As I recently mentioned, I am currently totally enamored with Tudor history – especially as it relates to Anne Boleyn. For this newfound obsession, I blame the Showtime television series, The Tudors. So, naturally, as a book lover, I wanted to find some good books related to this period and I recalled, from a few months ago, a friend of mine read many of the Philippa Gregory novels and had favorable things to say about them.
Even though The Other Boleyn Girl isn’t the first in the series (I believe that The Constant Princess is where you’d want to start), I decided to start there – mainly because Barnes & Noble has a slew of them in their bargain book section right now. Regardless, the book starts off right where I wanted it to… the introduction of the Boleyn girls to King Henry VIII and the chaos that ensues because of the family’s ambition.
While reading this book, it’s important to remember that it’s historical fiction, so I kept reminding myself that the details being presented aren’t necessarily bona fide history. But the story is presented in such an engaging, entertaining, and suspenseful way that it has only fueled my desire to learn more. I also enjoyed that this book was told from the point of view of Mary Boleyn, the Boleyn girl who doesn’t usually get as much attention as her sister, Queen Anne Boleyn. Through Mary’s eyes, the reader gets the infamous story of her sister’s rise and fall, but there are also breaks where the reader travels with Mary to Hever castle or a distant farm.
The description on the back cover also does an excellent job in laying out what to expect to find within its pages:
Two sisters competing for the greatest prize: the love of a king.
When Mary Boleyn comes to court as an innocent girl of fourteen, she catches the eye of the young Henry VIII. Dazzled by the deadly rivalries of the court, Mary falls in love both with the most powerful man in England and her growing role as an unofficial queen. She soon realizes just how much she is a pawn in her family’s plots as she is forced to step aside for her best friend and rival: her ambitious sister, Anne. then Mary knows that she must defy her family and her king and take her fate into her own hands.
A rich and compelling tale of love, ambition, lust, and intrigue, The Other Boleyn Girl introduces a woman who survived the most glamorous and dangerous court in Europe by following her heart.
If you have any interest in historical fiction, Tudor history (or just the fictional stories about them), or just want a really excellent and entertaining read – I highly recommend this book! And I cannot wait to read her other novels, as well.