11 June 2013

Review: Tarnish

Tarnish by Katherine Longshore
Publication date: June 18, 2013
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
*copy received from publisher through NetGalley for review
Anne Boleyn is the odd girl out. Newly arrived to the court of King Henry VIII, everything about her seems wrong, from her clothes to her manners to her witty but sharp tongue. So when the dashing poet Thomas Wyatt offers to coach her on how to shine at court—and to convince the whole court they’re lovers—she accepts. Before long, Anne’s popularity has soared, and even the charismatic and irresistible king takes notice. More than popularity, Anne wants a voice—but she also wants love. What began as a game becomes high stakes as Anne finds herself forced to make an impossible choice between her heart’s desire and the chance to make history.

I am fiercely fascinated with all things Tudors, especially, Anne Boleyn. It would have been an anomaly for me not to pick up TARNISH. Anne Boleyn is a historical figure that people can make out to be sympathetic or a bad guy. I've yet to meet someone interested in the Tudors who doesn't have an opinion of Ms. Boleyn.

TARNISH follows a young, teenage Anne, fresh from France and new to King Henry's court, trying to find her place among the courtiers and the competitions for attention. A big issue is that Anne lacks a filter between her brain and mouth, and being a person who has always spoken her mind, this is a huge detriment to her character. Needless to say, she's not popular among the men and women of the court. Anne has an intense need to be an individual. She wants to be in her own power, to be able to say what she wants to say, and to be wanted for who she is. There's just one problem-she's a woman. What is expected of her as a woman is not what she yearns for; not what she wants. Longshore's Anne is a sympathetic Anne. She's an Anne that the reader grows to care for and wants nothing more than see her succeed and to be happy.

Due to a lack of records there are some gaps in Anne's history, particularly her life pre-Henry, but Longshore does a wonderful job of filling them in and taking liberties with what is available. Her foreshadowing throughout the book to Anne's later life and death is also brilliantly done. Don't think I didn't catch them.

I adore the author's prose and found it to be a great fit for a beautiful, heartbreaking story about a girl who wants to be accepted and loved for who she is. It's easy for any book to drag, especially for one almost 450 pages, but I never found myself bored and always wanted to read on. The end result? I finished it in one day.

TARNISH is a fantastic story about one of the most famous figures in history. I make a wish for the author to write a sequel to the second half of Anne's life, but then that wouldn't be YA, would it? Speaking of YA, this is a great book for adults. Anne may be a teen, but there is a maturity to the book that would appeal to "grown people," too.


  1. I liked the first book, but I'm so interested in this one! Like you, I'm a fan of The Tudors era and I'm especially fascinated by Anne Boleyn :) I can't wait to read Tarnish.


    1. I immediately bought Gilt after finishing Tarnish. Glad to hear you liked the first one! I'm looking forward to reading it.


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