Saturday, April 2, 2016

Book Review: Tarnish by Katherine Longshore

15. Tarnish by Katherine Longshore

Katherine Longshore has accomplished that wonder of wonders and created a fresh version of the Anne Boleyn story. I could only have expected such a feat from the author of Gilt and Brazen, who created such vivid and modern portraits of Henry VIII's fifth wife, Catherine Howard, and of Henry Fitzroy's wife, Mary. But neither of these historical characters suffer from the barrage of rumors, books, poems, portraits, movies, and TV shows that have characterized Anne Boleyn throughout history. For this reason, I put off reading Tarnish, certain it could not live up to its lively cousin books. However, it caught my eye in the library and as I began to read, I realized, happily, that I had underestimated Longshore.

This is not the story you think you know. In fact, it's a story that likely has little grounding in fact, though rich in contemporary literary allusion. Instead, this is a tale of an outspoken teenage girl who struggles to fit in, and who finds refuge somewhat in love, but more so in destiny and ambition. There's a love story here that's neglected by historical purists, and like Longshore's other books, the language is delightfully modern. Also, although my beloved Mary Boleyn is not the focus of this book, I enjoy the portrait here of her and other major players in the early-ish Tudor court.

Highly recommended for fans of Anne Boleyn, poetry, and YA--purists need not apply.

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