Researcher/oral historian and fitness enthusiast from Austin, TX, currently residing in San Diego. I love to read, but traditional books require a person to be sedentary while reading. Audio books make it possible for me to increase both my physical activity and reading quantity.
1. Beautiful, creative, award-worthy writing and a new perspective on a timeless historic tale.
2. Stands alone.
It is not necessary to get the first book in the series (Wolf Hall) as Bring Up the Bodies does fine as a stand-alone work, but I am very glad that listened to Wolf Hall prior to Bring Up the Bodies as knowing details and characters in the back story was immensely helpful.
3. New narrator is a big improvement.
Unlike Wolf Hall, Bring Up the Bodies does beautifully in the audio format and was very easy to follow because the narrator does such an excellent job. Though Wolf Hall is just as good if not better than Bring Up the Bodies, I gave an unfavorable review to Wolf Hall because I found it hard to follow and hard to stomach in audio format. I mentioned that the narrator might be the cause of this, but I wasn't sure. After listening to a different narrator for Bring Up the Bodies, I am100% sure that the change in narrator made all the difference in my listening experience.
So much to learn, and so little time to sit down and read. Thanks Audible.
After reading all the great reviews I was eager to read this book. I really like the learning that comes with books about history, and I love a good novel. In my opinion this book was neither. It was boring to read, and seemed SO tedious. I got sick of hearing Cromwell's voice, and it felt like he was in every scene.
Books about historical events have the disadvantage of the reader already knowing the ending, but the good ones are able to insert twists and intrigue throughout the story. With this book I felt Mantel just kept plodding toward the finish line like a race with just one turtle.
The five worthwhile minutes mentioned in my headline are because this is a good historical story, it's just that it could be explained by a history teacher in 5 minutes. Then you'd still have time to go home and listen to a good book.
I finally realized why I don't enjoy the talented and accomplished Simon Vance as a narrator: his voice strikes me as chilly, even though I realize he might in real life be the warmest-hearted person I could ever hope to meet. But what this meant for my "Bring Up the Bodies" listen is that I was left wondering if Hilary Mantel was telling the story of a man (Cromwell) corrupted by power, who had lost some of his human qualities—or if it was just that Simon Slater (for Book One of the series) was better able to express Cromwell's tenderness and regrets. I couldn't tell if Cromwell had changed, or if I was just confused by the change in narrator. Also, while "Wolf Hall" chronicles the rise of the plucky Cromwell and equally plucky Anne Boleyn, and it's the icky Thomas More who loses his head, in "BUtB" it's the demure (and less fascinating) Jane Seymour whose star is rising, and it's hard not to feel sorry for the innocent and/or naive courtiers who end up paying the ultimate price when Cromwell starts calling in accounts. Despite the excellent writing and narration, I didn't enjoy this audiobook as much as its predecessor.
I enjoyed Wolf Hall and wanted to listen to the sequel. What a stunning writer, Mantel is-- beautiful, lyrical, and complex. Mantel's treatment of Cromwell is much more sympathetic than that of other writers of the Tudor period in English history. The narration is also excellent. A bookclub friend and I agreed that these two books are much more "readable" in the auditory rather than print versions.
Thomas Cromwell, of course!
All of them--he was unbelievably good at inhabiting each character with slight changes of inflection and accent.
When angels and devils switched places by the minute.
Ann Boleyn? Inconceivable!
Mantel's 2009 Booker Prize winning effort "Wolf Hall", to which this novel is a sequel, suffered, I felt, from a lack of editing. "Bring Up the Bodies" is tauter and, for that reason, actually better.
Vance is always a first-rate narrator, and he doesn't disappoint here.
Anne's final days
I would've liked this book more if I hadn't just read Wolf Hall. This is a very different Thomas Cromwell.
Remove the positive recollections of Walter Cromwell - considering Wolf Hall, they didn't make any sense.
I never considered Queen Anne had a French accent.
I like books with complex characters and an in-depth examination of relationships. Memoir, mystery, historical fiction are favorites.
A good story. Not really riveting narrative, but interesting. Must needs pay attention to all the details and nuances of the various relationships. Overall, a classy production. Worth a listen.
I enjoyed this second instalment in Mantel's story of Thomas Cromwell. It feels like she's going to keep going. The detail of her writing and her vocabulary is fantastic. The characters, however, remain cold and clinical. While we find out what they think, there is virtually no emotion throughout. I found that quite disconcerting as the stories wades its way through intrigues and beheadings. Perhaps, it is the brilliance of how she depicts Cromwell, always in complete control, that creates a control over the entirety.
Dame Hilary Mantel thoroughly deserved her Man Bookers for these books. With unique styling that the reader quickly gets used to, in this volume she tells the short and tragic history of Anne Boleyn, from the perspective of King Henry VIII's right-hand man, Thomas Cromwell. A historical fiction to be sure, but as with the best of that genre, a source of the truth of that period more memorable than a dozen biographies. The performance was letter perfect. Read these before you see the TV series if you want to make sense of it.