Book Review: In The Footsteps of Anne Boleyn, by Natalie Grueninger and Sarah Morris

In the Footsteps of Anne Boleyn

In the Footsteps of Anne Boleyn

Our surroundings are said to shape us. Scientists have shown that buildings with natural elements (light, air, plantings) help reduce stress and stimulate learning and productivity, that high ceilings and large rooms promote expansive and creative thinking. We have even seen that living in close-knit communities can promote small anonymous acts of charity.  We intuit many of these effects based on our own experience of the rooms themselves. That is the particular genius of this book.

In the Footsteps of Anne Boleyn describes itself as “[t]he visitor’s companion to the palaces, castles and houses associated with Henry VIII’s infamous wife.” The authors describe their insatiable curiosity for the buildings and locations associated with Anne, the fact that “when we stand in a building or space where someone from the past once stood, it is only time, and not space, that separates us.” The book is organized in chronological order, based on Anne’s early life, the “Courting Years”, her time as Queen, and the 1535 Progress. Each entry includes a brief history of the place, covering the original building, what it would have looked like in Anne’s time, and what remains of it today. There is also a “Visitor Information” section outlining the details needed to visit each location and the highlights to not be missed. This makes it a cross between a guidebook and a narrative of Anne’s life – and an indispensable reference on both counts.

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