If I write a second edition of my upcoming book Real Lives Revealed: A Guide to Biography Reading Interests, I will add this review.
Jane Boleyn: The True Story of the Infamous Lady Rochford. Ballantine Books, 2007. 379p. ISBN 9780345485410. Audiobook available.
Sometimes the story of momentous affairs can be vividly told from the perspective of a fringe character. Such is the case for Jane Boleyn, the sister-in-law to Anne Boleyn, the second wife of Henry VIII of England. Jane saw both her husband and Anne executed, yet she survived. She even found enough favor to become lady-in-waiting to Henry's next three wives. Tudor historian Julia Fox recounts Jane's suspicious career at court in Jane Boleyn: The True Story of the Infamous Lady Rochford. A particularly colorful section of illustrations is included.
Subjects: Boleyn, Jane, Viscountess Rochford; Great Britain; Henry VIII, King of England; Ladies-in-Waiting; Queens.
Now try: Phillippa Gregory, whose The Other Boleyn Girl: A Novel has been made into a movie, tells Jane Boleyn's story in fiction in The Boleyn Inheritance. The story of Henry’s six wives is the ultimate soap opera, with elements of romance, intrigue, horror, and tragedy. David Starkey recounts long years of courtly tragedy in Six Wives: The Queens of Henry VIII by (see Historical Biography). The lives of women at court were also dangerous during the reign of Elizabeth I. According to historian John Guy (Julia Fox's husband), Mary Queen of Scots was an astute politician and powerful woman, a person to be admired, not the helpless pawn she is sometimes portrayed to be. He recounts her tragic life in Queen of Scots: The True Life of Mary Stuart (see Historical Biography). Elizabeth Shrewsbury was put in a difficult position as the warden of Mary Stuart for her many years of quarantine. Shrewsbury, however, succeeded to be both a friend to her prisoner and a good subject of Queen Elizabeth I. Mary S. Lovell tells how prospered in Bess of Hardwick: Empire Builder (see Inspirational Biography).