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And there was the love affair with Henry Percy. Anne admits to her sworn enemy that she has slept with her betrothed, and he says, no you didn't because it isn't politically convenient for you to marry him and later doesn't tell the king even when he's in a precarious political position because of Anne. WTF plothole?? Next we have the incest and the witchcraft, both of which Gregory paints as true. No, seriously. As far as incest goes, well, who the hell would sleep with their own brother? Apart from the fact that it's generally acknowledged that it was just a means of getting rid of them. As for witchcraft, well she was a devout Christian, and again, it's generally thought to be a convenient pretext.
The whole enmity between sisters thing is a creation, which would be fair enough, poetic license, dramatic tension, etc etc. Except Mary hates Anne, and yet she's always doing what she's told, helping Anne out, blah blah. She'll occasionally say that of course she loves her she's her sister, but we're told far more often and with far more vehemence how much she hates her, and all we're shown is the fights and the vindictiveness. Again, this is mostly because Gregory hates Anne. She seems to like Mary, although if the real Mary was anything like the characterisation then I can't see why. Gregory's Mary is insipid, whiny and spineless, and pretty much irritates the hell out of me.
And then we get the whole "wanting to marry for love and not power as a feminist statement" thing that Gregory does with Mary, while we are told Anne, who had power and intelligence in her own right, is a spineless pawn in a man's game of politics. She couldn't possibly have been regent of England without her uncle's help, we are told. This of the woman who split the church, dethroned a queen, and was mother to Queen Elizabeth. In the Author's note Gregory cites Retha Warnicke's The Rise and Fall of Anne Boleyn as one of her main sources, which according to Wikipedia I know, Wikipedia, but still , is generally considered to be unsubstantiated which explains some of this. She also expresses admiration for Queen Elizabeth I, which I found rather ironic considering she is Anne's daughter and Anne and Elizabeth seem to me to have been very similar in character as well as ability.
View all 47 comments. Jan 07, James rated it really liked it Shelves: 1-fiction , 3-multi-book-series. This was one of the first books I read by Philippa Gregory -- and out of order. How could I do that to myself If you're a history buff, it will line up well -- and give you some things to dispute! View all 10 comments. Sep 28, Meaghan rated it it was amazing Shelves: historical-novels , tudors , adult-novels , royalty , favorites. The thing you must realize about this book is that it is, first and foremost, a novel. A novel based on actual historical events, yes, but still a work of fiction.
So for those that criticize it for its historical inaccuracy, your criticism is misplaced. This is not a biography of Mary Boleyn or Anne Boleyn and it doesn't pretend to be. I myself am a bit of a Tudor junkie and love reading both fiction and nonfiction about the family and the times, and I found this book a delight. It had all the e The thing you must realize about this book is that it is, first and foremost, a novel. It had all the elements of a good story: sex, love, violence, suspense, complicated characters, and comic relief. My favorite character was George Boleyn, due to his wit, probably the funniest one in the story. Catherine of Aragon I think was the most true-to-life. My only complaints about the story historical inaccuracy aside, as I said above that doesn't have to be an issue here are that sometimes it sounds like a Harlequin romance novel, and also it's very slow-moving.
But if you are willing to wait through the long beginning I think you will find yourself well rewarded. A word of advice, though: skip the movie. It was dreadful. View all 7 comments. Apr 07, Cindy rated it did not like it Recommends it for: no one. Shelves: fiction , read-in After reading so many good things on here and elsewhere about this book I was looking forward to it. At about pages into it I thought I really was enjoying it. Too bad the book didn't end at page Because I hated this book with a passion. I don't even know where to start with it. Which is fine. But every character in this book is one sided.
Mary hasn't a brain for herself, Henry is a lustfilled king that may be true , the Queen is soooooo smart but doesn't know what is going on. And Anne Boleyn is this hateful person that makes the reader want to kill her before she even is sent to the axe. There was also the same use of phrases over and over again. Second thing I hated was that there wasn't one ounce of family love, or loyalty about anyone.
