Author- Katherine Longshore
Reviewed by Amanda Peake
(Advance Reader's Copy)
Synopsis (book jacket) - Anne Boleyn is the odd girl out. Newly arrived to the court of King Henry VIII, everything about her seems wrong, from her clothes to her manners to her witty but sharp tongue. So when the dashing poet Thomas Wyatt offers to coach her on how to shine at court—and to convince the whole court they’re lovers—she accepts. Before long, Anne’s popularity has soared, and even the charismatic and irresistible king takes notice. More than popularity, Anne wants a voice—but she also wants love. What began as a game becomes high stakes as Anne finds herself forced to make an impossible choice between her heart's desire and the chance to make history.
First line- "A deep breath is all it takes to enter a room."
Reviewer’s Notes --First off I must say to the world, Katherine Longshore writes some of the most emotional historical fiction novels I have ever read. Vivid, heartbreaking, and incredibly human, TARNISH constantly tugged on heart strings. You may think you know Anne Boleyn, but you haven't heard anything yet. I read this book on a day long car trip cover to cover and I can't wait to read it again.
TARNISH may be the story of Anne Boleyn, but this is her story before she became queen. I loved Longshore's spin on Anne's relationship with Thomas Wyatt. In this book, it's not just some fling or rumored affair; it's a story about love and inevitable heartbreak. I anticipate Wyatt's poetry as well as Anne's reactions to not only Wyatt but also to Percy and The King. They're so insanely human that I could feel her tears and emotions just soaring out the book and slamming right into me. To say this novel took me on an emotional journey is an understatement.
Throughout the book Anne believes the only reason people can see her is because of Wyatt's poetry. This is somewhat true but what I found fascinating was how she couldn't see how beautiful she was or why men would literally go to war over her. I always thought of Anne Boleyn as this confident seductress, but now I see her more as an insecure girl stuck between love and duty. Even though I knew the end result, I still hoped that the story would change somehow. I guess it's just the girl in me who still believes in love and good people coming out on top.
Though this book does focus a lot on Anne's secretive affairs (and her not so secretive ones), it also focuses on her family and the relationships she has with her siblings. Anne's relationships with Catherine and Mary were complex (to say the least), but her relationship with her brother George was brilliantly written and just truthful in general. I loved how much he adored her and refused to show it, yet everyone else could see it. Keep in mind his life wasn't easy either. His family relationships were no more stable than Anne's. He's supposed to be there to advise Anne as well as carry the Boleyn name; even if that means marrying someone he doesn't want to love. The one thing that stayed true was his obvious adoration for his sister and her love for him, written in a voice all siblings can relate too. Everyone should have a brother like George or mine.
My only fault with this novel was that I wished it were longer. I wish we could've seen Anne as the queen and everything that unfolded after. With that being said, will there be a sequel? PLEASE?
All in all, I highly recommend TARNISH to all Tudor fans, historical fiction buffs, and anyone else who loves a great story. If you're not a fan of historical fiction, I still recommend checking out TARNISH. It reads like a contemporary novel, and believe me, you don't want to miss out on all the relatable characters that you thought you knew. They will make you soar, right before they break your heart.