The Other Boleyn Girl | By Philippa Gregory | Published in 2001
Firstly, I must point out that this book is in fact FICTION. It is a historical Novel and although based on fact it is a wonderfully, written and a narrated story.
Okay, lets get to the good stuff;
The main narrator of the story is Mary Boleyn, Anne’s sister and Henry VIII’s former mistress
Why is this good…
Hearing the story from her point of view is incredible, although we have no way of knowing if Mary really felt this way but it poses an interesting point of view.
You cant help but feel somewhat sorry for Mary and how she is treated. Mary was referred to as “the Great Whore” so having the story told from her side and showing that maybe she was not in fact a whore, but a women who craved loved and wanted to be wanted and needed shows her in a more sympathetic light.
The story follows Mary’s time at court, her rise as a mistress, children, her sisters rise to favor, her dismissal for the royal bed, a new love, children and her banishment from Court.
The story spans years so a lot is included. You read Mary’s thoughts as a young (13) year old, pretty, lady in waiting to Henry’s first wife, the Regal Catherine of Aragon. You feel giddy with her when the Kings attention is drawn to her. The story also documents her first two children, however not formally acknowledged as the Kings in History, this certainly adds to the feel of the book.
You see the Boleyn star rise and rise. You cannot help but feel sad for Mary, when Anne steals her lover and father of her children.
The relationship between the sisters, is a dynamic fueled by rivalry, jealousy but above that there is an unbreakable bond, which is not seen but is described.
Overall the story is a great take on a time in history where being a fly on the wall would have given you a front row seat to witness one of history’s greatest show.
When Mary finally finds love again, it’s a romance driven by wanting and the need for one other. Although in life there may have been more calculation from the part of Mary or her new Husband, their love in this story is very hopeful.
Okay – now the bad things.
I actually do not have many.
I do not like the way Anne is portrayed. For me, she was not a petty, jealous cow but a smart, driven young women who was ahead of her time.
Also there a few things, that being a Tudor lover, you notice but nothing that ruins the story! That’s about it.
Overall, this book is a MUST READ
My Rating: (my equivalent of stars)
I have read it more than once, and even have the audio book.