Thursday, July 4, 2013

Audiobook Review - Tarnish by Katherine Longshore

TarnishTarnish by Katherine Longshore
Format - Penguin Audio
Available Now at Audible

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received a copy of this audio for review from Penguin Audio through Audiobook Jukebox

Tarnish by Katherine Longshore was very nicely narrated by Leslie Bellair. Her voice was expressive and well paced although not overly animated allowing the reader to enjoy a very laid back narration of this historical story.

I have read just about every book about Anne Boleyn that I can find, she is such a dynamic historical figure with such a tragic story. Tarnish is unique in that some possibilities were explored that I had never considered or read in any other portrayal of her life. Reading this made me recall Susan Bordo's novel "The Creation of Anne Boleyn: A New Look at England's Most Notorious Queen" where she talks about how each generation interprets Anne in a way that fits with that time period. In this case, Anne is depicted in a manner that will appeal to young adults while still remaining very close to what is established history. Longshore's Anne Boleyn was much softer and more approachable than the haughty queen with the biting wit that she's been painted by many other fictional portrayals.

I enjoyed that Tarnish explored the possible relationship between Anne Boleyn and Thomas Wyatt. This is so well done and entirely historically plausible. Several times throughout the story, I felt a little jolt of sadness at some seemingly offhand comment by Anne or Thomas that sounds so innocuous unless you know how this story plays out.

Tarnish begins shortly after Anne's return from France and ends right as her relationship with the king is beginning. I enjoyed imagining Anne as an insecure girl thrown into a hostile court with dreams of being more than a woman of that time period can usually expect. In Anne's strained relationship with her brother and father, Tarnish puts into perspective the way women were viewed in 1500's England.

Overall, this is a wonderful read that I would highly recommend for fans of historical fiction. This is a great introduction to Anne Boleyn for anyone who only knows her as the tragic queen of Henry VIII. And for those who are very familiar with Anne's story, this is a fascinating fresh perspective.

Rating - 4 of 5 Stars


The Insouciant Sophisticate said...

Anne Boleyn is one of my favorite historical figures as well and I'm glad to hear that this story manages to give a fresh perspective. I love the sound of this Bordo book and I think I will want to check that out in addition to Tarnish.

Tabitha (Pabkins) said...

I don't usually fancy historicals, but this author lives in my city I believe..maybe I will give it a try.

Donna said...


I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the perspective presented in this book. Even Jane Parker was almost friendly which was so unusual. I definitely think that, as someone who is fascinated with Anne, this is a must read for you. Bordo's book is a non-fiction look at how Anne Boleyn is interpreted across various media and how it changes over the year. It challenges the views of many popular historians as well. I really enjoyed it & I think you will too. Thanks for stopping by!

Donna said...


This is very readable for fans of YA but stays fairly close to historical fact. It's a nice mix of the two. You may like it and have a whole new genre to explore. I'll warn you, once you jump into Anne's story, reading about the British monarchy can become an obsession!

Sam (Realm of Fiction) said...

I seem to be reading and enjoying more historical fiction this year than the last, so I'll definitely add Tarnish to the list. I know very little about Anne Boleyn, other than what I learnt at school, but I do find that period of time really interesting. I'm glad you enjoyed this overall. Lovely review, Donna!

Donna said...

@Sam (Realm of Fiction)

I'll be interested to hear what you think of it Sam. Anne is so fascinating because there is so little known about her other than rumor and conjecture. Henry did all he could to wipe any mention of her from history so most of her letters and things no longer exist. This leaves historical fiction writers a lot of room to imagine what she may have been like.

Maja (The Nocturnal Library) said...

I remember seeing this cover around more than a few times, but I had no idea it was about Anne Boleyn. I find her extremely fascinating too! And I think I would enjoy the narration very much, I dislike it when narrators get overly dramatic so this calm style should work well for me.
Wonderful review, Donna. Thanks for the rec.

Donna said...

@Maja (The Nocturnal Library)

Maja, I didn't know you enjoyed reading about Anne Boleyn too. The British monarchy used to be quite an obsession of mine a few years ago and I will still read new books about my favorite kings and queens. I can't wait to hear what you think of it.

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