sandra_vasoli pictureI am honoured to welcome historical novelist and my good friend Sandra Vasoli to the Anne Boleyn Files today on day 3 of the book tour for Truth Endures, her second ‘Je Anne Boleyn’ novel.

MadeGlobal Publishing is offering a paperback set of Je Anne Boleyn books (Struck with the Dart of Love and Truth Endures) to one lucky Anne Boleyn Files follower. All you have to do is leave a comment below saying what you found interesting about Sandi’s video by the end of 13th September 2016. One comment will be picked at random on 14th and the commenter contacted by email. Good luck!

Sandi has made a special video for us about her novels. She talks about why it was so difficult for her to write Truth Endures, which focuses on the latter portion of Anne’s life, and the effect that she feels grief may have had on the royal couple. She also shares an extract from the book. Thank you Sandi!

You can catch up with Sandi, and enter more giveaways, at the other stops on her book tour:

book_tour_sandi poster

Here are the links to the two stops Sandi has already done:

Sandra Vasoli, author of Anne Boleyn’s Letter from the Tower, Struck with the Dart of Love and Truth Endures, earned a Bachelor’s degree in English and biology from Villanova University before embarking on a thirty-five-year career in human resources for a large international company.

Having written essays, stories, and articles all her life, Vasoli was prompted by her overwhelming fascination with the Tudor dynasty to try her hand at writing both historical fiction and non-fiction. While researching what eventually became the Je Anne Boleyn series, Vasoli was granted unprecedented access to the Papal Library. There, she was able to read the original love letters from Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn—an event that contributed greatly to her research and writing.

Vasoli currently lives in Gwynedd Valley, Pennsylvania, with her husband and two greyhounds.

Struck with the Dart of Love

Struck by cover

In a love letter to Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII wrote: “It is absolutely necessary for me to obtain this answer, having been for above a whole year stricken with the dart of love, and not yet sure whether I shall fail of finding a place in your heart and affection…”, but did Anne ever feel that way about the King?
Tradition tells us that Henry pursued Anne for his mistress and that she resisted, scheming to get the crown and bewitching him with her unattainable allure. Nothing could be further from the truth.
One cold, misty grey day while hunting, Henry and Anne come face to face. It is an encounter that changes everything as Anne, too, is struck by the dart of love. He is powerful and graceful, elegant and witty, and in the King, she finds a passionate consort. But he is married – and the path to their union is fraught with hazard. Only the greatest of commitments will allow them to persevere until they might hope to be together.

Truth Endures

Truth Endures cover

On 1st June 1533, the ancient, traditional rituals of coronation are carried out, and Anne Boleyn emerges as Queen Anne Boleyn, a queen destined to rule alongside her husband, King Henry VIII of England.
It’s the culmination of everything the couple have worked for and the reward for their perseverance. And Anne is pregnant. They fervently believe that she is carrying Henry’s longed-for son and heir. The entire world lies at Anne’s feet.
But being queen is not easy. Anne is determined to be a loving mother, devoted wife, enlightened spiritual reformer, and a wise, benevolent queen. But others are hoping and praying for her failure. Her status and very life become precarious as people spread downright lies to advance their objectives.
But the truth will endure. This story is Anne’s truth.

Here are links to find out more about Sandi’s novels on your Amazon store. I loved them!

Struck with the Dart of Love –
Truth Endures –

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70 thoughts on “Writing about Anne Boleyn’s final years (plus a giveaway!) – Sandra Vasoli”
  1. I found Sandi´s video so interesting that Sandi explain how difficult it was to write about something that must have been so terrible to experience and I think Sandi is right we forget all these tragic things that happen in Henry and Anne´s life losing a child have such a huge impact on you mentally. In that time you did not get the help you needed mentally to move on from something so tragic as losing a child.

  2. Wow this seems like a great, more realistic portrayal of Anne! Not focusing on the gossip!! I would love to win a copy 🙂

  3. These books look wonderful. So often Anne’s miscarriages are treated as political factors, but you have portrayed the human heart break. Emotions are also factors in politics.

