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Wife of Anne Boleyn's brother George, Jane, Viscountess Rochford, has been painted by historians, beginning with the Protestant Elizabethan John Foxe, as a barren, jealous shrew who lied about George and Anne's incestuous relationship, helping send them to their deaths for treason against Henry VIII. Jane herself was executed for treason several years later for abetting the adultery of Henry's fifth wife, Catherine Howard. According to Fox's revisionist account, Jane was faithful to the opportunistic Boleyn clan; she didn't rush to slander her husband, but succumbed under Thomas Cromwell's relentless interrogation, repeating an indiscretion by Anne about Henry's sexual dysfunction. Moreover, Fox says, George's execution was a financial blow to Jane—his royal perquisites of lands and offices were seized. Jane clawed her way back to a senior court position when she was ordered by Catherine Howard to pass messages to her lover, and Jane's complicity, according to Fox, opened the door for historians to excoriate Jane for her sister-in-law's death. In her debut, Fox never quite convinces readers that her lackluster, almost faceless Jane is a courageous, mostly blameless victim of court intrigues, and this amateurish, toothless history is more a rehash of Anne's rise and fall with a tag-on about Catherine's foolhardiness. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Advance praise for Jane Boleyn
“A riveting story–expertly written and based on an impressive body of research. Julia Fox’s book re-creates the inner life of one of the great scapegoats of history and vividly depicts the fervid, extravagant, interbred world of the Tudor court.”
–Sarah Gristwood, author of Elizabeth & Leicester
“Jane Boleyn’s true history was obscured by lies and propaganda. Now, in an outstanding debut by Julia Fox, the full tragedy of her thwarted life has come to light. A fascinating and moving read, Jane Boleyn exposes the harsh reality of Henry VIII’s court, where cleverness and ambition often led to the block.”
–Amanda Foreman, author of Georgiana: Duchess of Devonshire
“This electric account of the life of Jane Boleyn brings us face-to-face with the glittering but brutal world of Henry VIII’s court. For centuries the infamous Lady Rochford was accused of betraying her husband to his death on charges of incest with Anne Boleyn. Julia Fox’s immaculate detective work and vivid storytelling bring to life one woman’s struggle to survive at the apex of a society where success brought untold riches and a king’s anger cost you your life.”
–Leanda de Lisle, author of After Elizabeth --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.