Sunday, August 7, 2011
To Die For: A Novel of Anne Boleyn
“You have lived a good life, my dearest, loveliest friend. You have born the weight of England’s Reformation on your shoulders. You have used your influence to place men who stand solely on Scripture”-I looked at her almoner-“throughout the Church of England and they will stand, and lead others, long after you are gone. You have borne a good daughter. You have been a most excellent wife and loyal friend. The rest is now to faith.”
-Meg Wyatt, To Die For: A Novel of Anne Boleyn
I love to read. My mom taught me how to read before I ever entered kindergarten. It has been one of the greatest gifts she has given me. The test of a good book for me is when I am finished, it is bittersweet. Bitter because it is over, but sweet because I got to experience the journey and be a part of the story for just a little bit. For me, To Die For: A Novel of Ann Boleyn, found that bittersweet quality, but in a totally different way. It was sweet because I got to experience the journey. Granted it is a fictional rendering of actual events in history, but still I got to experience the lives of those included during the events surrounding the lives of King Henry VIII and his second wife, Anne Boleyn. It may also be bitter because it had to end; a novel always does. But it is just a temporary ending, for I know one day the story will continue, only in Heaven, and I and many others will be present, including the late Anne Boleyn.
For a long time, the opinion I held of Anne Boleyn was unfavorable, due to my limited knowledge. She even aggravated me a little throughout the book. But now, that is all changed. Told by her closest friend, Meg Wyatt, To Die For chronicles, in fiction form the pursuit of Anne Boleyn by Henry VIII. This pursuit, as history so clearly states, ultimately results in Anne’s demise. Most powerfully along the way, we are drawn into the Protestant Reformation and its withdrawal from the Roman Catholic Church as authority on all matters related to the Church. Tucked in the story of marriage, reformation, and death, is the forbidden romance of Meg Wyatt and Will Ogilvy, called to be a priest, focused on reform in the church, the scriptures being made available to be read by all.
I truly enjoyed this book. Sandra Byrd’s extensive research on Anne Boleyn is evident in this fictionalized account of her life, marriage, and all those involved in the events of the royal court during the time of Henry VIII. The hand of God is revealed so beautifully by Byrd as she brings to light the role that Anne Boleyn’s life played in the reform. Although the author states that most of the story related to Meg, our storyteller, is fiction, her character is compelling. She has many endearing qualities which keeps the reader cheering for her until the very end.
When I read a book that moves me, I always want more, which prompts further research on my part, to separate the fact from fiction. This is another one of those books! The student of history will enjoy this book. Women who enjoy romance will not be disappointed. Lovers of historical fiction will be overwhelmed. I recommend it to all who wish to learn about an extremely pivotal point in the history of the Church. I hope your heart is touched and your perspective of events in history refreshed. Many blessings as you read!
To read an excerpt from To Die For: A Novel of Anne Boleyn, please visit www.christianbook.com.
To order your own copy of To Die For: A Novel of Anne Boleyn, visit
If you would like to learn more about the author and/or the Tudors, please visit her website at www.sandrabyrd.com.
Disclosure Statement: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to give a favorable review. The thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.