  4. I had not been aware of either of these books and am quite excited to read both of them. I loved hearing Sandi’s perspective of Anne and really enjoyed hearing her read her written word! In all too many books, Anne has been a caricature rather than person. I’m looking forward to reading both books. Thanks Sandi!

  5. I thought the idea of them both suffering from PTSD is very interesting. This is going on my list of books to read!!!

  6. I really enjoyed the Sandi’s video. We forget the true deep pain that parents feel at stillbirth or loss of a child. Sandi really brought that home with the passage she read. I believe not many readers of Henry’s life do take into consideration the way life’s tragedies shaped and helped to form the he did become in later life. I look forward to reading these books.

  7. I don’t think anyone else has raised the question of how this tragedy affected both Anne and Henry. Although Henry must have been affected by Catherine of Aragon’s stillbirths and miscarriages, Anne had offered him a hope for the future. Her first pregnancy went well and Henry, loving her so completely, must have thought it was only a matter of time before his Prince was born. How bitter this event must have seemed to him both as a man and King. Anne was not of royal blood and of course, her first reaction would have been to grieve as any mother would and she would have tried to retire from court. These books sound wonderfully researched and written.

  8. Brilliant talk Sandra! I am fascinated by your contention that both Anne and Henry suffered from PTSD. It’s interesting that we rarely assign a phenomena we understand in the 21st century, to historic events. Thanks for the insight!

  9. I always find it interesting when the author chooses to write in the first person. As Sandi read her passage in the book, the first person angle gives an “here and now” feeling. As someone who works with brain injuries, I have been drawn to the authors that point to the effects of Henry VIII being thrown from his horse during the joust. It is reported that he was unconscious for a significant time. The brain injury can explain a lot of changes in Henry’s personality and quickness to anger afterwords. However, I am deeply intrigued by Sandi’s theories of the role grief played in the break down in Henry and Anne’s marriage. Certainly Anne became more reckless in some of her behaviors in trying to remain in the king’s favor. I would be delighted to read these books and examine Sandi’s theories further. I love having another layer of history being revealed. Kudos to you Sandi!

  10. Yes! Someone writing about something that SHOULD have been considered, a LONG time ago! Thank you, Ms. Vasoli. Sometimes, it is easy to dismiss Henry as an uncaring tyrant who callously ended the life of a woman he supposedly passionately loved. But no one, to my knowledge, has ever considered the effects of grief, following Anne’s miscarriages on Henry himself. We know that a miscarriage is devastating for a woman, but there is little attention paid to the pain that the man/husband/father of the child suffers as a result of that loss as well.

    I remember reading recently, following the death of Prince, what his ex-wife, Mayte Garcia said; that their marriage broke down following the death of their child within about a week of his birth, and the miscarriage she had sometime later. Both of them were grieving, and could not and/or did not know how to deal with it.

    1. Milady Blue! What interesting analogy! I am well aware of the very sad circumstance that Mayte and Prince endured. After his death she was so aggrieved. They loved each other but the sadness was too much to bear. Thank you for your comment!

  11. Couples can be torn apart by grief and sadly in those days there was no counselling, no anti depressants that can help bereaved parents, there were no support groups, as Sandra says, post traumatic stress disorder wasn’t a recognised symptom, no wonder both Anne and Henry couldn’t cope and for Henry it had happened many times before, it’s true more people consider the mother more when a baby dies yet history is silence on Henry V111’s feelings, he was a man after all with feelings and he must have wept bitterly, for Anne there was anxiety and a genuine fear that her hold on the King was slipping away, she was vulnerable she knew her enemies were waiting to bring her down, no wonder she became more volatile than before, worry can lead to outbursts of bad temper and it’s clear that she was clearly distressed and depressed, after her final miscarriage she knew there was no going back.

  12. WOW! History is so fascinating the details that you have delved into keeps the reader interested in the story line. If only the medical advances we have now was available in Henry’s time. History would have taken a different turn. For a parent to lose a child is devastating no matter what century it occurs in. For Henry it happened plenty of times and would have caused such a turmoil to both mind and soul.

