[Review] The Boleyn Women by Elizabeth Norton

Title: The Boleyn Women
Author: Elizabeth Norton
Publisher: Amberley 2 October 2013
Genre: Non-fiction
Theme: Biography of the Boleyn family, focusing on the women.
Format: Hardcover
Age: Adult
Pages: 336, with 48 illustrations
Rating: 5 Stars
Source: Free copy from Amberley for the purpose of review.

Anne Boleyn is infamous as being Henry's tumultuous second wife. Her sister Mary was known as his mistress; however, what do we know of the other Boleyn women who lived in the 13th (late 1200s) through 17th centuries (1603); each with ambitions, intelligence, and leaving their own mark in history.
The following women are depicted in The Boleyn Women:  
  • Alice Bracton Boleyn
  • Anne Hoo Boleyn
  • Anne Boleyn Heydon
  • Margaret Butler Boleyn
  • Elizabeth Howard Boleyn
  • Mary Boleyn
  • Anne Boleyn
  • Anne Tempest Boleyn
  • Elizabeth Wood Boleyn, Lady Boleyn
  • Margaret (Madge) Shelton
  • Mary Shelton
  • Jane Parker Boleyn, Lady Rochford
  • Catherine Carey Knollys, daughter of Mary Boleyn
  • Lettice Knollys Dudley
  • Elizabeth I
This is the third book I've read by Elizabeth Norton. In all three books I've come to enjoy the detailed significant research brought forth, certain points I'd not read about before, an unbiased opinion, and characters in history that are dimensional.
Anne Boleyn is the most interesting of all the Boleyn women. I've read several books on her and still, she is a complicated person to describe in one sentence. She's a polarity of character traits, maybe this is one of the reasons she's such an enigma. I'm reminded of the ole nursery rhyme: "When she was good she was very very good and when she was bad she was awful." Mary Boleyn did not seek to be more than a mistress, her sister Anne's ambitions were higher. I feel Elizabeth Norton gave me a strong view of Anne. Books on Anne that I've read before have focused on either a good and martyred Anne, or a villainous Anne.
I'd not read before of a "scuffle" between Anne and Henry's next wife Jane Seymour. I wonder if Henry was amused by this, angered, or if his already inflated pride swelled more?
Anne was a strong-willed woman, this personality trait rubbed Henry the wrong way after they were married, he wanted an obedient wife like Jane.

Two Guest Posts by Elizabeth Norton:
Book Review: