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?

34 thoughts on “Anne & Henry by Dawn Ius (Book Review)

  1. I feel your pain </3 I was so excited when I saw this book. I am a huge fan of the Tudor history, especially the debacle with Anne Boleyn. I am absolutely in love with The Other Boleyn girl by Phillipa Gregory. So, imagine my surprise and excitement when I saw this. And then…. disappointment beyond words. I was so sad, frustrated, and angry at what had been done to a perfectly good opportunity for amazing drama. It's nice to know I'm not alone : )

    Love your blog, by the way XD I can't wait to see what you post next

    Liked by 1 person

    • Although I am of course not happy that you read a sucky book like this one, I am sort of glad I am not alone in this. It was a really great opportunity, but this did not translate well into teen drama :/

      Thank you so much! You are the sweetest!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I hope no one ever judges my writing like that.
    I’ve seen and read my fair share of retellings, and I have to say, they’re not easy to do well. The problem is, there are so many different types of retellings and in so many different mediums, it’s hard to come up with any sort of rules or ideas on how to tell a good one.


    • Do you think I was too harsh? I get that retellings aren’t easy, especially not when you even want to transport the story to a whole different era, but this story did not work as a teen drama. :/


      • I think you were just fine. I read a book once that had problems worse than this one. If I’d written a review of it, it would have been very harsh. The only redeeming quality it had was a very diverse cast.
        Believe me, sometimes you have to say what needs to be said. Not only does it let people know to avoid something that will inevitably disappoint, but it might even let the author know what they could improve upon in their next book.


  3. oh dear- this doesn’t sound good at all :/ instalove is an instant no-no! I really struggle with historical fiction in general- so haven’t really bothered that much with retellings of history in the modern day (or in the time period)- I’m afraid my inner geek gets too annoyed if a) I know it’s historically inaccurate or b) I find out it’s historically inaccurate. That’s why I fare much better when it’s just the kind of historical fiction set in the past but without real life characters. As for retellings in general, they can be a bit hit or miss. I read one recently and found it a mixture of predictable and annoyingly not similar enough to the original :/ (whoa- I sound really hard to please right now- maybe that’s cos I am :p )

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Awww, it’s too bad you didn’t enjoy this book! It has an interesting premise actually – I love reading historical fiction with a twist. Haha, I guess I’ll pass on this one though. Really great review, Kat! 🙂


    • I was really sad that it didn’t work out :/ but this isn’t historical fiction with a twist, it’s historical fiction turned into teen drama and that just made it sound ridiculous.
      Thanks for checking it out!

      Liked by 1 person

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