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In this "energetic" (Kirkus Reviews) re-creation of Anne Boleyn's tragic life -- and death -- Robin Maxwell offers a pitch-perfect version of a bawdy and exuberant time filled with lust, betrayal, love, and murder.When the young Queen Elizabeth I is entrusted with Anne Boleyn's secret diary, she discovers a great deal about the much-maligned mother she never knew. And on l In this "energetic" (Kirkus Reviews) re-creation of Anne Boleyn's tragic life -- and death -- Robin Maxwell offers a pitch-perfect version of a bawdy and exuberant time filled with lust, betrayal, love, and murder.When the young Queen Elizabeth I is entrusted with Anne Boleyn's secret diary, she discovers a great deal about the much-maligned mother she never knew. And on learning the truth about her lascivious and despotic father, Henry VIII, she vows never to relinquish control to any man. But this avowal doesn't prevent Elizabeth from pursuing a torrid love affair with her horsemaster, Robin Dudley -- described with near-shocking candor -- as too are Anne's graphic trysts with a very persistent and lustful Henry. Blending a historian's attention to accuracy with a novelist's artful rendering, Maxwell weaves compelling descriptions of court life and devastating portraits of actual people into her naughty, page-turning tale. The result is a masterpiece of historical fiction -- so prophetic of our time that one would think it were ripped from today's headlines.


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In this "energetic" (Kirkus Reviews) re-creation of Anne Boleyn's tragic life -- and death -- Robin Maxwell offers a pitch-perfect version of a bawdy and exuberant time filled with lust, betrayal, love, and murder.When the young Queen Elizabeth I is entrusted with Anne Boleyn's secret diary, she discovers a great deal about the much-maligned mother she never knew. And on l In this "energetic" (Kirkus Reviews) re-creation of Anne Boleyn's tragic life -- and death -- Robin Maxwell offers a pitch-perfect version of a bawdy and exuberant time filled with lust, betrayal, love, and murder.When the young Queen Elizabeth I is entrusted with Anne Boleyn's secret diary, she discovers a great deal about the much-maligned mother she never knew. And on learning the truth about her lascivious and despotic father, Henry VIII, she vows never to relinquish control to any man. But this avowal doesn't prevent Elizabeth from pursuing a torrid love affair with her horsemaster, Robin Dudley -- described with near-shocking candor -- as too are Anne's graphic trysts with a very persistent and lustful Henry. Blending a historian's attention to accuracy with a novelist's artful rendering, Maxwell weaves compelling descriptions of court life and devastating portraits of actual people into her naughty, page-turning tale. The result is a masterpiece of historical fiction -- so prophetic of our time that one would think it were ripped from today's headlines.

30 review for The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn

  1. 5 out of 5

    Evgnossia O'Hara

    Each time I read a book about Anne Boleyn I can't help loving her even more for the courage of her heart and her vivid spirit. She was a feminist in a period of time when women considered to be the property of their fathers and their husbands afterwards. She was fearless, determined, charming, ambitious, political astute, highly intelligent and intellectually driven. This book proves that once again. It is a story of Anne told through the diary entries and being read by her daughter Elizabeth, t Each time I read a book about Anne Boleyn I can't help loving her even more for the courage of her heart and her vivid spirit. She was a feminist in a period of time when women considered to be the property of their fathers and their husbands afterwards. She was fearless, determined, charming, ambitious, political astute, highly intelligent and intellectually driven. This book proves that once again. It is a story of Anne told through the diary entries and being read by her daughter Elizabeth, the Queen of England. A very interesting perspective. I highly recommend it for those who are interested in the life of this Great Woman.

  2. 4 out of 5

    *TUDOR^QUEEN*

    As an avid reader of Tudor biographies with a particular fascination for Queen Anne Boleyn, I approached this historical fiction novel with some skepticism. I was pleasantly surprised and impressed! Not only was it factually accurate, but the best read on Anne Boleyn I've had. This novel is premised on the idea that Anne Boleyn kept a diary from the inception of her romance with King Henry VIII up until the day before her execution. This diary was discreetly given to Anne's daughter Queen Elizab As an avid reader of Tudor biographies with a particular fascination for Queen Anne Boleyn, I approached this historical fiction novel with some skepticism. I was pleasantly surprised and impressed! Not only was it factually accurate, but the best read on Anne Boleyn I've had. This novel is premised on the idea that Anne Boleyn kept a diary from the inception of her romance with King Henry VIII up until the day before her execution. This diary was discreetly given to Anne's daughter Queen Elizabeth I shortly after her coronation. Most of the book is comprised of the chronological diary excerpts, which I ravenously devoured. Robin Maxwell captured the language pattern of these Medieval times so magnificently. As I read Anne Boleyn's heartfelt thoughts it was a most intimate and poignant experience. I fought back tears reading Anne's tender words for the daughter she would never live to see grow up. This fictional but authentically presented diary gives the reader a personal and unique forum to experience this royal tragedy.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Suzanne

