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The Queen of Subtleties Paperback – 1 March 2004
‘“The Queen of Subtleties” offers a stunningly refreshing way of retelling an old story. I often abandon historical novels nowadays, but I really could not put this one down. It brings Anne Boleyn to life as never before, and, probably for the first time ever in fiction, Henry VIII emerges as a truly credible character in an authentic setting.’ Alison Weir, author of ‘The Six Wives of Henry VIII’
‘A remarkable writer, a lyricist of ordinary life and ordinary people transfigured by extreme emotions.’ Christopher Hart, Daily Telegraph
‘Suzannah Dunn is that rarity among contemporary novelists: a genuine stylist. Her prose is like truffles – rich, rare, dark, but never cloying.’ Wendy Perriam
‘Her ear for the rhythms of speech is unerring, her feeling for the minutiae of experience acute. It takes a good deal of artistry to create the illusion of real life, and she has managed something more difficult still, which is to show us how strange real life can be.’ Christina Koning, The Times
About the Author
Suzannah Dunn is the author of nine previous books of fiction: ‘Darker Days Than Usual’, ‘Blood Sugar’, ‘Past Caring’, ‘Quite Contrary’, ‘Venus Flaring’, ‘Tenterhooks’, ‘Commencing Our Descent’, ‘The Queen of Subtleties’ and her most recent success ‘The Sixth Wife’. She lives in Shropshire.
- ASIN : 0007181566
- Publisher : Flamingo (1 March 2004)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 336 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0739454919
- ISBN-13 : 978-0007181568
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As others have said, Dunn experiments with a modern take on 'history', so she makes people talk in contemporary terms while retaining the thought world of their times. I thought that worked really well in her Katherine Howard book, but here the distance created is too great. The modernisms of having Anne Boleyn talk about her 'mum' and 'dad' and 'auntie Liz' (Elizabeth Howard!) is really grating and doesn't work.
I also disliked her version of Anne: Dunn makes her too bitchy, too politically-naive and stupid, when in actuality Anne seems to have been well-educated, morally-pius and intelligent to the point of being an intelllectual.
The second story of Lucy, the court confectioner, worked far better for me, and gave a taste of real lives at the Tudor court. Dunn can be an acute and observant writer, particularly good on the subtle manoeuvres of romantic relationships. There are signs of that here but they become subsumed under the more sensational Boleyn story.
So I found this an unsatisfying read but to her credit Dunn seems to have refined her technique enormously in later books.
where a story was being told with facts of Henry and Ann Bolyeyn thrown in.
Was not written well.