Henry VIII s marital woes and wives are still the talk of gossip over 500 years later One can only imagine what he would say about that Even with bawdy talk, the least discussed wife seems to be 4 Anne of Cleves Perhaps it is because Henry and Anne had an amicable divorce with her continuing to live happily in England after the fact as Henry s sister making her the lest dramatic of the wives Possibly, it is because of her personal countenance and demeanor as the opposite of a troublemaker Whatever it may be Anne was still cut from a remarkable cloth Margaret Campbell Barnes focuses on wife 4 in her historical fiction novel, My Lady of Cleves Generally, Barnes has the habitual behavior of beginning her novels rather slowly and not focusing on the main character at hand Surprisingly, this is not the case with My Lady of Cleves as the novel immediately highlights Anne and jumps into the beginning of her marriage to King Henry This, alongside the fact that My Lady of Cleves isn t as fluffy as the HF novels lining many of today s shelves My Lady of Cleves was published in 1949 makes for valuable reading My Lady of Cleves is a form of entertainment but still rich with history That being said, Barnes does take historical liberties with the story with some inaccuracies and with completely contrived plotlines such as the fictional romance between Anne and the court painter of the Tudors, Hans Holbein Thus, some of the novel is simply for fun and not to be taken seriously.The characterization of Anne in My Lady of Cleves is quite rich as Barnes gives her various layers and proper growth Usually, Anne is portrayed very stereotypically and by the box with all authors making her seem one way but Barnes instead gives her new personality traits which are believable and makes her come alive on an entirely different plane My Lady of Cleves is certainly excellent in this way In fact, Barnes does well with developing all of the character figures in My Lady of Cleves and giving them all striking characteristics This personification and articulate writing gives heightened depth to the story Typically, Barnes writing style is rife with grammar issues and with her annoyingly beginning sentences with And and But This is not the case with My Lady of Cleves The writing language is solid, illustrative with the historical period, and written quite well The grammar issues are still evident but not as abundantly as in the author s other novels Noticeably, My Lady of Cleves doesn t follow a standard story arc of ascending to a climax with a true crash and descent unless you count the focus on Catherine Howard s downfall Even without this climb and the novel therefore being straight lined the story is interesting and strong with its pace Basically, it isn t boring even with the absence of a true climax.The final quarter of Barnes s writing takes a large plunge being overly fictionalized, silly, and even nonsensical to the rest of the novel It is almost as though Barnes came to an impasse and began to take absurd and arbitrary story paths This has a slight negative impact on My Lady of Cleves and dampens the merits of the piece This artificial turn for the worst bleeds into the finality of My Lady of Cleves and therefore makes for a rather weak ending and let down for the entire novel Barnes was capable of much better and certainly dropped the ball My Lady of Cleves vehemently stands tall for focusing a story on perhaps the sleepiest of Henry VIII s wives Although Barnes writing and story composition are not without flaws plus there is a blatantly poor ending My Lady of Cleves is still an enjoyable read that is less fluffy than most similar topic novels The pages display illustrative nuances that does grab at the reader My Lady of Cleves is overall a strong novel and suggested for lovers of all things Tudor. Written By World Reknowned Historical Novelist Margaret Campbell Barnes, My Lady Of Cleves Gives Readers An Intimate Portrait Of The Warm, Unpretentious Princess Who Never Expected To Become Queen Of England Knowing The King S Ravenous Desire For A Son, And Aware Of The Disastrous Consequences Of Not Bearing An Heir, Anne Of Cleves Bravely Took On The Duty Of Weathering The Tudor King S Temper, Whims, Arrogance, And Irresponsible Passions And Won The Hearts Of His Subjects In The ProcessA Treat For Readers Of Tudor Fiction And Those Fascinated By The Complex Relationships Of Henry VIII And His Wives, My Lady Of Cleves Leads Readers Into A World Of High Drama And Courtly Elegance This is my second Margaret Campbell Barnes novel, i love her style of writing, although written years ago they are not dated, just well written.Poor Anne came to England not knowing anyone or speaking the language, is called a Flanders mare and made a joke of for her dress sense, but in the end she manages become one of the most likeable of all Henry s wives People gradually see that there is to this woman than first meets the eye, they realise that Anne would have been the prefect wife for Henry if he could only have see past his own vanity.After the divorce Anne lives a comfortable life and thrives, this shows through and makes her all the attractive She and Hans Holbein have had a mutual attraction from when he first met her when he was asked to paint her portrait for Henry, nothing ever comes of it, but it s there all the same.Anne comes to realise during one of Henry s visits