I know there is the family games going on in England, but not one guy thought about his daughter as anything more then a piece of old meat. That really really bothered me. Third, this book had more details about sex then porn. I really wanted to hope the movie would be good and people have complained the movie is nothing like the book, which is obvious because if it was like the book it would be in the XXX section of the video stores. Fourth, There were parts that focused on things that didn't matter. It's like the author had a goal page amount and she was going to go above and beyond it. Lastly, the topic of Homosexuality and incest. Anne's brother was this neck kissing, french kissing sister lover the whole entire book.
Anne was this girl that was always hot for her brother regardless of anything. Great way to branch out there! Overall I hated this book. View all 28 comments. Dec 15, Ahmad Sharabiani rated it really liked it Shelves: fiction , romance , adult , british , 20th-century , historical. Thomas Boleyn and his brother-in-law Thomas Howard, the Duke of Norfolk, plan to install Boleyn's youngest daughter Mary, wife of courtier William Carey, as the king's mistress. Mary's sister Anne, who recently returned from the French court, and brother George help Mary prepare, and Henry soon takes a liking to Mary.
Queen Catherine, meanwhile, becomes displeased with the situation, as she considered Mary one of her dear ladies-in-waiting. Before long, Mary becomes pregnant with the king's child. Both the Howard and Boleyn families receive lands and titles as a reward for their service, elevating their status amongst the other noble families of the royal court. Anne catches the eye of Henry Percy, the heir presumptive to the Duchy of Northumberland, and marries him in secret. Percy, however, is set to marry Mary Talbot, the daughter of the Earl of Shrewsbury. Cardinal Thomas Wolsey discovers and forbids the union.
Anne's family sends her to Hever Castle as punishment for the potential scandal. Mary gives birth to a daughter in and names her Catherine. The king, while disappointed, becomes determined to impregnate her with a son, and Mary soon becomes pregnant again. George marries Jane Parker, another of the queen's ladies-in-waiting, but their marriage is an unhappy one. Anne returns to court on her family's orders to ensure Henry is not distracted from Mary.
Instead of doing as she's told, Anne seduces the king and wins him over. Mary eventually gives birth to a son, who she names after the king. She realizes, however, it is not enough as everyone will consider the child illegitimate. As Mary focuses her attention toward her children and starts losing favor with Henry, her family begins supporting Anne in her quest to win the king over. Anne puts pressure on Henry to set Queen Catherine aside, refusing to give in to his desires until they are married. Henry, however, finds himself unable to do so with religious opposition.
With Anne entertaining the king, Mary is tasked with sleeping with him to prevent his attention from going elsewhere. She visits her children every summer at Hever and soon reconciles with her husband. View all 3 comments. Nov 18, Elizabeth rated it it was amazing Shelves: i-own , series , favourites , family-saga , historical-fiction , religion , british-history , kings-and-queens.
The Other Boleyn Girl was my last read of and also the biggest surprise. This book has been sitting on my shelf for years; so long that the spine is actually completely faded from sun damage. For whatever reason I just assumed this would be a three star read, which is something I like to avoid at all costs. I watched the movie on a plane ten years ago and even though I liked it I thought, well, there's no way the book is actually any good. Obviously I'm an idiot because it turned out to be The Other Boleyn Girl was my last read of and also the biggest surprise.
Obviously I'm an idiot because it turned out to be one of four out of fifty - count 'em, four of my 5 star reads this year. I loved this from beginning to end. This baby is pages, okay, and I actually read the majority of it in one day. My reading progress will tell you differently but that's only because I abandoned it after the first few chapters to read A Court of Mist and Fury. I didn't really return to it until after Christmas, and then I read about pages in one sitting while ingesting copious amount of alcohol and chocolate. It's so bloody entertaining! There is never a moment of tedium despite its length, and I constantly wanted to know what would happen next.
A lot of people appear to be unhappy with Anne being portrayed as the villain, but I wholeheartedly disagree with that. I saw her as a protagonist of sorts; a feminist gone mad. She wanted so badly to be treated like a man, respected by men, and then eventually served by men. She knew her sister Mary didn't have the guts, and she knew her father and uncle intended to use her for the rest of her life.
She nearly killed herself trying to obtain the crown, and within moments it was all ripped away from her, purely because she couldn't produce a male heir for the king and therefore, as a woman, she was useless. I loved her character despite how brutal she could be. She was selfish, certainly, but honestly so was everyone else. I didn't think she was any more ruthless than her uncle, her parents, or the King. She was certainly more clever though, and I found her fascinating. After everything that's happened this year I found her refreshingly relatable; there are a lot of people I'd like to poison right about now.
On the other hand I thought it was brilliant to have the story narrated by Mary. I preferred seeing Anne from Mary's eyes. If anything it made me sympathetic towards Anne, the way Mary was, regardless of all that Anne put her through. If you don't have a sister you'll probably never understand what it's like to love someone unconditionally even while you hate them passionately. It's guuuuud. Also my original reading goal was about 20 and I kept bumping it up so I really have completed it at least twice over now. View all 17 comments. Feb 28, Jason Koivu rated it liked it Shelves: historical-fiction , fiction , vagina-soliloquies.
You've probably never heard of The Other Boleyn Girl. It's not very popular. I think a movie got made out of it, but I doubt anyone watched it. Those are the kind of lies, mistruths and distortions that one person can perpetuate when they don't check their facts or worse, intentionally distort the facts. But more on that later. Little is known about Mary, other than that she was the sister of one of the most well-known women in all of history. She is a malleable, yet important figure orbiting world-changing events.
A crafty author can do a lot with just such a character. Philippa Gregory decided to turn her into the tool of the Boleyns. She is assisted by her brother and sister, who later set her aside after the king's done with her, in order to put Anne on the throne. Mary's portrait as painted by Gregory is a sympathetic one indeed. Did Gregory charge her palette with true colors? It's said that she likes to do historical research. Me, I like historical fiction that's well researched. I don't like it when a writer does a little research, latches on to something like an archaic term or whatever, and then proceeds to use that thing in their novel like it's going out of bloody style!
If I ever hear the word stomacher again, it'll be too damn soon! Simply adding the occasional period piece decor and nothing more does not make a good read in this genre. I doubt that much historical accuracy was attended to in the making of this book. There are notable inaccuracies. I'll give you one. Mary was not the baby of the family as Gregory asserts, but rather the eldest of the three siblings. But we've got to be honest with ourselves as readers. Factual history must sometimes be set aside, because that's not what's important in this genre. The Other Boleyn Girl isn't a textbook, it's a novel. It's meant to entice and titillate. Dramatic effect and setting the mood is more important than "getting it right". Taken for what it is, this book excels.
At times, it's exciting and tense. At times, it pulls at the heart. There are moments when this is drama at its best. However, taken as a whole, this is not Gregory's best work. The occasionally amateurish writing made me think it was her first published work, but it's not. I read something by her published ten years after this and her writing showed marked improvement, the nuggets from her historical research were inserted more smoothly and everything felt a good deal tighter. This mammoth book on the other hand feels ponderous. At one point I thought to myself, "I bet she wishes she could have a redo on this one," but that ain't gonna happen since everybody and their grandma has read it.
View all 15 comments. Sep 17, Sara W rated it did not like it Shelves: i-own-these-books , fiction , need-to-finish. I got through 25 pages of this book and had enough! I wrote down literally - I had a pen and paper with me after the reading the first page or two so many historical inaccuracies that I thought my head would explode. Then I checked out reviews on Amazon and realized the book would get much, much worse.
As strictly a novel, this might be a great book, and I do hope to pick it up again with the mind-set that it is strictly fiction because I might be able to enjoy it then. But as a book dealing w I got through 25 pages of this book and had enough! But as a book dealing with Mary and Anne and George Boleyn, it is awful. Why did Philippa Gregory feel the need to use historical figures if she was just going to make up the story? I might have enjoyed this book if it was two fictional sisters! What's frustrating is that people think this book is historically accurate, and it doesn't come close. I was a history major, and I've read tons of non-fiction books about Anne and Henry and the Tudors, and I hate it when people quote this book as fact which many, many people do!
By all means, if you want to read this book, do so, because it is wildly popular a lot of my friends love it and I'm sorry if you hate this review , but PLEASE read a reputable non-fiction book about these people as well or at least a better researched novel about them! I plan on finishing it, but at a later time. Jun 20, Carol rated it really liked it Shelves: ebook , historical-fiction. Interesting account of the time how people, especially women, were treated No one to be trusted by numerous devious characters.
