Review: Anne & Henry by Dawn Ius

Anne & Henry by Dawn Ius
Publication date: Sept 1, 2015
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Category: Young Adult - Contemporary / Retelling
Source: Received ARC from publisher via Edelweiss (Thanks!)
Summary: Henry Tudor’s life has been mapped out since the day he was born: student body president, valedictorian, Harvard Law School, and a stunning political career just like his father’s. But ever since the death of his brother, the pressure for Henry to be perfect has doubled. And now he’s trapped: forbidden from pursuing a life as an artist or dating any girl who isn’t Tudor-approved. Then Anne Boleyn crashes into his life. Wild, brash, and outspoken, Anne is everything Henry isn’t allowed to be—or want. But soon Anne is all he can think about. His mother, his friends, and even his girlfriend warn him away, but his desire for Anne consumes him. Henry is willing to do anything to be with her, but once they’re together, will their romance destroy them both? (

The Good
There was a long period of time in college when I was obsessed with all historical fiction related to the Tudors, Boleyns or Elizabethan era. I had never once considered the possibility of a modern retelling and I was excited to see how Dawn Ius would give the infamous Anne Boleyn and Henry Tudor a contemporary spin. In short? She did a really great job!

In her world Henry Tudor is king.. of his high school. Super popular, comes from a rich family, president of the student body and on his way to Harvard Law before pursuing a political career. With the deaths of his father and brother, all the pressure is on him to continue in their footsteps. Everything is going to according to plan (albeit, not his plan) until he meets Anne Boleyn. It’s literally raging lust at first sight as their eyes meet across the room and suddenly his whole life is in uproar. Despite objections from his mother, friends and girlfriend — he wants Anne, plain and simple. And just like in history, he gets her. But in spite everything I’ve just said about Henry, this book belongs to Anne.

It’s her story we see the most of and feel the most sympathy for. From the get go, everyone makes assumptions and accusations about her because she doesn’t fit into their elite cookie-cutter, spoiled brat bubble. (Can you tell I hated Henry’s circle?) She’s loud and a little reckless but deep down, I felt she had a good heart. She’s a girl who’s had to deal with a lot of people getting the wrong idea about her without giving her a chance and instead of letting that hold her back, she gets right in their faces unapologetically. It’s part of her charm and a huge part of why I enjoyed the book. Plus I loved recognizing all the little historical references, even though some of the author’s interpretations surprised me! (Catherine, I’m looking at you.)

(Minor) reservations
In books, Anne is either the villainess or the heroine and I admit, I’m partial to the ones where she’s the latter. And maybe it’s because of that, that I wished she had someone in her corner. Someone else to bring out more of her character and personality. The book read so fast and everything happened one after the other. While I enjoyed that pacing, I wish there had been more development with the characters (especially Henry) to understand their emotions and motivations more. But in real life, Anne was on her own in the end and did anyone truly understand Henry? So it does fit.

Do I recommend?
I do. It was an entertaining read and a very creative twist on Anne Boleyn and Henry Tudor!

Collaborative feature with Alexa! 

What is your favorite Anne/Henry-inspired or related story?
I'm cheating because I'm going to name two and in both, neither Anne or Henry are the main characters despite playing big roles in these books. They are: The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn by Robin Maxwell and The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory.

1 comment

  1. Anne and Henry was seriously such a great modernized version of the Boleyn/Tudor story! I flew through this one so fast, just because I couldn't put it down. I do agree that I wish we could have had more character development; it probably would have made me love it even more.


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