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'The river was as calm as I had ever seen it. Ordinarily, the tide would have been wild by this time of year, and woe unto any man unfortunate enough to fall into the fierce currents of the Thames. Tonight the tides were still, and the surface of the water appeared glassy. When I peered down into the dark depths, I saw my tired, drawn face wavering in the reflection. I quickly turned away as I fought back a wave of nausea, frightened by the anguish I saw etched there.
“Only a few moments more my lady, the Tower is just ahead.”
Jane Parker never dreamed that her marriage into the Boleyn family would raise her star to such dizzying heights. Before long, she finds herself as trusted servant and confidante to her sister-in-law, Anne Boleyn; King Henry VIII’s second queen. On a gorgeous spring day, that golden era is cut short by the swing of a sword. Jane is unmoored by the tragic death of her husband, George, and her loss sets her on a reckless path that leads to her own imprisonment in the Tower of London. Surrounded by the remnants of her former life, Jane must come to terms with her actions. In the Tower, she will face up to who she really is and how everything went so wrong.'
The Raven's Widow is a novel about Jane Boleyn, otherwise known as Lady Rochford. Jane Boleyn was the wife of George Boleyn and the sister in law of Anne Boleyn. She is popularly credited with providing evidence which was used to convict her husband and sister in law.
This novel presents an alternative view in which Jane did not hate Anne, did not have a bad marriage and grieved over the executions. It is well-written and probably a more realistic view of Jane than the bitter and spiteful character portrayed in most historical novels. The book also offers descriptions of court life and feasts, Jane's early life before she went to court, her neighbours and friends and includes some familiar, if minor, characters.
Ms. Dillard did some careful historical research and although it is a novel, the book adheres to more reliable historical sources when possible.
© Susan Adler Johnson
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