A review of ‘To Die For: A Novel of Anne Boleyn’

Sandra Byrd’s ‘To Die For: A Novel of Anne Boleyn’ was the only ‘Tudor comfort’ I allowed myself on a recent family vacation and boy am I glad I took this treasure along!

To Die For: A Novel of Anne Boleyn

It is the story of Anne Boleyn told through the eyes of her friend and confidante, Meg Wyatt but Meg is much more than just a narrator. She is a complex and engaging character with her own intriguing story to tell and I found myself drawn to her from the first page.

Through Meg, the Anne that emerges is a remarkable woman, witty and determined but not without faults. It is Anne’s complexity that I find addictive, the fact that she was intelligent, loyal, courageous and charitable but on the flip side could also be calculating, with a fiery temper. Through Meg we see these different sides to Anne but always with the tenderness of a loyal friend who has Anne’s best interests at heart.

Although we know Anne’s fate, it is Meg’s that keeps us on the edge of our seats. Anne’s rise to power and fall from grace are not the only joys and challenges we experience. Meg’s own story is captivating and heartfelt. I was unable to put the book down, as I was desperate to find out how things would work out for Meg and whether or not her fate would mirror that of her childhood friend – the queen.

The story is beautifully written and on several occasions reduced me to tears as I felt so much a part of the lives of these two amazing women. It is also very well researched, always a plus in my eyes!

The novel has a strong religious element but not one that I found overpowering. On the contrary, I found it bathed the novel in hope and made me feel an even stronger connection to the characters.

‘To Die For’ is truly a breath of fresh air and offers an original take on a well-worn story. I enjoyed every moment of it and highly recommend it.

I look forward to more Tudor fiction from this wonderful author.

Read a guest article Sandra wrote for On the Tudor Trail entitled ‘The Art of Courtly Love: Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII’ here.

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  1. I really enjoyed this one as well. I thought the religous aspect was well done – in fact, as I was writing my review a few weeks ago it struck me that most novels probably under-emphasize the role religion played in people’s lives.

  2. Thank you so much for this review, Natalie. I’m thrilled that you loved the book! Daphne, that was my conclusion, too. It was important to me to recognize the organic role religion played during those years. It is what much of the power wrangling and many of those beheadings and burnings were about!

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