The Making of In the Footsteps of Anne Boleyn

By Natalie Grueninger and Sarah Morris


All aboard for the first stop of the virtual book tour of In The Footsteps of Anne Boleyn! We have two copies of Sarah and Natalie’s deliciously written, fact-packed, best-selling book to give two lucky passengers. To be eligible, just post a comment at the end of the post.

NatHeverCastleNatalie’s Story

For as long as I can remember, I have been fascinated with the dimension of time and have delighted in reading about the theories that try and make sense of it. There are, though, many more questions than answers: Does time even exist? Is time just an abstract concept?  Is time linear? Can events occur outside of time? Is it possible to go back in time?

Alongside this fascination, grew a deep connection with the past; I hear its velvety whispers and feel it intently, each and every day.  But never more so than when I’m standing in an ancient building, which has witnessed the ebb and flow of life for hundreds of years, where the walls echo with the footsteps of its former inhabitants and their stories are gently carried in the air.

I am intrigued and excited by the idea that when we stand on the very spot where a stranger from the past once stood, it’s only time—and not space— that stands between us: time, which we know so little about. It’s here, in these spaces where history speaks to me, where the past suddenly seems within reach, where it becomes something I can almost touch.

My love of history and of old buildings, coupled with my passion for Tudor history—in particular, Anne Boleyn’s story—led to the creation of my history website, On the Tudor Trail, in early 2009. At the time, I was also in the middle of planning a big ‘Tudor pilgrimage’ and was desperately searching for a list of surviving locations that Anne had visited; I wanted to walk in the footsteps of this remarkable woman and see things that she’d once owned or touched.

But apart from finding mention of the well-known places like Hever Castle, the Tower of London and Hampton Court, I found very little. So I pledged that I would start my own list and make the information available to other Anne Boleyn enthusiasts, who wanted to follow Anne’s trail into the past. And so the journey began, almost five years ago.

For me, the transition from website to book was a natural one. Over the years I’d acquired a great deal of knowledge about the many houses, castles and palaces that formed a backdrop to Anne Boleyn’s life and researched what artefacts survive connected to her. Then, in 2010, our love of all things Anne and Tudor brought Sarah Morris and I together. We began corresponding regularly and soon realised that by sharing what we’d each learnt on our separate historical journeys, we could produce something fresh and unique. I hope you’ll agree that we’ve succeeded in our mission.

My hope is that by the end of our book, you’ll feel closer to Anne—the woman, the mother, the wife and the queen. I hope she will cease simply being a character on a page and emerge instead as the fiercely intelligent, complex and unforgettable woman that she was.

SaraStPetersHeverSarah’s Story

 In August 2010, my life changed forever. I was swept up in my own adventure of a lifetime, compelled to pen a novel which, at its heart, tells the intimate story of Anne Boleyn’s innocence. Le Temps Viendra was to be an up close and personal account one of the most dramatic love affairs in English history. As a new author, I knew my mantra was to MAKE.HISTORY.REAL and I was determined that historical accuracy would be the bedrock of this fictional biography, telling the untold story of how Anne was betrayed and abandoned by the man who spent years pursuing her relentlessly.

   I’m not a professional historian. This meant that to achieve my goal, I had to research many hitherto unfamiliar aspects of Tudor society and the Henrician court; from how courtiers danced and dined, how they hunted and reverenced each other, and of course, I needed to become intimately acquainted with the palaces and houses that formed the backdrop against which Anne’s story unfolded. I not only wanted to understand how such buildings were laid out, how the rooms were used and flowed from one into the other, but also every detail of how they were decorated. Such detail was essential, for I wanted anyone who was reading the novel to be able to close their eyes and recreate each chamber in their minds eye, to smell the scents that would fill the nostrils, the textures that one might reach out and touch. In the process of attempting to create a vivid sensory picture for the reader, I became intimately familiar with several of Henry’s great houses. So familiar in fact that I reached the point where I could walk through them in my imagination, progressing from chamber to chamber with the same familiarity as if I was greeting an old friend. Eltham Palace, Greenwich, Hampton Court, the royal apartments at the Tower of London, all became like my second home, and whilst modern day Calais melted away, in its place the long lost Tudor town rose up from France’s most northerly shore. It was if I were rediscovering a whole new facet of Anne’s life. As I filled the canvas with colour and texture, it felt as if I were rediscovering a secret which breathed an extraordinary new life into my understanding of Anne’s story. I was enraptured, and found myself approaching each new location with great anticipation and excitement.