    I loved this book and would recommend it above the Other Boleyn Girl. In fact having read this book and at least one or two others about Anne Boleyn, all of which portrayed her as a woman who wanted to take control over her life instead of being having her entire life run by men and brought about her own downfall not just because she wanted too much power but because she wanted more power than a woman was supposed to want, I had trouble getting into the Other Boleyn Girl, which to me made Anne s I loved this book and would recommend it above the Other Boleyn Girl. In fact having read this book and at least one or two others about Anne Boleyn, all of which portrayed her as a woman who wanted to take control over her life instead of being having her entire life run by men and brought about her own downfall not just because she wanted too much power but because she wanted more power than a woman was supposed to want, I had trouble getting into the Other Boleyn Girl, which to me made Anne seem too flat and too simplistic. I find this version of Anne much more rich and developed and I also really liked the fact that this book ties in Elizabeth and makes you feel like you are reading along with the young queen as she finds out the truth about her mother after being told so many horrible stories about her.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Heidi

    Excellent depiction of the rise and fall of Anne Boleyn as told through diary form which was an interesting take on the oft-told story of Henry VIII’s second wife. I especially liked that it also features a young Queen Elizabeth who is wrestling with her own desires and political fortunes. As always, I find this era fascinating and having read several different versions, I believe this one adds some emotional depth to Boleyn’s story.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Debra

    3.5 stars Reading this book was like mashing the Movie Elizabeth with the Showtime series "The Tudors"! Queen Elizabeth I is given her Mother's diary. She is intrigued as she really did not know her Mother. As she begins reading the journal she is given a glimpse into the life of her Mother, her Mother's relatives and also showed her a part of her father she did not know. The Diary chronicles the time before Anne was married to Henry VIII and up until the day of her execution. This is a book that 3.5 stars Reading this book was like mashing the Movie Elizabeth with the Showtime series "The Tudors"! Queen Elizabeth I is given her Mother's diary. She is intrigued as she really did not know her Mother. As she begins reading the journal she is given a glimpse into the life of her Mother, her Mother's relatives and also showed her a part of her father she did not know. The Diary chronicles the time before Anne was married to Henry VIII and up until the day of her execution. This is a book that blends history with fiction. I didn't feel as if I learned anything new but it was an entertaining read about court life, relationships, secrets, and historical events. Even though I knew what was going to happen and have read about Anne Boleyn in various books, this was an entertaining tale A fast read. This is the type of book that one can read on a lazy Sunday afternoon or on a plane. It's not too earth shattering, does not require much thought, and is interesting.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Leslie

    How can a book that is 'ripped from the pages of a history book' set almost 500 years ago be this awesome? I don't know but it has me looking for the 10 star button. This book begins early in the reign of Queen Elizabeth (I). When she learns of a diary of her mother's and is given it. The book juxtaposes the reality of Elizabeth and her struggles as a Queen with the words of Anne Boleyn starting before she returns to England and ending with her death on the Tower green. Even though we the reader How can a book that is 'ripped from the pages of a history book' set almost 500 years ago be this awesome? I don't know but it has me looking for the 10 star button. This book begins early in the reign of Queen Elizabeth (I). When she learns of a diary of her mother's and is given it. The book juxtaposes the reality of Elizabeth and her struggles as a Queen with the words of Anne Boleyn starting before she returns to England and ending with her death on the Tower green. Even though we the reader know exactly what is going to happen to poor Anne and poor Elizabeth there is still a great sense of intrigue and what is going to happen next.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kylie Cheung

    I heard a lot about the book before reluctantly reading it; its page number was so small (I typically enjoy longer novels) and I'm not such a fan of stories told in the form of diaries, and so it was a long time before The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn found its way to my read-list. I decided to read it for a school project since it was the only Anne Boleyn related book on the list, and after the first few pages I was simply pulled in. Maxwell's book is brilliant; I've always known that the lives I heard a lot about the book before reluctantly reading it; its page number was so small (I typically enjoy longer novels) and I'm not such a fan of stories told in the form of diaries, and so it was a long time before The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn found its way to my read-list. I decided to read it for a school project since it was the only Anne Boleyn related book on the list, and after the first few pages I was simply pulled in. Maxwell's book is brilliant; I've always known that the lives of the mother daughter duo, Anne and Elizabeth, had many similarities, and in a lot of ways Elizabeth reflected her martyred mother despite their too-short time together, but everything between them is magnified and brought together to form two breathtaking intersecting stories full of twists, irony and parallels. Neither of them had easy lives and the difficulties Anne experienced and how she went about solving these problems translate perfectly into her daughter's life making for guidance and counsel that guides her most. What I absolutely adored about this novel was how there was the perfect amount of each side of the story, so that neither made the other fall flat. Anne is an alluring, bold, and headstrong girl, witty, daring and the perfect alchemy of 'chaste lady' and seductive, fun-loving minx; Henry falls instantly and deeply in love with the woman strong enough to be his partner, beautiful enough to be his lover, and despite her warming affections toward him, Anne knows that to fall too passionately for an all-powerful king could be potentially dangerous, and whether he loves her or not she is at his mercy. Her adventurous ups and downs are mirrored by the story of Elizabeth, and the roles are entirely switched: Elizabeth is the twenty-five-year-old, all-powerful Queen of England, but it's a far from glamorous life. In love with her childhood playmate and teenage lover and friend, she aches with heartbreak at the knowledge that it would take the moving of the very Earth to have him her king; he is a married man far from beloved by her people, of a family line infamous for treachery toward the crown... and she is the Queen of England, sought by kings and princes of Europe's greatest powers. Every step she takes is met with harsh judgment and criticism and followed speedily by scandal. She learns quickly that to survive and thrive it will take not simply guidance from the council, but her own fallen mother. Their tales collide and explode and it's simply masterful. I had no problems with any part of it. Maxwell's The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn is an emotional powerhouse, and it's neither of their stories told like you've ever seen them before. Their characters grow, mature, discover the truth and shape their own destinies as one and it's absolutely breathtaking. I'll always see Anne Boleyn in Elizabeth Tudor's greatest decisions which transformed her into Gloriana, and it's because of this book, unquestionably one of the greatest Anne Boleyn related novels ever written, and one I am begging all Tudor-enthusiasts or simply one looking for a good book, to read. The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn is timeless magic; you're heartless if you don't shed a tear.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Autumn

