THE QUEEN OF SUBTLETIES

Suzannah Dunn, Author
Suzannah Dunn, Author . Morrow $24.95 (304p) ISBN 978-0-06-059157-1
Reviewed on: 09/20/2004
Release date: 10/01/2004
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-0-06-059158-8
Hardcover - 314 pages - 978-0-00-713937-8
Hardcover - 336 pages - 978-0-00-718156-8
Hardcover - 10 pages - 978-1-4074-0807-1
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Fans of historical fiction will savor this colorful retelling of the rise and fall of Anne Boleyn by British author Dunn. The novel (her eighth, and the first to be published in the U.S.) is narrated in turns by Anne, now imprisoned in the Tower, and Lucy Cornwallis, Henry VIII's confectioner, who observes the dramas of the court from the haven of her kitchen. Though their paths seldom cross, the two women's lives become fatefully linked through the scandalous liaisons of the English court. On the eve of her beheading, Anne documents her life's tale for her young daughter, Elizabeth, telling how she came to join the king's court as a lady-in-waiting to Henry's first wife, Catherine of Aragon, and caught the eye of the king. Ambitious and proud, she refuses to be his mistress, insisting instead on becoming his legitimate wife. Henry eventually succumbs to her pressures, but only after he breaks with Rome and declares himself the head of the Church of England. Meanwhile, Lucy falls desperately in love with Mark Smeaton, the angelic court musician who in turn is enamored with Anne. This reasonably accurate historical portrait of Anne is enlivened by Dunn's imaginative weaving of Lucy into the narrative, making for a delicious romp through the romance, politics and drama of 16th-century England. Agent, Antony Topping. (Oct.)

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