• Valerie Nijssen

What I Read - March 2018

Updated: Apr 28, 2019

How is it already the end of March? I feel like this month has literally flown by but I am very excited to embrace April. Loads of exciting things ahead but without further a do let's talk books!

This month I have read 'You're the one that I want' by Giovanna Fletcher, the last book of hers that I had yet to read. I also read David Starkey's 'Six Wives - The Queens of Henry VIII' and..... But I wanted to talk about Alison Weir's 'The Lady in the Tower' which takes a deep look into the trial and eventually execution of Henry's second wife the infamous Anne Boleyn.

Now Anne has been a topic of heated  discussion eversince Henry relentlessly started to pursue her. She is either called a 'concubine' or she is put on a pedistole. No one really knows what went down when Anne's enemies plotted her downfall. Was she in fact guilty of the horrible crimes they accused her off? or was she simply condemed to die for her outspoken opinions and many ennemies?

I personally find the crimes Anne was accused of absurd. Just for the fact that there is absoltely NO way for a queen in that time to commit adultry and even incest as historically in that period a queen was rarely alone. Privacy was not something a queen enjoyed so in order to pull off those kinds of acts Anne would have needed to get help from her ladies and maids. If she did get help to meet either one of the men she supposedly slept with then the evidence for her trial would be a lot stronger and she would probably be caught a lot sooner like her cousin Katherine Howard did years later. 

In fact, which is what Alison Weir so clearly describes in her book is that the whole trial lacked any substantial form of evidence aside from Mark Smeaton's confession which they likely may have obtained under torture. But why would a queen even take the risk that adultery brings for a man that was way beneath her? What would she gain from it? 

Either way Alison formidably looks at the facts with a rational sense without having any predences for Anne to come out on the other end as a villain or a saint. This book is a thorough investigation as to what happened in that time and what stories are actually fact and what stories are fairytale based.

My personal feeling towards Anne and the man accused with her is one of pity and compassion. I believe that none of them desserved the horrible death they were given. There are some historians who do them justice and Alison is certainly one of them.

I find myself aline with Hayley Nolan from the History Review, Hayley made podcasts about this subject where she voiced her opinions about the matter. Hayley believes that Henry had a mental illness and that thats the main reason why he made such radical decisions thoughout his reign. She also gives some very detailed information and fact based theories which make such sense that I am convinced that her view is in my opinion the most accurate. If you love historic debaits like this then I highly advice you to check out her videos and her podcasts.

Did you read any good books this month? 

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