and the historically notorious relationship of Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII are wonderful devices to explore love, trust, betrayal and forgiveness, in all types of relationships, throughout time. There are so many levels to the passionate, intricate and exquisitely expressed stories told here. It is a story of love, forgiveness, choice and redemption with some of the most beautiful contemporary prose I've ever had the pleasure to read.    
VeniceItalyWS More than 1 year ago
This book was fascinating to read and was hard to put down. I have read as many books on Anne Boleyn as possible and this is now one of my favorites. The author wove this story so beautifully and provokes a lot of thought about the subject (Anne Boleyn). I will be re-reading this again soon.
Beverly_D More than 1 year ago
In 1536 woman dies and the story begins... Starting a story with the death of the main character is not done successfully very often. Anne Boleyn has just been lawfully, if not fairly, executed on the orders of her husband, King Henry VIII. This novel takes an unusual look at the events that led up to this; not just in Anne’s just past lifetime, but in the many lifetimes she and Henry have shared for centuries. Anne’s task is to understand, to learn where she has failed, and to forgive what seems unforgivable, her murder by her once-beloved husband and soulmate. “Then I will return to try again, to see if I can overcome my faults and repay my mistakes... I see also that I have woven my own tapestry thread by thread from the beginning of time, and have no one to blame but myself for the pattern and the outcome.” If this is the very first book someone is reading about the story of Anne Boleyn and King Henry VIII, it would probably be very confusing. The story is told in first person, in some places with little dialogue, but to me it still flowed smoothly. The author makes some interesting choices - there are several “facts” about Anne Boleyn’s life, about which some historians say Point A is true, and others say that Point A is demonstrably false. Historians now are in agreement that Henry did not have syphilis, as is given here is reason for his growing derangement; however, he may well had other diseases or conditions which affected his brain. She also gives Anne a history of being raped, as a child in France. This experience returns to Anne after the birth of Elizabeth, in the form of nightmares. She shrinks away from Henry’s lovemaking, which he takes badly, as a personal rejection, and things continue to go downhill from there. I very much liked the threads of other lifetimes, and other stories, woven into this one. The time as troubadours/circus performers was especially delightful. The idea that many of the most important people in their lives were also present in past lives: Katherine, Emma, Hal Percy, Princess Mary, as their children, parents, spouses, siblings was very interesting. I also loved the vision of Henry as an ancient Egyptian homosexual prostitute, who tenderly helps care for Anne’s children. What I liked about this is suggestion that there are forces and influences under the surface of what people choose to say and do. Past lives? Or simply experiences and traumas from this one that no one knows about? Of all the books that I’ve read about the Tudor period, this is one that has stayed with me.
Barbara-Silkstone More than 1 year ago
Threads, The Reincarnation of Anne Boleyn is a vividly imagined tale of the lure of what might be illicit love, or may be a confirmation of the existence of reincarnation. Nell Gavin is a gifted storyteller,layering the thoughts of a young woman, who for eight years kept a king.waiting. The book has the feel of a lovely painting, the details both natural and startling, the overall effect is surreal. Gently erotic, this is a novel of mesmerizing beauty, a story of love and loss. As you surrender to this thought provoking tale you will find yourself becoming a believer. Anyone who has stood in the courtyard of the Tower of London and wondered as to Anne Boleyn's last thoughts will be moved to tears. But even those who might be strangers to her legend will come away. wondering. As Anne wanders the Memories. after her death, she comes to realize that the love she shares with Henry is very old, real and shared equally between them. It will regenerate itself no matter how it is despised or ill-used, for it has been sorely tested over many lifetimes. A romantic, almost hypnotic tale. I highly recommend it. Do not miss this one.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a totally different approach to the story of Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII. Instead of just retelling history, this book widens the scope of the story by following the characters over time. This gives it more depth by exploring the motivations of the characters without losing any of the drama of the actual history of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. The author deftly makes you experience all of the heightened emotions of a high-strung woman under intense and sustained pressure as the 'conquest' of a murderous king, so that you feel as if you are riding an emotional rail throughout the entire book. In addition, the prose is lyrical and beautifully written. After I was finished reading, I couldn't get the book out of my head, and kept picking it up again, re-reading sections of it. It's the sort of book you set aside to read again.