    So disappointed. I enjoy historical fiction, and the addition of a little romance is usually the icing on the cake. USUALLY. Though this book was listed as historical fiction at my library, it's the rankest Harelquinny, bad fan-fiction drivel, full of purple prose, silly coyness, and ridiculous sex at ridiculous times. Folks, this is just BAD. And it's really too bad, because the adventures, sexual and otherwise, of the Tudor family en toto are rife with ideas for the imaginative writer who is willi So disappointed. I enjoy historical fiction, and the addition of a little romance is usually the icing on the cake. USUALLY. Though this book was listed as historical fiction at my library, it's the rankest Harelquinny, bad fan-fiction drivel, full of purple prose, silly coyness, and ridiculous sex at ridiculous times. Folks, this is just BAD. And it's really too bad, because the adventures, sexual and otherwise, of the Tudor family en toto are rife with ideas for the imaginative writer who is willing to do the historical work to set them on a strong foundation. This is not that novel, despite the claim that the author spent twelve years in research. The dialogue is silly, even allowing for updates in language for the modern reader. Period detail is scanty. The history is there for anyone who went through high school, but the author has a distressing way of jamming it all together in broad passages that try to give the whole background (high school level) in a lump. If you want slightly tawdry Tudor history written in a superior fashion, Phillippa Gregory's "The Other Boleyn Girl" is far superior.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jess

    Blech. I've read books about Elizabeth I since I was in 5th grade. Hands down my favorite historical figure. I hated the little I read of this book. First off, it starts with her having sex with Robin Dudley, then makes a lame claim that she didn't have periods so she couldn't get pregnant. This has no factual basis at all, and chances are very high she was, indeed, the Virgin Queen. People watched her all the time, so she couldn't just escape for a little adult fun with Robin like this books cl Blech. I've read books about Elizabeth I since I was in 5th grade. Hands down my favorite historical figure. I hated the little I read of this book. First off, it starts with her having sex with Robin Dudley, then makes a lame claim that she didn't have periods so she couldn't get pregnant. This has no factual basis at all, and chances are very high she was, indeed, the Virgin Queen. People watched her all the time, so she couldn't just escape for a little adult fun with Robin like this books claims. Furthermore, she always looked down on women who gave into their passions at the detriment of their positions. She's disgusted with her cousin, Mary Stuart, for marrying unwisely. She'd never just sleep around when it would hurt her claim to the throne and the legitimacy of her rule. Besides, how was she supposed to hide any pregnancy? No, I doubt she had lovers, and if she did it would have been when she couldn't get pregnant. But even then, how was she going to hide what she was doing? People were paying off her servants to tell them info about her, and there's no way such a brilliant leader wasn't aware of this. Also, Robin once tried to order her servants around, and she famously blew up at him, telling him, "I will have here but one mistress and no master". And people still think they were lovers... Then there's Anne. Since I've always like Elizabeth, I've read a lot about Anne as well. Right away it perpetuates the myth that Anne Boleyn had six fingers. She didn't. Her body's been examined, and no. Her body was described as 5'3'' with long fingers. Nothing else. (Besides, Henry was superstitious. He'd never marry a woman like that.) Also, she didn't trick Henry into marrying her--judging from Henry's letters to her, and the fact she wouldn't reply to them, it seems like she never wanted his advances. But you can't say, "Thanks, but no thanks," to the King. To portray her as some conniving little home-wrecker floozy chick is both overestimating her (highly doubt she was quite that ambitious), and underestimating her (she was actually very religious, and it's unlikely she'd seduce the King one minute, then go to church the next). Wouldn't recommend this at all. If you're really interested in either one of these ladies (and hey, who wouldn't be?) just google and look for a reputable site. There are tons out there. And don't think that The Other Boleyn Girl or that type of novel will work better. Those make Anne out as a kidnapper in addition to everything else. Oh, and the worst part is people think they're learning from this book. Right...

