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Jane Boleyn: The True Story of the Infamous Lady Rochfordby Julia Fox
Synopses & Reviews
In a life of extraordinary drama, Jane Boleyn was catapulted from relative obscurity to the inner circle of King Henry VIII. As powerful men and women around her became victims of Henrys ruthless and absolute power, including her own husband and sister-in-law, Queen Anne Boleyn, Janes allegiance to the volatile monarchy was sustained and rewarded. But the price for her loyalty would eventually be her undoing and the ruination of her name. For centuries, little beyond rumor and scandal has been associated with “the infamous Lady Rochford.” But now historian Julia Fox sets the record straight and restores dignity to this much-maligned figure whose life and reputation were taken from her.
Born to aristocratic parents in the English countryside, young Jane Parker found a suitable match in George Boleyn, brother to Anne, the woman who would eventually be the touchstone of Englands greatest political and religious crisis. Once settled in the bustling, spectacular court of Henry VIII as the wife of a nobleman, Jane was privy to the regal festivities of masques and jousts, royal births and funerals, and she played an intimate part in the drama and gossip that swirled around the kings court.
But it was Anne Boleyns descent from palace to prison that first thrust Jane into the spotlight. Impatient with Annes inability to produce a male heir, King Henry accused the queen of treason and adultery with a multitude of men, including her own brother, George. Jane was among those interrogated in the scandal, and following two swift strokes from the executioners blade, she lost her husband and her sister-in-law, her inheritance and her place in court society.
Now the thirty-year-old widow of a traitor, Jane had to ensure her survival and protect her own interests by securing land and income. With sheer determination, she navigated her way back into royal favor by becoming lady-in-waiting to Henrys three subsequent brides, Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves, and Catherine Howard. At last Janes future seemed secure-until an unwitting misstep involving the sexual intrigues of young Queen Catherine destroyed the life and reputation Jane worked so hard to rebuild.
Drawing upon her own deep knowledge and years of original research, Julia Fox brings us into the inner sanctum of court life, laced with intrigue and encumbered by disgrace. Through the eyes and ears of Jane Boleyn, we witness the myriad players of the stormy Tudor period. Jane emerges as a courageous spirit, a modern woman forced by circumstances to fend for herself in a privileged but vicious world.
"Wife of Anne Boleyn's brother George, Jane, Viscountess Rochford, has been painted by historians, beginning with the Protestant Elizabethan John Foxe, as a barren, jealous shrew who lied about George and Anne's incestuous relationship, helping send them to their deaths for treason against Henry VIII. Jane herself was executed for treason several years later for abetting the adultery of Henry's fifth wife, Catherine Howard. According to Fox's revisionist account, Jane was faithful to the opportunistic Boleyn clan; she didn't rush to slander her husband, but succumbed under Thomas Cromwell's relentless interrogation, repeating an indiscretion by Anne about Henry's sexual dysfunction. Moreover, Fox says, George's execution was a financial blow to Jane — his royal perquisites of lands and offices were seized. Jane clawed her way back to a senior court position when she was ordered by Catherine Howard to pass messages to her lover, and Jane's complicity, according to Fox, opened the door for historians to excoriate Jane for her sister-in-law's death. In her debut, Fox never quite convinces readers that her lackluster, almost faceless Jane is a courageous, mostly blameless victim of court intrigues, and this amateurish, toothless history is more a rehash of Anne's rise and fall with a tag-on about Catherine's foolhardiness. (Jan.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
About the Author
After graduating from the University of London, Julia Fox taught history in both public and private schools for a number of years, specializing in the Tudors and in nineteenth-century Britain and Europe. She currently lives in London with her husband, the historian John Guy, and their two cats. Jane Boleyn is her first book.
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