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The Other Boleyn Girl

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The Other Boleyn Girl [Hardcover]

Philippa Gregory
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,422 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (November 2, 2004)
  • ASIN: B001E43PY4
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.6 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,422 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,664,335 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
525 of 574 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a fascinating and enthralling read May 23, 2002
By tregatt
I had more or less given up reading historical novels when I ran out of books by Jean Plaidy to read. For me, she was one of the truly rare authours (saving Sharon Kay Penman of course) who got the feel, tone and character of her subject matter right. So that I had more or less stopped looking out for new books in this genre to read. And then I saw "The Other Boleyn Girl" at my local bookstore, and after sampling the first chapter, I realized that I had to buy this book. And I'm awfully glad that I did. What a simply wonderful read!! Phillipa Gregory did a really splendid job of evoking the splendor and turbulence of Henry VIII's court. I also thought that her choice of narrator, Mary Boleyn (the elder of the Boleyn sisters) was an inspired as well. Most historians (and perhaps I've only read the those that espoused this majority view) tend to dismiss Mary as an empty headed good time girl because she was used and cast aside with very little ceremony; and because she never rose as high as her sister, Anne. But you have to wonder: Mary was also the only Boleyn sibling to survive the vicissitudes of Henry VIII's reign, and the fall of the Howard-Boleyn fortunes; she also managed to marry for love (and a happy and lasting marriage it proved to be too) the second time around. So perhaps there was a lot more to the 'other Boleyn girl' than everyone credits?
Gregory's novel opens and closes with two executions -- it begins with the execution of the Duke of Buckingham in 1521, and ends with the execution of Anne Boleyn in 1536. With this rather grim events framing her book, the novel proper starts in 1522, with Anne arrival at the Tudor court, where her elder sister, Mary, is already lady-in-waiting to Henry's wife, Queen Katherine.
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68 of 77 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The National Enquirer of historical fiction May 1, 2008
I am in my final year of graduate school, about to receive my Master's in History. I bought "TOBG" in an airport in Minnesota, en route to California, hoping for a good vacation book. And sadly, that's all it is. If you're looking for anything serious about the Tudor Era, this is NOT IT. I read this book like one would read the National Enquirer -- scandalized and titillated, intrigued and entertained -- but NOT historically fulfilled. This book is seriously a little bit of minor research into the lives of the Boleyns and the Tudors, and then a huge slog of rumors about Anne Boleyn propegated as truth. What honest history Ms. Gregory leaves in is random and awkward (such as the mention of Anne's dog, Purkoy, which was haphazardly thrown in towards the end, after he was long dead -- only someone who truly had read up on their Tudor history would recognize and understand such an obscure reference). Her writing style is a tad awkward as well. Enjoyable, but awkward.

What saddens me is this latest rash of interest in King Henry VIII and his court, probably spawned by this and the TV show, "The Tudors." People who read Gregory in the hopes of learning more about the era are going to find themselves sadly bereft of any real historical knowledge. If you are really interested in reading about Anne Boleyn, pick up "The Six Wives of Henry VIII" by Alison Weir. Don't be daunted by the length -- it's a really good read, with a lot of factual information. Read Gregory like you would read a tabloid -- for entertainment, without believing a word of it.
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192 of 225 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible Historical Fiction January 11, 2003
The Other Boleyn Girl, is hands down the best piece of historical fiction I have ever read. Upon reading it, I have been searching for other books of its genre and subject matter to delve into.
Gregory made these characters come alive for me, and made me understand how difficult it was to live as a woman in the early 1500s. Mary was especially well crafted. At 13 years old she went from her forced marriage to being thrown into the King's arms as his mistress. The inner struggles she fought between being true to herself and her heart, or true to her family were especially poignant.
Anne Boleyn, the most famous and tragically terminated sister, is portrayed in such a venomous way. She would stop at nothing to get what she wanted, and to rise in power and prestige. In the end it killed her. But her character, as portrayed by Ms. Gregory, was compelling and convincingly ugly, despite her beauty.
King Henry VIII also jumped off the pages. He came off as a spoiled brat, even as he grew older, who always got what he wanted. He and Anne were well matched for each other as no level of deceipt was too high.
Ms. Gregory was brilliant in choosing Mary as the narrator of this book. In doing so, the manipulative and scheming nature of Anne was able to come alive, as was the unorthodox lifestyle chosen by George Boleyn, the brother. The relationship amongst the Boleyn siblings, in and of itself, could fill a novel. The complexities of a family struggling to maintain individual identities, while working to bring the family up to the highest level of stature is intense.
This book is a page turner; it is incredibly compelling, deep and fascinating. I learned a great deal about the monarchy of Henry VII as well as life in the court during that time period. At the same time, I found myself incredibly entertained and saddened when I reached the last page. I cannot wait for more from Ms. Gregory.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Really enjoyed this book. Lots of history, with very interesting characters.
Published 3 days ago by Lois Brockenbrough
3.0 out of 5 stars Light read for background on Henry VIII and Mary Boleyn
Good for quick reading and historical context of Henry VIII Tudor court from Mary Boleyn's perspective. Read more
Published 5 days ago by Andrew Ball
5.0 out of 5 stars What a great read. I was constantly checking some facts on ...
I couldn't put it down! What a great read. I was constantly checking some facts on the Web and know there was some facts and some fiction it was definitely a 5 star book.
Published 5 days ago by Carolyn J DeLuca
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Held my interest all the way through.
Published 6 days ago by Judith B. Bleezarde
3.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't give good reasons for the King's quickly disgust with his new...
Doesn't give good reasons for the King's quickly disgust with his new wife. I got the Tudors after watching this and that tells a much better story.
Published 6 days ago by Elaine Schafer
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read
A good quick paced read, with good details of life I this era
Published 6 days ago by sharon scudder
5.0 out of 5 stars Great story, excellent writing
Great story - I bought the audio CD after seeing the movie and it added so much more to the story! The author really delved into the lives of the Boleyn family and their... Read more
Published 7 days ago by LB
5.0 out of 5 stars Well written life of an unknown sister!
Excellent portrail of life in the early 1800's in England among the royals.
Published 8 days ago by Joanne J. Tedesco
4.0 out of 5 stars In most books characters are clearly good or bad
It is a little yucky how young girls married in this book. In most books characters are clearly good or bad. Not so here. Read more
Published 9 days ago by as
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read
I loved this story, great read. Keeps you turning the pages and wanting to come back for more of the story.
Published 9 days ago by Dakota N. Alston
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More About the Author