  10. 4 out of 5

    Tori

    2004- This was my first reading of one of Robin Maxwell's books, and I must say it won't be my last. I already can't wait to read the next two! However, I'm getting ahead of myself. This novel moves back and forth in time from Queen Elizabeth in the present, to her mother, Anne Boleyns', life in the past. Elizabeth is presented with a diary that Anne kept, which chronicles her life right up to very end. Apparently, it was Anne's wish that eventually Elizabeth would read her writings. Elizabeth f 2004- This was my first reading of one of Robin Maxwell's books, and I must say it won't be my last. I already can't wait to read the next two! However, I'm getting ahead of myself. This novel moves back and forth in time from Queen Elizabeth in the present, to her mother, Anne Boleyns', life in the past. Elizabeth is presented with a diary that Anne kept, which chronicles her life right up to very end. Apparently, it was Anne's wish that eventually Elizabeth would read her writings. Elizabeth finds any time she can to sit down and get a glimpse into her mother's life. It's also an escape for her, for in the present she is advised to marry quickly and stop her relationship with Robin Dudley, which is deemed inappropriate. Elizabeth gets to know the parents she never really knew, and uses lessons her mother learned in her current affairs. The writing is detailed, and brings you into both women's lives. And the author never makes the mistake of confusing the reader by not clearly separating the two stories. A recommendation for historical fiction fans.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Maggie

    This was very interesting. Of course, I've read several books about the Tudors, and obviously, since it's based on fact, you pretty much know what happens. I liked that this book had a little twist. Elizabeth is given her mother, Anne's diary. So through that, you live mostly in Anne's world, but the book also has some insight into Elizabeth's life. That made this book a little step up from your average book about Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn's relationship. If you like historical fiction, you'll p This was very interesting. Of course, I've read several books about the Tudors, and obviously, since it's based on fact, you pretty much know what happens. I liked that this book had a little twist. Elizabeth is given her mother, Anne's diary. So through that, you live mostly in Anne's world, but the book also has some insight into Elizabeth's life. That made this book a little step up from your average book about Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn's relationship. If you like historical fiction, you'll probably like this!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Lori

    What I really liked about this book, at some points it was Queen Elizabeth talking in the present time of her life until one day she was handed her mother's secret diary and then it would switch back and forth from Elizabeth's day to when she would pick up the diary and transport to Anne's life. I hope I explained that well enough. I thoroughly enjoyed this book What I really liked about this book, at some points it was Queen Elizabeth talking in the present time of her life until one day she was handed her mother's secret diary and then it would switch back and forth from Elizabeth's day to when she would pick up the diary and transport to Anne's life. I hope I explained that well enough. I thoroughly enjoyed this book

  13. 4 out of 5

    Orsolya

    Ugh. Seriously, I am done trying to give Robin Maxwell a chance. The topics are delightful but the writing style and the actual storylines are that of a young adult's imagineering mind. Not for the intelligent. Skip!!! Ugh. Seriously, I am done trying to give Robin Maxwell a chance. The topics are delightful but the writing style and the actual storylines are that of a young adult's imagineering mind. Not for the intelligent. Skip!!!

  14. 4 out of 5

    BAM Endlessly Booked

    2018 Reading Challenge: novel based on a real person This was a different approach Queen Elizabeth is given a diary written by her mother and it takes her forever to read it I mean really? It's not like she's going to get upset 2018 Reading Challenge: novel based on a real person This was a different approach Queen Elizabeth is given a diary written by her mother and it takes her forever to read it I mean really? It's not like she's going to get upset

  15. 4 out of 5

    Tina

    I loved it. I know there are many versions of her diary and story, and I hope to read them all, however, this one was wonderful.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Angela Holland

    What I didn't like: This book started out a little slow for me and in parts a little dry. I think this was somewhat me and not used to reading something actually written in the time period it took place. This was not a bad thing as the author did such a good job of portraying Anne and writing as she would have written the journal that you felt like you were reading a true journal by Anne Boleyn. What I liked: I loved the subject of this book. Anne Boleyn is one of my favorite historical figures t What I didn't like: This book started out a little slow for me and in parts a little dry. I think this was somewhat me and not used to reading something actually written in the time period it took place. This was not a bad thing as the author did such a good job of portraying Anne and writing as she would have written the journal that you felt like you were reading a true journal by Anne Boleyn. What I liked: I loved the subject of this book. Anne Boleyn is one of my favorite historical figures to read and learn more about. There are many things I did like and will touch on them in the whole review. Overall Impression: I enjoyed this book. The way Robin Maxwell brought together the memory of Anne to Elizabeth was very good. I also enjoyed the way that it switched back and forth between Elizabeth and Anne. There were many times I felt sorry for Elizabeth in her life and after reading this book I felt sorry for Anne as well. To me it seems she was actually a lonely person. This book actually taught me a few things I had not realized before which to me was a plus. I looked everywhere to find this version of the book because for one the cover appealed to me (yes I do pick some of my books by covers) and I wanted the extra things at the end of the book. The author's notes at the end of the book added a lot for me and made me want to look for more books by this author to learn more. I liked how she told how she came to write the book. Also the discussion questions at the end were nice even if you don't have anyone to share your answers with. If you are wanting to read a good book about Anne Boleyn this would be for you. I actually have two more books on my shelf by this author and can't wait to get to them. 4 Stars for me.