Excellent book! View all 8 comments. Jun 16, Stella rated it it was ok Recommends it for: No-one. OK firstly, there's no doubt that Philippa Gregory can write a good story. Her prose is engaging and the content fThe Other Boleyn girl was easy to read. However what put me off was the absolute ignorance of historical fact and total villification of Anne Boleyn - yes this is a fictional interpretation but now it has made it to the big screen, there are a few who will think this is what really happened. Gregory describes Mary Boleyn as her personal heroine and this bias is clear through the bo OK firstly, there's no doubt that Philippa Gregory can write a good story.
Gregory describes Mary Boleyn as her personal heroine and this bias is clear through the book. A very dark picture of a woman without feeling except fear and arrogance or conscience is painted of Anne Boleyn. This I do not agree with. In fact it is widely accepted by historians that Anne was the younger sister not Mary, that in fact, Anne was a very loving Mother to Elizabeth, that she was not universally hated by the British people and even her dignity and composure in death, with her documented last words being a tribute to the King, are denied in this version of events.
Taking the historical innaccuracies aside, as a woman, Anne is painted as the cause of Henry becoming a tyrant, as the reason women had to live in fear that they could be cast aside and so she had her just desserts when Henry cast her aside. Let us not forget that Henry was actually the one who was married - Anne was just a teenager when she met him and a pawn in a political game. Henry is responsible for his own behaviour, not Anne, his own greed, arrogance and increasing desperation for a son are the reason he became a tyrant, not Anne. For he himself had many other wives after he disposed of her ad his pattern of behaviour continued. To absolve him of this and place the blame at Anne's door is a shocking error in this book.
In addition, yes Anne and Henry paved the way forward for divorce in this country - Anne helped changed history and who knows what would've happened otherwise. Yes there may have been wives cast aside as a result but at least they are saved a life with someone who cannot stay faithful or whatever. And look how many wives can walk away from a bad marraige, an abusive one, an unhappy one, as a result of this young woman's bravery in taking on a King and country.
It is widely accepted that Anne also had an impact in the improved relations with France when she accompanied Henry to the Court. The trip is documented in the book however once again Anne's significant role in these relations, her exceptional intelligence and wit, her educational background in the French court and her overall contribution are completely undermined and glossed over in this book. It is also documented in history that the saintly, oh so pure of heart, so good Mary as portrayed by Ms. Gregory, went nowhere near Anne or her brother when they were sent to the Tower and did not see them for some time before that happening. Her support was as absent as she was - preferring to keep her distance and save her good self perhaps?
Who knows. OK rewrite history in an entertaining fictional read - fine. But to completely and unneccesarily villify one woman at the expense of another,a nd more or less absolve the shocking behaviour of a man, a Kig no less, is really not a great message for woman in this day and age in my opinion. And that is what grates me about the book - what is says about women when a strong and intelligent young woman like Anne Boleyn who certainly did not deserve her unfortunate demise, is portrayed as some Machiavellian villain rather than the brave woman she was and the positive contributions she made to the development of this country for the role of women I'm a Catholic so I'm not talking religiously, THAT is a completely different matter!.
Would not recommend this book as a result. Jul 21, Kelly and the Book Boar rated it it was amazing Shelves: crunken-love , or-just-watch-the-movie , own-it-spent-my-food-money-on-it , read-in , liburrrrrry-book , mean-girls , puppy-squisher. But I could not avoid its siren song and. The story goes a little something like this. From the land of England. When Mary proves to be foolish with dreams of love rather than power at the forefront of her brain, Anne Boleyn steps in. And the rest is history. Sort of. View all 12 comments.