  13. Although Henry’s erratic behavior is often the center of topic, it is rarely attributed to his grief and possible PTSD. The historical records reflect a passionate love and bond between Henry and Anne, so it would only be natural that they both were affected deeply by the miscarriages! Another interesting thing I took away from the book excerpt is how truly sad and devastated Anne was; yet her duties as a wife and queen were always top priority…how horrible it must have been for her to know that her heartache and grief was something she must keep hidden away.
    I’m very excited about the new book, Sandi! Thanks for sharing your insight with us!

  14. What a treat it was, to watch your video clip, and also hear your impressions of not just of Anne Boelyn, but of Henry VIII, as well. I wonder why no one has considered that both Henry and Anne must have suffered from PTSD, after the loss of their second child. I now wonder if Henry and Katherine of Aragon also suffered from PTSD. I can completely understand the differences between Katherine and Anne, and the fact that Henry seemed to be very passionate, as far as his feelings for Anne Boelyn. And yet I am still struck by how an infatuation such as that by Henry, for Anne, could so quickly turn sour, leaving Anne to suffer such a horrific end, by the order of the man who wanted / needed /loved her so passionately.

  15. Wow! Incredibly sad points Sandi brings to our picture of Tudor Life with Henry and Anne. The loss of an unborn child hits so hard because we mourn what might have been. This was not Henry’s first loss. Katherine also experienced losing pregnancies which may have affected Henry before Anne’s loss. So much pressure on Henry and of course Anne to make Henry’s world right again. Though during those years death was common, few understood bringing new heirs, especially male, as next in line for the throne. Sandi has done a wonderful job examining possibilities in explaining the sadness felt in both Henry and Anne. What an interesting take, sounds like a great book and looking forward to reading more.

  16. Hello readers of The Anne Boleyn Files (I am one of them!)
    I just have to place a comment to say how deeply moved I am by your reactions. Thank you all so very much. I know Claire’s viewers are always intelligent and insightful, so it’s a pleasure interacting with them. But I am just blown away – not only do I appreciate the kind words and plans to read The Je Anne books, but mostly because of your willingness to think about Anne and Henry in a new way. I am so pleased because we must think of them as they were – human. They laughed and joked, they cried and gossiped, they had days in which they felt great about themselves and confident, and days when I am sure they thought ‘what am I doing here? I can never live up to the expectations of my life’ and were depressed. So to acknowledge that great grief had a devastating impact is to acknowledge their humanity. Thank you all!

  17. Interesting concept, of Anne and Henry possibly being affected by PTSD; enjoyed Sandi’s video and would love a chance to win the books – they sound really good!

  18. Just wanted to thank you Sandi for writing these wonderful books — I do believe you have done alot to help heal the souls of Henry and Anne.

  19. I have suffered from PTSD in the past myself, and also find this theory about both Henry and Anne to be intriguing. It makes my heart go out to Anne all the more

  20. What a beautiful story and video! It appears you are truly passionate about Anne Boleyn which is something I greatly admire. She would be so proud and honored to know that her story still lives on to this day. Thank you for giving her life a voice in our world that needs to know more about the real Anne not the one construed in myths!

  21. It seems so obvious that grief over the loss of a child would be a factor, and yet it’s not really discussed so much. Cold politics is often the focus when examining how Anne and Henry grew apart. That’s what I found interesting about Sandi’s video.

  22. Very interesting video! It’s easy to gloss over how tragic the loss of their baby must have been–thank you for that insight!

  23. Sandra beautifully describes the intricacies of the human heart–which extend to rulers & citizens alike. I love that her writing humanize Anne Boleyn; a woman whose brilliant mind is mostly undisputed. My Greyhound, Pourquoi and I, would cherish her books as part of our collection!!!! Thanks for your brilliance, Sandra!

  24. My wife and I both being direct descendants of Mary Boleyn, anything “Boleyn” is of great interest to us. Thanks for offering your perspective on their lives through you various books.

  25. Thank you for the opportunity to listen to the author speak about her Books! I was struck by the amount it takes to write historical fiction. I had never given much thought to the impact of the miscarriages on Anne and Henry. It broke my heart to hear her read about Anne and her friend’s conversation. I waited many years for my daughter and, thank goodness, never lived through a pain like theirs, but the author explained it so well. It would be so interesting to share a coffee with Sandi and hear More!

