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Philippa Gregory – The Other Boleyn Girl

September 12, 2007

95. The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory (2001)

Length: 672 pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

Started: 09 September 2007
Finished: 12 September 2007

Summary: Mary Boleyn, younger sister to the infamous Anne, is the “other” Boleyn of the title. Born into an ambitious family that treats its daughters as pawns in the game of power, Mary is married by age twelve and mistress to Henry VIII by fifteen, even bearing two of his children. However, Mary falls out the spotlight as their family’s maneuvering and her sister’s own ambition begin Anne’s tumultuous rise to power… and eventual fall.

Review: High literature? No. Historically accurate to more than the bare bones? Almost certainly not. A compelling and oh-so-guilty-pleasure read? Absolutely. The characters are not particularly complex, but it’s ever so much fun to be pulled along for the ride, loving Mary and William and George and hating Anne (but still feeling a little sorry for her) and Uncle Howard, and respecting Queen Katharine and shaking your head at King Henry. It’s not exactly a bodice-ripper, but there is certainly intrigue and scandal in spades (not a lot of political intrigue, however, and not a lot of non-personal political context). The best part about this book, though, is that it does make all of the history personal – it breathes life and personality into the dates and names and facts, and makes it into a compulsively readable story. Any historical fiction worth reading makes history interesting; this book manages to make it interesting and roaringly fun to read. 4 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: Very enjoyable book for anyone who likes period dramas or just needs a break from Serious Literature.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Johanna permalink
    October 21, 2008 11:40 pm

    Bullseye! You’ve said exactly what I’ve thought about this book. So, I’m not bothering to write a review. I’m simply sticking yours in my blog and linking your site to mine. Please feel free to drop by Thanks!

  2. October 22, 2008 7:57 am

    Johanna – Hi! I appreciate the complement, but I’d really prefer if you just posted the link to this entry and didn’t copy and paste my text.


  1. The Other Boleyn Girl « Jo’s BookShelf

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