Recommended to Iset by: No one - its publicity made me curious so I got it from library. Shelves: wall-bangers , renaissance-agetoce-fict. The book is in outward appearances the same length as "The Constant Princess" and "The Boleyn Inheritance", but is actually a longer work, as is revealed when one realises that the font size is considerably smaller than the two aforementioned novels. The up side of this is that at least "The Other Boleyn Girl" has more of a story than the wafer thin plot of the other two. This is not however enough to make it into a good book. The writing itself is of low quality, many scenes are redundant, drag The book is in outward appearances the same length as "The Constant Princess" and "The Boleyn Inheritance", but is actually a longer work, as is revealed when one realises that the font size is considerably smaller than the two aforementioned novels.
The writing itself is of low quality, many scenes are redundant, drag with little or no purpose, and the descriptions and dialogue are lacking sophistication. The book butchers the historical fact, an issue which I'll examine shortly, but in many areas it also fails logically too, for example the idea that if Anne wanted to risk conceiving from another man then her brother George would be the obvious choice, or that Mary Boleyn would have actually done the work of a peasant farmer's wife.
The so called plot revolves around the sensationalist scandals surrounding Mary and Anne Boleyn, in what Philippa Gregory laughably claims is a completely historically accurate portrayal, reducing the international political and ethical complexities of the period to the contents of a modern celebrity gossip magazine. She also inexcusably allows anachronisms to permeate the novel, turning the well-spoken Anne Boleyn into a foul-mouthed harpy. The novel, like her others, unfortunately succumbs to "tell" rather than "show" on far too many occasions. To be brutally honest, I found it difficult to get through the book because it was so awful, and one of the biggest problems was with the main character, Mary Boleyn.
The issues with her character overlap with the problems of historical accuracy in the book, since Gregory ignores certain historical facts and cherry picks from controversial discredited theories to create the Mary Boleyn character. It should thus be noted that the Mary Boleyn I am about to describe from the book bears no resemblance to the real life person. She is completely innocent, in stark contrast to every other character including Jane Seymour who acts holier-than-thou but since Mary dislikes her, we know she's only putting it on , except perhaps Queen Katherine.
She is portrayed as passive, naive, slow-witted, submissive to the authority figures in her life even when they are morally wrong, and all that is pure and virtuous in the world. She is always ethically and morally right, despite having some quite ugly opinions of other people and undertaking questionable actions. She cuckolds her husband and has a sexual affair with the king - but it's alright because Mary is truly in love with him. She betrays her mistress, the queen, by engaging in aforementioned affair and furthermore reporting the queen's secret correspondence to her relatives and betraying her - but it's alright because Mary constantly talks about how virtuous Katherine is and how she admires her.
Mary is never reviled by the other characters, and is only once or twice called offensive insults, but only by stereotypical bad characters. In contrast, when Anne is with the king, she is single and has no husband to betray, and yet she is in the wrong because her love for Henry is not the innocent pure love of Mary. When Mary teaches Anne the techniques to keep Henry happy, Anne is spat at and insulted by everyone despite having learned them from Mary. In short, this Mary Boleyn is bland, boring and one-dimensional. I hated her because she was a drip and a doormat, and a dictionary definition of a Purity Sue.
Worst of all, Mary is held up as something to be admired. It's obvious that since Mary is supposed to be the character the readers identify with Gregory thinks that making her unfailingly innocent and plopping her down in an unrealistic world of caricature villains will achieve this and can do no wrong, her fate is supposed to be something to aspire to. We too, the readers are told, should try to be placid and obedient and prefer the life of an impoverished country idyll married to the stereotypical poor but honest man. Gregory hit upon a good idea of writing a book about the forgotten sister of Anne Boleyn, but in throwing all known historical fact out of the window, she might as well have written a novel about a completely fictional king and two sisters competing for his love.
Anne, the devout, clever and generous woman of history is nowhere in evidence here. Instead she's been replaced by a character of the same name who is instead petty, vain, cruel, possessive, and whose wit and intelligence is painted as a negative character trait for a woman to possess. Her story in this novel revolves around sensationalist twaddle such as incest with her brother, deformed babies resulting from aforementioned sinful union, attempted poisonings of Princess Mary and Bishop Fisher, and using witchcraft to have an abortion. The other characters are equally implausible and one-dimensional, from the saintly Katherine of Aragon to the irredeemable greed and ambition of Thomas Boleyn, his wife Elizabeth and her brother the Duke of Norfolk, and as for Henry VIII he was simply a mixture of stupid and petulant.
