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My Lady of Cleves

My Lady of Cleves

4.1 30
by Margaret Campbell Barnes

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"Turns A BRILLIANT LIGHT on one of the lustiest and one of the most dramatic periods of English history."- Philadelphia Inquirer

My Lady of Cleves tells the mesmerizing story of Anne of Cleves, fourth wife of Henry VIII, one of the rare women who matched wits successfully with the fiery king and lived to


"Turns A BRILLIANT LIGHT on one of the lustiest and one of the most dramatic periods of English history."- Philadelphia Inquirer

My Lady of Cleves tells the mesmerizing story of Anne of Cleves, fourth wife of Henry VIII, one of the rare women who matched wits successfully with the fiery king and lived to tell the tale.

Aware of the disastrous consequences of not bearing an heir, Anne of Cleves bravely took on the duty of weathering the Tudor King's temper and won the hearts of his subjects in the process.

Written by world-renowned historical novelist Margaret Campbell Barnes, My Lady of Cleves gives readers an intimate portrait of the warm, unpretentious princess who never expected to become Queen of England and how she navigated a world of high drama and courtly elegance.

A refreshing historical fiction about infamous Tudor England, fans of Philippa Gregory, Anya Seton and Bernard Cornwell will delight in this tale of Henry's fourth Queen, her secret love, her power-hungry husband, and the country that ruled them all.

Other books about the six wives of Henry VIII and the Tudors by Margaret Campbell Barnes:
Brief Gaudy Hour – a refreshing novel of Anne Boleyn, cast in a new light
The Tudor Rose – the richly drawn story of Elizabeth of York who united a kingdom and birthed a dynasty
King's Fool – an insider account of the Tudor Court, told by Henry VIII's one true friend

What readers are saying about My Lady Of Cleves:

"an interesting look into a woman that survived marriage to Henry VIII."

"Anne outlives Catherine, Henry, and the painter Holbein...and in the end finds herself more loved than she had ever imagined."

"I was completely amazed by this book. The richness that Barnes put into the characters was SPELLBINDING!"

"An outstanding, brilliant story that brings the perhaps least-remembered of the wives of Henry VIII to vibrant life."

"one of the best Tudor-centered historical fiction novels I've ever read."

"a FASCINATING, well written book"

"A fantastic novel that NO FAN OF TUDOR ENGLAND SHOULD MISS."

What reviewers are saying about My Lady Of Cleves:

"Turns A BRILLIANT LIGHT on one of the lustiest and one of the most dramatic periods of English history." - Philadelphia Inquirer

"At long last Anne of Cleves gets her day as a noble and highminded heroine in the lists of historical fiction!" – Chicago Tribune

"Barnes' vision of Anne is so different from others I have encountered, it was like reading her story for the first time. This is the Anne of Cleves I choose to live in my memory." - Books N Border Collies

" an appealing story of a woman who makes the best of a bad situation... it's nice to see this novel in particular being reissued." - Reading, Ranting, and Raving

"I have to say that from the moment I read the inscription, I was hooked in this book... Anne is brought to life, and is portrayed as a capable woman..." -Historical Tapestry

What everyone is saying about Margaret Campbell Barnes:

"Margaret Campbell Barnes has added brilliant hues to a picture which never lacked in color." - Vancouver (BC) Daily Province
"Immensely entertaining and absorbing." - Chicago Tribune

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Excerpt from Chapter One

HENRY TUDOR STRADDLED THE hearth in the private audience chamber at Greenwich. Sunlight streaming through a richly colored oriel window emphasized the splendor of his huge body and red-gold beard against the wide arch of the stone fireplace behind him. He was in a vile temper. The huddle of statesmen yapping their importunities at him from a respectful distance might have been a pack of half-cowed curs baiting an angry bull. They were trying to persuade him to take a fourth wife. And because for once he was being driven into matrimony by diplomacy and not desire, he scowled at all their suggestions.

"Who are these two princesses of Cleves?" he wanted to know. That didn't sound too hopeful for the latest project of the Protestant Party. But Thomas Cromwell hadn't pushed his way from struggling lawyer to Chancellor of England without daring sometimes to pit his own obstinacy against the King's.

"Their young brother rules over the independent duchies of Cleves, Guelderland, Juliers and Hainault," he reported. "And we are assured that the Dowager Duchess has brought them up in strict Dutch fashion."

Henry thought they sounded deadly, and he was well aware that their late father's Lutheran fervor was of far more value in Cromwell's eyes than the domestic virtues of their mother.

