Friday, March 15, 2013

Book Review: Anne of Hollywood by Carol Wolper

Skirts may be shorter now, and messages sent by iPhone, but passion, intrigue, and a lust for power don’t change. National bestselling author Carol Wolper spins a mesmerizing tale of a twenty-first-century Anne Boleyn.

Wily, intelligent, and seductive, with a dark beauty that stands out among the curvy California beach blondes, Anne attracts the attention of Henry Tudor, the handsome corporate mogul who reigns in Hollywood. Every starlet, socialite, and shark wants a piece of Henry, but he only wants Anne. The question is: can she keep him?

Welcome to a privileged world where hidden motives abound, everyone has something to sell, and safe havens don’t exist. With her older sister Mary, a pathetic example of a royal has-been, Anne schemes to win her beloved Henry in the only way that gives a promise of forever—marriage. Success will mean contending with backstabbing “friends,” Henry’s furious ex-wife, and the machinations of her own ambitious family, and staying married to a man who has more options than most and less guilt than is good for either of them will take all her skill. Anne will do anything to hold on to the man—and the lifestyle—she adores, however, even if sticking your neck out in Hollywood means risking far worse than a broken heart. With Henry’s closest confidante scheming against her, and another beautiful contender waiting in the wings, Anne is fighting for her life. Can she muster the charm and wit to pull off her very own Hollywood ending?

The unforgettable story of Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII's best loved but most tragic wife, is recreated at least once a year in some dry, predictable historical novel -- and in Wolper's "Anne of Hollywood", it is recreated once again: but with a twist. An avid fan of Anne Boleyn eager to get my hands on just about any fictional depiction of her, I've searched and searched and believe me: I haven't found another like this. If you think about it, the ruthless and amorous court of Tudor England shares a lot with 2012 Hollywood, which Wolper sharply describes as "high school with money". Ripe with scandal; harsh, dry Hollywood humor; and scandalously steamy 'bodice-ripping', sixteenth-century characters are brilliantly reincarnated into saucy modern day counterparts.

In this Hollywood, there is no such thing as a traditional black-and-white relationship-- and if there is you can bet that infidelity will follow soon. Henry and Anne get together fast -- a bit too fast in my opinion: their ten year relationship is condensed to four. They are already a pair at the novel's beginning, and are living under the same roof within a couple of chapters and Anne pregnant by the hundredth page. If their relationship, in history, is famous for anything, it's the long delay in Anne getting on her back. But on a positive note, Wolper's clever storytelling really brings the 'spirit' of Anne to life -- she is hotheaded, witty and a formidable foe with an iron grip on her king: the one thing that's missing is -- what on earth is this woman doing except for Henry? Anne Boleyn donated endlessly to charity, worked endlessly to shape national religion, and was overall just an endlessly intelligent linguist, reader, entuasiastic and artistic patron of both education and art; however, none of these deeds translate into much, in the book, and she is not seen doing much of anything.

Drugs. Threesomes. Hard partying. Dangerous Hollywood plots. Sex and deception. Funny but political, sexy but smart, Wolper has this creative style to her writing that I doubt any reader could resist: celebrities and partying meet the lascivious Tudor court and its deadly conspiracies -- frankly, who on earth could?

Pages: 352
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication Year: 2012
Kylie's Rating: ♛♛♛♛/♛♛♛♛♛ (4.5/5 Stars)

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