  17. 5 out of 5

    themacinator

    I picked up this book because I needed something fast and brainless. I didn't want to think, I didn't want to be depressed (I just finished Bret Easton Ellis- enough depression for awhile), and I thought Tudor England would be fun for a minute. No. Not fun. Poorly written, tedious, and I've read this book- or a version of it- before. Only whichever version I've read before was done better. I didn't have the energy to put this book out of my sight and start another, but I should have. The only pr I picked up this book because I needed something fast and brainless. I didn't want to think, I didn't want to be depressed (I just finished Bret Easton Ellis- enough depression for awhile), and I thought Tudor England would be fun for a minute. No. Not fun. Poorly written, tedious, and I've read this book- or a version of it- before. Only whichever version I've read before was done better. I didn't have the energy to put this book out of my sight and start another, but I should have. The only profound insight I gained from this book (if you can call it that) is that we are obsessed with English scandals. Why? Diana is the latest Anne, or something like that. I can't stretch the metaphor too far, because I mean the "royal we," as evidenced by how little I care about this book- I don't care much about Diana and her love for royalty, either. Maxwell tries to make some profound feminist points through Queen Elizabeth and her mother Anne, "Tomorrow I die because I lusted not for flesh, but to comand my own destiny. This is not a womanly act, I know, but I have oft thought that in this way my spirit is much the same as a man's." But I've heard it before, and much more eloquently. Please, save your head: don't read this book.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    Elizabeth I, only daughter of Anne Boleyn was left an orphan at the age of three. With the unfortunate luck of having no knowledge about her mother and having to live under the shadows of her father, King Henry VII, Elizabeth unexpectedly grew to become Queen of England. Through her journey of being queen, Elizabeth stumbles upon her mothers secret diary, a couple of her mother's old friends, and an old friend which becomes her new lover. With these encounters, Elizabeth gains important skills a Elizabeth I, only daughter of Anne Boleyn was left an orphan at the age of three. With the unfortunate luck of having no knowledge about her mother and having to live under the shadows of her father, King Henry VII, Elizabeth unexpectedly grew to become Queen of England. Through her journey of being queen, Elizabeth stumbles upon her mothers secret diary, a couple of her mother's old friends, and an old friend which becomes her new lover. With these encounters, Elizabeth gains important skills along the way about men and the unreliability to people. She also learns the inside truth of her mother's and father's terrible life. Due to the lexile of 1120L, the explicit content, and amount of challenging words and phrases, this intriguing book is best suited for the ages of twelve and eighteen. The secret Diary of Anne Boleyn provides many exciting life lessons. Socially this book teaches readers that relying on others is never the best option. Through reading her mothers diary, Elizabeth learns that in order to truly accomplish any of her goals she must not rely on others and their knowledge. Elizabeth learned that her knowledge and strength is the only thing she should rely on to be most successful. Educationally, the reader is informed about a large amount of our worlds past life. Through reading this book, the readers will learn about the great changes in economics, social beliefs, and culture. The readers will learn this as they read all about Elizabeth's challenges. As i read the story, i think the author was trying to accomplish to get readers to feel the negative and positive consequences and effects of our decisions.In my opinion the author's main theme was to inform the readers that despite all the obstacles and challenges you encounter in your life, with determination you will be successful.Despite all the obstacles Anne Boleyn encountered, she became queen and mother of a beautiful child. This book has a numerous amount of lessons to be learned from. A lesson to be learned from this book is that the only thing needed to accomplish success is self determination. There are may examples throughout the book that state this. For example, Anne Boleyn was once a simple girl with the dreams of a lovely marriage. With determination of overcoming every obstacle thrown at her, she enslaved king Henry with love and gave him a lovely daughter. Another example would be Elizabeth herself. Elizabeth left orphan to live under the shadows of her father was never expected to be queen, with the positive attitude it was told she kept, she became one of the most successful queens. The last example i would have to use, is Anne Boleyn's family. Even through a wicked way, with determination Anne's family brought itself to a higher position. In my opinion the most enjoyable part about this book would have to be reading Anne Boleyn's diary. Her diary truly involves great mystery and lesson that yet apply to this day. Boleyn's diary is not only full of love, hope and peace but its full of violence, despair, and regrets. Honestly i loved reading Anne's diary because it was not what i expected of it. I expected a sweet loving story but instead i received a tragic and unwishable story full of regrets and despair with a small touch of love added. I had expected a sweet story about how successful Anne and Henry were but instead i ended up reading a tragic story of how quickly their 'love' ended. I have to say that i disliked Dudley the most! I hated his character and knew he was taking advantage of queen Elizabeth's power and love for him.It was never stated that he did take advantage of Elizabeth but as i read about his family record for taking power, i knew he had it through his veins as well.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    I liked this book more than I had expected. It’s a novel, a fictionalized account of what might have happened if Anne Boleyn had written a diary. Of course the author made assumptions that cannot be verified as fact--that’s what happens with historical fiction. What mattered to me was that these assumptions not clash with what is actually known about Anne, those around her, and the setting in which she lived. The events in her story must agree with those from history sufficiently for me to suspe I liked this book more than I had expected. It’s a novel, a fictionalized account of what might have happened if Anne Boleyn had written a diary. Of course the author made assumptions that cannot be verified as fact--that’s what happens with historical fiction. What mattered to me was that these assumptions not clash with what is actually known about Anne, those around her, and the setting in which she lived. The events in her story must agree with those from history sufficiently for me to suspend disbelief enough to enjoy the book. I have more than a casual interest in Tudor history and found that the author was remarkably accurate in relating the known events that occurred during Anne’s life. This made the fiction mostly plausible for me. The novel is a sympathetic portrait of Anne Boleyn, told from her perspective, showing a woman living in the “man’s world” with all the struggles and tragedies this entailed. I recognized a number of quotes from Anne, Henry, and others that have been documented by historians and placed in this fictional context. This gave necessary credibility to the tale as it unfolded. Of course I knew the ending, but I still cared. Robin Maxwell wove her story of Anne with that of her daughter Elizabeth, newly come to the throne as a young and passionate woman. For me that was one of the most effective aspects of this novel. It is the story of two women, living in an age where they were considered mere chattel, having virtually no rights or control over their lives. Neither was suited to their prescribed female roles in that society, and both struggled mightily against its constraints. The mother was destroyed while the daughter prevailed to become one of England’s greatest rulers. This novel attempts to explain how this might have come about. I found the other reviews interesting. People seemed to love this book or hate it. I agree that there were problems with the story--elements that seem improbable knowing what we do from history. But there was a lot this author got right as well. I’ll not give it 5 stars because I did notice the occasional implausible details and they disrupted the narrative for me a bit. However, from my perspective this novel deserves 4 stars for what the author got right and for this unusual portrait she gave me of Anne, Elizabeth, and the Tudor era. Besides, it was fun!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Nikita

