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Review – Anne Boleyn: 500 Years of Lies

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Anne Boleyn: 500 Years of Lies

by Hayley Nolan

Book Cover: Anne Boleyn: 500 years of lies

Genres: Biography, Non Fiction, Tudor Period
Release Date: December 1, 2019
Pages: 333
Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
My Rating: ★★★★★

A bold new analysis of one of history’s most misrepresented women.

History has lied.

Anne Boleyn has been sold to us as a dark figure, a scheming seductress who bewitched Henry VIII into divorcing his queen and his church in an unprecedented display of passion. Quite the tragic love story, right?


In this electrifying exposé Hayley Nolan explores for the first time the full, uncensored evidence of Anne Boleyn’s life and relationship with Henry VIII, revealing the shocking suppression of a powerful woman.

So leave all notions of outdated and romanticised folklore at the door and forget what you think you know about one of the Tudors’ most notorious queens. She may have been silenced for centuries, but this urgent book ensures Anne Boleyn’s voice is being heard now.



I picked up Anne Boleyn: 500 Years of Lies (AB500) last year fully intending to devour it. However, with a Kindle Unlimited subscription, I also got the audio book, and turns out I don’t do well switching between the two. So, I shelved it for a while and picked it back up this year. While it was slow going — as it always is for me with non-fiction — I finished it and greatly enjoyed it.

There is so much I could say about AB500, but, I think I should start with the citations. I don’t have time to do all the research Ms. Nolan did — obviously. However, she offers citations and references so often that I’m inclined to believe the facts she presents, even when they differ from “accepted” historical truth.

Of course, that’s basically the point of the whole book:

This is not a love story… We’ve been sold a lie… But the lies don’t add up… Anne Boleyn has been wrongly vilified for five hundred years, her truth silenced and suppressed, with no one revealing the full, uncensored evidence of this complex, convoluted, and contradictory story.

Anne Boleyn: 500 Years of Lies, page 1

Ms. Nolan does her best to present Anne as neither saint nor demon, but human; flawed, contradictory human.

This is no fairy tale and Anne Boleyn was no heartless villain. Yet, equally, I’m not here to paint her as the fantasy princess – as though these are the only two categories available for women in history!

Anne Boleyn: 500 Years of Lies, page 4

As one would likely expect, given the centuries between us and Anne Boleyn’s life, Ms. Nolan has to provide facts alongside conclusions drawn from those facts. I can’t say I agree with all of the conclusions she draws, but 99% of them seem perfectly logical to me, especially some of those that diverge from traditionally accepted truth.

I learned a lot from this “correctional biography,” and gained a greater appreciation of the work that Anne put into her life. I think this was the first book I read that shared the good work she did rather than how she skated through a life of luxury at the courts of Europe.

Whether or not you like Anne Boleyn and want to learn more about her, this is an interesting book to read. You also get a look at the politics, court intrigue, and religious upheaval of the time.

I heartily recommend AB500, it’s a worthwhile read.

About the Author

Hayley Nolan is a historian, TEDx Speaker, United Nations Delegate and Anne Boleyn biographer. In 2024 she will become an Associate of King’s College London. Her non-fiction book, ‘Anne Boleyn: 500 Years of Lies’ was an Amazon History No1 Bestseller and introduced her as an exciting new voice in the field. Hayley trained in the archives of the British Library specialising in the research of historical manuscripts and rare books as part of a joint Master’s degree at King’s College London in Early Modern Text and Transmission. Her history TEDx talk was filmed on stage at King’s College London in 2023 titled ‘Anne Boleyn and the Art of Making Unpopular Decisions’ and is streaming free on the official TED website. Hayley’s research has led her to work with a variety of establishments from Houses of Parliament on the #BeMoreBoleyn campaign, to social media app Tiktok on their #LearnOnTiktok campaign. Over the years, she has partnered with Historic Royal Palaces (Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace), Anne Boleyn’s childhood home of Hever Castle, the English Heritage site of Eltham Palace, Henry VIII’s childhood home, and the House of Commons for the 2017 General Election. Hayley has been the historical researcher and host of ‘The History Review’ podcast and vlogumentary series. She has over 200,000 followers on Tiktok where her history videos have 25 million views.

Author links: Website | Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram | TikTok | Amazon Author Page

NOTE: This review is based on an eBook I purchased from Amazon on May 7, 2023.

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