When Mary Boleyn comes to court as an innocent girl of fourteen, she catches the eye of Henry VIII. Dazzled, Mary falls in love with both her golden prince and her growing role as unofficial queen. However, she soon realises just how much she is a pawn in her family’s ambitious plots as the king’s interest beg
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it was amazing
Some people (read: uptight history nerds with nothing better to do) like to get their undies in knots over Philippa Gregory’s writing and whine about how she takes too many liberties with history. Well, guess what? She makes it interesting, and since her books are classified as fiction, I think she can be allowed that. Also, I consider myself a history nerd, especially when it comes to the Tudors, and I think Gregory’s books are great. The stories surrounding Henry VIII are already really good;
Disclaimer: Don’t confuse this book with a biography of Mary Boleyn. It’s fiction all the way. It’s a good read when you remember that this is fiction and not a blow-by-blow account of historical events. And because it is fiction, Gregory is able to play a little fast and loose with historical fact. Mary was most likely the oldest Boleyn child, not the youngest as presented here. She had also served the French kings court, just as Anne did, but was sent home in disgrace after tales of her promis
Otherwise, it was a decent book. There were parts I thought went a little far, especially with Mary and George teaching Anne “whore’s tricks” to woo the king without actually having sex with him. Granted, activity like this may have happened, but I don’t necessarily want to read about it. I loved the love story between Mary and William Stafford, and would have liked to seen more of the relationship between Anne and Henry, when they were younger, seemingly in love, and she was as much a partner and advisor in his affairs as king (especially in religious thinking and such) as any man at court.
Somehow though, this book has tarnished my romanticized concept of courtly behavior. It’s horrifying to consider that some of the political wrangling and the use of women as temptations, mistresses, and pawns to rise in society, titles, and the court probably happened, at least to some extent. If this was the way life was in those days, I would hope that I was a commoner. Because being in the court and used as someone’s chattel to get what they wanted with no regard for my desires or who I loved would have been awful.
I picked this one up at work because I want to see the movie (hello, Scarlett Johansen and Natalie Portman? Yes please), and because I know I’ll have thousands of people asking me about it, like with Atonement, which I never read. In short, this book sucks. It’s the worst kind of historical fiction – light on the history, and not fun or well written to make up for it. The characters are one dimensional, the writing is trite and full of cliches. Complete trash, but I’m not putting it on my enjoya