Born in Kenya in 1954, Philippa Gregory moved to England with her family and was educated in Bristol and at the National Council for the Training of Journalists course in Cardiff. She worked as a senior reporter on the Portsmouth News, and as a journalist and producer for BBC Radio.

Philippa obtained a BA degree in History at the University of Sussex in Brighton and a PhD at Edinburgh University in 18th-century literature. Her first novel, Wideacre, was written as she completed her PhD and became an instant worldwide bestseller. On its publication, she became a full-time writer.

Wideacre was followed by a haunting sequel, The Favoured Child, and the delightful happy ending of the trilogy: Meridon. This novel was listed in Feminist Book Fortnight and for the Romantic Novel of the Year at the same time.

Her next book was The Wise Woman, a dazzling, disturbing novel of dark powers and desires set against the rich tapestry of the Reformation. Then came Fallen Skies, an evocative realistic story set after the First World War. Her novel A Respectable Trade took her back to the 18th century where her knowledge of the slave trade and her home town of Bristol explored the human cost of slavery. Gregory adapted her book for a highly acclaimed BBC television production which won the prize for drama from the Commission for Racial Equality and was shortlisted for a BAFTA for the screenplay.

Next came Earthly Joys and Virgin Earth, based on the true-life story of father and son both named John Tradescant working in the upheaval of the English Civil War. In these works Gregory pioneered the genre which has become her own: fictional biography, the true story of a real person brought to life with research and verve.

The jewel in the crown of this new style was undoubtedly The Other Boleyn Girl, a runaway bestseller which stormed the US market and then went worldwide telling the story of the little-known sister to Anne Boleyn. Now published globally, this classic historical novel won the Parker Pen Novel of the Year award 2002 and the Romantic Times fictional biography award. The Other Boleyn Girl was adapted for the BBC as a single television drama and by Sony as a major motion picture starring Scarlett Johansson as Mary Boleyn, Natalie Portman as Anne Boleyn and Eric Bana as Henry VIII.

After adding five more novels to her Tudor Court series including The Constant Princess and The Queen's Fool, two of her best-loved works, Philippa moved back in time to write about the family that preceded the Tudors, the Plantagenets. Her bestselling six-book Cousins' War series tells the story of the bloody struggle for the throne in the Wars of the Roses from the perspective of the women behind the scenes. The White Queen, The Red Queen and The Kingmaker's Daughter were adapted by the BBC and Starz in 2013 as the hugely popular TV miniseries The White Queen.

Having completed The Cousins' War series with The King's Curse, Philippa has come full circle back to the Tudor court. Her next novel will be about Kateryn Parr, the sixth wife of Henry VIII: The Taming of the Queen. Her other work in progress is the young adult series The Order of Darkness, set in medieval Italy after the fall of Constantinople, feared at the time to be a sign of the end of the world.

A regular contributor to newspapers and magazines, with short stories, features and reviews, Philippa is also a frequent broadcaster, a regular contestant on Round Britain Quiz for BBC Radio 4 and the Tudor expert for Channel 4's Time Team. As well as her extensive array of historical novels she has written modern novels, children's books, a collection of short stories, and a non-fiction book with David Baldwin and Michael Jones: The Women of the Cousins' War.

She lives in the North of England with her family and in addition to interests that include riding, walking, skiing and gardening (an interest born from research into the Tradescant family for her novel Virgin Earth) she also runs a small charity building wells in school gardens in The Gambia.

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Just a thought on Anne's "son"...
K., you're absolutely spot on. It's one of many plot points that were poorly thought out and didn't make sense.

The whole point of having a male heir to the throne was that it had to be Henry's *legitimate* biological child. Otherwise why not simply legitimise Henry Fitzroy (or the Carey... Read More
Jun 24, 2009 by Rachel |  See all 4 posts
Welcome to the The Other Boleyn Girl forum
I'm 15, and I really enjoyed reading "The Other Boleyn Girl". Yes, there were bits and pieces of sex, but nothing too graphic or over the top. At some points, I didn't feel that the author needed to add yet another love making scene, but despite that, the book really brings the times... Read More
Sep 21, 2006 by MM |  See all 22 posts
The Other Boleyn Girl movie was a bust..
Unfortunately the movie's historical inaccuracies were fed from the book- a complete misrepresentation of history. Dont get me wrong, it was still an enjoyable read and PG has got her finer books- although not of late. Unfortunately though, PG had to bend history to allow for her inaccurate plot... Read More
Jun 13, 2009 by kellie |  See all 4 posts
the movie - actor and actresses
Oh Yeah! Eric Bana is one HOT Henry the VIII!!! Man....just a few days more before the movie comes out!
Feb 20, 2008 by RJRo20 |  See all 4 posts
First Poster!
I didn't know this was here, either. Anyway, I enjoyed it, although I'm not a huge fan of that period. Anyway, the characters are the main focus, not so much the history (although, it plays a big part). Anyway, I hope you read it. ^^
Jan 15, 2006 by KBH |  See all 5 posts
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