Since I am very familiar with the history, I found myself continually have to verify events that were presented as fact by the author. For example, Mary was not the younger girl as told in this story, but was in fact the older sister. Additionally, it was unlikely that Mary was present at the execution. Most modern historians confirm that she was not even in the city at the time and had been banished to Rochford with her husband. Realizing that this is fiction, I am fine with an author taking some liberties with the truth, such as interpolating motives and thoughts to the characters, but I find it disconcerting when accepted facts are clearly changed to suit the author's plot
My other criticism was that the characters were portrayed as timeless archetypes instead of complex characters. Mary was the epitome of all that good and virtuous. She was the victim of her circumstances, completely manipulated by her family. Whereas, Anne was the essence of evil. She was vindictive, vain, manipulative, and cruel. I find this Snow White vs. The Evil Queen ploy to be an overly-simplistic way of looking at these complex characters.
Also, the description of Mary's second marriage was really unbelievable. The notion that she joyfully accepted the role of farmer's wife with no apparent difficulty was incongruent with the harsh realities of life on an English farm in that time period, especially for someone accustomed to life at the royal court. She would have had to work all day and well into the night. I was almost ready for her to pull a Snow White and break into "Whistle while you work."
I did appreciate that the author selected to tell the story from the point of view of minor character in history. I just think that she could have done a better job with her portrayal.
It also seemed she forced the Boleyn self-identification. I found myself rolling my eyes whenever Mary exclaimed, "I have to do as I am told. I am a BOLEYN girl!" This same line was very overused.
The actress who read the book was excellent. Her performance and depiction of the characters was superb.
Overall, I was entertained. I could even deal with the cartoonish characters if the history has been portrayed more accurately. That fact led to this mediocre review.
This was one of the best audiobooks that I have ever listened to. The actresses were amazing in their performance. It is definitely worth listening to. You, too, will be hooked.
I enjoy a novel that effectively encapsulates the social norms of the time without infusing them with modern sensibilities. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is just that sort of work. You really understand how and why people believed as they did and acted in kind. It is truly a masterpiece.
Wood does a phenomenal job as narrator. He is an accomplished actor and does not overly dramatize unnecessarily, which can bring a good novel to tedium. He switches from character to character with ease and seamlessly.
It might be shocking for modern ears to hear the language commonly used in the novel, but one must realize that people did indeed speak and think as such. However, the author successfully conveys to us that the only man of honor and scruples in the entire work is Jim, the escaped slave. That message transcends any previous disparaging comments and elevates his status in the reader's eyes. Even when they are behaving morally with good conscience according to the mores of the time, it is clear to the reader that Tom, Huck and the other characters in the novel are lacking in the moral substance. I believe that the author was trying to impress that point upon us.
This books reads like a high school history book. There is no real story. Additionally, the author doesn't provide any good insights into the people and culture of the time. He just strung together facts and dates.
There are no real insights. I am about a third into the book and it's like listening to someone read Wikipedia.
The narrator/author reads flatly, droning on and on. Because there are so many names and places involved in the retelling this piece of history, it's hard to keep track of characters by listening. This is not a book I would recommend that anyone LISTEN to. If you must read it, buy a real book.
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