Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Boleyn Inheritance

This book, by Phillipa Gregory, is a follow-up to The Other Boleyn Girl, a book I read several years ago when it first came out, and which has recently been made into a movie which is, of course, not nearly as good as the book. But I have to say, I liked this book much better than that one.

This tells the story of Anne of Cleves and Katherine Howard, Henry VIII's fourth and fifth wives. Although the ending is tragic, as is to be expected if you know the historical details, it was a fantastic read. Everyone who knows me knows how much I *heart* Tudor England, and especially historical fiction involving Tudor England, so of course I follow Ms. Gregory's work. But this was the first of her books that actually made me think of the main characters in a way different from how I had thought of them before--especially Anne of Cleves, the Mare of Flanders. It was sort of feministastic, which is to say that it showed a very strong independent woman who managed to get through some very tough times. I had just never really considered before that after her marriage was over, she was still hanging around in England, and what that was like for her and for the other players in this drama. Thought-provoking and intriguing--now that's my kind of read!

Excellent stuff. Loved it!

Edited to include: As I was thinking further about this book and my review of it, I realized that I left something out. One teeny weeny little criticism I have is that I felt that the author repeated herself a few too many times. The book is comprised of three separate women's voices woven together to narrate the story, and it seems like she'd have Anne say something, then the next two people would narrate, and then when she got back to Anne, she'd have her say the exact same thing she said last time. Perhaps that's for emphasis, but it just seemed like that sort of thing happened a little too often for my taste, as I obviously hadn't forgotten about the first time I heard that line. Anyway. Just a very small insignificant little dinghy adrift in the sea of praise I have for this book. But I thought you should know. Consider yourselves warned.

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