Brandy Purdy is always a difficult author in which to write proper reviews for in regards to her books and the readers I may be talking to when I give an evaluation. All authors and readers are different. What one might like, one might not, so I will do my best to give an accurate review so that no matter what your reading likes are, you’ll understand if it is for you or not. I like Purdy’s books, but I know some don’t, so take my review and make your own decisions.
That said, Purdy’s newest book in her string of Tudor era novels published by Kensington books, is The Boleyn Bride. She always has gorgeous covers and those pull readers of regency and Tudor era fiction quickly in. As well, the content of this book is enticing as it tells a story through the young Elizabeth Howard (cousin to the family of Catherine Howard, fifth wife of Henry VIII), who as a teen marries Thomas Boleyn, and takes us on their journey as they eventually win the King’s favor and their daughter, the infamous Anne Boleyn becomes the second wife of Henry VIII. The book completes Elizabeth’s life from start to end, so it captures Anne and her brother and sister as they were growing up and of course through Anne and George’s deaths as well.
But when I read Purdy, I go in knowing that it probably isn’t based on hours of research to garner innumerable facts in which to educate readers on history. There is nothing wrong with her writing fantastical historical fiction though, you just have to put your mind to it when reading the book. If you want it spot on in regards to learning true history, you aren’t going to get that. And that’s fine, read it for a few hours of spoiled pleasure in which you immerse yourself in a made-up story based on real life scandals and scoundrels and women who make strange choices in the name of power and wealth.
As stated, Elizabeth Howard Boleyn, mother of George, Mary, and Anne Boleyn is the title and main character to the story. There aren’t a great amount of novels written surrounding her. Purdy is always very good about writing characters who are left behind from the Tudor realm and bring them to our attention. Her books always seem to make everyone, including me, want to search for more information surrounding her main characters and that is sometimes where her review troubles begin, since depending where they look they find her information inaccurate. Remember, readers, she is providing an entertaining story, not writing a textbook. The positive point here is that she does incite us to learn more, no matter what that more may be.
Though Elizabeth isn’t the greatest person, Purdy writes these types best. She lets us appreciate the horrid and vile nature that some of the women in history had. The mothers or the third cousins or the third daughter, or whatever the case, she brings this disgruntled person to our mind. This makes her novels sometimes melancholy, sad, and dark. But we all know we WANT to read about these characters. We want to know what makes their children or family tick and that includes their surrounding family members. We all like gossip and drama and Purdy provides this yet again in The Boleyn Bride.
Her writing style is unique; it’s dry yet it moves you to read it. It’s heavy, as her sentences are lengthy with description and sometimes redundancies. Sometimes they are run-ons, but they are so rich in imagery and thoughts that I don’t even care. Her humor is sometimes strange for an average reader. However, we are sometimes swept away by her details and her sentences can be savored for their detail. She offers emotion in her books and we can feel the loss, remorse, anger, hatred, and all those raw feelings that must be attributed to this time period when women were treated so poorly and they became bitter. Her portrayal of Elizabeth was as quite a hateful person yet she made Anne’s character a bit better than most portray her. That was interesting to me.
She writes as I feel the letters or journals of these historical characters would write during their time periods. This novel is supposed to be Elizabeth’s memoir to her daughter, Mary. I feel as if I have stepped inside history and can feel her pain and regret within this book. She writes of the dark emotions of this dramatic period, without having to turn it supernatural or eerie, and takes on depth with her characters creating an atmosphere of brooding realities. She’s brave to write in such a way. But the book is a juicy, dark, and intense read that I’d recommend for anyone who has always wanted to peek into the damp corners of the historical nobility. I’d highly recommend this for readers who like Philippa Gregory’s plots and writing style and want a new character within the Howard/Boleyn family to brood over.
Giveaway is for two (2) paperback copies and open to US residents only. Please leave a comment after this post and include your email so I can contact you, or email it to me at hookofabook(at)hotmail(dot)com.
Publication Date: February 25, 2014
From carefree young woman to disillusioned bride, the dazzling lady who would become mother and grandmother to two of history’s most infamous queens, has a fascinating story all her own…
At sixteen, Elizabeth Howard envisions a glorious life for herself as lady-in-waiting to the future queen, Catherine of Aragon. But when she is forced to marry Thomas Boleyn, a wealthy commoner, Elizabeth is left to stagnate in the countryside while her detested husband pursues his ambitions. There, she raises golden girl Mary, moody George, and ugly duckling Anne–while staving off boredom with a string of admirers. Until Henry VIII takes the throne…
When Thomas finally brings his highborn wife to London, Elizabeth indulges in lavish diversions and dalliances–and catches the lusty king’s eye. But those who enjoy Henry’s fickle favor must also guard against his wrath. For while her husband’s machinations bring Elizabeth and her children to the pinnacle of power, the distance to the scaffold is but a short one–and the Boleyn family’s fortune may be turning.
Praise for the novels of Brandy Purdy
“Recommended for readers who can’t get enough of the Tudors and have devoured all of Philippa Gregory’s books.” –Library Journal on The Boleyn Wife
“Purdy wonderfully reimagines the behind-the-scenes lives of the two sisters.” –Historical Novel Reviews on The Tudor Throne
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Author Brandy Purdy, Biography~
Brandy Purdy (Emily Purdy in the UK) is the author of the historical novels THE CONFESSION OF PIERS GAVESTON, THE BOLEYN WIFE (THE TUDOR WIFE), THE TUDOR THRONE (MARY & ELIZABETH), THE QUEEN’S PLEASURE (A COURT AFFAIR), and THE QUEEN’S RIVALS (THE FALLEN QUEEN).
An ardent book lover since early childhood, she first became interested in history at the age of nine or ten years old when she read a book of ghost stories which contained a chapter about Anne Boleyn haunting the Tower of London.
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