August 27, 2015

Anne & Henry - Dawn Ius

Anne & Henry book cover
Anne & Henry by Dawn Ius
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: September 1, 2015
Source/Format: Edelweiss (Thanks!) || e-galley

Henry Tudor’s life has been mapped out since the day he was born: student body president, valedictorian, Harvard Law School, and a stunning political career just like his father’s. But ever since the death of his brother, the pressure for Henry to be perfect has doubled. And now he’s trapped: forbidden from pursuing a life as an artist or dating any girl who isn’t Tudor-approved.

Then Anne Boleyn crashes into his life. Wild, brash, and outspoken, Anne is everything Henry isn’t allowed to be—or want. But soon Anne is all he can think about. His mother, his friends, and even his girlfriend warn him away, but his desire for Anne consumes him. Henry is willing to do anything to be with her, but once they’re together, will their romance destroy them both?

If you're reading for pure entertainment, Anne & Henry is undoubtedly an appealing choice. The ease with which Ius tells her story, the cleverness in how she incorporates elements from the actual lives of Anne Boleyn and Henry Tudor, and the quick wit and dramatic pacing (which is very similar to TV shows like Gossip Girl) all result in a fun, quick read. Yet, in spite of how light it seems in certain moments, Anne & Henry is particularly addictive because you know it's going to result in heartbreak - a train wreck, and yet, you can't look away.

Anne, like her namesake, is passionate and headstrong. She doesn't let other people define her life, makes her own choices and wields her own strength and cunning as finely as a weapon. Her charm and passion draw people to her like moth to a flame; her vulnerability is an unexpected revelation. Henry, also like his namesake, has his life laid out for him, a life he might not want but one that feels like an obligation he must meet. He has his own undercurrent of passion running through him, one drawn out by Anne's arrival in his life. Their relationship, from the early tension to the height of their romance, is the primarily focus of this story, and it is intense. There are ups and downs, unexpected curveballs and close calls, and the entire saga is simply fascinating.

Really, the only reservation I have about Anne & Henry is how it could have been further developed. The pacing is quick; but upon more reflection, it feels almost too quick, and I can only excuse it because it mimics the speed of the actual turbulent relationship. The secondary characters are decently portrayed, if slightly stereotypical, and barely play a role in the story; again, this can be excused in the face of the excuse of the intense focus on the titular couple. But if it had been developed further, I definitely feel I would have loved it even more.

Still, there's something to Anne & Henry. It's an undeniably compelling story, one that I honestly couldn't put down once I'd started. It's short enough and reads fast, so fast that I'm certain many readers will finish it in one sitting. If you're familiar with Anne Boleyn and Henry Tudor, you'll be amused by how intelligently Ius remakes their story into a modern-day tale. And if you aren't, you might still enjoy this story for the sheer entertainment that it has the potential to provide its readers.

What is your favorite story related to Anne Boleyn & Henry Tudor?

I was initially going to say The Other Boleyn Girl, as that's a novel that I'm very familiar with and have reread a few times. But I recently read a series that I loved deeply, an alternate historical fiction series where Anne and Henry had a son - The Boleyn Trilogy. I was seriously impressed by how Andersen wove her story, particularly because she used four different points of view. My emotional investment was deep as I binged all three books back to back, and I'd highly recommend the series.


  1. This sounds really good! The cover DOES make it look a bit scandalous, which is intriguing.

  2. Thanks for the review. I was really interested in this one when I first saw the cover reveal a few months ago and then . . . my interest kind of waned as I realized I don't really know much about that period of history and might not be interested enough in it for a retelling. I'm happy to hear it's worth checking out even if I don't know about the time period but still not sure I'll pick it up despite that fantastic cover.

  3. This cute cover caught my eye. This book sounds like a perfect brain-candy. Lovely review, Alexa!


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