Anne & Henry by Ius Dawn
Published by: Simon Pulse
Release date: September 1st 2015
Genre: YA Contemporary Fiction
In this wonderfully creative retelling of the infamous—and torrid—love affair between Anne Boleyn and King Henry VIII, history collides with the present when a sizzling romance ignites in a modern-day high school.
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?
Inspired by the true story of Anne Boleyn and King Henry VIII, Anne & Henry beautifully reimagines the intensity, love, and betrayal between one of the most infamous couples of all time.
I have always been fascinated by Tudors' history, Henry VIII's and Anne Boleyn's story especially. When I found out about this modern re-telling, I knew I would be all over it as soon as I got my hands on it. Unfortunately, my big expectations were not met (as it happens quite often with titles by Simon Pulse). In this case, great blurb and premise does not guarantee a good read. So what exactly did go wrong? Here are main points discussing what did not work for me in Anne & Henry:
1. There were almost none politics.
I wished there was bigger focus on politics in this novel. Anne's and Henry's story provides perfect playground for all kinds of intrigues and fights for power. I was looking forward to such parts but I was fairly disappointed with what author presented. Whole political aspect of this novel lacked attention to details as well as deeper world-building. It all felt as child games to me and nothing more.
2. No genuine feelings.
I'm tired of all those romances which start based only on physical attraction. I'm tired of hero constantly thinking about how sexy/good-looking heroine is and vice versa. When it comes to romance, I want real connection, something more stable and palpable and based on real life situations and honest feelings. I didn't get any of that in Anne & Henry.
3. Not as forbidden as blurb suggested.
Forbidden romance aspect wasn't as intense as I hoped it would be. It was all about what two main protagonists should or shouldn't do, instead of can or can't. Whole romance thing in this book missed this exciting drive that I always connect with forbidden romances. Teenagers often confuse love with lust. But I couldn't feel either in this novel.
4. Who is this Anne?
5. Lame hero.
Henry was naive and weak character. There was nothing admirable about him. What a let down. He wasn't even an anti-hero who would excite me or a tortured hero whom I would root for. He was just a lame person who happened to be a narrator.
Overall, whole plot of this book turned out to be quite weak and it definitely didn't live up to the potential that synopsis suggested. My verdict: not recommended.
*ARC provided by publisher as an exchange for honest review*