#11 ~ The Other Boleyn GirlMarch 12, 2007 at 1:44 am | Posted in Books, Culture, Henry VIII, Historical Fiction, Philippa Gregory, Reading, Secrets and Lies | 16 Comments
Tags: Anne Boleyn, George Boleyn, Katherine of Aragon, Mary Boleyn, Philippa Gregory, The Other Boleyn Girl, TOBG
When I picked up this book to begin reading, I thought I would never finish it. 650+ pages? I have been keeping pace with my book a week goal. I was certain that this would take much longer to read. I was completely wrong. I finished it in less than three days. I couldn’t bear to put it down. It was an interesting and fast paced book. It was not at all what I had expected.
This book tells the story of Mary Boleyn, Anne‘s younger sister and the first of the Boleyn girls to become Henry the VIII‘s lover. Mary’s family, caring only for the advancement of the family and nothing for what Mary wants, pushes her to Henry’s bed. She eventually bares him a daughter and a son. Unfortunately for the Howard family, Mary was much more interested in her children than in the royal court. Her depression after they took her son Henry from her put an end to her affair with the king. While she was “unclean,” Anne stepped in and caught the Henry’s interest. From there, she connives to rid him of his first wife, Katherine, so that he can marry her. Only after her own marriage to the king does Anne understand the bed she had made for herself. Despite being treated harshly by Anne, Mary remains by her side until she marries a commoner. Mary’s marriage to William Stafford makes Anne even more spiteful because her sister has the happiness she can never have. The rest is history. Anne bore a daughter named Elizabeth, but she never carried another child to term. The last pregnancy resulted in a still birth to a child full of birth defects. That was all the ammunition that Henry needed to rid himself of Anne forever.
Knowing what ultimately happened to Anne did not in any way affect the enjoyment of this book. If anything, it enhanced it. Mary struggled with what her family wanted and finally found happiness. Anne did everything she could to obtain a powerful position for herself foremost and the reader knows all along that she will regret where her ambition brought her in the end.
I cannot wait to read another of Ms. Gregory’s books. I immediately ordered 6 more from half.com. I will be waiting anxiously for my packages to arrive.