    Large portions of The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn center around the fictional diary entries of Queen Anne Boleyn, second wife to King Henry VIII. Beginning around the time of Anne’s entry into the English court as a Lady in Waiting to Queen Katherine of Aragon in 1522, the diary entries chronicle Henry’s pursuit of Anne, the ascension of Anne to the throne, the birth of the future Queen Elizabeth I, and ultimately ending with Anne’s last night in the Tower of London before her execution on May 1 Large portions of The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn center around the fictional diary entries of Queen Anne Boleyn, second wife to King Henry VIII. Beginning around the time of Anne’s entry into the English court as a Lady in Waiting to Queen Katherine of Aragon in 1522, the diary entries chronicle Henry’s pursuit of Anne, the ascension of Anne to the throne, the birth of the future Queen Elizabeth I, and ultimately ending with Anne’s last night in the Tower of London before her execution on May 19, 1536. Framing Anne’s diary entries is the story of her daughter, Elizabeth, struggling to cope with the demands of being a new monarch, arguing with her councilors about the matter of whether or not to contract a foreign marriage, and deciphering fact from fiction as she learns about the mother she never knew through the diary brought to her by Lady Sommerville, one of the last ladies to see Anne alive in the Tower. I enjoyed reading this book for a number of reasons. The diary format made it easy to pick up and put down at neat intervals. This is useful for me since I tend to get interrupted a lot when I’m trying to read. That, and I hate putting down my book in the middle of a scene. *grin* Also, the language used in the diary entries seemed to suck me right into the world of the magnificent Tudor court. It brought Anne to life in a way that was so intense and realistic that there were times I almost forgot this was a fictional diary. Finally, I liked how Ms. Maxwell used the content of Anne’s diary entries to reflect lessons Elizabeth needed to learn in her own time. From across time, Anne implores her daughter never to let a man rule her life, to become master of her own destiny, and to recognize her own own worth and power as a woman in a male-dominated society. Anne Boleyn is a polarizing character from history (with good reason). She is either loved or reviled for her part in bringing about the Protestant Reformation to England and convincing King Henry to divorce Katherine of Aragon and proclaim himself Head of the Church of England. The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn paints Anne in a favorable light, though not entirely innocent of the machinations of her ambitious family. While this book is not entirely historically accurate, it is an enjoyable read for any lover of Tudor England.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Dana

    Elizabeth I is queen and in love with Robin Dudley when she receives a diary written by her mother, Anne Boleyn. Anne Boleyn changed the course of English history. After returning home from being in the French court Anne is seen by King Henry VIII. Her sister is already the king's mistress and Anne has no wishes to be another of his mistresses. She aims higher. She 'holds' out with granting the king any sexual favours and thus starts a six year engagement. The pope refuses to dissolve the king's m Elizabeth I is queen and in love with Robin Dudley when she receives a diary written by her mother, Anne Boleyn. Anne Boleyn changed the course of English history. After returning home from being in the French court Anne is seen by King Henry VIII. Her sister is already the king's mistress and Anne has no wishes to be another of his mistresses. She aims higher. She 'holds' out with granting the king any sexual favours and thus starts a six year engagement. The pope refuses to dissolve the king's marriage to Catherine of Aragon. The king declares himself head of the Church in England and dissolves his marriage himself. Upon marriage to Henry, Anne bears him a daughter and not the promised son. Their relationship sours and finally Anne is beheaded. The book explores: the politics surrounding Anne's marriage to King Henry, each of the machinations the king must go through in order to wed Anne, the schemes of Anne and her father, Anne's relationship with her brother George and her father. This book also shows how woman were chattels only to be used as pawns in the game of power. Elizabeth after reading this story realizes the love her mother had for her and learns from her mother's mistakes in trusting any man.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Alex

