Struck with the Dart of Love: Je Anne Boleyn, Book One

Written by Sandra Vasoli
Review by Steve Donoghue

Sandra Vasoli takes up the old familiar story of King Henry VIII’s stormy relationship with Anne Boleyn, the woman who would become his second wife and for whose sake Henry would break with the Catholic Church in pursuit of a new marriage and a male heir for the kingdom.

Each of the two volumes in the series can be read independently, and each tells the story of a period in Anne’s life; in Struck with the Dart of Love, a brilliant, charismatic Henry meets Anne for the first time. As the two begin to fall in love and Anne begins to rise at Court, Vasoli dramatizes the rivalries and power-jockeying between all parties, especially the enmity between Anne and Cardinal Wolsey.

The second volume, Truth Endures, gives readers the story of Anne’s short and troubled rule, from its heady beginning with her promise of a male heir to the growing disaffection between her and Henry.

Vasoli’s prose is solid and often lovely, and her characterization of Anne in particular is refreshingly complex and sympathetic. This is fine Tudor-era fiction, well recommended.

(Two books reviewed)