Friday, September 4, 2015

Book Review: Anne & Henry

Title: Anne & Henry
Author: Dawn Ius
Genre: Contemporary // Young Adult // Romance
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: September 1, 2015
Format: ARC
Source: Gifted/Won

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?
Inspired by the true story of Anne Boleyn and King Henry VIII, Anne & Henry beautifully reimagines the intensity, love, and betrayal between one of the most infamous couples of all time (goodreads)

Anne & Henry is a modern twist on the tragic romance between King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. 

Plot: I could kiss Dawn Ius for her imagination. Who would think to translate Anne and Henry's ill-fated relationship to a modern day affair? Anne and Henry opens with new-girl Anne Boleyn being forced to a grand Tudor event. They have an attraction that they cannot ignore, but their social classes won't let them be together. They have a fast-paced romance that sometimes felt awkward and forced. The romance was something that I couldn't put my finger on. While Anne and Henry are clearly smitten with each other, I couldn't understand why. Although I had a few questions about the romance, I did enjoy the tone of the ending.

Characters: Modern day Henry is president of the Student Council, football player, and apart of the debate team. He's basically the golden boy of the town and has large shoes to fill. Anne, on the other hand, is a bit of a wild child: she drives a motorcycle and she is not afraid to show her sensual side. For some reason, all of this translates to 'easy' which shouldn't be the automatic assumption. Both characters have an unspoken past that comes to light as they fall deeper in love. I felt that those pasts could have been explained more to better shape Anne and Henry as 3 dimensional characters. As the reader, we get basic explanations of what happened, but there isn't much focus on the emotional consequences. 

World Building: Anne & Henry takes place in a small judgmental town, so naturally the kids have nothing more to do than drink and get laid. I would warn this book against those who don't enjoy sex and foul language in Young Adult novels. Anne, Henry, and friends are basically the type of teenagers you would expect. There is slut shaming, social classes, underage drinking and a good helping of "fucks" throughout the novel. 

Short N Sweet: Anne & Henry focuses around a rocky romance, but the ending feels appropriate for the ill-fated relationship of Anne Boleyn and Henry Tudor. 


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