    WOW! This was a fantastic book. The "sequel" to "Mademoiselle Boleyn", it starts off with new Queen Elizabeth being handed her mother's secret diary, that she left with a confidante. As Elizabeth reads the diary, she realizes all the things she ever heard about her mother are false. Her mother wasn't a cold, heartless whore who deserved her beheading. And more shocking of all, her mother truly loved her. This news rocks Elizabeth's world, and leads to the shocking decision to never marry, and end WOW! This was a fantastic book. The "sequel" to "Mademoiselle Boleyn", it starts off with new Queen Elizabeth being handed her mother's secret diary, that she left with a confidante. As Elizabeth reads the diary, she realizes all the things she ever heard about her mother are false. Her mother wasn't a cold, heartless whore who deserved her beheading. And more shocking of all, her mother truly loved her. This news rocks Elizabeth's world, and leads to the shocking decision to never marry, and end the Tudor bloodline. While this book was fiction, of course, I could actually see Elizabeth making that decision because of something like this. What we do know, is that Elizabeth did decide not to marry, and remain The Virgin Queen. No one really knows for sure why she made that decision. So this book's solution to it is brilliant to me, and I could see it being true. After reading about her mother's doomed life once a man got rid of his wife to wed her, why wouldn't she run away when her true love does the same thing? Once again, this book was fantastic. I highly recommend it to anyone who has become as much of a Tudor-freak as I am.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Graceann

    Please see my detailed review at Amazon.com Grace's "Boleyn Diary" Review Please click that the review was helpful to you at Amazon so that my rating continues to climb! Thanks! This one took a little while to get going, but once it did - wowee. I love these sorts of premises for novels (hidden diaries, newly-unearthed). In Maxwell's hands, it was handled in a very interesting fashion and I'm so glad I stuck with it past the first few dry pages. Please see my detailed review at Amazon.com Grace's "Boleyn Diary" Review Please click that the review was helpful to you at Amazon so that my rating continues to climb! Thanks! This one took a little while to get going, but once it did - wowee. I love these sorts of premises for novels (hidden diaries, newly-unearthed). In Maxwell's hands, it was handled in a very interesting fashion and I'm so glad I stuck with it past the first few dry pages.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Gina Maples

    Historical fiction and hard to put down! It was very interesting and I enjoyed reading it. However, I must admit that I liked The Other Boleyn Girl better!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Desiree Alvarez

    A great book to read. Robin Maxwell does a good job giving readers a book based on Anne's point of view. A great book to read. Robin Maxwell does a good job giving readers a book based on Anne's point of view.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Michal

    Awful. Just terrible. I deserve an award for finishing this travesty of a book.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jihenne

    At first I was surprised by the structure of this book. I didn't know when I ordered it that Elizabeth would be a main character nor that we'd only have extracts from the 'secret diary'. I was surprised but interested. I thought the idea was nice and for a little while the portrayal of both Bess and Anne was quite alright (though Lady Sommerville was quite an unnecessary addition and could have been easily replaced by Margaret Wyatt or Lady Zouche to make it more realistic). And then, there came At first I was surprised by the structure of this book. I didn't know when I ordered it that Elizabeth would be a main character nor that we'd only have extracts from the 'secret diary'. I was surprised but interested. I thought the idea was nice and for a little while the portrayal of both Bess and Anne was quite alright (though Lady Sommerville was quite an unnecessary addition and could have been easily replaced by Margaret Wyatt or Lady Zouche to make it more realistic). And then, there came the sixth finger. I almost closed the book right there. Why do you have to do this?? Is it important to the story? No, so why even go and mention it? Worse, why say that people around Anne - even Queen Katherine - knew about it and said it was the Devil Mark's? Though the latter point would be more than realistic had the fact she had a sixth finger been not only true but known to the public, it's just simply impossible. It doesn't make any sense for one simple reason: if Anne Boleyn had had a sixth finger, why wasn't it mentioned in her trial when they charged her with witchcraft? That would have been more than easy and I'd think considering the blatant lack of evidence against her they would have jumped on the opportunity to back their claim against her with more. So not only did she not have a sixth finger but if you insist on mentioning it at least do it in a realistic way and say that it was something she would hide from the eyes of the court. I ground my teeth but I did not put the book down and continued in spite of this. • Elizabeth and Robert Dudley. I'm all for them. Really I am. But the portrayal of their relationship was just wrong. Not only historically but even in terms of story-telling it just didn't work for me. Besides it was waaay too central to Bess's storyline. I mean she's the Queen of England but all we get to see is her constantly ignoring everyone's advice and rushing to Robert's chambers. Cringes . Like uh maybe there's more to her life than a man?? Besides even if he had/i> been her lover I highly doubt she'd have put her future - and the future of England - in jeopardy by being so open about it. Also I do not think it true that Elizabeth believed any of the horrible things said about her mother (as evidenced by the fact she wore a ring containing a portrait of Anne). Though the living Boleyns did not go and see her after her mother and uncle's deaths, she was raised by people chosen by Anne, people who had known her and maybe they didn't talk to her about her mother so much, especially while Henry was still alive, but surely they would not have spread the rumors about her further. • Anne. I'm really confused. I don't know if I liked her portrayal or not. Maybe not. I think the author manages something quite incredible, that of telling you loads but nothing at the same time. Really. We have no clue why Anne is agreeing to marry Henry. Does she love him? (She says no in later chapters) Does she want to be Queen? If so why? We have no idea why she's refusing to sleep with him. Or why she's so upset when the negotiations for the divorce drag on. And the list goes on. Her diary has lots of unnecessary details but the important things - things someone would tend to write down in their diary - are missing. At least she's not described as a simple pawn in her father's power play, nor is she described as a saint or as coldly overambitious herself. But considering I had read that the author was 'fascinated' by Anne and her era, that she had done 'extensive' reading, delving into a few of he biographies it's fair to say I did expect a little more. In the end halfway through the book you still feel like you know nothing about Anne's personality. I think I would have preferred having even a completely inaccurate account of her personality that at least would have served to show the opinion of the author and would have allowed for the fictional work to be more interesting. Though I found the structure intriguing at first, after a few chapters I found it tiring to go from one timeline to another, jump from one story to another. In this book, though maybe not in real life, Anne's story is a lot more interesting than Elizabeth's. Also to be honest at first I thought the point would be to have Elisabeth's reactions to what she was reading but there's actually none of that, so I ended up finding that choice of structure quite useless. There are historical mistakes but that was a given from the outset. Obviously it wasn't going to be historically accurate but some things did make me grind my teeth a little. Part two of the book was more promising with regards to all of the above. However if I think the arguments between Anne and Henry and the tarnish of his love were perfectly portrayed, I had the feeling it all happened a little too soon. I liked Anne in the Tower though and the ending with Elizabeth. My grade is more of a 2.5 than a 2 thanks to the second part which actually managed to move me.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Shae

