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Trade Paperback
352 pages
Aug 2011
Howard Books

To Die For: A Novel of Anne Boylen

by Sandra Byrd

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A historical romance novel entitled To Die For by Sandra Byrd focuses on the life of Anne Boleyn, wife of Henry VIII. The narration is provided by Anne’s truest friend, Meg Wyatt. The main characters have to choose between following their heart or what God is calling them to do. The resulting emotion of the novel is sadness that takes a satisfying turn at the end.

The novel has well-written imagery that allows the reader clearly to picture the events taking place. The chronicler, Meg, demonstrates unconditional loyalty for Anne and a passionate love for a man named Will. One unforgettable experience in the novel is Meg’s love, care, and compassion for Anne when her life is on the line.

Meg finds herself giving up what her heart desires in order to serve her dear friend Anne. Anne marries King Henry VIII with the intention of giving him a son and heir. Unfortunately, not everything works out for Anne but Meg is always there to encourage her. Even in mournful times, God eventually blesses Meg’s choice to serve Him.

Meg's character is compassionate and self-sacrificing, however, she doesn’t rely on God as much as she should, allowing her emotions to take over. Anne, on the other hand, is more confident, knows exactly what she wants, and can clearly identify her emotions. Her weakness is relying too much on others and not enough on God for comfort and direction. Supporting characters include Meg’s family, Anne’s housekeepers, and King Henry, some encouraging and others challenging.

This novel is well written in its use of literary devices and historical events, yet it has slow plot action and the character development is less than I would have liked. The novel contains a minimum amount of faith displayed in the characters, although it has a biblical foundation that suits the events taking place. Luke 22:27 explains the novel’s biblical theme of always serving God. It states, “For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves” (NIV). The characters have to choose whether or not to follow God’s call to serve.

Anyone who likes history and romantic twists will enjoy To Die For. Someone looking for a novel that will challenge her faith won’t find it here, as biblical themes are not the point. The main focus is the life of Anne Boleyn, as told by her friend Meg. – Lili Tinaglia,

Book Jacket:

To Die For, is the story of Meg Wyatt, pledged forever as the best friend to Anne Boleyn since their childhoods on neighboring manors in Kent. When Anne's star begins to ascend, of course she takes her best friend Meg along for the ride. Life in the court of Henry VIII is thrilling at first, but as Anne's favor rises and falls, so does Meg's. And though she's pledged her loyalty to Anne no matter what the test, Meg just might lose her greatest love—and her own life—because of it.

Meg's childhood flirtation with a boy on a neighboring estate turns to true love early on. When he is called to follow the Lord and be a priest she turns her back on both the man and his God. Slowly, though, both woo her back through the heady times of the English reformation. In the midst of it, Meg finds her place in history, her own calling to the Lord that she must follow, too, with consequences of her own. Each character in the book is tested to figure out what love really means, and what, in this life, is worth dying for.

Though much of Meg's story is fictionalized, it is drawn from known facts. The Wyatt family and the Boleyn family were neighbors and friends, and perhaps even distant cousins. Meg's brother, Thomas Wyatt, wooed Anne Boleyn and ultimately came very close to the axe blade for it. Two Wyatt sisters attended Anne at her death, and at her death, she gave one of them her jeweled prayer book—Meg.