November's Book-The Lady in the Tower | Book Club | Forum

Avatar

Please consider registering
guest

sp_LogInOut Log In sp_Registration Register

Register | Lost password?
Advanced Search

— Forum Scope —




— Match —





— Forum Options —





Minimum search word length is 3 characters - maximum search word length is 84 characters

sp_Feed Topic RSS sp_TopicIcon
November's Book-The Lady in the Tower
November 2, 2010
5:34 pm
Avatar
Boleynfan
Member
Members
Forum Posts: 503
Member Since:
August 2, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Hi, everyone!

 

Here's the second book club book, The Lady in the Tower: The Fall of Anne Boleyn by Alison Weir. Please post your thoughts, questions, anything about the book.

 

Enjoy!

 

xx Alyssa

"Grumble all you like, this is how it's going to be"

November 8, 2010
7:27 am
Avatar
DuchessofBrittany
Canada
Member
Members
Forum Posts: 846
Member Since:
June 7, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Well, here goes nothing. I read The Lady in the Tower quite awhile ago, so my comments are from memory and a quick scan of the book. I cannot promise it will all make sense, but I shall try.

Things I liked:

1) Weir disregards Warnick's theory about Anne's child (Jan. 1536) being deformed, and argues that this theory has generally been dismissed by the historical community (pp.28-29)

2) I liked learning more about the five men: Rochford, Weston, Brereton, Smeaton, and Norris. I find they are often over looked.

3) Presentation of the dialogue between Anne and Kingston, and how these conversations made it into letters to Cromwell. A great source for learning more about Anne's state of mind during her imprisonment.

4) Counters most of Julia Fox's apologist piece on Lady Rochford.

5) Near the end of the book, Weir speaks to Elizabeth's personal memory of Anne.

6) Elizabeth is Anne's greatest legacy.

Things I disliked:

1)Prologue page 5: Anne's sixth nail? Really, using Sander in the first few pages?

2) Tendacy to write as though fiction, and presents Anne's inner most thoughts and feelings. At times, I found this annoying, and discrediting to the evidence presented.

3)I do not agree Henry and Anne's marriage was unhappy from the beginning.

4) Anne's previous sexual history. Come on, are we still stuck on this?

5) Witchcraft: poked its ugly head several times throughout the book. Anne was never charged with withcraft (to my knowledge), and this is heresy at best. Claims a reference from Chapyus as evidence: please, we all know he hated Anne and would do anything to discredit her.

6) At times, an over reliance on Chapyus, Sander, The Spanish Chronicle, and other Catholic sources. If you use them, do so with care, and give the reader a clearer understanding of their intentions, and why using them. The same from Protestant sources, such as Foxe. Similar criticism about Lancelot de Carles.

7) Cromwell as prime mover (pp. 68). Not sure. I agree Cromwell was involved, but he was Henry's man, so I doubt he would move to strike Anne down without Henry's knowledge and permission. I felt this argument removes blame from Henry and places it elsewhere.

8) The potential of Anne's guilt cannot be “lightly dismissed” (pp.87) If claiming so, provide evidence to back up this claim, and please don't pull a G.W Bernard and rely on a poem, which is clearly biased. We all know there was NO EVIDENCE to support Anne's guilt.

9) The whole issue surrounding Rochford's gulit (pp. 100). I think too much is being read into his words, especially since the publication of Warnicke's ridiculous thesis about homosexuality and sodomy. I did not come to that same conclusion.

I liked this book, despite my criticisms. Finally a book dedicated to Anne's fall. Yet, I cannot love the book. I found so many more things to dislike, and that stayed with me. Alison Weir is a great fiction writer, and at times I felt like I was reading a fictional account of Anne's life, rather than a serious study of her fall. I would still recommend Ives and Starkey. While their theories are often times opposite, they do a much better job seeing through the opacity of evidence. I am not sure how Ms. Weir puts out a book a year, without her writing and research suffering.

"By daily proof you shall find me to be to you both loving and kind" Anne Boleyn

November 8, 2010
6:05 pm
Avatar
Lady K
Sydney Australia
Member
Members
Forum Posts: 12
Member Since:
August 4, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

 

DuchessofBrittany,

 Well said, i agree on all of your points

Im half way through.

I was disappointed from the first chapter with the reference to the sixth nail and her possibly being not so “chaste” at the French court!!! For me, It set a bad tone for the book.  