    I am just starting this book and it is actually better then I thought it would be so far but really it's just a light fancifull read. While enjoyable it doesn't hold water to Sandra Gullands trilogy on Josephine Bonaparte. I am just starting this book and it is actually better then I thought it would be so far but really it's just a light fancifull read. While enjoyable it doesn't hold water to Sandra Gullands trilogy on Josephine Bonaparte.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Shannon

    The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn was a fascinating take on the connection between two of history’s most memorable women, two Queens and a mother and daughter. Anne gave the diary into safekeeping and it was presented to Elizabeth at the beginning of her reign. Anne describes the events of her life beginning just before her ascendency to the throne, her downfall and ends just prior to her death. It is through reading the words written by the hand of a mother she barely remembers that Elizabeth lear The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn was a fascinating take on the connection between two of history’s most memorable women, two Queens and a mother and daughter. Anne gave the diary into safekeeping and it was presented to Elizabeth at the beginning of her reign. Anne describes the events of her life beginning just before her ascendency to the throne, her downfall and ends just prior to her death. It is through reading the words written by the hand of a mother she barely remembers that Elizabeth learns not only about Anne, but comes to understand much about herself. Elizabeth finds she shares her mother’s fierce independence, love of learning and understands the impact of those qualities in a world ruled by men. Anne, through the diary, uses her own life as a means of mothering and advising Elizabeth from beyond the grave. Not only does Elizabeth discover how Anne dearly loved her but also provides Elizabeth with sage motherly advice. Anne uses her own rise and fall to caution her daughter about the dangers for women in a world controlled by men. After reading the diary Elizabeth, though desperately in love with Lord Robert Dudley, resolves to “have no master”. Robin Maxwell does an amazing job bringing both of these women to life; especially Anne – the woman and the mother. I have so often wondered about the impact that Anne’s life and death had on Elizabeth and if she knew the real Anne, rather than the propagandized heretical concubine that much of the world bought into. I enjoyed Maxwell’s style of jumping from the past to the present, which clearly connected the reader to the impact of Anne’s words on Elizabeth the Queen, and in turn the history of England. Maxwell empowers and humanizes Anne and provides the reader with a deeper depiction of Anne though a very sympathetic one. Anyone who loves Anne will love this wonderful characterization of her. I confess that the portrayal is completely in line with my own opinions as I have always seen that through Elizabeth’s long successful reign Anne was ultimately vindicated. Therefore, I must admit my bias to Maxwell’s account. The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn is a thoroughly enjoyable read. In fact, it is quite difficult to pry yourself away from it! I recommend it highly for its unique method of connecting two enormous personalities, each a legend in her own right, as mother and daughter.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Mandy Moody

    Wow. The Secret Diary of Ann Boleyn was a HUGE disappointment. Here's how I imagine Robin Maxwell came up with the idea to write this book... "Boy, I'd really like to write a book about Ann Boleyn, her story was so tragic. To bad I don't know enough about her to fill up a traditional novel. Also, the only stuff I really care about is the stuff everyone already knows. Hey, you know who else is cool? Elizabeth! Writing a book about her would be fun, too. But I definitely don't know enough about her Wow. The Secret Diary of Ann Boleyn was a HUGE disappointment. Here's how I imagine Robin Maxwell came up with the idea to write this book... "Boy, I'd really like to write a book about Ann Boleyn, her story was so tragic. To bad I don't know enough about her to fill up a traditional novel. Also, the only stuff I really care about is the stuff everyone already knows. Hey, you know who else is cool? Elizabeth! Writing a book about her would be fun, too. But I definitely don't know enough about her to write a book...too bad, because I think her romance with Robin Dudley must have been really hot. Hey - I know what I could do!" This was the laziest attempt at a novel I've ever read. It seemed to me that she took the easiest way to write about all the big events in Ann's life. Her historical details were terribly inaccurate - at one point Ann and her brother George are discussing the king and George mentions Henry's youth - when his father and then his brother, Arthur, died. I re-read the paragraph several times, certain that I must be reading it wrong, but kept interpreting it the same way. Wow. There was so much wrong with this book I couldn't begin to list it all. The only reason I gave it 2 stars is because I loved the IDEA (even though the execution sucked) and because in the end, Maxwell did manage to convey the tragedy that was Ann's life.

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