Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Other Boleyn Girl

The Other Boleyn Girl
Philippa Gregory
3 Stars

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.


{Erica} said...

I enjoyed the book. I agree with it being a bit too racy however that's a personal opinion and taste and I'm pretty sure it truly was a bit "racy" back then. Everything this story is about has nothing to do with respect and sophistication. I think it did a great job in portraying what it was like and how corrupt the "system" was back then as well as what the role of women was like. It truly made me grateful for living in a day and age where women are respected more and thought of as equal and not lesser.

I do agree on your points that you made about Anne.

kh said...

I enjoyed the book too. I too thought some of the scenes were racy and perhaps spelt out a bit too much, not leaving anything to the imgination. But Erica has a good point, nothing was about respect and sophistication.

The whole Boleyn family made me sad. It was a corrupt family with very little concern for their children, or for each other. I adored George, I thought he was such a good brother (despite his weaknesses) he always did what he knew he should. I actually cried when he was killed. Anne was power hungry and certainly had that and only that in her sights. Mary (though very little is actually known about her) was the star of the show (point being the book title) she exemplified motherhood as it should have been during those times. It broke my heart when her son was taken from her and she couldn't do anything about it. In the end though, it all worked out for her.

Though the book had a few spots that might be too much, I still enjoyed it and am glad I read it. Now I'd like to see the movie.

I am glad you read it too. Thanks for letting me "review" it too.

Debbi said...

I guess I should clarify, when I spoke of respect and sophisitcation I was refering to Jane Austen books, not this one...I wasn't expecting that, I was just trying to point out the vast opposites the two were.

K.T. is Mommatude said...

Hmm you have my curiosity peaked,most definitely.

I just finished P&P again.I have Mansfield Park sitting there(I already owned it)-but I am afraid to pick it up,I have been reading these Romance novels thus far and its a jump for me.But its good?

{Erica} said...

I knew what you meant about respect and sophistication being the polar opposite of this book, but I was just saying that the era in which this book was written not much of that was abounding anyway so I didn't expect much, if any, of those attributes to show in a book like this.

For me, I prefer Jane Austen's way of writing, but still truly liked this book.

Kelly said...

I totally agree with you. A page turner but much too racy for me!