Welcome to the Historical Fiction Online forums: a friendly place to discuss, review and discover historical fiction.
If this is your first visit, please be sure to check out the FAQ by clicking the link above.
You will have to register before you can post: click the register link above to proceed.
To start viewing posts, select the forum that you want to visit from the selection below.

My Lady of Cleves by Margaret Campbell Barnes

User avatar
amyb
Reader
Location: Atlanta, GA
Contact:

My Lady of Cleves by Margaret Campbell Barnes

Postby amyb » Wed September 10th, 2008, 1:30 pm

My Lady of Cleves covers the life of Anne of Cleves from right before her marriage to Henry VIII until his death in 1547. The story opens with an agitated King Henry VIII, talking with his ministers about his need for a new wife after the death of his third wife, Jane Seymour in childbed. Among the candidates are the Duchess of Milan and the Cleves Princesses. The Duchess of Milan has already replied with “Only if I had two heads”! Smart girl!

Hans Holbein is sent to Cleves to paint both Anne and her sister, Amelia. Once there he becomes quite smitten with Anne and they begin a friendship. He paints a flattering picture of her because that is the way he sees her. Unfortunately, Henry does not see the same way and is almost instantly put off by Anne’s looks and hard mannerisms. Henry likes the petite type (go figure!).

We follow Anne through her short marriage to Henry, her annulment, “retirement” to Richmond Palace, Henry’s next marriage to Katherine Howard and her eventual downfall. Anne even plays a part in the infamous scene where Katherine is desperate to talk to Henry and goes screaming for him through the halls of the Palace.

Anne seems to resign herself to her fate; after all she still has her head! She genuinely enjoys the life of a Princess of England; she can come and go as she pleases and has no husband or man to answer to. In seeing the freedom that Anne as a “woman” had, that had to have been a big impact on Elizabeth I, who always said she would never have a master.

My Lady of Cleves was an interesting look into a woman that survived marriage to Henry VIII. Anne is very likeable and I think she would have made a wonderful Queen, had she been given the chance. I wish the story was longer and covered the time during Mary’s rule as Queen - I would have liked to have heard Anne’s thoughts on “Bloody Mary”.

Margaret Campbell Barnes is also the author of Brief, Gaudy Hour, a novel on Anne Boleyn.

Note: Anne of Cleves died at Hever Castle on July 16, 1557. She lived 10 years past Henry. Her tomb is in a “hard to find place” in Westminster Abbey.

Overall: 4/5

Song: "Sweet Dreams" by Tori Amos

User avatar
MLE (Emily Cotton)
Bibliomaniac
Interest in HF: started in childhood with the classics, which, IMHO are HF even if they were contemporary when written.
Favorite HF book: Prince of Foxes, by Samuel Shellabarger
Preferred HF: Currently prefer 1600 and earlier, but I'll read anything that keeps me turning the page.
Location: California Bay Area

Postby MLE (Emily Cotton) » Wed September 10th, 2008, 4:35 pm

Great review, amyb. I enjoyed this book too, the first I have read by MCB, but it will not be the last! I never would have found it except for this site.
my facebook posts https://www.facebook.com/emilylaurencotton are public, generally things I find amusing.
my passions: fair trade, ending slavery, and justice.
"Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects." Will Rogers
User signature picture

User avatar
amyb
Reader
Location: Atlanta, GA
Contact:

Postby amyb » Wed September 10th, 2008, 5:09 pm

Thank you for the compliment! I am still new to this reviewing thing, so I appreciate the encouragement!

User avatar
princess garnet
Bibliophile
Location: Maryland

Postby princess garnet » Wed September 10th, 2008, 9:17 pm

I'm reading this book at the moment. I like how Hans Holbein gets plenty of stage time. Not to give anything away, he only appears in the 1st chapter of The Boleyn Inheritance.
Observation so far: pace not as quick as TBI but you can get a fuller picture of Anne's view at her life in England
Last edited by princess garnet on Wed September 10th, 2008, 9:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Misfit
Bibliomaniac
Location: Seattle, WA

Postby Misfit » Wed September 10th, 2008, 10:11 pm

"amyb" wrote:Thank you for the compliment! I am still new to this reviewing thing, so I appreciate the encouragement!


Good review, but I agree about when you're first starting out writing these things. It's not as easy as it seems!

I read this a couple of years ago and if I recall pretty close together with PG's The Boleyn Inheritance. It was fun comparing the two. She's got one about Richard II I read recently that was quite good as well. I'll look up the title if anyone's interested.

User avatar
amyb
Reader
Location: Atlanta, GA
Contact:

Postby amyb » Thu September 11th, 2008, 12:38 pm

It sure is tough and the poeple here don't help my self-esteem because all of you ROCK at reviews, especially you Misfit! But I learn a lot from all of you, so I am grateful for the wonderful resources I have here.

BTW - I would be interested in reading something on Richard II. Thanks!
Last edited by amyb on Thu September 11th, 2008, 12:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Tanzanite
Bibliophile
Location: Northern Virginia
Contact:

Postby Tanzanite » Thu September 11th, 2008, 12:46 pm

Her book on Richard II is Within the Hollow Crown and I thought it was pretty good.

User avatar
Misfit
Bibliomaniac
Location: Seattle, WA

Postby Misfit » Thu September 11th, 2008, 1:37 pm

That's it and it was very good. Don't freak out about the price on Amazon I found a copy cheap at Abe Books. Check with Jane -- we swapped books after I read it and when she got my copy she realized she already had one. :p :p If she's got two she might be willing to swap.

User avatar
Telynor
Bibliophile
Location: On the Banks of the Hudson

Postby Telynor » Thu September 11th, 2008, 7:07 pm

This is one of my favourite Tudor novels, and one of the few that I've reread over time. Do keep writing reviews, practice really does help, and you're off to a great start.

User avatar
Misfit
Bibliomaniac
Location: Seattle, WA

Postby Misfit » Thu September 11th, 2008, 10:11 pm

Telynor's right, practice practice but even then some are harder than others. I just cringe when I look at my very oldest two sentece loved this book reviews. Have to go back and reread the books so I can redo the review. :)


Return to “By Author's Last Name A-F”