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MP3 The Challenge of Anne Boleyn by Hester W. Chapman ebook finder bookstore amazon free

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Book description

Book description
I happened to purchase this book on a whim, noticing it as I was browsing through used books on Amazon. Of course the image of Anne Boleyn on the front cover immediately caught my attention and so I paused to have a closer look. What really captured my attention in regards to this book was that it was published in 1974. I was interested and wanting to broaden my reading I decided to purchase a second hand, ex library copy of this book. (I must add that I love old library books with their faded pages and used borrowing cards stuck in the front!)In her book Chapman gives an overview of the life of Anne Boleyn from her childhood to her time in France, to her courtship of Henry VIII, her time as Queen and then her eventual fall. Chapman’s style of writing is very descriptive and she paints beautiful images of Anne’s life, especially when talking about her fall, her time spent in the Tower and her execution. For a relatively small book Chapman does a wonderful job of condensing information and giving details of Anne’s life in a brief and concise manner. There was however several inaccuracies littered throughout the book that as an avid reader about Anne Boleyn I did find quite puzzling and confusing. For example of Anne Boleyn’s childhood Chapman states that Anne went from Dover to France with Princess Mary (whom was to wed King Lois XII of France). However documents from the time tell us that in fact Thomas Boleyn, Anne’s father, secured a place for Anne at the household of the Archduchess Margaret of Austria. It was then from there that Anne went to serve the Princess Mary, rather than from England. Chapman also proposes that a letter Anne wrote to her father while young was written while she was at her home in Hever Castle, rather than when she was abroad. Chapman also states that George Boleyn, Anne’s brother, had had a child with an unknown mistress. Unfortunately Chapman does not write anything further to support this statement. Honestly I found this quite a bizarre and bold statement to make as I, in all my reading about the life of Anne Boleyn, have never heard or read any historically reliable evidence to suggest that George Boleyn had an illegitimate son. Chapman makes another bold claim stating that Anne Boleyn had a stepmother and that her mother Elizabeth died in 1512 from puerperal fever. Records from the time contradict Chapman’s conclusion stating that Anne Boleyn’s mother was indeed Elizabeth Boleyn nee Howard who was born in 1480, but did not die in 1512 instead she died in 1538, almost two years after the death of her daughter Anne.In another odd conclusion Chapman stated that Anne Boleyn was seven months pregnant when she miscarried in the January of 1536. Once again I am mystified where this information was found as we know from reports of the time that Anne miscarried a male foetus approximately three and a half months in age. The Imperial Ambassador Chapyus even wrote a letter to his master that “On the day of the interment [Catherine of Aragons funeral] the Concubine had an abortion which seemed to be a male child which she had not borne 3½ months, at which the King has shown great distress.” Where the age of seven months comes from I am not quite sure. As well as these confusing and seemingly unfounded conclusions Chapman made a rather bold statement about Catherine of Aragon which I found quite upsetting. At one point, when speaking of Catherine’s understanding and reaction to the annulment of her marriage, Chapman states that “Katherine’s ignorance, stupidity and tactlessness were those of a bigot and a fanatic, whose thirty years residence in England had taught her nothing of the carrying currents of opinion outside her own constricted circle, and who was incapable of perceiving that since her marriage to his brother both the King and his people had changed, and were continuing to do so.” (p. 95) This rather forceful and cruel statement took me quite back for a moment as I was literally shocked at what Chapman had written. In all my reading not for once did I ever think that Catherine was ignorant, stupid or tactless let alone a bigot who had no understanding of the wider views of the English people. In fact it was my perception that Catherine was an extremely intelligent woman who fought hard for the rights of her daughter and what she believed to be God’s law and judgement. Perhaps this statement was made in an attempt to amplify the reader’s positive opinion of Anne Boleyn? While I do not know the intent behind this statement, as a reader I felt it was unnecessary to vilify Catherine of Aragon in such a manner.Despite these inaccuracies, and perhaps rather harsh statements about Catherine of Aragon, Chapman made a brilliant point about how the people of England viewed Anne towards the end of her life. She wrote that: “She [Anne] was the scapegoat, blamed for the new laws resented by those who thought of Henry as misguided and bewitched; his adherence to her during the years of the divorce had given her what would now be called a bad press, one that she could neither escape nor refute.” (p. 171). Personally I believe there is some truth in this as even people whom had never met Anne, nor ever saw her spoke ill of her name. I believe that to many people of the time Anne symbolised all that they did not like about the changes in religion and reform that was spreading across England at the time. Anne may have been hated for what people believed she had done rather than for her actual role in the Reformation and her courtship and marriage to Henry VIII. I did enjoy reading this book and despite the inaccuracies Chapman was able to vividly describe the life of Anne Boleyn and her eventual fall. As I stated earlier Chapman has a wonderful use of words and her style of writing flows and is easy to read. Although not the most accurate or detailed book about Anne Boleyn it is still an interesting read and a good addition to any Tudor bookshelf.
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