Thursday, September 03, 2020

The Other Boleyn Girl, by Philippa Gregory

The Other Boleyn Girl (The Plantagenet and Tudor Novels, #9)

This is the story of Henry VIII's second wife, Anne Boleyn, and her sister, Mary. Gregory takes known dates and events and weaves a rather gripping story around what might have happened to cause these to occur. So even though the ending wasn't in question, the journey was quite fun.

While amusing, the portrayal of Anne seemed inconsistent. At the outset she is clever and witty, plotting with her family to advance their station in life. When she catches Henry's eye she becomes conniving and ruthless and helps to oust a sitting queen, and when she becomes queen herself she turns into an outright shrew, shrill and unpleasant. The well-known adage "power corrupts" could be an explanation, but the intelligence shown early seems to fade with Anne becoming a caricature of the megalomaniac queen.

The writing style is straightforward, with a minimum of flowery romance-speak—something I appreciated. A bit long, but the action moves quickly enough it doesn't feel like a 650+ book. More entertainment than biography, this makes me want to read a more factual account of the time. Certainly kept my interest, and well worth the time it took to read.

First Sentence:
I could hear a roll of muffled drums.

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