   Although much of the material uncovered was woven into the story of Le Temps Viendra – indeed all of the location-based, architectural details you read about in the novel are rooted in fact – a good deal more remained unused. It was an easy decision to team up with Natalie, who I knew was equally fascinated by such locations. Together, we decided to extend our previous research and comprehensively chart Anne’s life through places and artefacts associated with her. And so In the Footsteps of Anne Boleyn was born. It has been a huge privilege to follow in those footsteps, resulting in a book that we believe provides a unique insight into the life of one of England’s most iconic and compelling queen consorts.

SarahNatDr Sarah Morris and Natalie Grueninger co-authors of In the Footsteps of Anne Boleyn, published in September 2013. In the Footsteps is a guide book to all the places and artefacts associated with one of England’s most compelling and controversial queens.


Natalie Grueninger is a researcher, writer and educator, living in Australia with her husband and two children. She graduated from The University of NSW in 1998 with a Bachelor of Arts, with majors in English and Spanish and Latin American Studies and received her Bachelor of Teaching from The University of Sydney in 2006. Natalie has been working in public education for the last seven years and is passionate about making learning engaging and accessible for all children. In 2009 she created On the Tudor Trail, a website dedicated to documenting historic sites and buildings associated with Anne Boleyn and sharing information about the life and times of Henry VIII’s second wife. To find out more about Natalie’s research and writing visit:


Sarah is also the author of Le Temps Viendra: a novel of Anne Boleyn, Volumes I and II. Le Temps Viendra is a fictional biography telling the story of Anne’s innocence through the eyes of a modern day woman, drawn back in time, to find herself in the body of her historical heroine as Anne Boleyn’s dramatic story unfolds from triumph to disaster and its final, heart-wrenching conclusion on the scaffold. Volume I was published in 2012, with Volume II due out before the end of 2013. To find out more about Sarah’s research and writing visit:


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Filed under Across/Beyond Genres with The Tudors: Guest Posts by Novelists, Historians, Cultural Observers, Poets, Memoirists, Artists, and Bloggers

72 responses to “The Making of In the Footsteps of Anne Boleyn

  1. Elizabeth St Clair

    I would love to win a copy of this book about a fascinating woman. How wonderful that a collaboration has brought forth such a fresh perspective on her.

  2. Miche

    Great article!

  3. Maxine

    Can’t wait to read in the Footsteps of Anne Boleyn, sounds like a great book.

  4. Pingback: The Making of In the Footsteps of Anne Boleyn

  5. Alicia

    Well done to both of you! I love how much passion you have for Anne and how determined you are to give us such wonderful resources to use.
    Thank you!

  6. suzeecreemcheez

    I’m always fascinated by the motivations that led authors to write the particular book that they did. As fascinating as why is how. A deeper understanding of the book is gained by having some insight into these two questions. Thank you for your work. It delights and enlightens me.

  7. I can’t wait to read the book!

  8. I cant wait to read it!

  9. Kristin

    I believe this is one of many historical lifetimes that calls out so clearly. Perhaps time is just another place that with the proper guide we each can transcend.

  10. Love Tudor history! Fabulous post!

  11. Kat

    Fascinating,looking forward to the journey.

  12. Nathalie

    I cannot wait to read the book! It must be so inspiring and fascinating standing or sitting at the same spot as Anne Boleyn did 500 years ago!
    The book will be a great help for the organization of my trip to England next year 😉
    Thank you for sharing your passion with us!
    Greetings from Germany

  13. Eliza

    Being able to visit all places related to Anne Boleyn is a true dream!! I have visited Hampton Court Palace, the Tower of London and Westminster Abbey and I was in awe just thinking that Anne walked there, along with so many other Tudor and other historical figures!

  14. Elizabeth Dey Scurlock

    I am so obsessed with all things Tudor and especially Anne Boleyn. I cannot read enough- this book is a must read!! I need another book~ and very soon because my family has asked me to please stop talking about the Tudors to them 😀 I would love to travel and retrace the steps of Anne Boleyn myself- that is definitely on my bucket list.

