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The Other Boleyn Girl Paperback – June 4, 2002
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From Publishers Weekly
Sisterly rivalry is the basis of this fresh, wonderfully vivid retelling of the story of Anne Boleyn. Anne, her sister Mary and their brother George are all brought to the king's court at a young age, as players in their uncle's plans to advance the family's fortunes. Mary, the sweet, blond sister, wins King Henry VIII's favor when she is barely 14 and already married to one of his courtiers. Their affair lasts several years, and she gives Henry a daughter and a son. But her dark, clever, scheming sister, Anne, insinuates herself into Henry's graces, styling herself as his adviser and confidant. Soon she displaces Mary as his lover and begins her machinations to rid him of his wife, Katherine of Aragon. This is only the beginning of the intrigue that Gregory so handily chronicles, capturing beautifully the mingled hate and nearly incestuous love Anne, Mary and George ("kin and enemies all at once") feel for each other and the toll their family's ambition takes on them. Mary, the story's narrator, is the most sympathetic of the siblings, but even she is twisted by the demands of power and status; charming George, an able plotter, finally brings disaster on his own head by falling in love with a male courtier. Anne, most tormented of all, is ruthless in her drive to become queen, and then to give Henry a male heir. Rather than settling for a picturesque rendering of court life, Gregory conveys its claustrophobic, all-consuming nature with consummate skill. In the end, Anne's famous, tragic end is offset by Mary's happier fate, but the self-defeating folly of the quest for power lingers longest in the reader's mind.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Before Henry VIII ever considered making Anne Boleyn his wife, her older sister, Mary, was his mistress. Historical novelist Gregory (Virgin Earth) uses the perspective of this "other Boleyn girl" to reveal the rivalries and intrigues swirling through England. The sisters and their brother George were raised with one goal: to advance the Howard family's interests, especially against the Seymours. So when Mary catches the king's fancy, her family orders her to abandon the husband they had chosen. She bears Henry two children, including a son, but Anne's desire to be queen drives her with ruthless intensity, alienating family and foes. As Henry grows more desperate for a legitimate son and Anne strives to replace Catherine as queen, the social fabric weakens. Mary abandons court life to live with a new husband and her children in the countryside, but love and duty bring her back to Anne time and again. We share Mary's helplessness as Anne loses favor, and everyone abandons her amid accusations of adultery, incest, and witchcraft. Even the Boleyn parents won't intervene for their children. Gregory captures not only the dalliances of court but the panorama of political and religious clashes throughout Europe. She controls a complicated narrative and dozens of characters without faltering, in a novel sure to please public library fans of historical fiction. Kathy Piehl, Minnesota State Univ., Mankato
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
Top customer reviews
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SO!! This one is one that had me by my heart strings… I was pulled in so many different directions! I even sat and contemplated how to do a review because there was just so much in this.
Firstly, the only negative that I have. This is quite a long book. For someone that has learned a great deal about The Tudors some of the passages seemed a bit tedious. For someone new to the story and to their grand way of life however, I think every word is probably needed! For me though, it was just a tad on the long side.
Now to the positives! First, Philippa Gregory’s writing. Once again she dazzles with words in a way that few other authors can do. She has brought this court life alive and I can easily see and feel what she is talking about.
I also really enjoyed that this wasn’t about all of the Tudors but mainly about Mary. As the narrator of the story we only know what Mary knows and what she feels. This leaves a lot open for interpretation when it comes to Anne and the rest of her family but we know exactly how Mary feels and I just loved that.
I was surprised at just how conniving Anne really was. I mean at every point in her life she is working to better herself and her family but it was herself first and foremost. She is greedy and dishonest and it really showed. But still I feel for her even as I judge her. She went to high and could not see what she was doing to herself before it was way too late.
In short: I think Philippa Gregory yet again wrote a masterpiece filled with charms and poison. It’s a fabulous yet such a sad read.
Now? Ummm, no thank you. Anytime that you have to throw herbs and plants and herbs on the floor to keep fleas and body odor down, brush your hair nightly with a lice comb and no one brushes their teeth? I'll stick to the books.
And The Other Boleyn Girl is a masterfully written piece of fiction! Once again Phillipa Gregory brings to life the story of a young girl, used by her family to achieve their greatest desires without any thought of her or what she wants or what's happening to her.
When they believe she's no longer effective in furthering their rise they turn to her more ambitious sister and after that no one's safe. Anne Boleyn, through the king, tears their entire belief system to shreds, and when she is finally at the top, standing on the mangled remains of her country, family and her life, only then is she happy...Well almost. Find out just how crazy she becomes & how far she will to try to hold onto her reign as queen and the fates of her and those who were most loyal to her.
Maybe one of the Boleyn girls will survive a life forced upon her by her scheming, power-hungry relatives. Even though they taught her & honestly believe that as a girl she's no better than their most lowly serpent. Can Mary Boleyn break away from their influence and survive?
Most recent customer reviews
While this one isn't a fairy tale, as is all the current biblio-rage, it is a clever and gripping twist on a popular historic subject.Read more