"Those Flemish girls are all alike, dowdy and humor less," he muttered, puffing out his lips. The audience chamber overlooked the gardens and the river, and from where he stood he could hear sudden gusts of laughter from the terrace below. He thought he recognized the voices of two of his late wife's flightiest maids-of-honor.

Only yesterday he had heard his dour Chancellor rating them for playing shuttlecock so near the royal apartments. And because he was having his own knuckles rapped-although much more obsequiously-he snickered sympathetically.

"And if I must marry again," he added, "an English girl would be more amusing." It was growing warm as the morning wore on and a bumble bee beat its body persistently against the lattice. But Cromwell was a born taskmaster. "Your Grace has already-er-tried two," he pointed out, looking down his pugnacious nose.
"Well?" demanded Henry, dangerously.

Naturally, no one present had the temerity to mention that Anne Boleyn had not been a success or to gall his recent bereavement by referring to the fact that Jane Seymour had died in childbirth.

"It is felt that a foreign alliance-like your Majesty's first marriage with Catherine of Aragon-," began the Archbishop of Canterbury, who had obligingly helped to get rid of her. Marillac, the French ambassador, backed him up quickly, seeing an opportunity to do some spade work for his own country. "Your Grace has always found our French women piquantes," he reminded the widowed King, although everybody must have known that Archbishop Cranmer had not meant another Catholic queen. Henry turned to him with relief. Like most bullies, he really preferred the people who stood up to him. He didn't mean to be impatient and irritable so that men jumped or cowered whenever he addressed them. He had always prided himself on being accessible. "Bluff King Hal," peo ple had called him. And secretly he had loved it. Why, not so very long ago he used to sit in this very room-he and Catherine-with Mary, his young sister, and Charles Brandon, his friend-planning pageants and encouraging poets ...

"Your Majesty has but to choose any eligible lady in my country and King Francis will be honored to negotiate with her parents on your behalf," the ambassador was urging, with a wealth of Latin gesture which made the rest of the argumentative assembly look stupid.

"I know, I know, my dear Marillac," said Henry, drag ging himself from his reminiscent mood to their importunities. "And weeks ago I dictated a letter asking that three of the most promising of them might be sent to Calais for me to choose from. But nothing appears to have been done." He slewed his thickening body round toward his unfortunate secretary with a movement that had all the vindictiveness of a snook, and Wriothesley-conscious of his own diligence in the matter-made a protesting gesture with his ugly hands.

"The letter was sent, your Grace. But, I beg you to consider, Sir, your proposal was impossible!"
"Impossible!" Henry Tudor rapped out the word with all the arrogance of an upstart dynasty that has made itself despotic.
"Monsieur Marillac has just received the French King's reply," murmured Cranmer.
"And what does he say?" asked Henry.

Seeing that the prelate had forced his hand and thereby spoiled his bid for another Catholic alliance, Marillac reluctantly drew the letter from his scented dispatch case. After all, he was not Henry's subject and his neck was safe. "He says that it would tax his chivalry too far to ask ladies of noble blood to allow themselves to be trotted out on approval like so many horses at a fair!" he reported verbatim. And many a man present had to hide a grin, envying him his immunity. Henry gulped back a hot retort, reddening and blinking his sandy lashes in the way he did when he knew himself to be in the wrong. There had been a time, before that bitch Nan Boleyn had blunted his susceptibilities about women's feelings, when he would have been the first to agree with Francis. Mary, his favorite sister, had been alive then, keeping him kind. Lord, how he missed her! He sighed, considering how good it was for a man to have a sister-some woman who gave the refining intimacy of her mind in a relationship that had nothing to do with sex. Someone who understood one's foibles and even bullied back sometimes, affectionately. Mary would have said in her gay, irrepressible way, "Don't be a mule, Henry! You know very well those stuffy old statesmen are right, so you might just as well do what they want without arguing." But even if they were right, and he did, it wasn't as simple as all that, he thought ruefully. For, after all, whatever foreign woman they might wish onto him, it was he who would have to live with her.

Meet the Author

The late Margaret Campbell Barnes grew up in London. Her historical novels include Brief Gaudy Hour, With All My Heart, Isabel the Fair, and The King's Bed.
New York Times bestseller Margaret Campbell Barnes, now deceased, wrote several historical novels, including Brief Gaudy Hour, My Lady of Cleves, King's Fool, The Tudor Rose, Within the Hollow Crown, With All My Heart, Isabel the Fair, The King's Bed, Lady on the Coin, and Mary of Carisbrooke. Her novels have sold more than 2 million copies worldwide.

