BEA'S BOOK NOOK "I can't imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once." C. S. Lewis “If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.” ― Oscar Wilde

Friday, March 23, 2012

Review of Anne of Hollywood by Carol Wolper

Publisher: Gallery Books
Release Date: January 24, 2012
Buying Links: Amazon     The Book Depository

Book Blurb:

Carol Wolper re-tells the story of Anne Boleyn set in contemporary Los Angeles. 

“I wasn’t prepared for the enemies. Had I been as gorgeous as a supermodel, or as rich as an heiress, or an actress with an Oscar to my credit, people would still not be happy that I had Henry’s attention, but they’d understand. What they resented was the king coupling with a ‘nobody.’” 

Skirts may be shorter now, and messages sent by iPhone, but passion, intrigue, and a lust for power don’t change. National bestselling author Carol Wolper spins a mesmerizing tale of a twenty-first-century Anne Boleyn.

Wily, intelligent, and seductive, with a dark beauty that stands out among the curvy California beach blondes, Anne attracts the attention of Henry Tudor, the handsome corporate mogul who reigns in Hollywood. Every starlet, socialite, and shark wants a piece of Henry, but he only wants Anne. The question is: can she keep him?

 Welcome to a privileged world where hidden motives abound, everyone has something to sell, and safe havens don’t exist. With her older sister Mary, a pathetic example of a royal has-been, Anne schemes to win her beloved Henry in the only way that gives a promise of forever—marriage. Success will mean contending with backstabbing “friends,” Henry’s furious ex-wife, and the machinations of her own ambitious family, and staying married to a man who has more options than most and less guilt than is good for either of them will take all her skill. Anne will do anything to hold on to the man—and the lifestyle—she adores, however, even if sticking your neck out in Hollywood means risking far worse than a broken heart. With Henry’s closest confidante scheming against her, and another beautiful contender waiting in the wings, Anne is fighting for her life. Can she muster the charm and wit to pull off her very own Hollywood ending?

I wander around looking for my brother. I should explain that even though Henry and I sat side by side together during the reception dinner, we don't feel the need to stay attached the whole night. Now that the word is out that we're living together, my instinct tells me I've got to be extra careful not to crowd him. We're in love, no question about that, but as a director friend of my father's once said, passion only lasts a thousand nights. If there's any truth to that at all, I want to do everything I can to stretch out the shelf life of our passion; I know that with a king, the shelf life can be considerably shorter. I also know that now that it's public, people will be looking to pounce on any signs of trouble, ready to interpret anything other than the conventional displays of coupleness as a sign of impending failure. My challenge is to not buy into anyone else's interpretation. To do so is to play by a rulebook that will spell doom for me. Of course the problem is, there is no rule book for women in m y situation and how could there be? The rules change every day depending on the king's mood. I'm on my own when it comes to figuring all this out but my intuition tells me not to get too needy. I can't look like I want to catch the bouquet. Not yet anyway.

Reviewed By: Bea

My Thoughts:

Gallery Books was doing a blog tour for this book's release but the dates didn't work for me so I had to pass. But the book sounded so intriguing that I decided to see if my library had it. Happily, they did, and I was able to read it.

Although I enjoyed it, I'm glad I got it from the library and didn't buy it. I doubt that I'll re-read it. It helps to have at least a passing familiarity with King Henry the VIII and his wives. I am not sure that this story would held up well read solely on its own. Wolper takes the historical figures who are most important to that historical event, updates them, and gives us a modern spin on the tale.

Wolper's style is easy, and the story is a quick read. That's part of the problem, there's not enough depth. It's shallow and only skims the surface. Now, you could take that as indicative of our current society and how events play out, but in the story, it leaves the reader feeling a bit confused and wondering that the big deal is. I never understood or saw Henry's appeal. Although he's the linchpin that the story revolves around, he himself is peripheral to the story. We see little of him in the story and there's only one chapter told from his perspective. The bulk of the book is told from Anne's viewpoint, with some chapters from Theresa Cromwell, Henry's assistant, and Cliff Craven, a washed up actor who ends up working for Theresa. While these chapters get us inside their heads, they fail to adequately show why Anne becomes so hated and despised or why Henry is allegedly so charismatic.

Wolper does show us, quite clearly, how gossip sites and magazines have pervaded our society and affected how decisions are made and people's perceptions are formed. Overall though the story lacks depth or bite. It is a breezy, enjoyable story of one woman's attempt to improve both her and her family's lives by attaching herself to a powerful man. The ending veers sharply from what happened historically. I couldn't decide if I liked the ending or not. Sorry for the vagueness,  I don't want to spoil it for you. "Anne of Hollywood" reads like Wolper channeled Joan Collins writing her version of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn except it lacks Collins' bite, wit or sharp eye. But it's a pleasant, engaging, breezy story that would be perfect for a day at the beach or a plane ride.

I borrowed this book from my local library.

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