Vengeance is Mine is a bit of a different take on the oft told tale of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn – this time through the POV of George Boleyn’s wife Jane Rochford. Although Jane loves George, he finds her distateful and prefers the company of his sister Anne, other women and men (poor Mark Smeaton), and finds her solace instead by sneaking around peeping through keyholes and hiding in cupboards to witness the salacious lives of others at court.. The latter part of the book covers the period of Katherine Howard’s short reign where Jane served as lady in waiting.
Since we’ve all been Tudor’ed to death and know the basics I don’t need to rehash the entire plot, I’m just here to give my two cents on the reading experience. I didn’t care for the use of the first person narrative in this one, it really was too much of a stretch some of the places Jane had to be in to *witness* events first hand – and my, oh, my those keyholes were awfully big back in the days. I never really felt that I was inside Jane’s head and seeing what made her tick, and while I know Anne had the reputation for her shrewish tongue this just seemed OTT to me – it was all so black and white, I like a few shades of gray.
And lastly, there are the infamous *sex scenes*. Were they as graphic and offensive as I’d heard about? No, but neither were they well written and tasteful either. Anne dressing up as Salome in front of the entire court with Henry Norris in a loin cloth was quite enough, as was the pot of honey scene between Anne of Cleves and Kat Howard but the book definitely flew at the “Little Kitten” bit on page 228.
Page 228, “…and to know that you want me, deny it though you will, as much as I want you, and that between your thighs your Little Kitten is hot and dripping wet with lust for me.”
Eeeewwww. This novel has just been revamped with a new publisher under the title The Boleyn Wife and I’m not sure how close it stays to this book, but I strongly recommend a closer look at the book store prior to making a purchase – this is not going to be the book for everyone and it was definitely not the book for me. If you’re looking for a very fictional take on Anne and Henry and don’t care about historical accuracy this might suit as a quick and easy read, but on the other hand this book isn’t going to provide you with anything new on the matter either. 2/5 stars.
My copy? A loaner.