The Boleyn Reckoning: A Novel by Laura Andersen

Book Review: 
The final installment in an ‘alternate reality’ historical fiction brings the story to a close and does so with flair and a satisfying ending to this unique series.  I’m still not a fan of the comparisons that mention “if you like ___ you will like this” marketing approach, for this book stands solidly on its own as a clever, well-written series with characters  that are well developed and clever, be they real or imagined for the story.

We still have the love triangle that has been a continuous theme throughout the books: poor William never seems to be able to get the girl to commit, or out of his mind.  And yet the court intrigue never ends (it never really seemed to in the actual Tudor era either) and Andersen manages to make even the imagined dramas and intrigues feel real, relevant and appropriate.

I did find that I was tiring of William’s love issues and the choices he makes. His use or abuse of the friendship with Dom spectacularly backfired, and as Minuette openly defied him and their purported ‘love’ to act on her true feelings.  Sadly, with William still dealing with the Catholic threat from his sister Mary, his desire for what will be best for the country, his plan to bide his time and decide has led to further unrest.  Elizabeth is frustrated by her brother’s inaction, and when she actively defies him, and makes choices that erode their trust, the story takes some very dark turns.

With the darker turns, Will shows the true “Tudor King” flair for being completely spoiled, shallow, impulsive and even unfeeling.  Taking a relatively likable character like Will, and then bringing forward his unappealing behaviors, actions and true attitudes to those around him bring Andersen’s character building and skill into sharp relief: my regard for William hit an all-time low, and I wasn’t sure that the story would bring a satisfactory ending.  It wasn’t only him: everyone made poor personal choices in this story – and it had me tense pushing forward to get to the conclusion and see if anyone came out with a satisfactory conclusion.

It wrapped up with a solid sense of ‘realness’ that managed to mix in the realities of cruel and vindictive behaviors that were common in the court of the Tudors, adding a spin to the alternate reality of the situation, and making it all feel possible and plausible.  All great elements for a believable and enjoyable alternate reality historical fiction, and I felt that the dangling threads were nicely tied up, bringing a satisfactory conclusion to the series.

The Boleyn Reckoning: A Novel by Laura Andersen

Title: The Boleyn Reckoning
Author: Laura Andersen
Genre: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance
Published by: Ballantine Books
Source: Publisher Via Edelweiss
Pages: 416
Audio Length: 11 Hours: 36 minutes
Rated: four-stars
Heat: One FlameOne Flame

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Elizabeth Tudor is at a crossroads. Though her brother, William, has survived the smallpox, scars linger on the king's body and mind and he marches to the drumbeat of his own desires rather than his country's welfare. Wary, Elizabeth assembles her own shadow court to protect England as best she can. Meanwhile, Minuette and Dominic have married in secret, but the truth cannot stay hidden for long. Faced with betrayal by those he loved most, William's need for vengeance pushes England to the brink of civil war and in the end, Elizabeth must choose: her brother, or her country?

A copy of this title was provided via Publisher Via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.

About Laura Andersen

Laura Andersen has one husband, four children, and a college degree in English that she puts to non-profitable use by reading everything she can lay her hands on. Books, shoes, and travel are her fiscal downfalls, which she justifies because all three ‘take you places.’ She loves the ocean (but not sand), forests (but not camping), good food (but not cooking), and shopping (there is no downside.) She lives in Massachusetts with her family.

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