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Summary

Jane Rochford was the sister-in-law to Anne Boleyn and Lady of the Bedchamber to Catherine Howard, whom she followed to the scaffold in 1542.

Hers is a life of extraordinary drama as a witness to and participant in the greatest events of Henry's reign. Her supposed part in both Anne Boleyn's and Catherine Howard's downfall has led to her being reviled through the centuries.

In this fascinating biography, Julia Fox repudiates the idea of the infamous Lady Rochford, and Jane emerges as a rather modern woman forced by brutal circumstances to fend for herself in a politically lethal world.

©2007 Julia Fox (P)2008 Oakhill Publishing Ltd

Critic reviews

"Ecstasy. This bio offers a dramatic writing, new info and a moving re-examination of a woman wronged for centuries by historians." ( Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)

What listeners say about Jane Boleyn: The Infamous Lady Rochford

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

This felt more like a text book than fun to read.

While very interesting and full of facts, if this had not been an audio-book I would never have ploughed through to the end. The 10 minute long explanations of how a dowery had been calculated nearly made me drift into another lane on the motorway one day!

Because she wasn't quite important enough to be recorded in documents at the time, there is a lot of supposition in this book about where Jane is at certain times, and who she would be with and why.

I think anybody reading anything about history understands this, which is why when you read six authors versions of the life of a Queen you will get six different accounts, as writers fill in the blanks themselves. At least that would have been entertaining.

14 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

not really about Jane...

I enjoyed this even though it was more about the well trodden path of Henry and his wives. I was really hoping to learn more about Jane and perhaps there is not more that can be learnt...

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

dissapointed

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

much more info on lady Rochford

Has Jane Boleyn: The Infamous Lady Rochford put you off other books in this genre?

no

Did Julia Barrie do a good job differentiating each of the characters? How?

more a history lesson than a book about the lady in the title

What character would you cut from Jane Boleyn: The Infamous Lady Rochford?

how can you cut people out of history

Any additional comments?

it seemed to me like a lot of guess work. Like she may have been there or she may have known.Or she would have known???

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Interesting history, distracting voice

Author Julia Fox tells her tale vividly and in a well-constructed way, and I appreciated her occasional reference to specific historical sources. The book comes across well in audio format. However, Julia Barrie's voice - which may be familiar to other listeners from the rest of her spoken-word work - was both a distraction and a disappointment for me. Light in tenor, she sounds at times barely out of her teens, which robbed Fox's script of much weight and gave the story a breathless ingenue, schoolgirl air it didn't deserve; her occasional mispronunciations (for example eMISSary instead of EMissary, and BadaHO instead of BadaHOTH) suggest poor studio monitoring. Despite these irritations, the recording was good enough to while away a long train journey. I shall listen to Part 2, as I want to hear the rest of Fox's story; but I shall avoid further Barrie readings.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Pointless book

This book is peppered with Jane would have seen or known or Jane might have seen or known, just a pointless book it doesn’t give you any insight on Jane Boleyn, very dull.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Disappointing

The first half of the book really focuses on Anne Boleyn and the divorce. There are a few scant details on Jane Parker's origins and wedding to George Boleyn. Jane has gone down in history with the reputation of damning her husband George but reading this account it is presumed their marriage was a happy one. I would have appreciated a thorough discounting of Jane's infamy with more evidence and facts rather than a mere presumption. She does seem to have aided and abetted Catherine Howard in her clandestine love affair and here the reasons offered by the author seem more plausible. There are few ressources available which allow the author to really paint a portrait of Jane's character so she remains rather shadowy and flat. The author has to rely on the use of hypothetical clauses 'perhaps', 'maybe' 'could have' etc. to indicate her presence at various court pageants and events which took place during the first half of the book when the focus was really on Anne Boleyn. The description of these pageants was very detailed and full of suppostions too about how the Mayor of London may have gone about the organisation details. I couldn't help but feel that this was padding; on the other hand in its favour it does give a vivid depiction of the extravagance of the court and the Tudor Monarchy.
The depiction of Catherine of Aragon sounds accurate and is very moving - she definitely had a confirmed personality and exceptional courage in the face of adversity - traits that her daughter Mary would also display. While courtiers and officials were terrified of provoking the King's displeasure Catherine and Mary would never bend!
The narrator was excellent and although I have various doubts about the contents the author's style is flowing and readable so it was not an unpleasant book to listen to. If a reader is unfamiliar with this period of history he or she might find it a good introduction to the subject.

5 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Disappointing.

I learned very little about Jane Boleyn in this book which was surprising given the title! Having read many books by historians about Henry V111 and his wives in great detail I'm very familiar with the subject but didn't realize that Julia Fox has basically written about the same subject with very little to inform the reader about Jane Boleyn; why? because apart from the evidence she provided (willingly) against Queen Anne Boleyn and her supposed extra-marital relationships, one of which Jane insisted was with George (Anne's brother and Janes husband) that contributed to the death of both as well as five men. There is also her ill-judged involvement in Queen Catherine's Howard's illicit affair with Sir Thomas Culpepper. Due to lack of recorded information about Jane during her life, this book is full of 'what might have happened' 'she possibly.....' maybe she.....' . It has been suggested in many books that her marriage to George was unhappy and she was jealous of his closeness to his sister. Julia Fox doesn't agree with this as she says there is no evidence to support it; I would have thought her part in giving evidence against them (she wasn't tortured) gives us a clue as to her feelings.
I personally don't think there was any point in this book being written as it's mostly about King Henry, his wives, courtiers, ladies-in-waiting and the reformation- all of which have been written about in great detail by other historians.
I'm very annoyed that I wasted my one monthly credit on this rubbish.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Desires to rehabilitate in spit of all evidence

Any history which uses "might", "may", "possibly" and "we don't know but..." as often as this does is bound to be suspicious. The constant excuse of youth and inexperience just doesn't hold water when you consider the time (women could be married at 14 and mothers by 16) and the length of time Jane Rochford was at court (surviving two major scandals that others older and more experienced didnt) does not compare to the image of a young girl, clever and well educated, but apparently naive and foolish young girl that this book tries to portray.

At best this is a case of the authors desire to present her own agenda overcoming the facts and evidence. At worst it is an attempt to find a new angle on a well worn subject to sell books.

Rochford was a veteran of court (being middle aged by Tudor standards when she performedher biggest misdeeds), from a nobel and well informed family, married into an even greater family on the make and educated far beyond that which women of her time were. That she was tricked, trapped and cajoled into testifying against her husband and sister in law and didn't realise what she was getting into with Catherine Howard's adultery (refered throughout as 'her foolishness') is implausible in the extreme!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Informative

Very informative - has a constant tone that allows you to listen easily and learn the history behind this interesting lady of Henry VIII Court

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A reformed view of a wronged Lady

An excellent biography which has altered my view about Jane Boleyn. The author has taken the evidence and presented a young Lady adapting to the situation she found herself in and I wondered if I would have taken the same course of action if I was in the same situation. The narrator had a pleasant listening voice which made the book all the more enjoyable.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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  • LL
  • 22-08-09

Disappointing

What seemed like such a promising story about Jane Boleyn turned out to be a textbook-style narration of people and events centered around Anne and Henry. The author involves Jane in almost ridiculous reminders that the book is titled after her -- for example, after lengthy descriptions of Anne's life and events, the author uses phrases like, "Jane would surely have seen this, and probably felt happy for her sister-in-law." There is no real story about any of the people in the book, just a descriptive timeline of sorts, with occasional references to where Jane may have been, what she might have thought about her in-laws, and what she may have worn. I'm almost finished listening and, truthfully, I don't even want to continue, as I'd rather be entertained than lectured to.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Jennifer
  • 01-11-08

Shines new light on Jane

I found the pace a little slow at times, but there are great details about the lavish dress and surroundings that make it possible to visualize the events. It taught me a lot about the British culture at the time. It is also nice to get a different view of a woman with such a dark cloud over her reputation.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Mary
  • 29-03-09

Not about Jane

I wish I read all the reviews before I bought this one. This is a great story about the court of Henry VIII but it is not about Jane Boleyn. It is well written and provides a great overview of the events but does not give any insight into the life or motivation of this interesting woman.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Eilene
  • 24-10-09

Jane Boleyn, The Infamous Lady Rochford

I really enjoyed this audio book. Fact and fiction have so completely warped other books that it was nice to see an author took the time to research the subject before writting the book. I recommend it to anyone who would like a different point of view on Jane Boleyn and the times she lived in.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • history buff
  • 26-08-09

Slow.

Ok, but there are probably better ones out there about her.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Kristen
  • 01-05-10

Bad biography

This is the worse excuse for a biography I've ever read. Three-quarters of it is the story of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, rehashed yet again, with embarrassing comments like "Jane probably knew about this" or "Jane may have felt this about that". Jane Boleyn plays as merely a background character in her own biography! The INFAMOUS Lady Rochford, indeed. Infamous for what? Being a bit player in the drama of Henry VIII's serial marriages? If you're going to write someone's biography, some FACTS would be nice. As is, this is naught but a series of "may have's" and "probably's".

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • dmcd
  • 23-07-09

Historical novel at it's BEST

This book is exceptional. The life at Henry VIII court has been written and rewritten, one would think there was nothing left to write. However a woman's point of view is fresh and outstanding! Historically accurate accounts are the only books I like to read as I want to learn something about the places and times I am reading about. Ann Boleyn's sister-in-law describes it in wonderful detail, the gowns, jewels and relationships. Read this book :-)

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Sheila
  • 29-04-09

Jane Boleyn

This book was more factual than entertaining. It was like a documentary.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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  • S. Greene
  • 11-04-09

Dry as Dust!

I was expecting an insightful history, instead I got a lecture from a particularly flat-voiced narrator. Perfect for putting me to sleep.

This is one of my favorite bits of history. Anne Boleyn accomplished much in her thousand days, and those who touched her life deserve better treatment than this.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Marian
  • 08-04-09

A Great `Read`

Loved the storytelling - at first I thought the narrator speaking for several people (male and female) was little odd, but it started to grow on me and actually enjoyed it a lot! Especially speaking for the Spanish ambassador was initially jarring but - it works! I really got a sense of his character. I am glad I bought this audible.