  15. Katie Paddock

    Can’t wait to read all the articles on the virtual tour!

  16. cherylsmith12

    I would love to learn more about Anne Boleyn and places she visited. I already know the basics about her life but it would be neat to learn more about the places she went and why.

  17. Yvette Velez

    Very interesting how you both found each other. It’ s as if Anne herself drew you both together, and I’m so excited and can’t wait to get my hands on both In the Footsteps of Anne Boleyn and Le Temps Viendra II.

  18. I like many others here are fascinated by anything Tudor related, I wish I could get a hold of more books that are related to the subject. Thank you so very much for sharing your journey and allowing us all to see things through your eyes that we may not have ever been able to see at all otherwise. I can not wait to read the book I would love to win a copy as would many others who share the same fascination!
    Greetings from Cleveland Tn

  19. Pamela Kapustka

    I have always wanted to visit England, especially to see all the “Tudor-related” places! But yet, at 53, I still have not even been on a plane! I keep thinking about how one day I will eventually get there, but unless I win the lottery or some rich unknown relative leaves me in their will, it will have to remain on “the bucket list”!!! In the meantime, I can live vicariously through your book, and really look forward to getting a copy! It seems like a good book to have around as a reference and trip planner, in case I ever do get there…but if not, I can take an “imaginary trip” with your book! Thanks, lovely ladies for all beautiful pictures & posts, and congratulations on your book!

  20. Holly Matthews

    Very much enjoyed this post, both the idea that we are connected to those from the past through shared spaces and the passion of the authors to help readers connect with Anne in this way. Really looking forward to reading this book, and it’s quite cool to know that a fellow public educator co-wrote it! 🙂

  21. Heather Pratt

    I am very much looking forward to getting my hands on this book – it’s at the top of my holiday wish list! Thank you for sharing your stories and motivations. I’ve been fascinated with Anne Boleyn for years, and never had the time or the opportunity to do the kind of research that you’ve done. I’m also looking forward to this virtual tour. Thanks again for sharing!

  22. Every since “The Six Wives of Henry VIII” was on PBS when I was a teenager, I have been obsessed with Tudor History. Traveling to England has been my life’s dream but discretionary income has always been routed to more mundane expenses. I yearn to visit the castles, estates and countryside and stand where these fascinating people have lived. Having a guidebook such as yours for one of the most enigmatic women of the time would be priceless and surely a treasure in my bookcase. I can’t wait to read it and escape, even if just for a little while, into history!

    • Congratulations, Lynn! You are one of the winners of the “In the Footsteps of Anne Boleyn” contest! If you can provide me with your mailing information (privately sent to my email address), I will make certain that your prize arrives to you!

      Natalie Sweet
      Assistant to Susan Bordo
      The Creation of Anne Boleyn

  23. Tricia Zelenak

    I love historical fiction and lately have been fascinated by Phillipa Gregory’s books on the Plantagenets. I would love to learn more about Henry the VIII and his wives especially Anne Boleyn. Your book sounds like I delicious treat.

  24. Dodee Lindsey

    Lovely idea, sounds like a must read!

  25. Elizabeth Gonzales

    I am also fascinated with Anne, she was the reason I became interested in history of that time period. I haven’t found many factual books on her, here in my local library. But her story is one I would love to get to know, as you know it.


  26. Phyllis Laughlin

    I have been swept up by Tudor history and have read everything I could get my hands on in the past two years. This all began because of my lifelong respect for Anne’s daughter, Elizabeth I. Studying Elizabeth naturally took me back to studying her family. While I have yet to go to these places–I am across the pond in the US–I am developing a bucket list for all the places on the Tudor Trail, as it were, that I would love to visit. Thank you for creating such a wonderful book for people who want to travel in these footsteps!

  27. Sher Tagnet

    I’m with you both! I LOVE the space (including the buildings, streets, parks, wide open places) of ageless History. To walk in their footsteps, and dream of ‘what ifs’ and feel their dreams, their presence. That’s real History to me. To step back in time.

  28. Leigh

    I love the Tudor era. I can’t wait to read this book.