that Hans has been having an affair with one of her ladies, and Henry shows no sign of wanting to go home to his young new wifeand Anne, who has no desire of ever being Henry s wife again just once wants him to find her attractive and not the Flanders mare he once called her Anne of Cleaves is probably my favourite of all of Henry s wives and MCB does a great job in portraying her in a good light, as a woman who holds no malice to the man who discarded her but as one who thrives and grows into someone who people love and want to be around.The only gripe I ve got about the book is the ending, i would have liked it to continue on after Henry s death. Although I imagined Anne de Cleves was someone I would like to read about, looking back now I think I was wrong She probably was not controversial enough to merit a whole book She made a good supporting character in other books I read and liked in the past I ended abandoning Margaret Campbell Barnes s My Lady of Cleves in favor of interesting reads many times Just went back for a quick browse and can say that, although fairly well written, it was simply dull. My Lady of Cleves covers the life of Anne of Cleves from right before her marriage to Henry VIII until his death in 1547 The story opens with an agitated King Henry VIII, talking with his ministers about his need for a new wife after the death of his third wife, Jane Seymour in childbed Among the candidates are the Duchess of Milan and the Cleves Princesses The Duchess of Milan has already replied with Only if I had two heads Smart girl Hans Holbein is sent to Cleves to paint both Anne and her sister, Amelia Once there he becomes quite smitten with Anne and they begin a friendship He paints a flattering picture of her because that is the way he sees her Unfortunately, Henry does not see the same way and is almost instantly put off by Anne s looks and hard mannerisms Henry likes the petite type go figure.We follow Anne through her short marriage to Henry, her annulment, retirement to Richmond Palace, Henry s next marriage to Katherine Howard and her eventual downfall Anne even plays a part in the infamous scene where Katherine is desperate to talk to Henry and goes screaming for him through the halls of the Palace Anne seems to resign herself to her fate after all she still has her head She genuinely enjoys the life of a Princess of England she can come and go as she pleases and has no husband or man to answer to In seeing the freedom that Anne as a woman had, that had to have been a big impact on Elizabeth I, who always said she would never have a master.My Lady of Cleves was an interesting look into a woman that survived marriage to Henry VIII Anne is a very likeable, intelligent, straightforward woman and I think she would have made a wonderful Queen, had she been given the chance It pulls on your heartstrings to know that she never had the children she wanted and never married I wish the story was longer and covered the time during Mary s rule as Queen I would have liked to have heard Anne s thoughts on Bloody Mary.Note Anne of Cleves died at Hever Castle on July 16, 1557 She lived 10 years past Henry Her tomb is in a hard to find place in Westminster Abbey.Overall 4 5Song Sweet Dreams by Tori Amos Fifty years before Philippa Gregory set out to rescue the reputation of Henry VIII s fourth wife, Anne of Cleves, Margaret Campbell Barnes did the same thing with My Lady of Cleves I enjoyed Gregory s Boleyn Inheritance as a sort of literary equivalent of cheesy puffs bad for you, but sometimes trash is what you crave but I liked My Lady of Cleves much However, I should put in a couple of caveats First of all, Barnes invents an unconsummated romance between Anne and the painter Hans Holbein, whose miniature of her is what caused Henry VIII to choose her as his bride in the first place I suppose this explains as well as anything why Anne ended up being so much less to Henry s taste than her portrait was Secondly, Barnes s Anne is a bit too saintly and well beloved by every single person she ever encounters except, of course, she s not loved by Henry until it s too late and that gets a bit irritating Lastly, since Anne is only on the central stage for about six months, the narrative gets a wee bit repetitive from time to time, and if I weren t already aware of who the players are, I think I might have gotten a bit confused about all the characters who were doing and saying things offstage.However, I did really like the book Anne is a very likeable person, despite her being a bit too good to be true, and I particularly enjoyed Barnes s portrait of Henry VIII who is not the one dimensional monster of Philippa Gregory s imaginings, but instead a complex figure whose weaknesses cause him to do monstrously cruel things And I truly enjoyed many of the minor characters, who were extremely vivid and well drawn I came away from this novel feeling that Anne of Cleves had fared the best of all of Henry s wives and perhaps served as a model for his daughter Elizabeth about the power an unmarried woman might enjoy and feeling desperately sorry for poor Katherine Howard. I loved this book I ve read many books about the Tudors but don t think I ve ever come across one before that is solely about Anne Of Cleves As she wasn t Henry s wife for very long, she is normally lumped with Katherine Howard story And although Katherine is in this book The