In my copy (which seems to be different from yours) on page 132 she points out that “Had Henry been instrumental in bring about Anne's ruin he surely not have been so obviously angry” …. Then goes onto say “Possibly the very fact that his councillors had dared to lay such damming evidence against her was enough to convince him that it was all true” Im my opinion, she spends too much time trying to prove Henry's innoncence in bringing her down. As much as i respect and enjoy her work, i can not believe for a moment that Henry had nothing to do with it.  

It also stood out that she said Chapuys couldnt be taken as total truth due to his obvious allegiance to Katherine and Mary then goes onto say that Cromwell's “confession” of making up the plot to bring her down as evidence that he was the mastermind behind it. It was very contradictory. 

November 9, 2010
5:58 am
Avatar
DuchessofBrittany
Canada
Member
Members
Forum Posts: 846
Member Since:
June 7, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Lady K,

  My edition of the books does seem rather different. I have the hardcover, first UK edition, published in the fall of 2010, so page numbers, etc. could be different.

The note about Cromwell as the prime mover in the affair can be found: first paragraph, Chapter four “plotting the affair.” I found it interesting, and quite a statement, to begin a chapter about the plotting of Anne's downfall stating Cromwell was the man behind it.

I also found some of the evidence, and Ms. Weir analysis of it, contradictory. She seemed to rely on Chapyus, etc. when it suited her argument, and then abandon them when they did not.

I look forward to what you think about the rest of the book.

"By daily proof you shall find me to be to you both loving and kind" Anne Boleyn

November 9, 2010
2:08 pm
Avatar
Impish_Impulse
US Midwest
Member
Members
Forum Posts: 595
Member Since:
August 12, 2009
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

DuchessofBrittany said:

I also found some of the evidence, and Ms. Weir analysis of it, contradictory. She seemed to rely on Chapyus, etc. when it suited her argument, and then abandon them when they did not.


This. I absolutely noticed that she goes back and forth on whether 'x' is a reliable source based on whether she's trying to prove or disprove something. Something else I've noticed upon rereading it for this discussion (something that was pointed out in a different discussion after I read this the first time) is Weir's copious use of words like 'probably', 'presumably', 'maybe', 'we may assume', 'they likely did/said', 'no doubt because of ____', 'she would have doubtless ______' and a lot of other 'weasel words' that make me think that she reads a LOT into these so-called sources of hers. After this was pointed out by someone, I read her book about Queen Isabella and noticed the same thing throughout the book. Now that it's been pointed out to me, I can't help but see it.

                        survivor ribbon                             

               "Don't knock at death's door. 

          Ring the bell and run. He hates that."    

November 22, 2010
6:37 pm
Avatar
Boleynfan
Member
Members
Forum Posts: 503
Member Since:
August 2, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

I agree with everyone, especially DuchessofBrittany. I was very turned off by the sixth nail thing, and even more the witchcraft mention. And she didn't really state her sources, and, in my opinion, laid very flimsy evidence for Cromwell being the mastermind behind Anne's fall, skating over it and then mentioning it like it was a fact she had convinced the read of. Duchess, you mentioned Ms. Weir puts out a book a year without her writing/research suffering. My answer is that it does! I was actually disappointed overall with this book, though I liked a few points. Going back to her witchcraft point, she said it was possible because Anne had a hound named Urian. Appalling. But I liked her description of the five men Anne was accused with; typically you don't read a ton about them, so that was (one of the only) a nice surprise.

I also thought her book read more like a fiction book than one nonfiction, but it harmed her writing instead of aiding it. It was more like a novel than a historical fic book, and I found myself not learning, but contradicting and disagreeing with Weir's methods. I also agree with Impish that she used tons of “maybe”s. Also, relying on Catholic sources obviously biased against her, well, seems to me maybe they're not the best sources! Ahh I can't rant forever on this, but I didn't love, or even really like, the book.

"Grumble all you like, this is how it's going to be"

Forum Timezone: Europe/London

Most Users Ever Online: 214

Currently Online:
1 Guest(s)

Top Posters:

Anyanka: 2337

Boleyn: 2285

Sharon: 2115

Bella44: 933

DuchessofBrittany: 846

Mya Elise: 781

Member Stats:

Guest Posters: 0

Members: 427580

Moderators: 0

Admins: 1

Forum Stats:

Groups: 1

Forums: 13

Topics: 1711

Posts: 23074

Newest Members:

FloydArect, walwera, jffrsnfrst, Bearustault, KdyyaVzacype, loveawake.ru

Administrators: Claire: 959