To Die For: Anne BoleynTo Die For: Anne Boleyn
Sandra Byrd
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 To Die For Discussion Questions: by Sandra Byrd


 

1. The book opens with a glimpse of the friendship between Meg and Anne as teenagers and follows them through courtship and marriage, treachery and setbacks, childbearing and childlessness, immense riches and a final difficult plummet to death. How is the evolution of women's friendships in the twenty-first century similar to, and different from, women's friendships in the sixteenth century?

 

 

2. A major theme in the book is the balance of love vs. duty. Each has its own rewards and costs. In which situations must the women in the book balance love and duty? Does one character have a better grasp on the balance than the other? What kinds of love vs. duty conflicts do women today face?

 

 

3. Tudor women, even and perhaps especially the highborn, had extreme social limits on their autonomy, and yet they did have some personal and community power. How is that illustrated in the book? Which characters use their power only for personal gain, and which use their power for the good of others, and how? Did/do women have certain types of power that were unavailable to men?

 


4. Discuss the concept of small personal sacrifices for the greater gain of a group. Cranmer, in particular, would have felt that he was sacrificing Anne for a greater good. Do the ends ever justify the means?

 

 

5. Readers often have clear preferences on first vs. third person narration. Did the first person narration of To Die For influence your feelings about the book, about Meg, about Anne? Since the author made a clear choice to present this in first person, what would have been gained or lost by a third person point of view?

 

 

5. Although the book is set nearly 500 years ago, how are the women and men in it like people you know - your sister, your mother, a person who knifes you in the back at work? How are the men and women in this book different from people in your world? Which is better ... and why?

 

 

6. There is a quality control concept that you never know the temper and mettle of a metal until it is tested. Testing alone proves strength - and character. How is that played out for Meg? For Anne? For George Boleyn & Jane Rochford as well as others in the book? How has testing improved the quality of your relationships and your life?

 

 

7. Early in the book Meg laments that she is always the setting, never the stone. Later, at Westminster Abbey, she has an epiphany that while that is still true, she has been viewing it all wrong. In which arenas in life are you the stone, and in which, the setting? Do you prefer one over another?

 

 

8. Books written about the Tudor court seem to be perennial favorites. Why do you think this period, more than many others, captures the heart of readers? What does that say about human nature?

 

 

9. During the Tudor years, and many years thereafter, a person's position in his or her family dictated affection, career, marriage, and financial well being. Is that still true in any way? How?

 

 

10. Is Anne Boleyn, as depicted in this book, anything like the Anne Boleyn of common knowledge? Has reading this book informed or changed your opinion on Anne Boleyn in any way and if so, how?

 

 

 

 


 
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