Saturday 15 October 2022

๐Ÿ“– Publication Day Book Review ~ The Boleyns: From the Tudors to the Windsors by Amanda Harvey Purse


Amberley Publishing 
15 October 2022

My thanks to the publisher for my copy of this book

Anne Boleyn, the second wife of Henry VIII, was executed on May 19, 1536. Her sister Mary, rumored mistress to the monarch, lived on and survived the king’s wrath. But this is not the end of the tale of the Boleyns and the British Royal family – their stories have remained entwined for almost 500 years, through countless wars, crises and triumphs.

In this book, Amanda Harvey Purse delves into the archives to tell the remarkable story of a number of individuals who form part of the Boleyn bloodline, spanning the worlds of the military, art and politics. Among those featured are Robert Devereux, executed for treason after leading an army against the government in the early seventeenth century; Lettice Knollys, banished from the court of Elizabeth I after marrying the wrong man; and Cecilia Nina Bowes Lyon, the godmother to Elizabeth II who scandalised society when marrying Claude Bowes Lyon and played a significant role in the convalescence of soldiers during the First World War.

๐Ÿ“– My Review

Any mention of King Henry VIII and before too long the name Boleyn crops up and not just because of Anne Boleyn’s ill-fated marriage to the irascible monarch but also because of her family’s deep involvement in Tudor court life. In this comprehensive look at the Boleyn bloodline the author has put together, in fascinating detail, how this family shaped their own destiny.

For the continuation of the Boleyn bloodline after Anne’s untimely death we need look to her sister, Mary Boleyn, herself a prominent player in Tudor life albeit more on the sidelines after her family’s dramatic fall from grace. Through Mary’s children, the Boleyn bloodline continues with Lettice Knollys, Countess of Essex and Leicester who courted Elizabeth I’s anger when she married the Queen’s  favourite, Robert Dudley, in a secret marriage service, and then onwards throughout the generations until the familial link falls upon the Bowles-Lyon family from whom Queen Elizabeth II is descended.

The book takes us on a very readable journey through some of the momentous years of the last 500 years of British history and gives a credible account of those historical figures who played such prominent roles. The early section of the book, with its focus on the Boleyn family, is particularly interesting and even though I thought I knew quite a lot about the family, and Anne Boleyn in particular, I found that I discovered snippets about the family I hadn’t previously known.

To connect a family through half a millennium takes an extraordinary amount of research and the author has done a great job in presenting the factual details without ever getting too complicated with facts and figures and whilst there are a lot of dates to take in it really does give a comprehensive account of a dynamic family who survived through the generations and against all the odds managed to succeed.

About the Author

Amanda Harvey Purse is an author and historical researcher for London-based museums. She has spent the last twenty-five years studying the Victoria period and is a member of The Royal Historical Society. She has studied the Tudors at the University of Roehampton and is the founder of Tudor Secrets and Myths.

Foreword by Dr Owen Emerson is curator at Hever castle, the seat of the Boleyn Family.

Twitter @amberleybooks

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