Anne & Henry by Dawn Ius (Book Review)


Publisher: Simon Pulse
Page Count
: 304

I think Anne & Henry was recommended to me by Goodreads after I had read Lock & Mori, because just like that book, it is a modern-day retelling with pre-existing characters – namely Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. I was instantly intrigued by it, because I am a mad sucker for those kind of contemporaries and always had a little obsession with the Tudors. So, just imagine my vast disappointment when this book did not work for me at all.

From what I gathered, Ius stuck to history as much as she could in this particular setting. I am not going to dwell on the fact that I wanted her to change history with her novel, give it some sort of twist of fate, because that was never promised anywhere, but somehow it still didn’t work. Anne and Henry meet right in the first chapter and have this weird mix of insta-lust and insta-love going on. Everything moves pretty fast from this point onward and it feels like barely weeks have passed throughout the novel, even though it were supposedly months. Henry turns his whole life upside down for Anne, but when it really counts, he isn’t able to choose her side.

I was really frustrated with this book, especially towards the end. There is a lot of slut-shaming going on, that I just don’t think is okay. Also, while Anne’s unjustified fate changed history back in the day, here it seems like she is just an insignificant blip in the lives of the townsfolk. I am not sure anyone will remember her and that sort of changes the essence of the original story.

My final problem was the writing in general. While it was fitting for teenagers, I just didn’t like Anne or Henry’s voice all that much, there were barely any redeeming characters in general. Anne seemed bold and strong, but even that couldn’t cover for her rash and rude behaviour. And Henry, he was just weak, trusting all the wrong people and having a fickle mind.
It did have some fun and steamy moments without a doubt, but in the end the whole thing just seemed so irrelevant and without depth. There were much bigger problems the characters should have faced, other than their doomed relationship, but they were only addressed on the surface.

Fazit: 2/5 stars! A good effort but in the end the story falls flat due to its insignificance.


So, I am afraid this isn’t exactly a read that I can recommend. However, I think the cover looks gloriously flashy on my shelf! Have you heard of this book? What is your stance on retellings?