  26. I actually never thought about it this way. I understand the anguish that comes from losing a child, because my husband and I have went through the very same thing. Some of the things that they exhibited are very familiar. It brings another dimension into their story. I can not believe I overlooked that in their story actually. Thank you for bringing this out in the open!

  27. I could listen to this lady all day. Beautifully spoken and I think very difficult to write. It gave a different insight into their life’s. So much has been written about them, this is a different view and very interesting.

  28. Even today, the loss of a child, or pregnancy, can tear a marriage apart. However, today we know there are medical factors such as disease, congenital defects, etc that can contribute to these occurrences. We know the fault doesn’t lie solely on the woman. We also know males are responsible for the sex of the child. For Henry, I think part of his grief was compounded in that he’d left The Church to divorce his first wife for the woman he thought would give him sons. The fault was placed firmly on the woman. I’m sure he felt it was his first marriage happening all over again. In his eyes, he was the victim here. I agree it was the beginning of the end in Henry’s mind. I feel sure that Anne believed in his love for her, and he’d never put her aside. How sad for her.
    Excellent talk!

  29. The PTSD angle was an interesting insight and the concussion he had later would have exerbated his frustration and anger over events beyond his control, as well as the physical after effects of course.
    Henry wasn’t getting any younger and must have felt incredible pressure to produce an heir and a spare, especially since many still considered the Tudor dynasty as usurpers of the Plantagenet line.
    Courtiers may, or may not, have been playing one side against the other with regards to the marriage, Anne was still seen by many as “the french whore”, and the change of religion, with the uprisings in the north by the Catholic nobility weighed against the excesses in the Church.
    All these factors must have been a crushing weight that Henry felt on a daily basis.
    Great video.

  30. Agree with Camille…but Henry had persuaded himself that his god was punishing him (by denying him progeny) for marrying his brother’s wife – he went so far down this road that he made himself Supreme Head of the Church in England, in effectum Pope and spoke as the real one did, ‘ex cathedra’, from the throne. It is such a monumental step, hitherto an unthinkable leap, that I personally hunch here that this is the greatest single change in Henry, beyond his injuries and health issues. What a mighty weight to carry, to be the one spiritual authority in his realm.
    His one, driving aim in putting away his prestigious queen and taking Anne to wife, was the procreation of a son. Elizabeth’s overall health pointed forward to such a conclusion but surely the primary ambition of this couple was to secure the throne with the birth of a healthy male child. How lovely to be wrong and very wrong in this case. But I can’t help but think that any natural, fatherly feeling in this king was tempered by necessity. Here we go again, with losses of male children, did not point forward at all but rather backwards, to Katharine, to his utter failure to do the one thing that must be done, have a son and heir.
    I’d very much enjoy being persuaded otherwise – as often happens – and would love to read this book.

  31. Anne must have been torn apart from the loss of her child, any mother would be. She had a few people to help her, but the mother was blamed for the loss before birth and both partners prayed for any children that they gave back to God. It was hard for Anne and Henry as the same pattern as with Katherine was being repeated. Anne would have thought that she could not have a child while her rivals lived, she said as much. Anne was suffering from depression and probably self medicatex to excess for a time as a bandage for her grief. But Henry is overlooked, especially on sites were Anne Boleyn is revered as a saint, because of the Henry the monster myth, which is Hollywood rubbish, so his feelings don’t get a look in. We forget that Henry was a human being who came to the throne as a very young man and ruled for almost four decades. Henry and Anne were not as disappointed as people think with the birth of Elizabeth, because she was healthy and Anne was soon pregnant again. The hope was that a healthy son would follow, so when Anne, fairly well along in her pregnancy did not produce the longex for heir, ever went black. Henry was even more isolated than Anne in his grief, his manhood was in question, his marriage, was it blessed, he could not speak openly or advertise the loss, it was just too hard, too much. Henry was in shock and denial. Would Anne be able to conceive again? He could confixe in a few friends, but was he also embarrassed? Here we go again? The silence is almost deafening. It must have been very awkward between Anne and Henry for a time. I think that both would need to be patient.