None of these characters have any depth or believability. Finally, a particular word must be made in the historical accuracy stakes about Mary Boleyn's fate. Philippa Gregory has her riding off to find Stafford and marry him, and she lives in a small farmhouse cottage with him with some farmland. When Stafford is at court, we are told, he employs local tenants to keep this house and farm the lands, but when he is present he apparently sends his tenants away and takes up the plough himself.
We are even treated to preposterous scenes where Mary describes how, following her marriage to Stafford, she learns how to cook, smoke ham, light a fire, churn butter, make cheese, bake bread and pluck birds. She even declares how much she is looking forwards to being a farmer's wife. This is all patently ridiculous. Either Gregory has a completely erroneous idea of just what class and standard of living gentry had, or she has a completely erroneous idea of farm life, imagining it to be a country idyll like Marie Antoinette's mock shepherdess residence at La Petite Trianon with no conception of the constant hard work involved.
The real Mary Boleyn, judging from her stream of letters to her family and the king, was desperate to return to court and escape even the life of the country gentlewoman. She certainly wouldn't have contemplated undertaking manual labour. These, and many more patently deliberately chosen inaccuracies in the book and about the characters had me shaking my head, and it was a strain not to throw the book down in anger at the disservice done to the historical people here, including Mary Boleyn herself who clearly had a much more interesting personality and life than the simpering drip of this novel.
The only reason I curbed that urge was to avoid accusations that this review could not possibly be an accurate reflection of the novel if I had not read it all the way to the end. I appreciate that authors have a right to literary license, to fill in the gaps in history in their historical fiction, and maybe even to alter or reinterpret a few facts here and there, but the polite thing to do when an author does that is to admit to the alterations in the author's note, explaining where and why you did it and what actually happened. That way it openly acknowledges where the story has diverged from fact and helpfully informs the reader which bits in particular have been changed by the author and are not in fact accurate. The vast majority of people reading it won't be knowledgeable about the period, or historians, and could come away from this novel with a very skewed and in many places wrong idea about who these people were and what really happened.
As a result, most people's idea of Anne Boleyn for the next generation or two is now going to be of a cruel, scheming harpy. In historical fiction, based closely of real life events and people in the past, I believe that authors have a responsibility to be as accurate and as true to life as possible, or else freely admit their alterations, to do justice to the men and women who lived through it, otherwise it is ultimately doing those men and women a grave disservice. View all 6 comments. Oct 18, Phrynne rated it liked it. An enjoyable read but I am afraid Wolf Hall has ruined me for historical fiction set in this period.
I kept waiting for Cromwell to walk in and organise everything! There has been a lot of criticism about this book being light on historical fact but since it is fiction I did not mind that. I wondered if it limited itself by telling it through the character of Mary. She was not a very politically aware or even especially intelligent person and seeing the story unfold though her eyes alone made it An enjoyable read but I am afraid Wolf Hall has ruined me for historical fiction set in this period.
She was not a very politically aware or even especially intelligent person and seeing the story unfold though her eyes alone made it a little less gripping than it could have been. Still a good easy read with an interesting take on the relationship between the Boleyn siblings. View all 16 comments. Jan 07, Asghar Abbas rated it liked it.
First time I was introduced to Anne Boleyn and I have been infatuated with her ever since her cause my own and my own quite forgotten. Happily so. Recklessly so. So, Gregory gets props for that but nought for much else, see not all is forgiven not even close. Because I completely, utterly, vehemently resent Gregory's depiction of Anne in this book. And After watching Natalie Dormer perform Anne, yes perform; no other word for it, oh boy, no one else can ever be Anne Boleyn for me. Dormer animate First time I was introduced to Anne Boleyn and I have been infatuated with her ever since her cause my own and my own quite forgotten. Dormer animated her character so uncannily she became Anne in flesh and bones, bringing her to life in a way that's a little hard to describe, and all I want to do is describe it, all of it.
It's even harder to watch her be that vulnerable, but so so arrogant, she showed us Anne just couldn't help herself. Dormer was straight up necromancer, a clairvoyant, a ventriloquist what the heck for good measure a soothsayer too, all rolled into one. So if you haven't seen Natalie Dormer do her thing, watch the Tudors, watch it, watch her bewitch the sun with her pale, pale skin.
