Monday, February 24, 2014

Review and Giveaway: The Boleyn Bride by Brandy Purdy

The Boleyn Bride

by Brandy Purdy

Publication Date: February 25, 2014
Kensington Publishing
Paperback; 272p
ISBN-10: 0758273363

From carefree young woman to disillusioned bride, the dazzling lady who would become mother and grandmother to two of history’s most infamous queens, has a fascinating story all her own…

At sixteen, Elizabeth Howard envisions a glorious life for herself as lady-in-waiting to the future queen, Catherine of Aragon. But when she is forced to marry Thomas Boleyn, a wealthy commoner, Elizabeth is left to stagnate in the countryside while her detested husband pursues his ambitions. There, she raises golden girl Mary, moody George, and ugly duckling Anne–while staving off boredom with a string of admirers. Until Henry VIII takes the throne…

When Thomas finally brings his highborn wife to London, Elizabeth indulges in lavish diversions and dalliances–and catches the lusty king’s eye. But those who enjoy Henry’s fickle favor must also guard against his wrath. For while her husband’s machinations bring Elizabeth and her children to the pinnacle of power, the distance to the scaffold is but a short one–and the Boleyn family’s fortune may be turning.

Praise for the novels of Brandy Purdy:

“Recommended for readers who can’t get enough of the Tudors and have devoured all of Philippa Gregory’s books.” –Library Journal on The Boleyn Wife

“Purdy wonderfully re-imagines the behind-the-scenes lives of the two sisters.” –Historical Novel Reviews on The Tudor Throne

Buy the Book

About the Author:

Brandy Purdy (Emily Purdy in the UK) is the author of the historical novels THE CONFESSION OF PIERS GAVESTON, THE BOLEYN WIFE (THE TUDOR WIFE), THE TUDOR THRONE (MARY & ELIZABETH), THE QUEEN’S PLEASURE (A COURT AFFAIR), and THE QUEEN’S RIVALS (THE FALLEN QUEEN). An ardent book lover since early childhood, she first became interested in history at the age of nine or ten years old when she read a book of ghost stories which contained a chapter about Anne Boleyn haunting the Tower of London. Visit her website at, you can also follow her, and her cat Tabby, via her blog at where she posts updates about her work and weekly book reviews.

My thoughts:

I have to admit I have long wondered about the mother of my dearest Queen Anne Boleyn, the marvelously elusive, Elizabeth Boleyn, sister of The Duke of Norfolk, wife of Thomas Boleyn, mother to Mary, Anne and George and grandmother of Elizabeth I.  I was beyond thrilled to see that Brandy Purdy had taken on the exploration of this pivotal and often overlooked Tudor woman.  I am amazed how many novels have written Elizabeth Boleyn off completely, replacing her with a step mother, fondly referred to by one as Lady Bo, rather than dive into the deep end, as Purdy has done, and truly explored the maternal nature and character of the mother of one of England's most famous, and sadly most notorious, queens.

Brandy Purdy presents the character of Elizabeth Boleyn in her latest novel, The Boleyn Bride, as a complex woman.  A volatile mix of pride and beauty living a life of negligent self-indulgence, disappointment and ultimately bitter loss and self-blame.  We meet Elizabeth at the end of her life, full of bitter remorse for her own lost life, once so full of pride and promise, as she mourns the loss of two children and the hope of ever being a mother to the third.  She is a woman full of loathing and regret for what might have been and embitterment for not only herself but even more so for the father of her children, Thomas Boleyn, the man she was forced to marry and never liked, much less loved. 

As an avid reader of historical fiction and during my graduate studies in history I have always been confounded by the marriage of Elizabeth, beloved daughter of The Duke of Norfolk, to Thomas Boleyn.  One would expect the daughter of one of England's foremost peers to marry well, perhaps royally well, and yet here we have Elizabeth, a beautiful and vivacious young woman, living at the Tudor court as maid of honor to the Queen, wedded to Thomas Boleyn.  At first glance one assumes it must have been one of the rare love matches of the time, but something about that just never sat well with me.  That being said, I can neither comprehend why Norfolk was persuaded, indebted to or coerced into the arrangement of the marriage.  Perhaps the reason is lost to time, but it certainly provides fodder for the novelist!    

Brandy Purdy gives us Elizabeth forced to marry Thomas Bullen, her spite filled name nickname for her unwanted, unloved and ultimately despised spouse.  Thomas goes so far as to encourage his wife to become mistress to King Henry, but Elizabeth denies him, out of devotion for Queen Catherine and a touch of spite.   Rather, Purdy gives us the character of Remi Jouet, as the man who becomes the true lifelong love for Elizabeth.  Remi Jouet is a man of whom I have never heard mentioned nor of whom I could find any evidence, but Purdy does note in Postscript, that Remi Jouet, was indeed a doll maker, a skilled artisan, whose few remaining creations can be found today in museums and private collections.   I was completely perplexed by the relationship of Elizabeth and Remi and as I read truly thought he was a fictional insertion by Purdy until reading the postscript.  Amazing, truly and to Purdy I raise a toast for her amazingly complex and skillfully crafted novel giving historical fiction readers a glimpse into the life of Elizabeth, mother and grandmother of Queens. 


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Hashtag: #BoleynBrideTour

The entire tour schedule with links follows:

Friday, February 14
Feature & Giveaway at Passages to the Past
Monday, February 17
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews
Review & Giveaway at The Maiden’s Court
Tuesday, February 18
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Wednesday, February 19
Spotlight & Giveaway at Flashlight Commentary
Thursday, February 20
Review & Giveaway at Always with a Book
Friday, February 21
Review & Giveaway at WTF Are You Reading?
Monday, February 24
Review & Giveaway at The Most Happy Reader
Tuesday, February 25
Review & Giveaway at A Bookish Affair
Wednesday, February 26
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time
Review & Giveaway at Found Between the Covers
Thursday, February 27
Review & Giveaway at Broken Teepee
Friday, February 28
Review at Book-alicious Mama
Review at Book Lovers Paradise
Monday, March 3
Review & Giveaway at The True Book Addict
Tuesday, March 4
Review & Giveaway at Oh, for the Hook of a Book
Wednesday, March 5
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews
Thursday, March 6
Review & Giveaway at Griperang’s Bookmarks
Friday, March 7
Review at The Musings of ALMYBNENR


  1. There's always more to know about the Tudors even in fictional form. In fact, sometimes the background is the most interesting part. Thanks.

  2. The novel sounds captivating and memorable. Thanks for this great giveaway. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  3. What a lovely cover. I am interested in anything that has to do with the long history of England's monarchy and Henry VIII is one of the most fascinating characters in a long line of characters. There can never be enough retellings of his various wives stories.

  4. I am a total Tudors junkie, so I'm dying to get my hands on this new release! Thanks for offering this great giveaway opportunity to your blog readers!


Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts!!

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