Thursday, August 1, 2013

BR: To Die For: A Novel of Anne Boleyn by Sandra Byrd

To Die For

by Sandra Byrd

For a fan of both Anne Boleyn and Sandra Byrd reading To Die For was a given.  In this novel Sandra Byrd shows us the deep friendship and unwavering loyalty of Anne Boleyn and Meg Wyatt.  The novel begins with two naive young women dreaming of when they will be informed of a marriage that is beneficial and agreeable to their families.  Byrd begins with Anne’s life while she is still a girl and in doing so is able to avoid the web of characterization that haunts the depiction of Anne Boleyn.  Anne grows into adulthood unencumbered by the traditional descriptions of her as scheming, heartless and coldly ambitious and instead Byrd’s reader is given a more human Anne.  Anne is just a girl who grows into a woman and falls in love, madly and passionately, with a powerful, but selfish man.
Throughout the novel Meg Wyatt is in Anne’s constant attendance.  Meg has a sense of duty to her Anne that goes beyond friendship; Meg feels that Anne needs her guidance and advice, but also her protection.  As we all know, even Meg, could not save Anne from fate.

Truly the reader is able to see another side of Anne through the eyes of her dear friend, Meg Wyatt, who is the protagonist of To Die For and whose story the novel is wrapped around.  What this reader enjoyed most was being able to see Anne through the eyes of a woman who truly cared for her and also to appreciate how difficult it is for women to inspire such friendship in other women.  In this way Anne became much more tangible than heretofore and I thank Sandra Byrd for offering a new humanistic look into the life of a woman I have long admired.  In fact, the success of To Die For is not in the story of Anne, but in the story of Meg, a loyal friend who was led on an unfamiliar path to a life that she never thought she wanted; but as Meg lives on so does Anne and with this Byrd offers her reader another assurance that her death was not in vain, but a signal that a new world was just over the horizon.

This review qualifies for the following challenges:
Historical Fiction Book Review #28
Tudor Book Blog Reading Challenge #24

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