But we were talking about this book, sadly. I think Philippa Gregory is every historian's, serious or casual, migraine. See, Gregory took an intriguing slice of history, a very exciting time to say the least, and turned that basically into a soap opera, not even a good one. She trivialized important events, she belittled significant players, she over blew people who had no impact on this phase. Every page of this history was fair game to her, subjected to her whims, to turn it around as she willed.
She changed things without offering any factual backings or historical evidence. Two prime examples of her misconduct being making Mary Boleyn younger than her sister Anne, and accentuating that her children were sired by Henry VIII. There is nothing there in the annals to suggest that was the case. Henry before getting mixed up with Mary had acknowledged other illegitimate offsprings.
So, it's not like he was averse to making such things public. But that's neither here nor there. Somewhere along the way, Gregory decided she liked The Other Boleyn Girl better, but it was a conscious decision. A calculated move. She made Mary innocuous of all of this, all the plotting to gain favors that couldn't last, hasty grab for power like she was just a naive pawn in this and did as her family bid her.
She was shown as an unwitting, unwillingly player. Not even a slight mention of being the English Mare was laughable here. When Mary had to go do the King, it was all pure and she was in love of course, and but when it was Anne's turn, it was all evil. Haha, yeah right. No one was innocent of playing that game, they were all in it, all were equally guilty of trying to advance the Boleyn family, that was how it went then, that was the game they were playing, well aware they'd pay dearly if it didn't pan out and boy did they pay, or did they? Hey like Martin says when you play make sure you win or you know, you are gonna die. But none of them were innocuous in all of that, not even Anne but especially not Mary. And she wasn't even a major player like Gregory made her out to be.
To me, Anne Boleyn felt innocuous you know, but like music innocuous of her surroundings and what she did to people, she was like that. But the more Philippa Gregory tried to beatify Mary into this Saint the more she needed to make Anne a monster she clearly wasn't, a villain she never was. Sometimes unnecessarily so, to the point of senselessness, after a while the whole Anne-shaming just became nonsensical, making a vastly talented writer look stupid. Did she really believe that, that that's how everything happened? Gregory blamed Anne for everything, every single solitary thing that she could blame Anne for she did. I mean everything, not a single thing that could be missed was missed. Gregory charged Anne with the charges that were once laid at her feet, charges she has long since been acquitted of Oh man, no one distorts history with such aplomb quite like Philippa Gregory does.
I don't think Mary Boleyn was ever that important, she was just too omnipresent of a witness in this novel, or Anne Boleyn that regular. I think history doesn't believe the sisters were that particularly close as they were made out to be here. As far as introductions go this book was a pretty good one, but the way Anne was portrayed is still so very unforgivable, it still rankles. She wasn't some mean one track high school drama queen. She was a better musician than that. Look, okay yes she wasn't infallible. She wasn't blameless of her downfall, demise, she practically designed her own destruction, but Anne, Anne made a dent on history and for better or worse changed courses of rivers in her country, in the lonely country where she died alone.
But who could deny her contributions? Her fiery intelligence still burns to this day, my mind is on fire still. And let's not forget it was her daughter Elizabeth who reigned the longest among all the Tudor children. She made England strong again, rich again bringing about the Age of Her, before Elizabeth England was a relatively poor country, intellectually and financially. It was during these times arts of all kinds and music of every type flourished.
The advent of the English Renaissance happened in Elizabeth's lifetime, English were late bloomers both to the revival of the arts and settling in the New World, always late to the party tsk tsk. You know Shakespeare whoever he really was , right? Of course, you do. He was totally there in her era too, sure he was promulgating old Tudor lies about Richard III, but we are not grudging him that, a man gotta eat, make art and all that. Hey, no listen, I am completely against the monarchy but that's another topic, my point was Anne's legacy and the impact she was directly responsible for.
