The Other Boleyn Girl
I know lots of people rave about this movie and the book, but personally I have to say, I was disappointed. I finished this book and had to sit on it a few days before writing my opinion on it down and I think that it boils down to this – it was a little too racy for my taste. The book I read previous to The Other Boleyn Girl is a great sequel series to Pride and Prejudice that is written in a voice very true to Jane Austen. I jumped from sophisticated, respectful, romantic hand-holding scenes to King Henry the VIII, who graphically gets any woman he wants, any way he wants, married, young or old.
The Other Boleyn Girl is the story of Mary Boleyn, sister to Anne Boleyn, who is Henry VIII’s second wife out of 6. Married at 12, Mary finds herself falling in love with the King of England who has caught her eye. Her family uses her to gain positions and power until she is asked to let her sister take over her role. The plot thickens with pregnancies, miscarriages, children, deaths, marriages, and relationships are added to the book.
One thing that I did find interesting about this book was how sad it made me feel for women during the 1500’s in England. It was a complex time period for religion, government, families. I felt so sad for Mary and the things that she was ordered to do by parents and her families – ones that should have loved and cared for her and her well being. I felt sorry for both the children born to the King and the mothers in the story. They weren’t able to be with their children and when Anne had her daughter I wanted so badly for someone to love her, but no one did.
I disliked Anne more than I disliked Henry VIII. She was smart, manipulative and power hungry. Sisterhood meant nothing to her and she would do anything for any cost to get what she wanted.
I do think that Philippa Gregory took a part of history and made it into an interesting story. It was a page turner and very hard to put down. You can read about Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn by clicking here. I would only recommend this book with an err of caution – it has very graphic racy scenes. I think for myself I’ll stick closer to Jane Austen books when I’m looking for English historical fiction.