To Die For: A Novel of Anne Boleyn ~ Book 1 in the Ladies in Waiting series by Sandra Byrd, 2011
Author Sandra Byrd has written a very thorough account of the Tudor period under the rule of King Henry VIII through the eyes of Anne Boleyn's trusted and truest friend, Anne (Meg) Wyatt, her childhood companion and wardrobe mistress at Court.
I liked the first person telling as only a dear friend can; one who is an honest and forthright teller of day-to-day happenings and conversations. Historical fiction is my very favorite genre. Are we to repeat history or reclaim what is rightfully ours? A choice to be made, for sure.
In this telling of Anne Boleyn, I liked Meg and her character very much. She rose above a mistreated home life to become very valuable in following a calling she believed was hers. In putting her life solely for the betterment of her friend, in servitude, she gained a worthy stand above reproach. Trust and fidelity brought her a remarkable outcome.
Notice the necklace on the cover of this novel! Anne Boleyn, whether innocently or contrived became entangled in the life of Henry VIII, a villain in his own right ~ possibly starting out with good intent but becoming ensnared in his own deceit and power. During this time, the Tyndale New Testament of the Bible was being printed in English. Secret meetings during the English Reformation were attended not only by those in agreement, but by those wishing to stand by the king and his rulings. Anne sought to set in power those with alliance to the reform; Henry wanted to affirm his sovereignty. He passed acts beneficial to himself. Seeking a male heir, he found ways to dismiss his wives.
Included are listings of Family Trees showing their connection to each other within the story; author notes, research sources, reading group guide, and author Q&A.
***Thank you to author Sandra Byrd for this copy of To Die For: A Novel of Anne Boleyn and the insight of the Tudor period. This review was written in my own words. No other compensation was received.***
Sandra Byrd is an accomplished writer of historical fiction, and this novel based on the life of Anne Boleyn and her friend and confidant, Meg Wyatt, is a fine example of that polished writing excellence.
How deep is your friendship with your closest friend? Would you walk with her (or him) through high places and danger, through life and the path to death? Meg chose to remain Anne Boleyn's friend even when her friend made terrible choices. Many people make unwise choices, and Anne's choice to become Henry VIII's second wife was one of those. Carried away by King Henry's charm and believing his lies about his first wife, Anne Boleyn waits for Henry's machinations to put his first wife aside to become complete. They marry, and Anne becomes the queen.
As the queen's closest friend and confidant, Meg's star rises with Anne's and crashes as Henry becomes discontent with his beautiful wife's inability to give him an heir. Meg prays for her, rejoices with her, and despairs for her, as a true friend should always strive to do. So many of us give up on friends as they disappoint us--but Meg didn't desert her even when Anne treated her with disrespect.
Anne Boleyn's story has always fascinated me, and it's been so fun to learn more about her and become acquainted with Meg Wyatt, the friend who continued to succor her doomed companion all the way to the tragic finale.
Thank you, Sandra, for a heart-wrenching and -warming historical fiction with amazing attention to details of history during that period of the Tudor reign.
I love anything by Sandra Byrd. I love her writing and her thought process. This book was not so much about Anne Boylen, but about her best friend Meg Wyatt which I thought was a wonderful twist. I loved the interaction between the two friends, there was peace and war with them which I think is very realistic given the setting of HenryVIII court.
The only complaint that I have is that I couldn't find God or Jesus or any mention of faith. If there was I didn't see it, and I keep looking. But it was a well researched, well written book and I don't think that you will be dissapointed.
I have heard so many beautiful things about this book, I knew that I had to read it. To Die For is in my mind the perfect Historical novel. Rich in detail, and characters, this book was nearly impossible to put down yet at the same time I want to just sit back and enjoy it.
Meg Wyatt is the faithful friend to Anne Boleyn, the 2nd wife of Henry VIII, and the mother of one of England's most memorable monarchs, Queen Elizabeth. To Die For chronicles the rise and fall of Anne Boleyn to power and back down again.
Many books fiction and non-fiction alike both like to paint Anne as evil or as a witch, so I was glad to find a book that portrayed her more realistically. The historical accuracy and believability was spot on for me, it read like a novel, yet I learned things at the same time :)
Meg was a very easy to relate to character that I quickly connected with. I experience what it was like to be in the court of Henry VIII all through the pages of this book. It was an absolute pleasure to read!
One of my favorite Christian heroes has always been William Tyndale, and I was happy that his work was not ignored, in fact, the effect of that his explosive translation of the New Testament had on the Christian world.
Overall this is a book I would highly recommend to lovers of Christian Fiction, and Historical Fiction, or anyone who loves a well woven story. As I read it quickly became a favorite and is probably one of the best books I've read this year. This book is a MUST READ!
Before I launch into this book review, I need to go ahead and admit that with my limited writing abilities, there is no way I will be able to do this book justice. I honestly wasn't sure if I would like this story or not, but there were two reasons I wanted to read it. First of all, I love Sandra Byrd's books. I read her entire French Twist series and it has remained one of my favorite fiction series. Also, I wanted to read this book because my roots go back to northern England. In fact my dad was born in Hexham, so my interest in the history of this part of the world is pretty high. I have never known much about Anne Boleyn or Henry VIII, just the basics of what history tells us. I was interested to read a novel about Anne Boleyn written by someone who actually took her time to thoroughly research these people, places and the time period. So, I opened To Die For and found myself swept into a world and story far beyond my wildest expectations.
I started reading this book like I do any other book, but soon found that I was reading a story that I fell in love with. There were so many factors that caused me to have such strong feelings about this book. For one thing, Sandra's writing was absolutely flawless. She did something that few authors, in my humble opinion, can do. She used authentic language to the place and time when the characters were speaking without slowing the story down. I usually find that to be a distraction, bordering on a pet peeve when I'm reading a book, but Sandra managed to make it work flawlessly and the book moved at an even pace and remained authentic.
The story was incredible as well. The loved the strong bond between Anne and her best friend Meg. It was refreshing to see that despite Anne's rise to becoming Queen of England, she remained true to her friend and her friend remained true to her right up until the end. We all know how this story ends, but there were still some nice surprises that helped this book come full circle to a satisfying ending. I don't know exactly what all was fact and what all was fiction, but I just loved the story too much to get hung up on the details. There is an intensity to this story that builds steadily throughout and makes this book so engaging and hard to put down.
What else can I say about a book that was everything good literature should be, and then some? To Die For is one of those books that stays with me, even now, a few days after finishing it. I would like to read it again someday because I'm sure there are some details I missed on the first read. But, until then, I will simply cherish this book as much as I cherished it while I read it. I can't recommend this book strongly enough. It is going on my short list of all-time favorite books. Thank you Sandra for telling Anne's story. Any reader will see that this book was truly a labor of love and should be savored and cherished.