Book Two of the Je Anne Boleyn Series
On 1st June 1533, the ancient, traditional rituals of coronation are carried out, and Anne Boleyn emerges as Queen, destined to rule alongside her husband, King Henry VIII of England.
It’s the culmination of everything the couple have hoped and longed for over seven long years awaiting the Pope’s approval for their marriage. When the dispensation never arrived, Henry fully assumed his role of potentate and married Anne anyway, bestowing upon her a Queenship in her own right. Most gloriously, Anne is pregnant. They fervently believe she is carrying Henry’s longed-for son and heir. The entire world lies at Anne’s feet.
Anne is determined to be a loving mother, devoted wife, enlightened spiritual reformer, and a wise, benevolent queen. But others are hoping and scheming for her failure. Her status and her very life become precarious as enemies spread lies to advance their objectives.
But the truth will endure.
This story is Anne’s truth.
Book Two of Sandra Vasoli’s Je Anne Boleyn series is a gripping account of Anne’s effort to negotiate her position in the treacherous court of Henry VIII, where every word uttered might pose danger, where absolute loyalty to the King is of critical importance, and in which the sweeping tide of religious reform casts a backdrop of intrigue and peril. The story is recounted in Anne’s clear, decisive voice, leading to an unforgettable conclusion.
“Sandra Vasoli takes up the familiar story of King Henry VIII’s stormy relationship with Anne Boleyn, the woman who would become his second wife and for whose sake Henry would break with the Catholic Church in pursuit of a new marriage and a male heir for the kingdom.
Each of the two volumes in the series can be read independently, and each tells the story of a period in Anne’s life; in Struck with the Dart of Love, a brilliant, charismatic Henry meets Anne for the first time. As the two begin to fall in love and Anne begins to rise at Court, Vasoli dramatizes the rivalries and power-jockeying between all parties, especially the enmity between Anne and Cardinal Wolsey.
The second volume, Truth Endures, gives readers the story of Anne’s short and troubled rule, from its heady beginning with her promise of a male heir to the growing disaffection between her and Henry.
Vasoli’s prose is solid and often lovely, and her characterization of Anne in particular is refreshingly complex and sympathetic. This is fine Tudor-era fiction, well recommended.”
—The Historical Novel Society
The Palace of Whitehall
Lo, he was something to observe – as observe I did, with pride and pleasure: my royal consort in resplendent authority, impeccably groomed and luxuriously draped in burnished sable, his broad chest weighted with a golden, gem-studded collar. He was radiant! Flush with health, his resonant voice echoing as he paced the length of the new gallery in Whitehall with his councillors. The events of recent weeks had steeped him in vigour and confidence.
No one wore an air of aplomb as well as did my husband, Henry VIII of England.
Unconsciously I placed my hands on my gently swelling belly. The gesture had become a habit for me of late. With a contented smile I reflected over the months since late autumn, when Henry and I had travelled to Calais to meet with the French king, François I. It had been a triumphant visit for me – Anne Boleyn – the girl who had spent her youth at the royal court of France, being groomed in the ways of royal demeanor, Christian humanism, and womanhood. Now I returned in splendour as a Marquess in my own right, accompanied by my betrothed, His Grace the King. We enjoyed a most pleasing and very successful stay, and an even more romantic trip homeward, taking our time crossing the English countryside, reveling in each other’s company before – very reluctantly on my part – returning to London just prior to Christmastide. Yet even that sojourn had been an unexpected pleasure. The winter season spent at Greenwich was jubilant despite our increased disillusionment with the Pope and his obstinate refusal to align with Henry in granting him his rightful divorce from Katherine of Aragon. Regardless of that cumbrance, I basked in the adoration of a man with whom I now lived as if we were husband and wife. Yes, I had decided before we departed for Calais to abandon my dogged stance to remain chaste before we wed. The resulting fulfillment of living as a couple was rewarding and we were happy and content with one another. Indeed, it was a Christmas to be remembered.
During that halcyon period I did admittedly experience one cause for anxiety – it seemed I had the beginnings of a nagging illness which I could not identify. I had eaten less and less yet remained nauseous throughout the day while feeling overbearingly tired in the afternoons. Only when my maid, Lucy, tried valiantly to lace me into the bodice of a new gown, resulting in the spillage of an unusually ample bosom from its neckline, did I finally perceive the exultant truth – I was pregnant with Henry’s child! Please be to God, with his son? Never again will there be such a gift for the New Year as was that realization. The tender scene between us when I told him the news will be forever etched in my mind’s eye. Occasionally I had allowed myself the luxury of imagining a time when I might announce a pregnancy to the King – I would create a gorgeous, elaborate tableau in which to unveil the news. The moment came, however, when Henry’s exhaustion and melancholy over years of thwarted effort to gain his freedom to marry me were etched deep in the lines on his face. In truth, at times I had wondered why he persisted in his intent to have me – to marry me. Was it not possible with the very next obstacle thrown in his path – one more denial from the Pope – he might just give up, even though we loved one another? But then! sweet Jesu! The pregnancy I had suspected became certain, and while we dined together alone one evening, I tenderly turned his tired face to mine, and in a voice thick with emotion, told him, simple and plain. At first he was devoid of expression and I held my breath, fearing he had already determined to abandon me and our hopeless suit. But then his face crumpled and he had clung to me, weeping into my shoulder. I held my strong and powerful King and felt his shoulders heave with quiet sobs, overcome with relief and joy at the news he so desperately wanted: had waited an eternity to hear.
The next day and those that followed were imbued with the exhilaration of an expected prince.
Anne Boleyn’s signature: