Falcon’s Rise: The Early Years of Anne Boleyn

Written by Natalia Richards
Review by J. Lynn Else

Early 1500s. Anne is the second daughter of a prominent family. She is constantly overshadowed by her fair and winsome older sister and undervalued for being born a girl. So when an opportunity presents itself to become a demoiselle in Duchess Margaret’s court, Anne seizes the chance. While at the Austrian court, Anne learns of the dangers and treachery lurking in the shadows of the political treaties and fancy parties. Meanwhile, tensions rise between France and England, and the duchess works hard to maintain peace between her country and England. Unfortunately, moral men and honored alliances are ideals that will crumble away faster than anyone realizes.

The setting and time period are masterfully written. From a walk through the city streets to everyday utterances to the grandeur of palaces and wealthy homes, Anne’s world is painted with vivid colors, and the period is brought to life superbly. The first third of the book reads more slowly, as Anne is very young at this stage and does not influence the plot strongly. Many of the political scandals discussed are outside of Anne’s immediate purview, which confuses and waters down the narrative. Sometimes the author tells how other people will react (such as the Pope or the Duke of Buckingham) to political news, rather than Anne herself, making it harder to connect with the main character.

Overall, the novel is somewhat slow to start and a bit lacking in emotion; however, the history is expertly crafted and extremely captivating.