Listen free for 30 days

The Kiss of the Concubine

A Story of Anne Boleyn
Narrated by: Alex Lee
Length: 11 hrs and 46 mins
Categories: Fiction, Historical
4.5 out of 5 stars (36 ratings)

£7.99/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime

Summary

January 28, 1547. It is almost midnight, and the cream of English nobility hold their breath as King Henry VIII prepares to face his God. As the royal physicians wring their hands and Archbishop Cranmer gallops through the frigid night, two dispossessed princesses pray for their father's soul, and a boy, soon to be king, snivels into his velvet sleeve. 

Time slows, and dread settles around the royal bed, the candles dip, and something stirs in the darkness...something, or someone, has come to tell the king it is time to pay his dues. 

The Kiss of the Concubine is the story of Anne Boleyn, the second of Henry VIII's queens.

©2013 Judith Arnopp (P)2018 Judith Arnopp

What members say

Average customer ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    24
  • 4 Stars
    8
  • 3 Stars
    2
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    1

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    18
  • 4 Stars
    12
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    1

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    23
  • 4 Stars
    5
  • 3 Stars
    2
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    1

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Beautifully written and sensitively narrated

This is a well-crafted book giving some very different but highly credible insights into Anne Boleyn's life. Alex Lee gives a sensitive and often moving narration, and I found it hard to stop listening - the equivalent of not being able to put down the book!

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent

This book is excellent, so well written and narrated. Alex Lee narrates with charm and feeling, making this book so enjoyable.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

brilliant

hooked from beginning to end. the narrator is so good, she takes you into their world. I would have loved more of the ending, it could have been quite amusing. definitely worth a read.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

History intertwined with a tale well told

As a lover of history I really enjoyed this well researched and well written and often fascinating insight into the life of Anne Boleyn told from her own point of view. Solid historical research underpins and interweaves with some skillful 'fiction' to bring the characters of the story to life in a very real way. Even though the ending and much of the story is known when you start the book, you find yourself drawn into Anne's world and all the plotting and planning and struggles for power in the Tudor court and the frustrations and emotions of both Henry and Anne. I will look forward to more in the series.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Loved it

I loved the attention that Alex Lee gave to the voice of Anne , it’s well known she was brought up in a french court and when stressed her french accent was more prominent, great story and so well narrated I have listened to many of Alex Lees books and am on to the next now .

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Hmmmmm...!

Nothing wrong with the story of course. One of the most dramatic in English history. however the telling of it was a bit lack lustre. I suppose when you're going in to bat against Hillary Mantel. Its a tough number. I felt that some of the facts were a bit like warmed over pizza - just rearranging them didn't make it compelling, or incisive, or exciting.
When Anne was in the Tower - would she really be bothered about Henry not being there to kiss her 'duckies'. Personally I think not.

Still, if you like that sort of thing. I can imagine some people would find the book enjoyable. I certainly couldn't write anything as good. so well done!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Enjoyable

I love anything to do with the Tudors whether fact or fiction. The only problem I had was when to take a break as I thought to myself “just one more chapter”. I have listened to it a couple of times as it’s easy to lose yourself. For an hour or two.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Outstanding performance by Alex Lee and a riveting story

I’ve read many accounts about Ann Boleyn but this is the best so far. Told in the first person Lee’s voice with its subtle French accent brings the story and Ann herself to life. The author has successfully created plausible psychological truth within the characters of Ann and Henry as well as the other key characters in this tragic story.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

great read

great book really enjoyed reading this with a different way of looking at annes story

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Disappointing

Not we all what I expected- together with the nebulous facts and appalling accents- awful

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for BVerité
  • BVerité
  • 24-11-18

Incredibly enjoyable listen!

This author does a wonderful job bringing Anne to life. I couldn’t stop listening and finished this book in a day and a half. All Tudor fans will enjoy this one, especially the way it begins and ends- with Henry on his death bed... no spoilers of course.
Narration was excellent.

I’ve listened to every Tudor biography and much of the relevant historical fiction available on Audible. From a young age, I’ve been captivated story of Anne Boleyn. The nearly decade long love story that ends so quickly in her murder, only a few years after they finally were married. I don’t believe for a second that Anne was guilty of adultery, yet it has always haunted me that the king could behead her and so many of his own close friends on false evidence. With this in mind, the author note and conclusion at the end of the book was very intriguing, as she states that there’s new evidence which sheds light on this very issue.

I’m hoping that new histories and/or biographies will come out soon that sheds light on the new evidence!

14 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Kat
  • Kat
  • 06-03-19

Incredible

For anyone who loves Tudor History, this is a must!!!!! Especially if you are interested in a first person account of Anne Boleyn. This maybe fiction, but it has some interesting historical qualities that makes this story completely absorbing.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for lv
  • lv
  • 27-12-19

Flawed But Overall OK

I admit I didn't like this book at first and almost called it quits about a third of the way in. The narrator very oddly spoke occasional words with what sounded like a Spanish accent and the writer's depiction of Anne's thoughts during her courtship with Henry VIII, where she's this fragile flower trying to protect her chastity, doesn't ring true with who Anne really was at all. Anne Boleyn was an ambitious, common knowledge "party girl" while part of the French Court and had at least two affairs with notoriously promiscuous men before Henry. Henry himself said he found out after he married Anne that she had lied about her virginity. And I don't think he said that just because he wanted to be rid of her. What I did like about the book was that it begins and ends with her standing over Henry's death bed, taunting and scaring the tar out of him. I thought that was a cool invention. And some of her inner dialog, especially during her last days in the Tower before execution, could very well be close to the truth of what Anne was thinking and going through emotionally. If you are interested in this book, I would almost suggest you first read "Lady in the Tower" by Allison Weir, which is a fantastically detailed non fiction account of the last days of Anne Boleyn. I think knowing all the true facts and details about Anne's last few months of life would enrich the experience of reading this book. Although you'll also be more aware of its errors. OK read, nonetheless.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for dlien
  • dlien
  • 02-04-19

King Henry destroyed a life.

Wonderful history and pure excitement in story . Voices and accents amazing and draws you in.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for David
  • David
  • 31-01-19

Enjoyed

I enjoyed this take on the rise and fall of Ann Boleyn. Good narrator. Good story.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for H. Meeks
  • H. Meeks
  • 15-06-19

entertaining

The way the story was told was good. nothing new really but no wild invention either. The narrator was only ok, sometimes her accent changes to a weird half french half Spanish accent for no reason and it's distracting. Her portrayal of Anne I felt was a little off. Sometimes she was a poor innocent draw in by the king, sometimes she was a scheeming power monger. It can't be both. I think she was very clever and calculating, so seeing her as a victim in the beginning was a little off for me. The ending was good! Worth the listen!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 16-09-18

struggled a bit with the performance.

The narrator doesn't sound as a young vibrant girl but sounds much older - therefore difficult to invision Anne Boleyn.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Christy W.
  • Christy W.
  • 10-03-20

A new take

For the most part we read that Anne is an evil adulterous “B” who wrecked a marriage and who was herself not a nice person.
This book puts a whole new spin being written from her point of view and paints her as an impressionable young lady discovering herself and life’s joys.

It was a nice change seeing this side of the coin for a change.

I feel the narrator sometimes lost Anne’s voice and couldn’t remember which she was using. But other than that very easy to follow and understand.
Gripping book. Finished in a day and a half. Wish the author had would write about more of the wives of Henry viii

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 04-03-20

im obsessed with stories of this era

I loved hearing a different version of Anne. i loved the way this author portrayed her.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Abbey Rompf
  • Abbey Rompf
  • 06-12-19

More like a romance novel then history

This book would be a fun read for anyone interested in romance novels. It basically picks apart the real story so that it fits in a romantic drama type read. There are a lot of historical inaccuracies although I did appreciate the writer putting Anne in more of a clueless victim role then the usual "Anne the seductress schemer" roll. I think if you are looking for a romance novel loosely based on history then this is for you. If you are looking for historical accuracy about Anne this is not where you will find the whole truth. I gave it a 50/50 rating because I was looking for something more on the historical side, and Im not usually the one to get into romance, Im sure if I was I might have enjoyed it more.

1 person found this helpful