I had been wanting to read this book for a while, so when I was given the chance to get a review copy, I was thrilled! I also wasn’t disappointed, as I thought that this book was thoroughly engaging and I just wanted to keep reading. The chapters each deal with a separate issue running chronologically through the Tudor period, though I could have done with more around Henry VII and the rebellions against his reign – what could have happened had one of them succeeded?
The sections I found particularly interesting were the ones on Henry VIII’s tiltyard accident of January 1536 and Jane Grey. They are two instances which have always really interested me, as it has been suggested that Henry’s tiltyard accident resulted in a change of personality and, had Jane Grey managed to hold onto the throne, would we still have had Queen Elizabeth I? There are questions stemming from questions in this book, and it covers a lot of the major possibilities, while also intertwining some of the more minor decisions that were made.
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”