The last hour of Anne Boleyn’s life…
Court intrigue, revenge and all the secrets of the last hour are revealed as one queen falls and another rises to take her place on destiny’s stage.
A young Anne Boleyn arrives at the court of King Henry VIII.
She is to be presented at the Shrovetide pageant, le Château Vert. The young and ambitious Anne has no idea that a chance encounter before the pageant will lead to her capturing the heart of the king.
What begins as a distraction becomes his obsession and leads to her destruction.
Love, hate, loyalty and betrayal come together in a single dramatic moment… the execution of a queen. The history of England will be changed for ever.
Thomas: My guest today is the lovely Ms. Hunter S. Jones. Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to visit me and my readers today Hunter.
Hunter S. Jones: I’m pleased to be here today.
Thomas: Please tell my readers about yourself and your books.
Thomas: What is the name of your latest book and tell us a little about it, but not too much please? I’m reviewing your book after this. (smiling)
Hunter: Phoenix Rising is the fictional story of the last hour of Anne Boleyn, the second wife of King Henry VIII of England. How’s that Thomas? (smiling)
TJB: Perfect Hunter. Do you have any unusual writing habits?
HSJ: A couple, yes. Everything has to be clean. I can’t listen to any music or read any other books—except for the one’s being used for research. The Work has to be the main focus.
TJB: What authors, or books have influenced you?
HSJ: Great question, Thomas because there are so many books and authors I love and authors I admire. As an author The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber, publisher in 2002, has probably influenced me more than any other single work. The book is set in Victorian England and the story is so unexpected. Everything about it is fresh and vital. I lived around that story while reading it. Then, when he published the sequel The Apple, in 2006, and included Chickamauga, Georgia…he blew my mind.
TJB: What are you working on now?
HSJ: Currently, I’m working on a contemporary novel based on fables and fairy tales. It’s a love story but it’s not a romance; sexy but not erotic and it is historical but not historical fiction. I’m enjoying the ‘world building’ and the characters.
TJB: What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
HSJ: Personally, I always like to take the time to thank people. Maybe it’s a Southern thing—we still write Thank You notes when someone gives us a gift. It’s great to promote, but sometimes that human touch means so much more. A few famous people have taken the time to write me notes thanking me, and some have given me gifts. I figure if they can take time out of their day to do something nice, then I will pay it forward. Just be nice to everyone seems to be the best strategy.
TJB: Do you have any advice for new authors?
HSJ: The advice I continue to give is don’t quit your day job.
TJB: What is the best advice you have ever heard?
HSJ: Don’t get too comfortable…
TJB: What are you reading now?
HSJ: Right now, I’m writing so I’m not reading anything.
TJB: What’s next for you as a writer?
HSJ: Releasing the novel in September, possibly October.
TJB: Thank you for visiting us today Hunter. It has been a pleasure having you here.
HSJ: Thank you for inviting me Thomas.
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To begin, let me pay homage to whoever it is that did the book cover. It is simply gorgeous, eyecatching in every conceivable way, colorful, aesthetically pleasing, and very enticing. This cover makes you want to buy the book just for the cover artwork.
After you catch your breath, and take a second look at the cover, you focus on the fact that there are two women dressed in red and gold. The red background is used for the woman dressed in gold while the gold background is used for the woman dressed in red.
So the suggestion is subtly placed in the reader’s mind that not one, but two women will play a significant role in the story. Also, the colors used in the story will have some sort of symbolic meaning. I would guess that gold might represent wealth and power while red probably will mean blood and even death.
In the background the writing is probably foreshadowing correspondence, letter writing, or maybe even some sort of secret code.
To round things off, the rose in the forground, lower right corner, appears to be wearing a crown if I’m not mistaken. The allusion here is to the Wars of the Roses, the struggle for power between the House of York (symbol: white rose), and the House of Lancaster (symbol: red rose). At the end of the tale, both houses are unified by Henry VII (symbol: Tudor rose). The Tudor Rose incorporates the White Rose of York and the Red Rose of Lancaster.
In sum, the cover artwork is packed full of symbolic meaning in addition to its breathtaking visual qualities. At this point, you begin to feel assured that you are going to experience a well crafted story, and after reading this book, I was not disappointed.
At the back of the book author Hunter Jones states: “Phoenix Rising” is a work of fiction. As such, the story is based upon my own original story and imagination. However, in writing a story based upon actual historical events, I have found (many) publications and resources to be invaluable in researching and documentation of events.” (end of quote)
This is important because readers are implicitly being told that even though this is a story based on historical events, the author has used her imagination to create a story. Some of the events in this story happen only in her mind.
This means readers must be willing to suspend disbelief, and most importantly, not engage in the search for anachronisms. This isn’t an academic paper meant to extend humanity’s knowledge of Anne Boleyn in some minute aspect that was neglected until Hunter came along to tease it out of its hiding place.
The story is historically accurate in a broad sense, but not in an analytical, academic sense. Hunter’s claim is for fiction. The story is meant to entertain, to be enjoyed based on its creative merits. With this in mind, one of Hunter’s major tools as an author is her use of narration.
The narrative tool the author chooses throughout the story is first person limited POV, by multiple characters. In other words, Anne Boleyn takes you inside her head, King Henry VIII takes you inside his head, even Anne’s executioner takes you inside his head. The limitation is that these characters are unable to tell you what other people are thinking or feeling. Also, they can be mistaken in what they are narrating to the reader.
The question here is simply: Does first person limited POV by multiple characters work? Does the subjective nature of the narration create more intimacy between reader and character? Is there more warmth, more humanity? Or is there frustration, skepticism about whether or not what the character is telling us is a reliable reflection of reality?
How different would this story be if we have only one narrator who tells the entire story from their POV, but in a limited manner? Or by default, one narrator who is omniscient, able to take you inside the heads of all characters? I will return to these questions a bit later.
Let’s look at Anne Boleyn’s reported last words before she was beheaded, according to John Foxe (martyrologist), who lived from 1516 – 1587. The words are taken from his, “Oration to Saint Anne Boleyn”:
(Quote: Anne Boleyn) “Good Christian people! I am come hither to die, for according to the law, and by the law, I am judged to death; and therefore I will speak nothing against it. I come hither to accuse no man, nor to any thing of that whereof I am accused and condemned to die; but I pray God save the king, and send him long to reign over you, for a gentler, or a more merciful prince was there never; and to me he was ever a good, a gentle, and a sovereign lord. And if any person will meddle of my cause, I require them to judge the best. And thus I take my leave of the world, and of you all, and I heartily desire you all to pray for me. O Lord have mercy on me! To God I commend my soul. To Christ I commend my soul. Jesus receive my soul.” (end of quote)
In those words there is a sense of a miscarriage of justice. Power is being abused, and somehow a good woman, Anne Boleyn, is on the wrong side of justice. Her enemies have accused her of adultery… with her brother, Lord Rochford, and with others. And King Henry VIII just goes along with it, because he supposedly wants a male heir to the throne. Anne Boleyn’s last words give us only one interpretation: Her trust is in God, not in King Henry VIII.
She knows she is about to die as an innocent woman, falsely accused. She has forgiven her husband for his barbaric act against her (beheading). She asks God to have mercy on her soul, and to be received in Heaven by Jesus. With the clarity of hindsight, looking back over the actual history, from that day to now, there can be little doubt that Anne Boleyn’s prayer was heard, that the final word was not yet spoken. Anne received divine justice, or as we say in Spanish, “Justicia Divina.”
To answer the questions I posed earlier, it is evident that author Hunter Jones has crafted a powerful, compelling narrative through the use of multiple limited POV narration. We readers have no clue of whether or not we are receiving reliable narration. Like Anne, we have to trust in things unseen.
This is a story in which virtuous action has been abandoned. King Henry’s major concern is for himself, he’s no humanist. He does not exhibit rational thought, he discards it. King Henry VIII, therefore, makes it necessary for the reader to constantly question his motives. And for that reason, nobody in this story can be sure they have a grasp on reality.
One person, however, has found an answer to the situation she’s facing. Anne Boleyn has faith in God to sort things out. It is this faith that carries her through the ordeal she faced in being Queen of England for one thousand (1000) days…
Author Hunter Jones gives readers a story that will make you feel what it is like to have powerful enemies. More importantly, Anne Boleyn demonstrates the power of faith in God to carry you through any ordeal imaginable. Highly recommended for fans of historical fiction. A compelling, five star read.