I really dislike monarchy so very much. Lemme illustrate that with a quote by Denis Diderot, don't go anywhere : Men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest. OK, back to this book. I agree with how she presented that animal in her book. Though I'll admit Jonathan Rhys Meyers tried to domesticate him, he did try to make him human, but there's no humanizing something that is not human by definition; a monarch.
Henry throughout his miserable life suffered from severe complexes and delusions of grandeur, probably even masculinity issues. The Other Boleyn Girl showed Henry as a spoiled brat, well every prince is but I don't think that was it. Henry was a shrewd and sly statesman, who managed to keep the country from being torn apart despite doing everything he could to alienate everyone from common farmers to the Catholic Church with his antics, still he didn't let his country engulf in utter chaos he managed to hold it all together, so there is that.
He did manage to keep everything intact, just about. Even in , when I first read this book I thought it was very simplistic to make him a spoiled child who pouts whenever he doesn't get his way. There's more to it than that. It always is. I think our drear boy had been living under the cold shadows of his father for far too long. So he ended up overcompensating everything. He wanted more than that chair, in that he was like Robert Baratheon, he got the throne but he didn't know what to do with it. He just wanted to do great things, but the only great thing he truly did was to marry Anne.
Say what you will about Richard III but he was a warrior, all his blunders aside, at least Richard didn't have any qualms about what he was, he wasn't confused about himself. Despite all his flaws, all the mistakes he made Richard wasn't delusional. Plus, I believe Henry VIII did go really insane later on, too many bumps on the head, got knocked down too many times jousting.
A lot of people remark on Henry's madness as bipolar, at least that's the explanation they offer for all his offing with the people's heads, anyone who displeased him basically. But I wouldn't associate a serious mental affliction with the king or insult people suffering from it, it feels too much like an excuse for his behavior that bore out of his personality and was on him alone. Though a serious head injury is a much more plausible explanation. Oh, I just remember something! When I was reading this book something occurred to me.
I realized with a sinking feeling, what a sunken feeling it was indeed, Anne Boleyn's story was just another retelling of Elizabeth Woodville's story. Think about it, both their rise and fall is parallel. It's tragic and essentially the same, well almost; Woodville didn't lose her head, well at least not that way. Shouldn't have taken both pills and now they are not mixing well. I shouldn't have followed the White Rabbit down to this warren. Um, how to get out? Okay got it. No, don't get me wrong this is a well-written book and very entertaining, yes we are still talking about the book, I wasn't digressing, but it's also salacious, malicious propaganda against Anne Boleyn.
I am calling it what it is; a smear campaign and I doth protest. But some aspects of it were very vulgar and dreck. During those parts, it felt like it was written by Jackie Collins on cocaine. I'll never forgive Philippa Gregory for making utter these two words Jackie Collins, I feel like I already need a shower. By the end of this novel, even the despicable Gregory had to admit Anne was innocent of all the extramarital affairs she was accused of, they were just trumped-up charges and completely baseless. The only thing she insisted, almost pathologically, Anne was guilty of- the one thing that almost all historians have absolved her of- the incestuous angle.
Arguably, Gregory has popularized the historical fiction genre, but read Sharon Kay Penman's books instead, especially The Sunne in Splendour which while not pitch-perfect, I guarantee you are way better, sure I had my own problems with it but they were for personal reasons, nothing to do with excellence that is Penman's work. Quick, someone make a Sunne in Splendour movie. With a moving soundtrack. I sure hope the ghost of George Boleyn haunts Philippa Gregory, George who most historians agree was homosexual, but whether or not he consorted with the Queen is unclear and quite frankly irrelevant, why would he do that?
You want to discredit someone you don't like? Spread the word they are fucking their sibling; boom! Instantly ostracized they will be. Of course, it's an easy and ugly accusation to sling at then as much as now. The same thing happened with the Borgias, the fact that the Borgias were demented is beside the point. So yeah I do hope George Boleyn haunts Gregory. You know what, I am taking back one star from the ratings. I had originally given it four stars, four stars not because of Gregory's sensationalized writing style, but because I get to meet Anne whom irrespective of Gregory I still liked enough to follow and mostly because I am still in love with the year Anne Anne, darling don't let anyone dissuade you from wearing yellow, it's your color, it's your mouth, you can do whatever you want with it.
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