  32. I agree with the fact that the loss of the children played a huge role in the break up of the marriage. This unfortunately wasn’t an average marriage, but one of political importance as well. Plus one that didn’t allow the couple very much privacy. Their problems and/or short comings were known to all, where as their enemies were always lurching in the shadows waiting for an opportunity to attack. The failure to have a male heir and secure the Tudor dynasty was very much at stake. It may be difficult to understand in today’s world, but then it was EVERYTHING. Of course Henry had to put blame on Anne ( and Catherine) for the lack of a male heir, as he could never admit it was HIS fault. And he especially had to blame Anne in a big way due to the fact he tore the country apart in order to marry her and produce a male heir. As his excuse was it was against God’s will to be with Catherine and that being with Anne would solve everything. Thus he HAD to go big on her downfall to try and make it appear not his fault. Of course we can clearly see the truth now and know scientific data that wasn’t available then, but back then it was all about the spoken word. Just look at what the Tudors did with Richard III. So regardless of what feelings Henry had for Anne, he would put himself and his dynasty first. But I think even at her execution we can see evidence of his love for her, as he didn’t have her beheaded with an axe, but the most humane way possible in the time. Some claim it was because that’s how King Arthur would have done it, but we don’t see that kindness given to Katherine Howard. I think he saw no way other than her having to go, and in a big way to save face. But due to his love for her, he did so painless as possible for her.

  33. Anne and Henry were very much in love, that is with out doubt,, this can be seen in there letters to one another. She would have remained Queen if not for the miscarriages. A very good video well explained.

  34. Very interesting account of Anne and Henry’s relationship, particularly the effect of Anne;s miscarriages on their relationship.

  35. I found Sandi’s video very interesting because she really brought in the facts as well as the human nature factors that many people tend to forget about. The challenges as a person that Anne must have felt!

  36. As I join the throng my mind harks back to the first novel I ever read about this tragic Queen, Nora Lofts’ “The Concubine” I remember how my mind rejected all I had read at that time to blacken Anne’s name and how I felt when she lost her baby. Now I look back further than that to a time when Henry was not the “hope of the house” but the spare to back up the heir – Arthur – who then went on to die. I have often thought (although no fan of Henry VII) that the real tragedy here was Henry’s lovely mother dying in childbirth along with her baby daughter and leaving Henry an only boy when he most needed his mother. How different Katalina y Aragon’s future would have been had her mother in law been there to support her and her husband as they buried 5 “children of England”. It is well documented that the people mourned with them. To be in a position to have it all and then find the “God” of your prayers does not intend you to have any of it. Such importance placed on the shoulders of an unborn foetus; So yes, PTSD perhaps. But he did have 2 Queens to follow him. Mary, to whom his sensory cruelty knew no bounds and Elizabeth who was the epitome of Tudor diplomacy throughout her life. Oh to be a fly on the wall!

    1. I assume that you mean Henry Viii, as Henry Vll was our Henry’s father. Yes, indeed it would have been lovely to think that the wise and astute Elizabeth of York, as the queen mother could have provided some insight and guidance. As you say the future hung on the unborn child (not foetus). Life could hang by a thread, even if the baby was healthy, with so many diseases that people could not immunize against.

  37. I loved the video! I am delighted with the chance to win the giveaway. I am insatiable when it comes to Anne Boleyn, as well as Tudor history in general.

  38. What jumped out at me were the tragic effects that losing children did to both Henry and Anne. And the PTSD correlation is fascinating.

  39. I would have never considered PTSD as a reason for Henry’s erratic behavior. Looking to my own husband, a retired Marine, and experiencing first hand what PTSD can do to a relationship, it’s totally plausible to think that the King did indeed have PTSD, and partnering that with great power can cause terrible atrocities that any person in their right mind would never commit.
    Thank you for a great perspective, I appreciate any kind of theory which delves into the loving relationship that was between Henry and Anne instead of focusing on her supposed ambition.
    Does anyone know of any information pertaining to Henry and Katherine of Aragon which sheds light on the happy beginning of their relationship, other than “The Constant Princess” by Phillipa Gregory? That is another relationship of his I would enjoy studying more.

