ANNE BOLEYN'S CLAIM TO FAME is distinct from that of every other woman in English history. It was for the love of Anne Boleyn that Henry VIII enacted a massive schism in the Catholic Church, renouncing the authority of the Pope and setting himself as the head of the Church of England—a move that shifted religious boundaries permanently. It was for the love of Anne Boleyn that Henry risked international war and domestic turmoil by leaving his wife of twenty years, Katharine of Aragon, which set a precedent for divorce in the English court. It was for the love of Anne Boleyn that Henry struggled bitterly with his advisors for six long years to make their union legitimate. Yet Anne Boleyn paid the ultimate price for Henry's mighty love. Three years after she was married to the king, she was beheaded at his orders. In this extraordinary tale of political treachery and romantic obsession, bestselling author Jean Plaidy spins Anne's story as never before. Weaving together impeccable historical research and an intuitive grasp of Anne's voice, Plaidy conjures courtly life in all its brocaded finery, complete with feasts and balls, deceptions and betrayals, political backstabbing and religious fanaticism. This guide is designed to help direct your reading group's discussion of The Lady in the Tower.
After a childhood spent soaking up the sophistication and romantic intrigue of the fashionable French court, Anne Boleyn returns to her native England, expecting life to calm down considerably. Before long, the dark-eyed, wild-haired beauty finds herself in the court of King Henry VIII with none other than England's monarch fixated on her. Willful, proud, and virtuous, Anne will not play mistress to any man— even a king—who is already married. And so the desperate pursuit begins. Henry is up against his most trusted advisors, his queen, her royal Spanish family, the pontiff in Rome, and an increasingly critical public, as he turns his court upside-down to find a way to possess what he truly desires. And when Anne finally gives in to Henry's onslaught, she finds herself in a deadly game at the intersection of power and desire, where no amount of love or devotion will guarantee her safety. In Anne's unforgetable voice, The Lady in the Tower explores her astonishing career from the confines of the tower where she ekes out her last days, pondering what she could have done differently, and how she might have escaped her world-renowned fate as the first—but not the last—of Henry's wives to be executed.