The Duke of Norfolk declares: “William is his father all over again – what he wants, he gets” (page 257). Do you agree with Lord Norfolk’s assessment? Why or why not?
I think it becomes more so towards the end of the book as William suffers betrayal by his best friend and the woman he loves. He isn’t willing to give things up without a fight, so strikes out at those around him. Henry VIII wanted to marry Anne Boleyn and wouldn’t stop until he achieved that. He broke with Rome to achieve it, and changed the religion of the entire country, suppressing revolt and rebellion at home and abroad. William seems to have the same attitude towards Minuette, but doesn’t realise that she doesn’t share the same hopes. He kills people who disagree with him (George Boleyn and Princess Mary) and tries to gain foreign support for an unpopular match.
Elizabeth tells William that she can always be trusted to put England’s good before her own personal interests (page 367). Are her actions in England’s best interest? Do you agree with her assessment of her motives, or is she serving her own personal interests? Had William not murdered Robert Dudley and confined Elizabeth to the Tower, do you think she would still consider William’s death and her ascension to be in England’s best interest? What are Elizabeth’s defining characteristics that make her a more desirable monarch than William?
I think that Elizabeth knows how distracted William would be if he married Minuette, and she also understands, when Minuette and Dominic are married, what William’s emotions would be and how he would deal with the situation – I think that’s why she encourages them to flee. It is largely about the interests of the country, but I think that she also wants to do what is best for her friends. Elizabeth knows that, if William doesn’t have a son and heir, then she will succeed to the throne, and she knows that William’s revenge on Dominic and Minuette could ruin the country, so she does what she can to stem it. I think that Elizabeth began to see that William was becoming more like their father, and more unstable in the betrayal, so I think she did come to believe that her own accession was in England’s best interests. Her best characteristics are her patience and loyalty to those who are loyal to her, and her long-term friendships. She knows how to value people and the importance of valuing people. Continue reading “Discussion Questions – ‘The Boleyn Reckoning’ by Laura Anderson”
Laura Anderson, The Boleyn Reckoning (London: Ebury Press, 2015) Paperback, ISBN 978-0-3455-34132
Genre/s: Historical / Romance / Drama
Setting: London (England)
Characters: William, Henry IX of England / Elizabeth I of England / Dominic Courtenay / Minuette Courtenay (nee Wyatt) / George Boleyn, Duke of Rochford / William Cecil / Robert Dudley / Lady Jane Grey / Renard LeClerc
Storyline: The final book in the series is very much focused on the disintegrating relationship between Dominic and Minuette, and William, because of the former’s secret marriage. There are also questions over William’s competency to rule after he makes more and more rash decisions as a result of Dominic and Minuette. Continue reading “Book Review – ‘The Boleyn Reckoning’ by Laura Anderson”
In the opening chapter of the novel, Minuette writes: “William has commanded [John Dee] to give a private reading of our stars. Only the four of us— for it would not do to let our secrets, past or future, slip into wider circulation.” Yet, she keeps a journal that details many of their secrets. Do you think it is dangerous for her to do so? Would you, in her place?
I think that, for Minuette, keeping a diary was dangerous and foolish, because she must have been aware that people would want to know the secrets of those closest to the throne, to whom she had unparalleled access – she was a prime target. However, I think it was also important for her to write in order to help her understand her own mind and her feelings, and what happens to her, particularly her confused feelings over William and Dominic. It seems unreal to her – she wants a record of her amazing experiences, hopefully to act as a lesson for future children and grandchildren. I think that, in her place, I would also keep a diary to act as ballast and to sort out the confusion in my own mind. I think that Minuette was also wary of what the reading would reveal – her feelings about Dominic being made clear to William was her main concern. Continue reading “Discussion Questions – ‘The Boleyn Deceit’ by Laura Anderson”
1. If “History is written by the victors”, what do you think is the biggest impact of changing a story?
The biggest impact of changing a set story, particularly one where it was written by the winners, is that you can show it from a different point of view – what would have happened if the losers had in fact won? That is what is shown in this story – what if Anne Boleyn hadn’t been executed and had a son to become King? In changing history for fictional purposes it opens up a new realm of thought and possibility, and opens up more avenues for discussion and debate. ‘What ifs’ are a huge part of history. What if Germany had won the Second World War? What if Prince Arthur hadn’t died in 1502? What if the Princes in the Tower hadn’t been murdered and Edward V had ruled? All of these and more are unanswered questions that historians have tried to explore. But we will never know the answers, because the events didn’t happen. There is infinite possibility to explore, but it offers little insight into the history that did happen. Continue reading “Discussion Questions – ‘The Boleyn King’ by Laura Anderson”