Audiobook Junkie, Sporadic book blogger, occasional master chef, soccer mom, wearer of pajamas, teller of tales, cool aunt, beloved wife, and loyal friend.
I received a copy of this audio for review from Penguin Audio through Audiobook Jukebox
Tarnish by Katherine Longshore was very nicely narrated by Leslie Bellair. Her voice was expressive and well paced although not overly animated allowing the reader to enjoy a very laid back narration of this historical story.
I have read just about every book about Anne Boleyn that I can find, she is such a dynamic historical figure with such a tragic story. Tarnish is unique in that some possibilities were explored that I had never considered or read in any other portrayal of her life. Reading this made me recall Susan Bordo's novel "The Creation of Anne Boleyn: A New Look at England's Most Notorious Queen" where she talks about how each generation interprets Anne in a way that fits with that time period. In this case, Anne is depicted in a manner that will appeal to young adults while still remaining very close to what is established history. Longshore's Anne Boleyn was much softer and more approachable than the haughty queen with the biting wit that she's been painted by many other fictional portrayals.
I enjoyed that Tarnish explored the possible relationship between Anne Boleyn and Thomas Wyatt. This is so well done and entirely historically plausible. Several times throughout the story, I felt a little jolt of sadness at some seemingly offhand comment by Anne or Thomas that sounds so innocuous unless you know how this story plays out.
Tarnish begins shortly after Anne's return from France and ends right as her relationship with the king is beginning. I enjoyed imagining Anne as an insecure girl thrown into a hostile court with dreams of being more than a woman of that time period can usually expect. In Anne's strained relationship with her brother and father, Tarnish puts into perspective the way women were viewed in 1500's England.
Overall, this is a wonderful read that I would highly recommend for fans of historical fiction. This is a great introduction to Anne Boleyn for anyone who only knows her as the tragic queen of Henry VIII. And for those who are very familiar with Anne's story, this is a fascinating fresh perspective.