Book Review: The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory

Friday 3 April 2015

The Other Boleyn Girl
Philippa Gregory
Genre(s): Adult, Historical Fiction, Romance
Published: 2011
Pages: 542
Rating: 3 stars

Mary Boleyn catches the eye of Henry VIII when she comes to court as a girl of fourteen. Dazzled by the golden prince, Mary's joy is cut short when she discovers that she is a pawn in the dynastic plots of her family. When the capricious king's interest wanes, Mary is ordered to pass on her knowledge of how to please him to her friend and rival: her sister, Anne.

Anne soon becomes irresistible to Henry, and Mary can do nothing but watch her ambitious sister's rise. From now on, Mary will be no more than the other Boleyn girl. But beyond the court is a man who dares to challenge the power of her family to offer Mary a life of freedom and passion. If only she has the courage to break away - before the Boleyn enemies turn on the Boleyn girls...

You have to hand it to Gregory, she knows what she's doing when it comes to historical fiction. Even though her books can be long winded with unnecessary parts and her characters can drive you to slamming your head into a wall, she knows her stuff.

As soon as I started The Other Boleyn Girl I got that feeling of being transported back in time. While Mary was a frustrating narrator as times, I enjoyed her voice and felt that it was authentic. The manner in which she spoke, her attitudes, and the flirting all felt very in place for the time period and I felt like I was in a Tudor court. Which is great, because this is part of the Tudor Court series.

While I enjoyed the story, I wasn't too keen on the characters. I kept getting confused as to who was who - mainly because it's been a year since I read the first book and because there were so many people at court! - and generally didn't like the personalities of some of them. Mary was all right, as was George, but Anne I found to be manipulative and extremely cruel. I also found Henry to be quite childish and self important just because he was king. I don't know how historically accurate these portrayals were, so I'll just stick to them in the context of the novel.

Overall, I did enjoy the second instalment in The Tudor Court, but didn't find it to be as good as the first.

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