The Raven’s Widow by Adrienne Dillard
Dillard has a real and wonderful gift for telling history through bringing alive the voices of the past. This richly and meticulously researched work not only gives us a fresh perspective of the Anne Boleyn tale through the eyes of her sister-in-law Jane Boleyn, but also makes us see Jane anew as a woman trying her best to navigate a turbulent and dangerous world. A woman called ‘wicked’ and a major player in two terrible Tudor tragedies, Jane is constructed by Dillard in an empathetic and sympathetic light. Jane is in a sense ‘everywoman’ – a woman who is swept out of her depths and forced to fight for her own survival as she loses all hope and sanity. The reader feels both for Jane and her husband George Boleyn in a story that tells poignantly of the frailty of the human condition and makes us wonder what we would do in similar circumstances.
The Raven’s Widow powerfully brings home to us that Jane was yet another victim of Henry VIII’s bloody reign.