focus is firmly on Anne As I don t know a great factual detail about Anne, I wasn t sure how much was fiction mingled with fact I have a feeling the love for Hans Holbein must have been purley there to give the story a romantic edge, as I ve never come across this before in any other book about the Tudors, though Hans makes sense than when I read in another fiction book, she was in a relationship with Katherine Howard Normally the author puts a note in at the end, telling us what was made up for entertainment value but there is no such note here I will have to do some research This book kept me gripped and there were times I didn t want to put it down A great story about a woman who is often overshadowed by Henry s other wives. My Lady of Cleves tells the story of Henry VIII s fourth wife Urged by his counsellors to marry again, Henry chose Anne after seeing a painting of her by Hans Holbein However, their marriage was short lived Henry did not like her from the start, and divorced her after just six months Unlike Katherine of Aragon, Anne accepted the divorce and lived peacefully the rest of her life in England, as the King s beloved sister Despite her short reign Anne has always been one of my favourite wives the third after Anne Boleyn and Catherine Parr , so I was very curious to read something about her Even if a little dated, My Lady of Cleves is a very solid book, especially because of its historical accuracy with some liberties which work really well , and because of its likeable characters Anne is sensible, generous and hardworking Sometimes she is too good to be true, but she also has very human faults, like her shyness and her gaucheness Even if Henry s harsh rejection is painful for her, and always present in her life, she does not spend entire pages complaining about it I found it easy to feel for her The other characters are equally well built None of them well, with a few exceptions is completely bad even those who are traditionally negative characters, like Thomas Seymour, have some redeeming qualities Henry s portrayal is really quite intense and, over all, fair he isn t overly justified, but his best side is shown as well I also really liked Mary and Elizabeth, and their relationship with Anne.The most peculiar aspect of the book is Anne s love story with Hans Holbein It was not overly featured, so that it did not feel too unrealistic, but it also made sense They were quite well suited and Hans s feelings for Anne explained cleverly the contrast between his rather lovely painting of her and Henry s immense dislike for the woman All fans of Tudor fiction should appreciate My Lady of Cleves If you like Anne, her portrayal in The Boleyn Inheritance is also quite successful I know Gregory isn t big on historical accuracy, but it was her novel that got me interested in Anne for the first time. I was completely amazed by this book The richness that Barnes put into the characters was spellbinding Anne of Cleves takes center stage in this story, chronicling the last few months of her life in her home country, her brief time as Queen of England, and finally ending with the death of Henry VIII I was drawn in almost from the start, coming to like Anne almost immediately Here s a sensible, practical woman thrown into an extraordinary, dangerous situation being married off to one of the most changeable monarchs of the day, Henry VIII Anne enters the marriage in good faith, but finds herself battered from all sides, especially by power hungry, scheming courtiers Nonetheless, Anne prevails, surviving her brief marriage with the cantankerous king and his debauched court, but also retaining a place within the Tudor family as the king s adopted sister and a surrogate aunt to his children I love how compelling Anne was in this book This is a tried and true woman, who feels things deeply, from her love for Hans Holbein and the king s three children, to the anger that she feels for Henry s callousness toward her both during and sometimes even after their marriage I also loved the relationships she builds with the other characters the Duke of Suffolk and Archbishop Cranmer also become confidants to Anne, and sometimes even vice versa I also love how it comes to the point near the end of the story that Henry seems to realize, even if he doesn t admit it out loud, that he was a fool to not see Anne s true worth when they were still married, and a double fool to throw her away.An outstanding, brilliant story that brings the perhaps least remembered of the wives of Henry VIII to vibrant life. This is the kind of book I love to read I was definitely very comfortable reading about this period of history because I have read so much about the Tudor s I was quite pleased to read a book about Anne of Cleaves because I had not seen a lot about her I also liked her the best of Henry s wives because she was smart and lived to tell the tale Very good book.
Margaret Campbell Barnes was born in 1891 and died in 1962 She was the youngest of ten children born in the Sussex country side By all accounts she lived a happy childhood and was eventually educated at small private schools in Paris and London.The majority of her books were written between the 1940 s and 1960 s.She married Peter Barnes in 1917, a furniture salesman, and the couple had two sons,
- 331 pages
- My Lady of Cleves
- Margaret Campbell Barnes
- 10 March 2018 Margaret Campbell Barnes