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My Lady of Cleves: A Novel of Henry VIII and Anne of Cleves 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 30 reviews.
slypork More than 1 year ago
I am an avid fan of both fiction and non-fiction involving British history. This was a fascinating and entertaining read about Anne of Cleves. What a strong, smart, kind and down to earth character. So little is mentioned about Henry VIII's fourth wife/'sister' and I was enchanted from the first page to the last!
Sensitivemuse More than 1 year ago
I really liked how Anne of Cleves was portrayed in this book! and it proved to be a very enjoyable read. I had to get used to the writing style though, and it took a little longer to get into the book. It proved to be a very interesting read, and I really did like this book. It's hard not to sympathize with Anne. Practically alone in a country where English is a foreign language, and with different customs and clothing to get used to, I felt really sorry for her in the beginning of the book. When she becomes the target of ridicule, you sympathize with her even more and can't help but feel angry towards Henry and his crew for being so mean. The biggest surprise in this book is her friendship with Thomas Culpepper. I didn't think they'd get along, but I liked their friendship. Also, the Thomas in this book is much nicer than say, The Tudors version. This book painted Culpepper in a rather sympathetic light and it's a whole different version of him than what I am used to, and I like this one much better. What I enjoyed most about this book is how Anne gracefully became an outsider of the court, to a well beloved one. She gradually warmed characters' hearts and the reader's. She was seen as a person you could approach to, and talk to while she listened and gave good advice. In a way, you could say she would make a wonderful therapist. You could not help but love her up until the end. I especially liked how she managed to get Henry to come crawling back (so to speak). I thought Henry's portrayal here was different, he's still a tyrant, but he's also seen as an old curmudgeon. Perhaps that's what Margaret Campbell Barnes wanted in the first place. The plot is certainly slow moving and although it's not what you would call a very exciting type of book, I think it's a book meant to be read and appreciated thoroughly and slowly. I believe this book was really meant to really look into Anne as a character and how she develops throughout the story. This book is really all about the characters. Would I recommend this? I would to Tudor history lovers out there. It helps to know the history and to know who's who before getting into this book. Also keep in mind, the writing style is a bit different -I'd say similar to Jean Plaidy's. So, it will take a bit to get used to, but it's well worth the time. This was one of the better Tudor books I've read, filled with great character development and most importantly, shows some of the characters in a very different light. I definitely recommend this. It was a great read, and reinforces my opinion as Anne of Cleves being one of my favorite Queens (even if she was Queen for a little while).
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is an excellent book to learn who Anne of Cleves really was. Most books portray her as dull, dim, and the least favorite of Henry's wives. However, in My Lady of Cleves you see England from her point of view and see how she actually knows Henry better than anyone. Also, towards the end of the book you get a brief perspective into Katherine Howard and Katherine Parr. This book is an excellent book for any Tudor history buff who wants a way to pass the day.
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uss71832 More than 1 year ago
Very nicely researched, offers a different form of the Anne of Cleaves that we've known from television and film.
Barbaraketubah More than 1 year ago
Touches of fact and fiction intertwined makes for interesting reading and helps one try to understand the intricacies of the wives of Henry VIII and how he dealt with them, good and bad
donnasreview More than 1 year ago
Have always been interested int the Tudors and Lancaster's and of course how could Lady of Cleves not be included. The book is long winded and is taking me a while to read. There are a lot of different things that happened that I had not heard before. So not sure if this is fiction or all the others are. If these times and people interest you then of course give it a try. But otherwise it might be disappointing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Melmel727 More than 1 year ago
I really loved the author's style. I've read a lot of historical fiction from this period and I really loved to see Ann of Cleves portrayed as an intelligent woman of beauty rather than the way she is usually described. Can't wait to read all of Ms. Campbell Barnes' works.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
We'll written. Interesting interpretations of events.
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Margny More than 1 year ago
This is a enjoyable read for anyone interested in historical novels. This author tells an engaging story of Lady Anne of Cleves and gives the reader a flavor for this period of English history that was wrought with profound changes due to Henry the VIII 's various appetite's .
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have to say that this book is very entertaining if you love Henry the vii it gives a good insite into a queen that was never very popular for nothing else except for her "horse looks".
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spinndiva More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved this book! I loved the style it was written in. It was so easy to slip in Anna's shoes, to feel the humiliations and the triumphs. I am going to read it again for sure! Not right away, but someday! I would definitely recommend this book! It may not be absolutely historically accurate, but it IS a lovely book! It will stick with you!
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