  29. Irene Hough

    I look forward to reading this book with interest as it was quite fascinating to find that we are decendants of Anne Boleyn through my mother’s side of the family.

  30. Cyndee Reynolds

    Thank you for sharing. I can’t wait to read your book. How wonderful it would be to go back in time and be a fly on the wall! 🙂

  31. Both Sarah and Natalie are talented writers. I have truly enjoyed the book (and I am not entering the contest as I have my own copy.) If you don’t have a copy, it is well worth the price. It is wonderful to read a book written by someone who also stands in one place and tries to “feel” the past! I thought I was the only one who did that.

  32. Shannon Makena

    What a great article! I too feel very connected to the last when I visit historical places and walk in the footsteps of these great people! I just finished LTV 1 and I can’t wait to read the second book and in the footsteps of Anne Boleyn. I was fortunate to be able to visit London last winter and was in awe of being in the place where my heroes once frolicked!

  33. Jennifer Huelsebusch

    I love to read about the Tudors!

  34. I’ve been a Tudorphile since 1973 and been to England many times. I can’t get enough of them. Will your book be available on nook or in hard copy? I have an Elizabethan coin circa 1574 that my husband made into a necklace for me and it has gotten me into many places at Hampton Court that are closed to the public. I understand the feeling that you get standing in places that Anne, Henry, and Elizabeth have stood. This is a great article and I look forward to reading your book.

  35. My university classmate, Emily Pooley, made this wax figure of Anne Boleyn for her graduation project. She is an amazing artist and it took the most part of a year to create it. She kindly loaned it to Hever Castle for their display.

  36. Debra Johnson

    I am so excited to read this book, Anne is my heroine! I live in the US & unfortunely have not been to England yet, although the plan is for 2015. So would love to be able to read this book prior & use it as a guide for my trip.

  37. I have to say I can’t believe I didn’t find you all sooner. I have been obsessed with Tudor history for many years. I think it started with my visit to England in 1981. Just being in the Tower of London and touring Hampton Court you can not help but be struck and awed by the sense of place and history. A return trip to England is on my bucket list.

  38. Glyn Pope

    Looks like another book I’ve got to buy about Anne. Unless I winf of course:)

  39. Nerissa

    I would love to win a copy I am a huge Tudors fan I literally own 30 books about it and 4 are about just Anne not including the six wives ones. I loved the books and honestly I want more lol!

  40. Pamela

    Very interesting topic! I’m looking forward to reading the book.

  41. Kathi

    I’m looking forward to reading this book, I have always been fascinated with Anne.

  42. Jasmine Marrero-Pratt

    One of my goals in life is to go to England and see as many Tudor historical sites as I can. I love the concept of this book!

  43. summerhuelsen

    I have always wanted to walk down the paths taken by Anne Boleyn and discover who she really was. I have read so much about her that it would be amazing to see her path with my own eyes!!!! Ii am really looking forward to learning more about this amazing misunderstood woman!!!

  44. Dennine

    I am thrilled to have found Le Temps Viendra. Tudor history has always fascinated me and especially Anne. I know that she helped shape the history of England and received so little credit. Thank you for bringing a piece of her to me. I cherish the ttime I spend getting lost in these pages. A book so well written that the words written on the page stop being read and turn into a movie in my mind. That is the true testament to a great writer.

  45. Summer

    This book sounds wonderful. I dream one day I can visit all these wonderful places. I’ve enjoyed all the pictures and info of all places you’ve visited. Thank you

  46. As an American Historian with a BA Degree in Tudor History, I be very interested in a free copy. I have sent for the book, if I win , im donating it to My Alum University’s Carlow University in Pittsburgh Pa History Dept! I am sure They will enjoy this for their collection. And I will send you a conformation letter from Carlow University . Thank you for bringing Anne to life in our History!

  47. Alyssa

    I am so envious of you two ladies! I would love to visit the places she spent her time at, to be able to make her more real in my mind. Historical figures are almost always like dreams or characters to me – I think from living in a place where there isn’t much rich, detailed history (Alaska), they seem almost surreal. I’ve been in love with history since I could read, and I’m still fascinated and compelled by it. I crave new books to read and to see these places someday. I would love to read your book, as a new perspective is always refreshing!

