Book Review: Mayflowers for November: The Rise and Fall of Anne Boleyn

Mayflowers for November: The Rise and Fall of Anne Boleyn Book Cover Mayflowers for November: The Rise and Fall of Anne Boleyn
Malyn Bromfield
Historical Fiction
Endeavour Press
February 29th 2016
ebook
326 pages
NetGalley

A sensational novel depicting Anne Boleyn's dramatic downfall through the eyes of a servant in the court of Henry the Eighth.

Avis Grinnel’s life is forever changed when a young musician arrives unexpectedly to escort her to the innermost sanctum of King Henry VIII’s royal court.

However, it is not the king who has demanded her presence but his new queen, the much-disliked Anne Boleyn.

She has been told Avis is a “little cunning wench who has the sight” and demands she uses her powers to divine whether the queen is pregnant with a girl, or with the boy child the king expects.

From the moment she gives her fateful answer, Avis becomes embroiled in an extravagant world of intrigue, deceit and murderous plotting that is far removed from her lowly home life in the king’s kitchens at Greenwich Palace.

She becomes an unwilling participant and watcher in the alliances and misplaced loyalties of court life as the King wages religious war with the Pope and the churches while changing wives and mistresses in his relentless pursuit of a male heir.

Whispers, lies and rumours abound as the Queen fights for her survival and Avis struggles to balance her life of opulence in the royal chambers with the humble world of her baker parents and a mysterious suitor.

Her story is revealed partly as it unfolds and partly as a deeply-felt memory told to the faithful blind White Boy, who has been at her side for most of her life.

The brutal ending of Anne Boleyn’s reign is already known and written into history but this dramatic and vividly drawn story records the stark reality with an intricate and colourful portrayal of life at all levels in Tudor England.

Malyn Bromfield has drawn on her academic background to create a deeply researched and intensely detailed historical novel that depicts Anne Boleyn's downfall through the eyes of a servant in the court of Henry the Eighth.

The detail of daily existence, whether it be the extravagant fashions of the courtiers or the tedious tasks of cooks and flunkeys, is richly intricate yet is woven so delicately that the drama never falters.

my Review

This was a very pleasant read that I think any lover of historical fiction will find enjoyable. The addition of the fictional Avis lent the well-known story of the rise and fall of Anne Boleyn a nice freshness without seeming forced. The story was well paced and the characters and environment felt believable and historically accurate enough for a work of fiction. The only reason this didn’t get 4 stars (it was a 3.75 for me until the end) was that I thought there was far too much exposition at the end. But that’s always a risk when setting your book as a story-within-a-story. In the end, I give this a good 3.25.

**I received this copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review** Professional Reader

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