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The queen of subtleties
Suzannah Dunn
Adult Fiction DUNN

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Fans of historical fiction will savor this colorful retelling of the rise and fall of Anne Boleyn by British author Dunn. The novel (her eighth, and the first to be published in the U.S.) is narrated in turns by Anne, now imprisoned in the Tower, and Lucy Cornwallis, Henry VIII's confectioner, who observes the dramas of the court from the haven of her kitchen. Though their paths seldom cross, the two women's lives become fatefully linked through the scandalous liaisons of the English court. On the eve of her beheading, Anne documents her life's tale for her young daughter, Elizabeth, telling how she came to join the king's court as a lady-in-waiting to Henry's first wife, Catherine of Aragon, and caught the eye of the king. Ambitious and proud, she refuses to be his mistress, insisting instead on becoming his legitimate wife. Henry eventually succumbs to her pressures, but only after he breaks with Rome and declares himself the head of the Church of England. Meanwhile, Lucy falls desperately in love with Mark Smeaton, the angelic court musician who in turn is enamored with Anne. This reasonably accurate historical portrait of Anne is enlivened by Dunn's imaginative weaving of Lucy into the narrative, making for a delicious romp through the romance, politics and drama of 16th-century England. Agent, Antony Topping. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

In her U.S. debut, British author Dunn imbues the story of the notorious Tudor queen Anne Boleyn with new life. The story is narrated in alternating chapters by Anne Boleyn and Lucy Cornwallis, confectioner to King Henry VIII. Lucy, who makes "subtleties" and grand sugar centerpieces for feasts and banquets, is taken aback when Mark Smeaton, musician of the queen, begins to pay her visits. What is given in friendship Lucy mistakes for love, and she is devastated when Mark is sentenced to death for committing adultery with the queen. The voice of Anne Boleyn is spot-on. Clever and brash, she uses colorful language not often associated with the image of a king's better half. Dunn also makes Lucy's growing love and eventual heartbreak palpable. One is struck by the similarities between the two women, even though their lives are worlds apart. Recommended for most historical fiction collections. [For other novels about the tragic queen, see Robyn Maxwell's The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn and Philippa Gregory's The Other Boleyn Girl. Ed.] Anna M. Nelson, Seabrook Lib., NH (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Anne Boleyn
Queen consort of Henry VIII, King of England; mother of the future Queen Elizabeth I.

Lucy Cornwallis
King's confectioner.

Mark Smeaton
Court musician.

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