The Chateau of Briis: A Lesson in Love (Six Tudor Queens #2.6), by Alison Weir

Eight stars

Alison Weir’s ongoing writing venture about the six wives of Henry VIII seems to be progressing nicely. While she is writing full novels of historical fiction related to each queen, Weir has chosen to add further depth to the series by adding short stories that bridge them together, while also accentuating events and characters of subtle importance to the story arcs. This piece takes the reader to France in 1515, where a young Anne Boleyn is serving at the Royal Court. While at a celebratory evening, Anne is approached by Philippe du Moulin, who asks her to dance. From there, a connection blossoms and Anne is as smitten as they come. When they travel to the countryside, where Philippe’s aunt and uncle have property, Anne spends as much time with Philippe as possible. A somewhat timid and quite orderly Anne—yes, there was a time before she became the scandalous lady at Court—could not help but wonder what Philippe intended with her, as he would often push the boundaries of their encounters. It was only when Philippe spoke of marriage that Anne became a little more ‘open’ and free with him, which still holding only her ultimate virtue. Seeking that Philippe follow the accustomed rules before a formal betrothal, Anne soon discovers that the connection is a little strained, particularly when the talk of nuptials comes up again. A solemn admission one day sours Anne to this young man who taught her how to love, even if she can only weep over the fantasy life she had in mind, living at Chateau de Briis. However, four years later, while back in the French court, she has an inkling that her luck may soon change, as the King of England is on his way! Another wonderful short story by Alison Weir that depicts some of the lesser-known tales of a key Tudor Queen. Recommended for those who love all things Tudor, especially fans of Alison Weir’s detailed historical fiction work.

I have long enjoyed Alison Weir’s stories about the Tudors, which include so many details on which the reader can feast. Even the main characters, who receive much attention, have stories of their own that are not as well-known to the general public. Weir seeks to capitalise on this—as well as the hunger of the curious reader who wants to know more about the Tudors—to create these short stories, which tease as much as they entertain. Anne Boleyn is surely one of the more popular—some may say, infamous—wives of Henry VIII, but much of her time in print has been part of a duplicitous or scandalous nature. Here, Weir seeks to show the softer side of Anne, touched by a new and exciting love that seems to leave her pained. The reader can see the progress of this love, as well as how it became unrequited, thereby leaving Anne feeling abandoned. It is hard to tell if Weir is seeking to insinuate that this was the start of her materialistic and highly vapid side when it came to love, but Anne’s depiction as a sweet girl in the French Court is not lost on the attentive reader. The story is a little longer, but its narrative richness makes it one Tudor fans can thoroughly enjoy. Strong storytelling keeps the reader enthralled until the final page turn, which helps lay some of the groundwork for Anne’s quick rise and fall in the eyes of Henry VIII. This series remains intriguing and I cannot wait to see what else Weir has in mind to recount. Bring on the queens (and more of these short stories that link them)!

Kudos, Madam Weir, for yet another short publication that keeps the reader committed while educating them a great deal. I see you have more pieces in the works and I am ready to see what else you can show me in regards to the Tudors.

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: