The Queen of Subtleties

The Queen of Subtleties
Genre : Fiction
Published : 1 Mar 2004 - Flamingo
During the last year of Anne Boleyn's reign as queen to King Henry VIII, the King's confectioner, Lucy Cornwallis, does what she can to keep herself to herself. The Court is constantly riven with intrigue, but Lucy spends her days sculpting luxurious sugar centrepieces for royal celebrations. One day, she has an unusual visitor, someone curious to meet the creator of these famed sculptures. It's Mark Smeaton, a dashing young musician on whom, ultimately, Anne's downfall hinges.

THE QUEEN OF SUBTLETIES casts a surprisingly modern, intimate new light on an extraordinary era. Full of brilliant characterization, wit and good humour, the novel weaves together the voices of two complicated and compelling women - ill-fated queen and cherished servant - in a fascinating retelling of one of the most infamous stories in English history.


THE QUEEN OF SUBTLETIES offers a stunningly refreshing way of retelling an old story. I often abandon historical novels nowadays, but I really could not put this one down. It brings Anne Boleyn to life as never before, and, probably for the first time ever in fiction, Henry VIII emerges as a truly credible character in an authentic setting.

Alison Weir, author of The Six Wives of Henry VIII

The story of Anne Boleyn has been told many times, but never in such an earthy, plausible way, straight from the bedrooms and kitchens of Henry VIII.


A remarkable writer, a lyricist of ordinary life and ordinary people transfigured by extreme emotions."<br />

Christopher Hart, Daily Telegraph

Suzannah Dunn is that rarity among contemporary novelists: a genuine stylist. Her prose is like truffles – rich, rare, dark, but never cloying.

Wendy Perriam

Her ear for the rhythms of speech is unerring, her feeling for the minutiae of experience acute. It takes a good deal of artistry to create the illusion of real life, and she has managed something more difficult still, which is to who us how strange real life can be.

Christina Koning, The Times

Suzannah Dunn has a wonderful eye for the telling details that bring historical novels to life, and she uses it to full effect in her latest offering... Dunn is on sparkling form.

Yorkshire Evening Post

Dunn has a stylish swish at writing a novel.

Bournemouth Echo

Confidently written.

Financial Times

Dunn’s blend of fiction and real events works and the personal perspective she offers is interesting.

Irish Independent

You will love the latest offering from Suzannah Dunn... An excellent yarn given a fresh and imaginative flavour. You will not be disappointed.

Jane Truman


Sainsbury’s Magazine

A delicious romp.

Publisher’s Weekly

A refreshingly unique perspective to a familiar tale.


A boisterous historical recreation.


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