If anything, this was not a good book on having Anne Boleyn survive. There are many many alternate histories surrounding her and a possible son.
And this doesn’t really do her justice, or even Elizabeth for that matter. Who by all means should have been somewhat smarter than the dull princess I saw here. She was still highly intelligent as well as brilliant, which is something that she was inclined to regardless of the time.
And that really, there isn’t really anything that caught my attention here. Anne Boleyn is not the woman that managed to get Henry to set aside his royal born Spanish wife in favour of her. She lacks the charisma that allowed her to win Henry over, she lacked the intelligence that managed to get Henry to marry her. Most important of all, she lacked the agency that protecting her son will be very very important.
And in this alternate history the chances of William being promised to a French princess is actually quite high. Because generally speaking, Anne was pro-French. While Elizabeth might have been promised to a Protestant King. And even when William is turning eighteen, she doesn’t seem keen to have him marry anyone. Or even propose when it should be the first thing on her mind given that she has only one son. And also getting Elizabeth to marry Charles is a wholly poor idea. Elizabeth is a royal princess, no matter what one might say about her legitimacy and marrying her to a French Catholic prince who is most certainly not going to end up on the throne because Henri II had four sons beyond him and being twice a widower. I do think that Anne has better sense than to offer her daughter that kind of man.
And back to William again, where is Mary, Queen of Scots. I doubt this will have butterflied her birth away since her father is going to go pro-French because he’s still dealing with Henry VIII, and son or no son it seems that he will have pursued the same goal. If anything, it will have made a lot of sense for William to marry Mary, Queen of Scots. Which will have been Henry VIII’s idea because it will bring Scotland into union with England.
And last but not least, why William? It makes no sense, side Henry only chose Henry or Edward for all his children. If anything, this son could have been a Henry or Edward. Although he does change his regnal name to that, but really they could have rolled with George or Thomas (both happen to be the names of Anne’s brother and father respectively) and there still won’t be much of a difference.
Overall, this was unable to do this justice. The author didn’t really seem to do all too much research about the personalities of Henry VIII (who was rather mercurial and named all his sons Henry or Edward) and Anne (although she did get the part where she was forced into this right). Or even much about the continental struggles in this time, where Henry effectively isolated himself as well as the situation with the world.
If anything, you really want to read something about an alternate Henry IX in which it is actually good check out Now Blooms The Tudor Rose (it’s timeline but very very entertaining and explore the idea of a king who happens to be the son of Anne Boleyn well).
Raring: 1 out of 5