Most of what we "know" about Anne Boleyn comes from the words of her enemies. Over the years, layers of interpretation have been added, repeated, and compounded into a portrait of a woman which may bear very little resemblance to reality. She's been made into a ruthlessly ambitious homewrecker, a vicious harpy, an incestuous adulteress, a wicked stepmother, and even - in some fictional portrayals - a murderer.
I tried to peel away all those layers and go back to the original sources to find the real Anne Boleyn. And what I found varies quite a bit from her conventional portrayals.
Anne Boleyn likely had auburn hair, olive skin, and dark brown eyes. She probably looked a bit like a young Sophia Loren. She wasn't beautiful, but she had grace and a sparkling personality which drew people to her. It goes without saying she also had the ordinary number of fingers.
Rather than the power hungry seductress, I found a young woman who tried to gently dissuade the king from pursuing her for over a year, but accepted him once he proposed honorable marriage.
Instead of the king's mistress, I found a deeply religious woman who felt God had called her to the throne of England to reform His church.
Instead of the unpleasant, disagreeable creature of fiction, I found a charming and intelligent woman whom contemporaries described as sweet-natured. The worst her enemies could say about her manners were that they were "French." Anne had the courage to "answer back" to the king, which wasn't seen as a positive quality in a woman of the day, but today, we'd consider it admirable.
I hope I've done her justice.
Under These Restless Skies is available from Amazon, iTunes, Barnes & Noble, and directly from the publisher.
You can check out the book's blog on the historical background of the novel here. There are also two Pinterest boards with images.