When Mary Boleyn comes to court as an innocent girl of 14, she catches the eye of Henry VIII. Dazzled by the king, Mary falls in love with both the golden prince and her growing role as an unofficial queen. However, she soon realizes just how much she is a pawn in her family's ambitious plots when the king's interest begins to wane and she is forced to step aside for her best friend and rival: her powerfully ambitious sister, Anne Boleyn. As Mary watches Anne manipulate her rise to the throne, Mary knows that she must defy her family and her king and take her fate into her own hands.
A rich and compelling tale of love, ambition, lust, and intrigue, The Other Boleyn Girl introduces a woman of extraordinary determination and desire who lived at the very center of the most exciting and glamorous court in Europe and survived by following her heart.
©2011 Philippa Gregory (P)2011 Simon & Schuster
"You want a real page-turner, but you don't want to tarnish your reputation for literary taste. The Other Boleyn Girl is your kind of... book." (Newsday)
Now, a retired anthropologist with the time to listen to books as I weave, quilt and crank out functional fabrics for fun :)
What did a 13 year old girl need to know to survive a life in the court of King Henry the eighth; a lot more than you might think. But in Philippa Gregory's work, the reader will discover the most intimate and visceral of necessary knowledge.
The style and flow of this book reads much like the author's other works about the Tudor court and years of war that preceded it. It is good to read all of these books of richly worded English History in the sequence of time rather than the order they were written.
The fine writing and narration of this book gives the reader not only the feel but the smell of what it took for Mary Boleyn to escape the court then ride alone to a distant hamlet. It was not only the courage it took to leave, but the courage and knowledge it took for her to ride her horse for days, negotiate for food and safe havens to sleep, then stand before her Knight, pungent with the smell of horse and unwashed woman, hoping with all her being that she would not be turned away.
I would want to go back in time to interview Mary Boleyn Stafford as a grandmother on hearing all that would happen to the many wives of her past royal lover and what she thought of the social & religious upheavals that followed the beheading of her sister. Other than that, I would not miss the chance to listen to the servants and musicians who were also first hand witnesses.
If my history classes and reading assignments had been this much fun I would have been far more attentive.
I enjoyed the novel the same way I enjoy most of this author's works. I loved the literary devices and the author's choice to tell Anne Boleyn's story from her sister's point of view. I did, however, struggle with the quantity of the racy bits. I felt like this story was a little pornographic, and while I don't shy from people writing about sex (it being a part of human life, after all) I felt like many passages could have been written more discreetly. This isn't a book I want to keep in my library or one that I'd want on my shelves.
I have always loved historical novels & this was awesome. Of course I would recommend it if you aren't afraid to change your old perceptions of Henry the VIII's second wife.
The performance was great too. Susan Lyons really brought the characters to life
When I finished it I couldn't wait to start the next Philippa Gregory book!
This is the first time that I heard that the Boleyn son was gay. It was good to learn a little more about Mary Boleyn. I would enjoy a book on her life after court.
The story is interesting enough, though overly Harlequin Romance for my taste. But given that there is an actual history here, this is way, way more fiction than historical. There's taking some liberty to fill in some blanks, and then there's just making almost the whole thing up. Why not just write fiction without the historical names? Anne Boleyn poisoned three people, maybe five, maybe more? Really?
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