cmc4118 More than 1 year ago
Threads is a beautifully woven story of how souls are connected and reborn over and over in varying ways. Anne and King Henry find themselves over and over throughout history in different ways, forming different bonds. They are given their situations in life by how they lived their former life, but are always connected not only to one another but also to Mary Boleyn, Jane Seymoure, Henry Percy and Anne's parents. The story is told through Anne who has just been beheaded by Henry, and is in a waiting period between her last life and her new life. She is shown previous lives she has shared with Henry as his sister, lover, mother and how they have all effected the next life, but that they always find one another somehow. The reader is walked through each of the lives Henry and Anne share together and seeing how in each life they are so well connected. As a reader you find yourself hoping and praying for them that their next life will work out for them, and they will finally find the peace they both seek, with one another. Beautifully written and woven together, the story made me cry and hope and feel more connected to Anne than any story I have read previously (and I have read alot of Anne Boleyn fiction!). By far, one of my favorite books of all time.
Rae86 More than 1 year ago
As a huge Anne Boleyn fan this book was amazing. The view on reincarnation was extremely interesting. Gavin does a remarkable job at keeping the reader interested in the text and to see the story rather than just read the words. I am quite interested in reading more works by Nell Gavin based solely on my experience with this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
An imaginitive and certainly more sympathetic view of the villainized Anne Boleyn. As historical fiction/fantasy is right up my alley, I thoroughly enjoyed this read - Definitely a new twist on a familiar landscape. I highly recommend!
StacieRosePittard More than 1 year ago
Severely disappointed. I was expecting less of a retelling of the history of Anne Boleyn, and more of a fictional story about her different reincarnations. The story of King Henry VIII and Anne ended up dominating the entire book, and the author didn't get around to describing their reincarnations much at all (which leaves people absolutely no reason to pick up this book). When she did get around to writing about the reincarnations, it ended up being rushed and lacking in detail. The last few pages were the only bits of the book that actually lived up to the description of the novel. The only saving grace for this book (giving it a two stars instead of one), is that the author seemed to be somewhat well researched on Anne Boleyn. However, if someone is interested in reading a retelling of Anne Boleyn's experiences with King Henry VIII, there are a number of less boring and better researched books out there, both within the fiction and nonfiction categories.
HeatherM79 More than 1 year ago
This was a fantastic book. The characters' were vivid and I felt very strongly about each one. ' Threads' is a thought provoking book and one that I am sure I will read many more times!
miss_dobie More than 1 year ago
This is not just another story about Anne Boleyn! Of course, it is that, but it is much, much more. The introduction of the "Memories" and "The Voice" parts make this a most magnificent and enchanting book that should most definitely be read and cherished.
LadyGwendolyn More than 1 year ago
This book is beautifully written. It has so many layers, it takes you into her world. I love the way Nell Gavin takes you into the color, laughter, sadness, smells, everything that make you believe that you are in the same room as the characters. I loved it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is a great read for anyone interested in a different spin on Anne Boleyn and her story. I bought this book not knowing too much about it and was not disappointed! I am very interested in reading anything about Tudor history and Anne Boleyn. This book offers an interesting look into the afterlife for Anne directly following her death.
Anonymous 4 months ago
While, for the most part, the book is well written it is not so well researched. I noticed it first when Catherine of Aragon is described. This book describes her as dark haired. Historicsl and contemporary documents describer her as bein blue-eyed and auburn haired. It seemed to me that the descriptions of the people and events came from a mix of The Tudors and The Other Boleyn Girl. Some of the timeline is a bit jerky making things a bit confusing at times. In my personal opinion if someone is to write a book about a historical figure they should put more research into the real person and not the fictional depictions of them.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As a theologian steeped in the history surrounding Tudor and Elizabethan England, I gravitated towards the premise of this book. As a theologian steeped in ecumenism, and well read in "New Age" beliefs, I am also aware of past lives, soul mates and karma. However, to see the two of them hinting at links in the trailer for this book? This I had to see. And, I struggled with some of it, wept over parts, and came away with greater respect for Henry VIII's second wife. And, I would love to see what got edited out.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Interesting and unique story that caught me up in it and didnt let go. I have read many books about Anne and this one was truly unique and thought provoking. Recommend it.
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I loved the different twist to the historical story that has been written about in many other books. I really recommend it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago