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The Final Year of Anne Boleyn (ePub)

P&S History > British History > Tudors & Stuarts P&S History > By Century > 16th Century P&S History > Royal History Women of History

By Natalie Grueninger
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
File Size: 33.4 MB (.epub)
Pages: 248
Illustrations: 32 black and white illustrations
ISBN: 9781526776990
Published: 11th November 2022


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There are few women in English history more famous or controversial than Queen Anne Boleyn. She was the second wife of Henry VIII, mother of Elizabeth I and the first English queen to be publicly executed. Much of what we think we know about her is coloured by myth and legend, and does not stand up to close scrutiny. Reinvented by each new generation, Anne is buried beneath centuries of labels: homewrecker, seductress, opportunist, witch, romantic victim, Protestant martyr, feminist. In this vivid and engaging account of the triumphant and harrowing final year of Queen Anne Boleyn’s life, the author reveals a very human portrait of a brilliant, passionate and complex woman.

The last twelve months of Anne’s life contained both joy and heartbreak. This telling period bore witness to one of the longest and most politically significant progresses of Henry VIII’s reign, improved relations between the royal couple, and Anne’s longed-for pregnancy. With the dawning of the new year, the pendulum swung. In late January 1536, Anne received news that her husband had been thrown from his horse in his tiltyard at Greenwich. Just days later, tragedy struck. As the body of Anne’s predecessor, Katherine of Aragon, was being prepared for burial, Anne miscarried her son. The promise of a new beginning dashed, the months that followed were a rollercoaster of anguish and hope, marked by betrayal, brutality and rumour. What began with so much promise, ended in silent dignity, amid a whirlwind of scandal, on a scaffold at the Tower of London.

Through close examination of these intriguing events considered in their social and historical context, readers will gain a fresh perspective into the life and death of the woman behind the tantalising tale.

"Natalie Grueninger skilfully unravels the myths surrounding Anne Boleyn’s downfall, and presents the most compelling account of her final months to date. A Triumph.” - Dr Owen Emmerson, Historian and Assistant Curator, Hever Castle

"A heart-stirring account of Anne Boleyn's last living year. Researched flawlessly, the events are revealed in a compelling read; little-known facts adding to the tension which builds toward an emotional end. A must-read for fans and students of Tudor history." - Sandra Vasoli, author of Anne Boleyn's Letter From the Tower: A New Assessment

"Genuinely ground-breaking, provocative yet sensitive, exquisitely well-researched and fair - both to Anne's friends and enemies - Natalie Grueninger's book shows us the complexities, and the secrets, that wove together during Anne Boleyn's final twelve months as queen. This is an exciting and important book of Tudor history." - Gareth Russell, Historian and author of The Ship of Dreams and Young and Damned and Fair

“Astonishingly well-researched, The Final Year of Anne Boleyn triumphantly re-writes the fall of one of England's most famous queen consorts, shedding new light on a well-known story. A riveting and emotional read.” - Kate McCaffrey, Assistant Curator, Hever Castle

"The Final Year of Anne Boleyn is proof that a thoughtful, serious, and sensitive work of scholarship can also be entertainingly and delightfully written. Grueninger grasps the nitty-gritty and gives us a deeply considered, elegantly restrained, and often freshly compelling interpretation of this thrilling, contested, and fatal year." - Professor Suzannah Lipscomb, Historian, Author and Broadcaster.

"Meticulously researched: check, well-referenced: check, a fascinating read: check, an engaging style: check. That's what I look for in a history book! Thank you, Natalie, for meddling in Anne's cause so delightfully well." - Claire Ridgway, Author and Historian

“From the scaffold, she asked that we ‘judge the best’, but history has not been fair to Anne Boleyn. Finally, in this engrossing and meticulously researched exploration of the final year of the controversial queen’s life, the real Anne leaps to life in all her tangible humanity. Brilliant, loving, compassionate, acerbic, resilient and breathtakingly bold, this is the Anne we’ve never fully met. From her dedication to the most vulnerable in her community, to her courage in fronting up to injustice, here was a woman who was speaking truth to power centuries before the term entered the lexicon. The prevailing patriarchy thought they’d silenced her but her enduring popularity has proven them wrong. Weaving primary sources and exhaustive contemporary research, Natalie Grueninger masterfully places the reader front and centre of one of the most portentous years in English history, untangling the complex web of intrigue that ended in the sanctioned murder of an English queen.”- Karina Machado, Author and Podcaster

To generate an interest in History from nearly 500 years ago, an interest that would keep library shelves laden with books of the movers and shakers of 5 centuries previous to the day of reading - that is no small feat. Natalie Grueninger has done it. I've opened the book, started it, and stayed in to the end. It helped that I've read 3 other books about Anne this year. . .but this one felt more about the real Anne, herself. Who was this woman who fired the imaginations and passions of the people in her time, who has kept her place filled with her presence to the degree that even one, such as I would know her name, her place and the changes she effected on the world? This author answers that big question better than any so far, to my thinking.

NetGalley, Moonkisz T

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

There are many books on Anne Boleyn, all of which I want to read, but I was really intrigued by this one focusing purely on the last year of Anne’s life and the events leading to her death.

Anne has long been the subject of debates, theories, and myths, so I was really pleased to see Natalie’s approach in covering these points.

Natalie approaches her work with meticulous detail, using primary sources to support her points whilst also avoiding becoming fact heavy. This makes for enjoyable and very interesting reading.

I found this account to be an absolute pleasure to read. Natalie does not just focus on the dreadful events leading to Anne’s death, but also times of happiness, including going on progress with Henry, where they stayed and what those accommodation looked (in some cases, may have looked) like at the time. Even the smallest details, such as distance travelled and which rooms the royal couple may have stayed in, are included.

That’s not all! Whilst Anne and Henry are away enjoying themselves, the politics of the court do not stop. Natalie ensures the goings on at court are not omitted, includingambassador correspondence. It is always fascinating to get a glimpse of the thoughts of Chapuys!

Myths and rumours about Anne are addressed using sources and reasoning why some sources may be biased or perhaps incorrect, or could be interpreted in different ways.

If you’re looking for something that doesn’t focus on the usual content about Anne (no offence intended here, I absolutely do want to read everything) and instead offers a unique insight specifically about her final months then I really recommend this.

The Final Year of Anne Boleyn offers a very thoroughly researched, meticulously referenced, and balanced account of those final months. It can be hard not to show unconscious bias when writing, especially where the Tudors are concerned, but Natalie manages to write an excellent account without any influence of readers’ opinions about those involved.

NetGalley, Amy McElroy

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This was incredibly detailed account of Anne Boleyn’s final year, with evident attention given to the background and context of the times. I feel like this is the depth of analysis of her life that Anne Boleyn deserved. A heavy read, but well worth it.

NetGalley, Anna Joy

Watch the Full Review on Youtube

Youtube - Lil's Vintage World

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I will read anything Tudor-related and this was right up my alley. I loved it. It is a must read for any history buff.

NetGalley, Cynthia Guerra

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Grueninger does an excellent job of recapping Anne Boleyn's final year. I have read a lot of books and watched a lot of documentaries about Anne Boleyn, and so it would be easy to become bored with a rehash of the same events. But I love the voice she brings to this tragic tale, and she also debunks many of the popular myths about Boleyn's life and downfall along the way, without seeming to lecture or veering into a lengthy aside. The people who played a part in Boleyn's final year, including Anne herself, are presented in such a way that you really feel their personalities and humanity, despite being separated from them by centuries. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is familiar with Anne Boleyn's story or who is just beginning to learn about this fascinating woman.

NetGalley, Donna Johnson

The last year of Anne Boleyn’s life was filled with hope, joy, sadness, anger, desperation and resolve.

Having not given Henry VIII the son she’d promised, and still battling her predecessor for legitimacy in the eyes of her subjects, Anne was feeling on edge and under pressure in 1535.

This non-fiction book takes us from spring 1535 to spring 1536. It covers the major cultural, political, religious, and personal events that shaped how and why Anne came to her eventual end.

I really enjoyed this book! I liked the broad overview it gave; it really helped to paint a picture of what Anne’s world looked like.

I also liked how the author quoted Anne’s letters. There’s something powerful about reading her own words...

Overall, the author found an interesting angle for her exploration of a well-covered subject.

NetGalley, Stephanie Spitler

An excellent read, and very well worth reading.

Read the Full Review Here

The History Fella

“With ‘The Final Year of Anne Boleyn,’ Natalie Grueninger has masterfully crafted a scholarly yet accessible volume that offers a fresh, in-depth perspective on Anne Boleyn’s life, death, and character....I highly recommend ‘The Final Year of Anne Boleyn,’ by Natalie Grueninger.”

Full review available here

Tudor Treasures & Medieval Musings

Serious praise for this absolutely wonderful book on Anne Boleyn’s final year of life. I enjoyed this read from cover to cover. Natalie has researched and dissected this final year (from letters to trial records to what does and doesn’t add up… Just proving Anne’s innocence) so thoroughly, giving the queen the justice she has deserved for centuries. I highly recommend!


I appreciate Grueninger dispelling rumours that are still today so well known about Anne. This is definitely one for the reading list for any Anne or general Tudor fans.

Read the Full Review Here

Life & Tea

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

First off, there’s one thing you need to know about me, and that is that I love anything to do with the Tudor period, Henry VIII, and his best (not to mention controversial) wife, Anne Boleyn.

Therefore, I knew I needed to read this book!
And as with most books about Anne Boleyn, this one didn’t disappoint.

It has been well researched and throughout you can tell that the author has a true passion for the topic at hand, yet they are also unbiased in their information. They state the facts and leave it up to the reader to make up their own mind about Anne and her actions.
The last year of Anne’s life was filled with intrigue and despair, and this book is a great read for those wanting to learn more about such a great historical figure.

NetGalley, Katie Salt

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I am a massive fan of Natalie, as I've listened to her Podcast 'Talking Tudors' for years - I was very excited to ARC read a book that is so extremely close to her heart - any Podcast listener will be aware of how Natalie has dedicated many years researching Anne Boleyn & her life & how she really feels a strong connection and pull toward her.

There are many books about Anne's life, Greuninger saw an opening which blindsided many authors and historians - an in depth look at her Downfall & death, the factors which caused it & the catalysts which egnited her impending doom (as we?now know with hindsight).

This study of Anne's final year is very well researched & presented - even as her favourite subject and probably being her life's work (so far), Greuninger is in no way biased or writing Anne as if she is an angel, devoid of all fault.

Yes, Anne was innocent!
Yes, she didn't deserve such a brutal fate... but did she bring it on herself unknowingly?
Unfortunately, yes!

We take a look into the behaviour which was rapidly spiralling out of control; conversations & flirtations as part of the courtly game of love being taken to another & a dangerous level - the rule book being tossed onto the fire, completely disregarded.

We take a look at Anne's mental state & unsurprisingly it's deterioration - her sharp tongue & quick temper did her no favours; in some ways she was her own worst enemy particularly when cornered or threatened, she would lash out in what was seen as an unfeminine and unwomanly way, appearing not only unnatural but unstable to those around her.

Without Chaupsy, we would not have such rich imagery of what was going on during this last year in question - vividly painted pictures of incidents, actual words from contemporaries mouths who all lived and breathed during the Queens Downfall.

I was absolutely hooked, even though I knew what was coming I held hope that Anne's composure & dignified defence of herself during her trial would save her life - though we know it did not; it takes a fantastic writer full of passion to make someone read a story they already know the ending of & still produce such feelings of anticipation.

Overall this was a gripping read, bringing a lot of new information & source material to light, questioning old held beliefs & myths, putting the so called evidence under the spotlight - Anne and her 'lovers' were not even at said place on said date of their heinous adultery together (as an example).

Excellently researched, sensitively yet compellingly written.
Congratulations, Ms Greuninger.

NetGalley, Clare Willmott

Anne Boleyn is a fascinating character from history. I sometimes forget that she actually lived and breathed. This book is a great reminder of the woman behind the legend and the last year of her life. I discovered a new appreciation for the struggles she had in a position that cost her her own life. I finished the last page and instantly thought about other biographies I could find that were about Mary, Elizabeth and others. The sign of a great book pushes you to read more, learn more and seek out answers. That is a great description of this book.

NetGalley, Naomi Sutherland

I’ve read many books about Anne Boleyn’s life and find her a fascinating character. Unlike many of these, this book focuses entirely on the woman, rather than her husband Henry VIII and the other characters in the court around her at the time. She is both a fascinating, ambitious woman, as well as a tragic figure. I really enjoyed this book and found it to be very detailed, historically focused without being overbearing and a great addition to an already throughly covered subject.

NetGalley, Jessica Mayhall

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

It was a comprehensive and detailed text, that, without at least some understanding of the time period and its key players, or, an appreciation of non-fiction texts would not be interesting to some readers.

This book has been researched incredibly well, with an extensive bibliography. Additionally, the engagement with the research material and assessment of the usefulness and reliability of the sources used, added another layer of authenticity to the text.

The only disadvantage to how detailed and well researched the text is, is that the density of it meant it took me a little while to get through. But thats barely a criticism.

It is a great read for any Tudor-History buffs.

NetGalley, Em Bidd

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I loved this. Anne Boleyn is such an interesting person. Most books I've read about her focus more on Henry the 8th. I loved that this book brought her to life, and gave you a deeper understanding of her as a person.I feel like she is usually presented without much depth.

I also love that this a female author giving voice to the often-misunderstood woman. I feel like a female-historian can better capture how she felt, what she experienced, and what her drives were.

This was a thought-provoking, engaging read. I highly recommend!

NetGalley, April Allison

The author paints a portrait of Anne Boleyn's final year that is both fascinating and captivating, of a woman wronged by her husband and condemned to a death that was both undignified and tragic. You will see Anne in a new light after reading Natalie's brilliant history of one of the most famous women ever.

Books Monthly

Wow. This book is very detailed and I almost felt like I was living there. The details in the landscaping, homes and clothing is incredible. The little tiny pieces of history that are thrown in. The compliments to the local seamstress and favour asked of the Queen.

I really enjoyed reading this book.

NetGalley, Stephanie Pontarollo

Fantastic analysis of Anne Boleyn’s last year. Really does a fascinating and incredibly detailed account of Anne’s last year, of her movements and interests. The research done for this book is obvious and impressive. Great addition to the literature about this Tudor queen.

NetGalley, Rebecca Fachner

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I know the story of Anne Boleyn. Or do I? The Final Year of Anne Boleyn by Natalie Grueninger certainly gave me a lot of food for thought! After reading this informative and compelling book, I realised that a lot of what I held to be truth about this fascinating woman really isn’t. There is so much misinformation and conjecture about Anne that is just accepted, and this book really opened my eyes. Even today, centuries after the travesty that was Anne’s ‘trial’, controversy surrounds her, and opinion is divided. I feel that this book helped to clarify some of the rumour and scandal that has been used to blacken the name of Anne Boleyn, and of those around her who became embroiled in her life.. The depiction of Anne, particularly in the tower, moved me greatly. She was a brave woman who faced her fate with courage and dignity to the end, and this is shown beautifully in the book. Anne Boleyn is a person that will always be subject to debate, and this book portrays her sensitively, and in my opinion accurately. Highly recommended.

NetGalley, Sheri O'Neill

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

So interesting and well researched….. Through close examination of intriguing events considered in their social and historical context, readers will gain a fresh perspective into the life and death of the woman behind the tantalising tale.

NetGalley, Michelle Coates

I definitely agree that the last year of her life was the most pivotal to her demise and I applaud the author for putting the research in such a concise and straightforward manner, which made it so easy for me to explore her hypothesis and ultimately agree with it.

NetGalley, Eugenia Austin

Wow this book blew me away! I thought I knew all there was to know about Anne Boleyn but I was very wrong, and I'm glad I was.
Natalie Grueninger’s passion for telling the true story of Anne Boleyn is on every page. The research she must have done into this subject is astounding. This book presents Anne Boleyn in a new sympathetic light, which any Tudor fan would appreciate.
I would highly recommend any Tudor Fan or just History fan read this Novel - Brilliant.

NetGalley, Louise Corrigan

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I'm a little bit obsessed with the subject here.
This was really well researched and I learned loads.
Highly recommend.

NetGalley, Maria Martignetti

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the Tudor era. The author has certainly done her research... Fascinating book!!!

NetGalley, Gail Allen

This book was incredibly well researched. The author fully immersed the reader into Anne’s final year. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in Anne Boleyn and Tudor history.

NetGalley, Amber Tate

This is a solid history examining in detail the last years of Anne Boleyn. I think this is a time of her life that gets rushed through so it was nice having an even paced accounting and analysis.

NetGalley, Kelsie Johnson

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I thought this was a well researched and well written book on Anne Boleyn's final year. Natalie Grueninger did a good job of giving the reader the overall political picture at home and abroad, immersing the reader in the Tudor world. I got a better understanding of how Anne tried to influence things, especially the changes she worked to create in England regarding the poor and the Church, then I did from other books I've read on Anne Boleyn that try to give you the big picture. Contrasting the beginning, when things were still good between Anne and Henry, and the end of the year and how fast things changed was both fascinating and terrifying. Grueninger makes an excellent argument for her theory that Henry knew Anne had not committed the crimes she was charged with, but simply wanted her out of the way, and why he felt he had to do it in such a fashion.

I definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in Anne Boleyn and Tudor history!

NetGalley, Anne Morgan

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This is one of the best book I read about Anne Boleyn as it's well researched and well written. A detailed analysis of the last year that explains how politics played a role in her downfall.
Highly recommended.

NetGalley, Anna Maria Giacomasso

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

An immersive study of the life of Anne Boleyn. We hear so much about her but the author takes us on a deep dive into the secrets, the betrayals, the loves, and the every day life of Anne. If you are a Tudor fan, a must read.

NetGalley, Maggie Palner

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Overall, I thought this was a very interesting read. It focused specially on the final year of Anne Boleyn's life. There was tons of details that gave insight into what Anne may have truly been like, opposed to how she has been portrayed throughout history. Unfortunately, as the author noted, there is very few of Anne's documents that have survived, so many accounts of her were taken from secondary sources. As a result, much of Anne's final year is interpreted via documentation on Henry VIII. Even so, the narrow and chronological time frame provided a clear picture of what led to her demise. I highly recommend this book for fans of Philippa Gregory and Tudor/British history.

NetGalley, Kendra Carter

The Final Year of Anne Boleyn by Natalie Grueninger is a detailed and vivid portrait of a famous Queen. This nonfiction book explores the life of Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII’s second wife and first English queen to be publicly executed. The truth about Anne Boleyn is often shadowed by myth, gossip and legend and this book looks to portray a more realistic image of a person, mother and wife. In this search for truth Anne’s story loses none of its thrill or awe. The author highlights Anne as a passionate, complex and fascinating woman in a time where perception and pressure weighed heavily on her to produce a male heir. A fresh and exciting exploration of the final twelve months of Anne Boleyn’s lifetime. A book for fans of Tudor history and biography 4 Stars.

NetGalley, Lily Greenaway

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Lovely tribute to Anne Boleyn's spirit. Well researched, informative and written this puts to bed some of the many mysteries surrounding Anne that have plagued us for centuries. Highly recommend.

NetGalley, Leslie Hall

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I know the story of Anne Boleyn. Or do I? The Final Year of Anne Boleyn by Natalie Grueninger certainly gave me a lot of food for thought! After reading this informative and compelling book, I realised that a lot of what I held to be truth about this fascinating woman really isn’t. There is so much misinformation and conjecture about Anne that is just accepted, and this book really opened my eyes. Even today, centuries after the travesty that was Anne’s ‘trial’, controversy surrounds her, and opinion is divided. I feel that this book helped to clarify some of the rumour and scandal that has been used to blacken the name of Anne Boleyn, and of those around her who became embroiled in her life.. The depiction of Anne, particularly in the tower, moved me greatly. She was a brave woman who faced her fate with courage and dignity to the end, and this is shown beautifully in the book. Anne Boleyn is a person that will always be subject to debate, and this book portrays her sensitively, and in my opinion accurately. Highly recommended.

NetGalley, Elaine Fearnley

I read this book around the same time that I was teaching the Renaissance Era, therefore teaching my students about Anne Boleyn. This book provided so much more insight that I was able to include in my lessons. I thoroughly enjoyed it!

NetGalley, Rachel Rowe

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This was such an excellent read. I'm a major history nerd but haven't studied British history or royal history as closely as others - but I think this is an incredibly poignant and questioning (in a good way) account of the final year of Anne Boleyn's life.

The approach that the author takes to the evaluation of historical sources is really inspiring and I'm so pleased to have read something that's so well done. It took me back to my days of learning about these historical figures and to images from various period films as feasts and dances, jousting matches and outings were described in great detail.

The author makes it clear when records have survived to portray what happened, questions other interpretations of the infamous story and honestly, it had me coming back to it rather than switching to my novel - so that's saying something!

NetGalley, Rebecca Murray

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This well-researched book by Natalie Grueninger provides a detailed, step-by-step account of Anne and Henry's changing relationship, and the fearsome political and religious situation of the time. It also allows us to have a better insight into Anne's fiery, passionate and courageous character.

NetGalley, Lisa Sanderson

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Anne Boleyn is one of my favourite historical figures and I've read many books about her, but Natalie Grueninger's The Final Year of Anne Boleyn really stood out to me. It was an excellent study of this remarkable woman's final year and of the events which led to her dramatic fall.

The book was both extremely well researched and accessible to read. The writing was always focused on the subject, and the events were recounted in a very clear, objective way. The second half was especially gripping: even if I knew what was going to happen, I couldn't put the book down.

I also appreciated how respectful the author was towards Anne, and how she really tried to bring her back to life and to give her justice. She managed to paint a very human and sympathetic portrayal of this formidable woman.
Lastly, I also really liked the appendix which contains the list of Anne's charges, and how Grueninger disreputed them by pointing out that in most of these dates Anne was pregnant or in another place altogether.

Highly recommended.

NetGalley, Elena Vivenzi

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Growing up I lived near Hever Castle. I loved visiting there in the summer i would imagine Anne and her siblings running through the gardens and all the people that would visit.
Anne Boleyn is my favourite wife of Henry 8th, she had character and a fire in her soul.
I also felt incredibly sorry for her too.
After reading this book I learnt so much more about her. very well researched and written.

NetGalley, Nicola Oliver

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I was sad and heartbroken because this book gets all the details of her desperate last days. It follows very well to everything that I have already learned about Anne. The actual excerpts from historical documents was a great bonus. I read it twice to make sure I didn’t miss a thing. Very factual and informative.

NetGalley, Sandra Lewis

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

The Final Year of Anne Boleyn is one of those books you can’t help but sit back and admire. The ground-breaking depth of research required for this book simply begs admiration from the reader and admiration is unquestionable. Yes, I know I’ve probably used admiration far too much in one sentence but it’s very hard not to, the level of depth in this book is staggering, as a researcher and archivist I really am in awe of the work Natalie Grueninger has put in to bringing us this historical offering.

It's been a while since I read anything as comprehensive as this, I read History when I was younger, and I have to confess it took me a while to get my head around the book and ask my brain to move away from reading non fiction thrillers and concentrate. This isn’t a quick read, it took me some time to get through it but that has no bearing on the quality of what we have before us. We all know how the story ends and it’s not pretty – Henry has become tired his Queen and Anne is executed but that’s not what this book is about, it follows Anne – meticulously I may add – through her final year alive and describes in great detail her trials and tribulations.

Although I was aware of how important a role Greenwich Palace played in Anne’s life – the birth of Elizabeth in September 1533, her presentation as Queen five months prior to that historic event and her arrest in 1536, I’d never been aware of the descriptive “taking her chamber” and “churched” as I discovered in chapter 4 when describing the period before and after giving birth! That’s what I love about educational books, you’ll always learn something and you’ll always find something to make you want to read more. Who knew Anne loved her sports, games and gambling? I didn’t! I also wasn’t aware that Henry also paid off her gambling debts! It really is incredible what you learn from this educational masterpiece.

NetGalley, Miles Orchard

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I would love to thank the author for granting me a wish and letting me read this tale as I am an avid fan of all Tudor history books, non and fiction, alike. And, this focus on Boleyn's last year included much information I had never read before or read together in one telling and I found it to be one of the greatest detailed accounts I read on one of Henry's specific wive's. Well researched and written I can't wait to see what comes from this author next, on the edge of my seat to find out what rich telling the author will bring.

Anyone who wants to learn more about Tudor history, especially Henry the 8th, is going to want to include this in their reads as Anne Boleyn is forever bound to the man like no other woman, in his history and life, was. In my opinion, Anne was the beginning of this King's madness, whether you want to say when it was when the King met Anne Boleyn, the years they spent together unmarried (which we more than) the years they spent married or when Henry decided to be done with his wife, his Queen, England's Queen, and beheaded her. The sad thing is, this was no singular occurrence for the King and thus, Anne was where the madness begins and this book is a must read for all Tudor historians, professional and non (as I fall into the latter).

Grueninger, in her research and choice of, to put into this book, brought out a side of Anne that many writers hide. We see Anne with a normalcy that is lacking in many other telling of the woman, a side that is simpler than a Queen that should be beheaded.

NetGalley, Jeneane Bower

I was really impressed with the style of writing. I feel like I learned some new things about a historical figure I've been returning to since I was young, and it didn't feel polemical. I'd recommend, for anyone already invested in the topic.

NetGalley, Alexandra Sundarsingh

I enjoyed this book quite a lot and if I were to come across another book written by Natalie Grueninger, I would certainly pick it up to see if its subject interested me. Well done to her, and genuinely massive props to her for all the meticulous research she did. It blew my mind at times!

NetGalley, Sophie Grubben

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

The controversies and mysteries, as much as the joy and happiness surrounding the last year in the life of Anne Boleyn may never be truly understood. The second wife of King Henry VIII, and mother of Elizabeth I, Anne was spirited and always had a concern for the poor and needy, especially pregnant women. The last year of her life she was labelled as a witch, a homewrecker, a matyr and.....gasp.....a feminist, amongst other names. She was the first woman ever executed, but wont be the last woman a man of power has devised to do away with to hide his own lack of morals and selfish rage.
This is a fantastic and engaging reveal of the last year of Anne Boleyn's life. The torment and torture she was put through is chilling, and harrowing, however this book also reveals the mindset of the time, and general lack of empathy in Tudor England. The extensive and deep research uncovers the positives Anne was able to accomplish in the short span of her life, as much as the controversies surrounding her and her death.
I completely enjoyed this and learned so much I did not know about Anne's lfe, and her unwarranted execution. I could not put this down, the writing was engaging and easy to get into. I cannot recommend this enough.

NetGalley, Dorie Koch

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars


I have loved the Tudors for more than a decade. And I will never tire of learning more about them. If I ever had any notion that I had learnt everything there was to learn, Grueninger proved me sorely wrong.

💚 What I Loved 💚

Research: This was so meticulously researched, I was completely in awe. So many sources, so much attention. Grueninger is very adept at making the sources sing and collaborate, it became an absolute pleasure to follow her mind and her logic.

Sources: Not only does Grueninger draw from many and varied sources, she also includes her source criticism in her work. As an historian, that's something I truly love and admire. I like being able to follow an author's mind, her reasoning and her train of thought. That way I can determine for myself whether I agree with her conclusions or not. When an historian doesn't add source criticism, I only have their conclusions to go by. But I quite like being a participant in the chase, so to speak.

Thorough: This was an absolutely thorough look at Anne Boleyn's last year. No stone is left unturned and no detail is deemed too small. It was fascinating and almost made me feel like I was almost living it myself.

Humanising: Too often we have a tendency to look at history backwards, so to speak. We know how Anne's story ends. And it's not pretty. Often, the way we tell her story is coloured by the knowledge of her ending. We look for clues, for signs of the impending end. Grueninger is less focused on this and devotes more time to giving Anne her voice and humanity back. By going over every last detail of her final year, she comes alive before us. We're there with her. And we see her as a human being.

NetGalley, Maja Hansen

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

There are SO many books about Anne Boleyn and the whole Tudor dynasty out there that actually finding a book like this one, which is just so well researched and even has facts and information that I have never read before is a real treat - never mind a rarity.

NetGalley, Cassie Pawpads

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This was an intensely detailed biography, covering everything down to lists of gifts and expenses in those final twelve months. In its immense detail, it is a fairly heavy read, and took me a while to get through, just to digest it! But that’s what I wanted of it - a deep dive into Anne Boleyn as a person, and her life leading up to her death.

Alongside the detail and the litany of historical sources, it also digs a little into the reliability of some of those sources - oh, this author wrote a not entirely complimentary piece about Boleyn, but also, they were six when these events happened, perhaps their perspective isn’t entirely trustworthy, and perhaps there was a bias involved.

I really enjoyed it.

NetGalley, Corinne Driscoll

The book concludes with end notes such as the actual list of Anne Boleyn's charges, photos of Tudor royal residences, gardens and churches, and an extensive bibliography. This may sound a bit frivolous, but I think the book's cover is exquisite. All in all, this is an impressive addition to any Tudor historian's library.


The Tudors continue to be a spellbinding source for historians, scholars, writers and readers - myself included. I have long harbored a fascination for that eventful period in time, particularly the reign of Henry VIII, which naturally includes his six wives and their (mostly tragic) fates.

In “The Final Year of Anne Boleyn,” Natalie Grueninger takes a thorough look at the last twelve months of Anne Boleyn, arguably the most famous of Henry’s wives: the activities and actions of Anne herself and those around her, the intrigue at court, the insatiable thirst for power and the king’s favor, the political games - all of which would eventually lead to Anne Boleyn’s downfall.

With numerous books already written on Anne Boleyn, it’s not an easy feat to add yet another one to the ever-growing collection and still command the attention of potential readers. Yet, the author does a fine job of presenting meticulously researched facts (just take a long at the impressive appendix) in eloquent writing. By focusing solely on the last year of Anne Boleyn’s life, she has enough room for little stories, anecdotes and details, some of which I wasn’t aware of before - and I love learning new things about the Tudors.

We all know how Anne’s story ends. In fact, the author begins her book with the execution. But even though there is no element of surprise as far as the “plot” is concerned, it’s a highly immersive read that will be a welcome addition to the existing literature on the Tudors.

NetGalley, Katrin Figge

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

About a year ago I discovered Grueninger's podcast and immediately became hooked. So, when I heard that she had written a book about Anne Boleyn I had to get my hands on a copy.

As the title indicates, this book outlines the last year of Anne Boleyn's life. Due to Anne's tragic downfall and Henry VIII's attempt to erase her from history, it is surprising that a whole book could be written about a single year in Anne's life. My favourite thing about this book is that Grueninger brought Anne's personality into the historical record. For example, I learned that Anne did not like monkies and was more partial to dogs, that she was more likely to read things in French but did not know Latin, and had lavish taste in fabrics which she usually wanted in expressive colours. None of that information is necessarily pertinent to Anne's downfall, but because so little survives about Anne, knowing anything about the woman behind the myth is fascinating.

I also enjoyed how Grueninger's writing and research really highlights the relationships between Anne and the various men in her life including: Cromwell, Henry, and Chapuys. The relationship with the latter is more unidirectional, focusing more on what the Spanish Ambassador heard and thought about Anne, but was still a great insight into how Anne played a role in European and court politics. Grueninger makes it clear that certain things have been lost to history but given the evidence that survives there has been misplaced emphasis on certain parts of Anne's story. For example, how close she and Cromwell may have been throughout her rise to power and during her time as Queen. I enjoyed how Grueninger would present evidence and then provides an interpretation of that evidence supported by other sources.

Grueninger does an excellent job of weaving together contemporary sources and Anne's own words to show how Anne's life took such a drastic turn. This book is a fantastic read for any Tudor and history lover.

NetGalley, Shana Needham

An extremely well-researched and detailed exploration of Anne Boleyn's last year of life.

Anne Boleyn has long been one of history's most maligned women. I've loved reading the new literature coming out re-examining Anne Boleyn and treating her with more fairness. In the same vein of such books as Anne Boleyn:500 Years of Lies, Grueninger reframes Anne Boleyn and specifically the period of her fall, giving us context that has long been ignored and highlighting evidence that contradicts the typical narrative around this historical Queen. Grueninger wrote about details that I hadn't heard before, despite having read an abundance of books on the Tudors and Anne Boleyn.

I would recommend this book to any fan of Tudor history.

NetGalley, Tiffany Raymond

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

The world of someone close to a king, especially someone close to King Henry VIII, was full of hazards and great triumphs. All the glist and glamor of the Tudor court could not save them from the rage of the King. This could apply to anyone who fell during the reign of this infamous King, but none more so than his second wife and queen, Anne Boleyn. Much has been written about Anne Boleyn and her dramatic fall from grace, specifically the final month of her life, but what was she doing in her last year alive? Natalie Grueninger hopes to answer this question in her latest book, "The Final Year of Anne Boleyn."

I want to thank Pen and Sword Books and NetGalley for sending me a copy of this book. I am always learning new facts about influential Tudors, like Anne Boleyn, so when I heard about this book, I knew it would be on my to-be-read pile.

We begin our journey to Anne's ultimate demise with the court's changes in 1535. There is still tons of support for Henry's first wife, Katherine of Aragon, and her daughter Mary, even with the new Act of Respecting the Oath to the Succession, which proclaimed Princess Elizabeth as King Henry VIII's heir, not Mary. Anne interacts with ambassadors from foreign lands, like Charles de Solier from France and Eustace Chapuys, the imperial ambassador.

My favorite part of this book is how much care Grueinger took in telling the story of Anne Boleyn's final progress with Henry VIII. I have never read an account of this progress in the details Grueinger provided, including where she stayed and who served her at different royal houses. We also see how she dealt with the divide between Catholics and Protestants and how she relaxed in her downtime.

Grueninger examines Anne's fall from grace and how it took place, starting with Henry's dramatic fall from his horse and Anne's tragic miscarriage of a son that would have secured her place on the throne. Here, we see the death of Katherine of Aragon and the rise of Jane Seymour. Emotions are running high, and rumors are flying all over Europe, so Grueninger takes the time to bust a few of these myths. Finally, we look at the show trials and the executions that sealed the fate of Anne Boleyn and the men associated with her.

Natalie Grueninger's passion for telling the true story of Anne Boleyn is evident on every page of this book with the amount of research she poured into this subject. This book presents Anne Boleyn in a new sympathetic light, which any Tudor fan would appreciate. If you want a beautiful nonfiction book that examines the tragic fall of Anne Boleyn, I highly recommend you read "The Final Year of Anne Boleyn" by Natalie Grueninger.

NetGalley, Heidi Malagisi

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Anne Boleyn was more than a murdered wife and this book shows her power, influence and voice over centuries. Her terrible predicament and the constant threat she must have lived with are brought to bear as the author discloses Anne’s experiences and the role she played in the court and wider society.

NetGalley, Louise Gray

Over the years, I have become pretty obsessed with the Tudor time period and the books (fiction and nonfiction) that are written about it. This nonfiction addition covers the year leading up to Anne Boleyn’s execution and details her downfall (which really just happened over the course of a few months). I found this extremely well researched and it included so many details that I hadn’t read about before. I also thought that it was even-handed and really focuses on the sources that were contemporary at the time... overall I found this fascinating and am always delighted to learn new information about the time period.

NetGalley, Lissa Jackson

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This was very well written. I am a huge fan of royal history and especially Anne Boleyn. This was extremely interesting, tense, and despite knowing how this story ends - enthralling. I really enjoyed being able to experience this novel. I would love to read more on how the author was able to find and piece together such detailed accounts.

NetGalley, Nikki King

A deeply fascinating account of Anne’s final year - but even more than that, a twisting and turning deep dive into politics of the time and how we got the modern monarchy.

NetGalley, Dannie Lynn Fountain

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Will written, exquisitely researched and one I'll be permanently adding to my Anne Boleyn shelf.

This is a must read for all fans of Tudor history.

NetGalley, Jay F

This was a very well researched book about the last year of Anne's life. While most books focus on her rise, this one focuses on her downfall. It also addresses rumors and false accusations made against Anne at the time.

NetGalley, Stacy Mawhorter

I love Natalie! Her research was fascinating to read and I learned a lot while reading her latest book. I have listened to her podcast for years and follow her social media accounts to find more information. I was very excited to receive a copy of this book. It may be one I will have to add to my personal collection.

NetGalley, Ashley Pohlenz

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I love history and one of my favourite periods in history is the Tudor period, I have loved it since I was a little girl and Anne Boleyn has always been my favourite so I was so excited to get to read this book. The book is incredibly well researched and is full of facts without ever feeling boring or heavy. I loved the fact that the author addresses the myth surrounding this fascinating woman and sounds them out with research and facts in an engaging manner.
The book was filled with information that I already knew, both fact and myth, but it is also brimming with information that I didn't know and that I was fascinated by.
I felt like one of my favourite historical figures was in front of me telling me here story, I loved it.

NetGalley, Aria Harlow

An extremely well-written and researched book focusing not just on the queen's last year but on the world around her, based on sources available and with distance to Anne Boleyn. The queen intrigues me, although she is not the monarch I admire, however, I found this particular non-fiction most informative and insightful. I learnt a lot and Ms Grueninger cleared some popular myths or misunderstandings surrounding the last twelve months of the queen's life. I was touched by the mention of her generosity towards those in need. I do not think I have ever seen it mentioned in other books, fiction or non-fiction.
One thing is certain, Anne Boleyn remains one of the most fascinating European female historic figures.

NetGalley, Beata B. Reviewer

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I have read so many books relating to Anne Boleyn over the years. So what I look for now in a book is does it tell me anything that I didn’t know before. The answer to this is yes I feel that I know Anne Boleyn that little bit better having read this book by Natalie Grueninger. The amount of research that the author has done is obvious, you only need to look at the appendix and see the amount of publications that she has read to compile this book

I always saw Anne Boleyn as the Queen that caught the Kings eye. A woman Who was not bothered about others. She may have believed at times that whilst Queen Katharine and Princess Mary were alive she wouldn’t conceive.

Anne was a woman interested in scholarly learning. She sent money to Oxford and Cambridge university’s. She sewed clothes for the poor. She gave out money to causes close to her.. She was a women who I believe did love the king but was unable to give him the long for heir he so desired over everything..

There was so much information in this book I found it best reading some each day. My congratulations to the author on a well written book she can be proud of.

NetGalley, Catherine Harrold

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

A fascinating look into Anne Boleyn's final moments. Her last year was so chaotic that this in-depth looking really brought forth everything that she went through in her last year.

NetGalley, Lauren D.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Anne Boleyn is a name surrounded by controversy and infamy and her story has been told via many mediums for generations. The Final Year of Anne Boleyn dares to go where others before have not, and is a poignant and emotional read that strips back the media inspired Boleyn and cuts down to the core. Natalie writes with such compassion, intellect and meticulous detail that it is clear to see her passion for the subject and the woman the world thinks they know. This is an incredibly compelling and thoughtful read that is an excellent and fresh view on Anne Boleyn and her final year of life that has been carefully crafted into a masterpiece. Bravo!

NetGalley, Chelsea Harper

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

There are few women in English history more famous or controversial than Queen Anne Boleyn. She was the second wife of Henry VIII, mother of Elizabeth I and the first English queen to be publicly executed.
I'm obsessed by the History of Henry VIII and his wives and having this book giving a great insight to the final year of Anne Boleyn's life was of great interest to me.
A complex woman largely controlled by the male members of her family, used and manipulated for their own gains.
I found it a fascinating read. The author would do well to research and write about all his other wives.

NetGalley, Angela Thompson

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I really enjoy the Tudor dynasty and I enjoy reading books in this time-period. I really didn't know much about Anne Boleyn so I was interested in learning more about her. I really felt for her and Natalie Grueninger wrote this beautifully. I was invested in the book and it did what I was hoping for in a nonfiction book. I look forward to reading more from Ms. Grueninger.

NetGalley, Kathryn McLeer

About Natalie Grueninger

Natalie Grueninger is a researcher, writer and educator, who lives in Australia with her husband and two children. A trip to London in her early twenties, ignited her passion for Tudor England and she’s been researching the period ever since.
Natalie’s the author and co-author of several non-fiction books about the Tudors, including the acclaimed ‘In the Footsteps’ series, and runs the popular website On the Tudor Trail. She is also the host of ‘Talking Tudors’, a podcast for lovers of sixteenth-century England.

King Henry VIII of England secretly marries Anne Boleyn

14th November 1532

(officially married January 25, 1533)

England's King Henry VIII marries Anne Boleyn, his 2nd wife

25th January 1533

England's King Henry VIII marries Anne Boleyn, his 2nd wife

Anne Boleyn is arrested and taken to the Tower of London

2nd May 1536

Anne Boleyn is arrested and taken to the Tower of London

Anne Boleyn and her brother George, Lord Rochford, accused of adultery and incest

15th May 1536

Anne Boleyn and her brother George, Lord Rochford, accused of adultery and incest

Anne Boleyn's 4 "lovers" executed shortly before her own beheading

17th May 1536

Anne Boleyn's 4 "lovers" executed shortly before her own beheading

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