  48. Hayley czap

    So looking forward to reading In The Footsteps!! Love this era in history!

  49. Rachael

    Can’t wait to see this x

  50. “In the Footsteps of Anne Boleyn” will be the next best thing to actually visiting the UK, since I live so far away. I am also anxiously awaiting the second part of “Le Temps Viendra”.

  51. I am MORE than excited to read this book and I am very particular when choosing historical books to gather into my library. What makes the approach of Grueninger and Morris different (for me) is that both authors seem to want to portray a more 3-dimensional history rather than just: “what Anne Boleyn was like”. Life is never about one person and to get a realistic idea of what life WAS like for one person, one really needs to comprehend all of the aesthetics involved in addition to other people that had relationships with the subject. I so appreciate all of the factual documentation of the early Tudor period that has been provided by so many authors and historians. I also appreciate factual documentation that has been further explored and carefully analyzed. That said however, a life is more than documented facts. There are many “facts” about my life but those facts are merely “points of interest”: They don’t tell my story.

    For Grueninger and Morris to have found each other through a shared interest and then be able to collaborate on this project is such a blessing. I am but one of many who are really looking forward to going on this journey with the authors.

  52. Hilary

    What a great article. I can’t wait to get this book. I would love to follow in Anne’s steps. I often wonder if she would have done things differently had she known the outcome, but so much of English history is what it is because of the life she lead and the choices she made.

  53. Danyelle Rickard

    I love that you have made this journey and are sharing it with us! When my husband and I make it overseas (we are in the US) we hope to visit many of the places you have traveled. It will be a wonderful experience for us both since we have a mutual love for Tudor history!

  54. Jennifer C.

    How wonderful! Anne Boleyn is so fascinating! 🙂

  55. Noni

    I really love how you have made history real, alive from the pages and into my house! Have read masses on the Tudors and simply cannot get enough. Thanks again for presenting a different insight into this great period.

  56. Lori Thomas

    Great article!! Love both the authors! I enjoy reading anything about the Tudors. Can`t wait to read this book. Would love to win a copy to add to my collection.

  57. I have been fascinated with the wives of Henry the VIII for many years, my particular favourite has always been Kathrine of Aragon, I never really took to Anne Boleyn so havn’t read as much on her. But hearing the passion Natalie and Sarah have, it has made me think maybe I have been missing something, I will be reading much more on her in the future.

  58. Great article. I’m fascinated with history. The thought of standing & walking in the same places as the people you read about in history books just excites me. One day i’ll travel and walk in their footsteps!

  59. maria

    World of history is fantastic tudor history is so amazing!!

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  61. Hannah Gratrick

    I’m planning on visiting as many places associated with Anne Boleyn as possible for my 21st in a couple of weeks. This book would be an amazing companion 😀

  62. Ana

    What a great giveaway, and fascinating post!

  63. What a wonderful idea for a book! I would so like to trace the footsteps of Anne Boleyn, to go where she went…what an amazing journey that would be. Perhaps on my next trip across the pond I can. I cannot wait to read this book!

  64. Jenny R

    Can’t wait to read it!

  65. I have my whole life been drawn to the English life and culture. Although I am European, I was not in this lifetime, English. This did not stop me however from saturating my life with English history, Renaissance Reenactments, attending SCA events, wearing period clothing, reading books, watching documentaries, movies and just this summer, finally making to Europe. Standing in gothic cathedrals, castles and towns transported me back in time that no other way ever has. There is an energetic footprint of past people and events that cannot be experienced unless you are there. Since this was and will be my only overseas trip, I am so very much looking forward to your book to transport me back again. You two get it and understand what it is of that I speak. Thank you. And yes, this really is my email, for more than 20 years now!!

  66. “Does time even exist?”
    Those words possibly made me rethink my entire existence. Great post, ladies! 🙂

  67. …”Anne was betrayed and abandoned by the man who spent years pursuing her relentlessly…” – that sums up what I think of as the horror (other than the imprisonment and beheading) of being Anne Boleyn.

  68. Candida NIchols

    This is just the right book for me and a gift for anyone interested in the spaces occupied in history in which one can stand and feel the aura left behind As experienced today at the Vyne whilst standing in the Chapel quietly absorbing the atmosphere

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