review: The Anne Boleyn Collection

The Anne Boleyn Collection

by Claire Ridgway

This book reads like a collection of essays and may be blog posts from The Anne Boleyn Files—I’m not familiar enough with the website to know if this is the case. It is arranged in an easy to follow style with the purpose of bringing some of the most valid arguments forward regarding Anne Boleyn’s guilt or innocence and relating information on the people around her. Citing all sources and even making points about the sources themselves, the author digs into previously uncharted footnotes of history, such as the mysterious graves belonging to Anne Boleyn’s alleged brothers who died young, and the disease that many believe King Henry VIII suffered from.

As with the author’s other book, The Fall of Anne Boleyn, I found this a quick and easy, though very informative read with many unknown facts brought to light, and points made that I had not gathered from the many reads on Anne Boleyn I have enjoyed over the years.

I detected much scorn for historical fiction from this author, and to some extent I can see her point—but fiction is fiction is fiction. That there are some people who cannot tell the difference between fiction and non-fiction, or television shows and history—well, there will always be ignorance. I don’t think wiping out entertainment will make history professors of everyone. The Anne Boleyn Files website is a wonderful resource, as are her two books, but they are for those serious about delving into historical facts. The vast majority of those reading Philippa Gregory and watching The Tudors are not counted among the serious historical debaters, though I thoroughly believe the two mentioned are responsible for starting the spark for many Tudor enthusiasts, myself included, as my entry into Historical Fiction was The Queen’s Fool almost 10 years ago.

This is a quick, enjoyable read and worth the download. Though it’s not the most elegantly written piece, the author’s devotion to her subject shines through and brings out the importance of the minute details of Anne Boleyn’s life, as well as many valid arguments on various hot topics.