At the Mercy of the Queen ~ Anne Clinard Barnhill

At the Mercy of the Queen tells the time-old tale of Anne Boleyn however the story is told through the eyes of young Madge Shelton, cousin to the Queen. Madge arrives at court at the tender age of 15 to serve as her cousin Queen Anne’s lady-in-waiting. Madge quickly becomes the confidante of the Queen and is privy to her innermost thoughts, feelings and secrets.

Anne is desperate to hold on to the love of her King and Madge is determined to help her does just that. Anne schemes to have Henry take her naive young cousin as mistress, guaranteeing her husband’s new paramour will owe her loyalty to the queen. Madge however has fallen in love with a handsome young courtier, Arthur Brandon, the illegitimate son of Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk. Not only must Madge win over the king’s affections to help her cousin but she must also fend off the unwanted attention of Sir Henry Norris.


For a debut novel, this wasn’t half bad. I have to say that even though I love the Tudor era and all of the wives of Henry VIII, I have grown tired of the same stories over and over again – this however was a new and refreshing view of life at the court of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn.  

The characters were well developed and there were solid historical facts, however the dialogue was a bit distracting at times – the transitions between modern English and old English were not smooth and the French . . . oh the French – you cannot mix old French with modern French and if you are going to write in French, please make sure that you are using the right genders and accords! (Maybe it’s because I’m a French teacher, but this is something that drives me crazy with these English authors trying to write in French, please do not rely on Google Translate and such).

I also have to say that I was disappointed in the ending. It was a little predictable and it kind of felt like the author got tired of writing and just really did not know how to end the story. 

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