  40. Fascinating insight into the oft-overlooked topic of Henry and Anne’s mental health in light of her miscarriages. I wonder to what degree PTSD must have manifested itself in Henry, particularly after the miscarriages and stillbirths he had already gone through with Catherine of Aragon. He (and, naturally, Catherine) must have been particularly devastated at the loss of their son Henry, who died aged just 52 days.

    Thank you for the video and for the sensitive portrayal of Anne!

  41. In the 16th century the child mortality rate was high both amongst the rich and the poor and childbirth produced a grave danger to each classes of women, Henry’s own mother had died in childbirth and her baby daughter and so it was something people of that age experienced, babies were baptised immediately and the mothers were churched afterwards to give thanks for a safe delivery and then life returned to normal, however queens were different, they had to produce again and again, their children were of the blood Royal and the first born the heirs to a kingdom, any others were used as pawns for dynastic families, for any parent to lose a child is devastating and after carrying that baby for months where you form a bond with the tiny life inside you must eat away at you, and Anne must have blamed herself to an extent where she could well have thought if she had taken more care of herself it would never have happened, Henry after her final miscarriage blamed her and yet that was grief talking, he had lived through it so many times before, we must always remember that it was just as awful for Henry as it was for his first two wives, the fact he was King and desperate to have a healthy male heir does not detract from the fact that he was a man like any other mourning for yet another dead child, the loss of Richmond also was another blow for him as he had grown to nearly manhood, he was some said a serious contender for the throne and Henry had loved him dearly, he was proof of his manhood therefore he must have sank into a deep depression when he died, the British stiff upper lip of squaring your shoulders and getting on with it was something that’s been around for centuries, grief was something you indulged in privately not in the open, and in the last two wars ptsd wasn’t recognised either, deserters were shot yet they were only young men and they endured hell, terror and human frailty was a thing to be frowned on, and if women found themselves pregnant without a husband, she was sent to a mental institution even tho she was of sound mind, erring wives in Victorian times could be sent there by the husband and they were forced to endure padded cells and being locked up just because they had veered of the straight and narrow, there was no empathy, the human mind can only take so much grief and thank god we now live in an enlightened age where grief is treated with the compassion it deserves and really after losing so many children both with Katherine and Anne, I’m surprised Henry didn’t turn out much worse than he actually was.

  42. Rarely, do I seem to find books that seem to explore so deeply into what it was like for Anne and Henry throughout their relationship.Usually,most just probably touch the surface of what really played out.Looking forward to this perspective!

  43. Very insightful comments on such a sad and emotional topic, I can certainly imagine how difficult it was to write about it… And I also definitely agree that the impact of the first miscarriage on both Anne and Henry is overlooked in history, but likely played a key role in their relationship going forward. Thank you for sharing..

  44. I don’t think Anne’s Miscarriage would have been so traumatic for Henry. This was an era when infant mortality was very high and therefore the odds of having a healthy baby out of a pregnancy was much less than now. Further Henry had already experienced several miscarriages with Katherine of Aragon.

  45. Loved your video and the reading from “Truth Endures”. I would hope there is an explanation for Henry’s change of heart with regard to Anne. They seemed to be very much in love and it is difficult to accept that he would have lost those feelings so soon. Anne was still young and they had a healthy, beautiful daughter. Thank you so much for expressing a possibility for PTSD. I look forward to reading this series of books.

  46. I found Sandra’s opinion on Anne and Henry’s grief very interesting! I couldn’t imagine what it feels like to loss a child and I’m sure it took a toll on themselves as well as their relationship. When you think about what lead up to Anne’s downfall you can just imagine how tragic the miscarriages were and how it might have affected their marriage and love. I really enjoy Sandra’s view on Anne and even Henry! She makes them so human and relatable. I love how she digs down deep and gets to real character of the person! I’d love to read her series!

  47. I am intrigued with the details that went on around Anne and her King when she was expecting again after Elizabeth. I love the details.

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