The Boleyn Reckoning by Laura Andersen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
All the stars & tears and now I need to collect myself and come up with a coherent review.
The Boleyn Reckoning is the third (and sadly, final) book of The Boleyn Trilogy series and to say I was excited when I heard this was up on Netgalley would be a HUGE understatement. The second I got my approval, it was moved up on my list because I NEEDED (yes, needed) to know what happened to Minuette, Dom, William and Elizabeth.
BE WARNED: There will be spoilers below. If you haven’t read books one, two, or three – stop here, go read them all and then come back.
If you recall, book two left off with Will using Dom which then provided a catalyst for Dom to act on his love for Minuette. Following that was the secret marriage of Minuette and Dom while William has still made it clear that he expects to marry Minuette despite the fact that she is not considered an acceptable match (nevermind that she doesn’t love him like she does Dom). Now, Minuette and Dom are back at court with the royals and trying to keep their marriage a secret while still showing their support of Will and his rule.
Will continues to fight the Catholic supporters, including his sister Mary, he also continues to focus on what he wants versus what is best for the country. This is frustrating to his sister, Elizabeth, who is willing to do whatever is necessary to keep her country strong.
Eventually it comes out that Minuette and Dom have married and in Will’s mind, both have betrayed him hugely. He is unwilling to forgive them and ultimately, Dom and Minuette escape his initial wrath by taking advantage of the Catholic rebels attack. The day this happens, Elizabeth helps Minuette flee the guards who are watching her and meet Dom so they can run to Minuette’s property, Wynfield Mote. They stay there while waiting for Will to make his move and at the same time, Dom is contacted constantly by the Duke of Norfolk who is looking to lead a rebellion against the King. While Dom refuses to actively participate in the rebellion, he also worries about his decision to stay at Wynfield as all of his military strength sits at his property, Tiverton. He knows that if he moves himself and Minuette to Tiverton that could be considered a move against the King.
At the same time Will has made the decision to arrest Mary for treason and the assassination of Lord Rochford. When convicted, she is sentenced to death and eventually beheaded. This news is shocking to both Dom and Minuette and they know that this is only the beginning to Will’s decision to act upon those he feels have betrayed him. To say that Will is unforgiving is probably a huge understatement. He heads directly toward Wynfield and as Dom realizes he has to honor his oath to Will and in his refusal to raise arms against him, he decides he has to surrender to him.
At this point in the book, I have to admit – I had no faith that things would end well for any of these characters. Will is completely closed off to everyone and only focused on vengeance, Elizabeth continues to try to bring him back with no luck, and Dom and Minuette know that there is no way they will escape Will’s anger.
The same day that Dom surrenders to Will, Minuette decides to follow and surrender herself in the hopes that she can spare Dom. Things don’t necessarily turn out as she planned – at least I hope that isn’t what she had planned. Immediately upon surrendering to Will, he has sex with her and Dom knows it. Despite surrendering her body, Minuette basically tells Will he will never have her heart. Yes she was willing to do whatever necessary to save Dom and her people but she definitely was not eager and this is something that Will eventually realizes. And just because he can, Will takes them all to Wynfield and burns it completely down.
Dom is then taken to the Tower and Minuette is taken to Beaulieu and kept away from everyone. With the weeks passing, she comes to realize that she is pregnant and because of her actions when she surrendered, she has no real idea whose child she carries.
Eventually both Dom and Minuette are faced with interrogation and trial. Both are unsurprisingly convicted and sentenced to death. Elizabeth asks Will to reconsider Minuette’s sentence but she is no longer trusted by him due to her role in helping them leave court but because Minuette is pregnant, Will has decided to wait to execute her until the child is born. If it is a girl he will give it to some family but if it is a boy, he will claim it and raise it as his own. Regardless, his intent is to execute Minuette once the child is born. With these decisions in place, Elizabeth knows she has to come up with a plan and she leans on Robert Dudley to assist.
Andersen did a wonderful job wrapping up this story. I continue to love the relationship between Dom and Minuette and root for them all along the way. There were so many parts in this story where I knew it wasn’t going to work out because of who/what they were up against. Regardless, I couldn’t help it and because I love Dom so much, I wanted him to get everything he wanted. He has a sense of honor and tries to always do the right thing. His last meeting and letter to Minuette had me in tears it was so perfectly him.
Elizabeth definitely comes into her own in this book. She starts to embrace the politics of wearing her crown as she sees Will change and begin to deteriorate. Although Will did some pretty crappy things to her and her friends, she continued to support and love him in the hopes it would bring him back. Her loyalty was never in question for me, she was always loyal to Will and the crown but still loved her friends.
Will gets no words…I am pretty sure I tagged about 20 sections “Will is a dick” because he made me so darn angry. First, the fact that he was King and therefore could do what he wanted didn’t sit well with me. The fact that he goes back to using Eleanor as his mistress was absolutely annoying and only made me angrier with him. On top of that, he basically just decides he is going to execute everyone who he felt did anything wrong to him and we find out just how dark and vindictive Will really is.
I have to admit; there were some things that Minuette did that I didn’t agree with – mostly regarding her relationship with Will (no surprise there). Although I don’t know that she and Dom would have had another option of how things went when Will found out about them, I keep thinking that perhaps things might have been different if they had told him sooner rather than him finding out the way he did.
This series is absolutely one of my favorite Historical Fiction series and I am sad that it is complete but in the same vein, I am happy with the way that Andersen wrapped this up. If you enjoy books with great characters, romance, and the historical pieces mixed in, you might just want to check this one out. It will be on my Favorites shelf for a long time and I will be encouraging everyone I know to check this one out.
Thank you to Netgalley and the Publisher for the review copy!
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The Boleyn Reckoning by Laura Andersen