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Paperback Brief Gaudy Hour: A Novel of Anne Boleyn Book

ISBN: 1402211759

ISBN13: 9781402211751

Brief Gaudy Hour: A Novel of Anne Boleyn

(Book #7 in the Shadows of the Crown Series)

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Book Overview

The enigmatic Anne Boleyn comes to life in this charming, brilliant portrayal by acclaimed British novelist Margaret Campbell Barnes. The infamous love of King Henry VIII and the mother of Queen... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

6 ratings

Fantastic Point of View

The first few pages are a little exhausting. Almost as if the author is trying too hard to paint a view. Which I appreciate, but it's a little excessive in its wordiness. Quite honestly that's my only complaint. I have never read a Tudor book that explained Anne Boleyn's thought process so well. I know it's only historical fiction, but you could have fooled me. The author explains why Anne turned into the person she was (argumentative, bitter, and restive) so accurately. Give it a chance even if you're a Tudor nut, like myself.

captures the spirit and essence of Anne Boleyn

Anne Boleyn stands alone in her garden taking in the tranquility and joy of her surroundings, before her life is changed forever when she is summoned to court to serve for Katherine of Arragon - Queen of England. It was while serving the Queen that she caught the attention of Henry VIII - King of England and husband to Katherine. Anne, though, is deeply in love with Harry Percy. It was an innocent day when Princess Mary stumbled upon the two young lovers revealing them to the King. It set his blood on fire and in a jealous rage he separated the two lovers - married one off never to have a private moment again. For Anne it was outrage and anger that drove her into the King's arms as his mistress - wife - mother of his child and the betrayal that led to her death. History documents well the chain of events that led up to Anne's execution, however many authors are not able to capture the woman, Anne was so passionately human - flawed yet unique. It was interesting reading Anne's perspective on things, how her anger at the control a King has over one's person drove her ambitious greed. She was not well liked by the public and yet held her head up high. She had her moments of complete grief and guilt over events that transpired to her and her family and ones who were fiercely loyal to her. The flow of the novel, richness in details, and characterizations of well known historical figures are spell binding, enhancing the feel of the period, transporting you back there watching on the sidelines. BRIEF GAUDY HOUR was originally published in 1949 - I did not know this until after I read the novel. While it was certainly tame in the sensual sense, the tension and desire between these two people was abundantly clear - right up to the end of the novel where Anne was secretly hoping for a reprieve. One that never came from the man she had come to love over the years. Margaret Campbell Barnes developed and told Anne's story with raw emotion, that drew me in and made me feel for her and I developed a better understanding of what life was possibly like for her and the personal tragedy she surely endured. Brief Gaudy Hour is a novel that captures the spirit and essence of Anne Boleyn, and it's a novel that any historical fiction enthusiast will enjoy and ponder over for days to come.

A classic work of historical fiction

"Brief Gaudy Hour" will always remain by far my favourite tale of Anne Boleyn. Indeed, there are some historical inaccuracies as it was first published in 1949 before the advent of several definitive Boleyn biographies, but the author has an engaging style and a keen eye for rich period detail. I first devoured this rather surprisingly sexy book over 30 years ago and I can still recite some of its more dramatic sentences. It is a must-read for Anne fans. I am perhaps most impressed by the book's restrained ending. Margaret Campbell Barnes does not over extend the story but simply ends it with the exact minute of Anne's death - "And in that moment, mercifully, the French executioner swung his sharp sword and struck." Wonderful stuff. The author's sympathy for Anne and for many of those who surrounded her "verily" shines through. The book launched me on a life time journey into Tudor history and I will never forget the awe I felt when tracing the entwinned H & A hidden in a stone archway in Hampton Court.


This is a wonderful work of historical fiction in which the author weaves gossamer threads of fact and fiction around Anne Boleyn, one of the most intriguing and enigmatic women who ever lived. She was a woman who would change the face of England by holding out for a crown that she would wear for a scant three years. Her will to be crowned a Queen would pave the way for the Reformation to take root in England. About a third of the book is devoted to establishing Anne's relationship to her family, friends, and early admirers. It details her first love affair, that with Henry Percy, the heir to the Earl of Northumberland, said to have been the love of her life, until Cardinal Wolsey, at the behest of King Henry VIII, nipped it in the bud, causing him to incur Anne's lifelong enmity. This portion of the book sets the tone for the rest of the book, grounding the events that were to follow in the context out of which they arose. When King Henry VIII finally made his intentions clear, Anne had no interest in ending up as the King's discarded mistress, as had Mary, her younger sister. Instead, she led King Henry VIII a merry chase for many years, refusing to become his mistress despite his ardent wooing. He became bewitched by her very being, so irresistible did he find this cultivated and intelligent young woman. Anne, however, always kept her eye on the prize, seemingly oblivious to the pain that she was causing her rival, Katharine of Aragon, Henry's wife and Queen of England. Henry, who was desperate to secure a male heir for the throne of England, eventually set in motion a series of events that were to have great ramifications for Catholicism in England. It would cause Henry to set aside his wife of twenty years so that he could marry Anne Boleyn and have her crowned Queen of England. It would set the stage for the Reformation in England. It would also bring about the downfall of Cardinal Wolsey, the man for whom Anne had no love and in whose destruction she positively reveled. Without the cautionary, staying influence of Wolsey, however, Anne would find herself unable to rein in her husband. She would see him begin to turn from a loving husband and genial king into the tyrannical despot he would eventually become. She would find herself powerless against him and without influence but would not realize it until it was too late. When Anne failed to deliver the promised male heir, having only given him the Princess Elizabeth, she found that he wished to rid himself of her by any means necessary. After having been Queen of England for nearly three years, Anne would be convicted of treason of the foulest sort and condemned to die a traitor's death. This well-written book is one that those who like historical fiction will enjoy. It is rich with period detail, replete with all the pomp and circumstance of the Tudor court. It also paints a well-drawn portrait of one of the most fascinating women in history.

This book will delight Tudor fans and newcomers alike

I stumbled across this book in by accident in 1972 at age 12, and have seldom read anything (in historical fictional) as good since. It stands the test of time very well. Though some facts -- the infamous sixth finger included-- are historically disputed, the depth of characterization, description of events, and period details are impeccable. Anyone who is-- or is destined to be -- a lover of Tudor England, and Anne Boleyn in particular, will devour this book. A refreshing alternate to duller works like those by Jean Plaidy.

What a beautiful piece of work!

I spent over a year searching for this book and when I finally got my hands on it I couldn't have been more satisfied. I found the story romantic and clever and I absolutely fell in love with the character of Nan Bolyn. The author ingeniously mingles wit and elegance with tragedy. And even though my history lessons had already reveiled her inevitable outcome, I found myself in high hopes for Nan. I cried at the end.
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