04 July, 2016


Title: The Other Boleyn Girl
Author: Philippa Gregory
Series: The Tudor Court #3
Genres: Historical fiction, Romance
Publisher: Touchstone
Source: Hardcover
Pages: 661

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When Mary Boleyn comes to court as an innocent girl of fourteen, she catches the eye of Henry VIII. Dazzled, Mary falls in love with both her golden prince and her growing role as unofficial queen. However, she soon realises just how much she is a pawn in her family's ambitious plots as the king's interest begins to wane and she is forced to step aside for her best friend and rival: her sister, Anne. Then Mary knows that she must defy her family and her king and take fate into her own hands.

A rich and compelling novel of love, sex, ambition, and intrigue, The Other Boleyn Girl introduces a woman of extraordinary determination and desire who lived at the heart of the most exciting and glamourous court in Europe and survived by following her heart.

To be honest I don't remember how I became aware of this book, because it has been few years since I read it. I think that I first saw the trailer for the movie and then bought the book and read it. But I have to say going into it I knew what to expect. I knew how the life of Anne Boleyn goes and what happens and all that, and I knew a lot about Henry VIII in general because I find the period absolutely fascinating, so I've done some research.

But I was intrigued to read about the entire Boleyn family, especially her sister Mary because I haven't read much about her on the internet or books and when I realized this book was about Mary and not just Anne I was sold! Also let me just point out that this book is a part of series called The Tudor Court, and I actually have read almost the entire Tudor Court series and almost all of The Cousin's War (sort of like prequels to the Tudors) series as well. As I said, I am obsessed with these series!

THE WORLD: The plot of this book takes place in 16th century Tudors Court, to be more specific -  Henry VIII England. So I felt really comfortable with the world in this book, because I found it quite familiar, from books or movies or history classes I've seen or taken over the years.

CHARACTERS: In the book there are a number of speaking characters but the entire plot revolves around three characters Anne and Mary Boleyn and Henry VIII. So let's start with the main protagonist Mary Boleyn. I have read in numerous sources that Mary was quite the flirt and knew how to get her way around with men, as she spent majority of her life in the French court, however to my surprise in this book Mary was portrayed as a young, innocent, inexperienced girl, who became a coin in her family's plan to reach the top. Have to admit, I did like Mary. I thought she was well written and what I liked about her was her forgiving heart, and I sympathized with her after her family basically forces her to become the mistress of Henry VIII, even after she was married. Don't worry not spoiling anything it's on the back of the book. But yes, I liked Mary, I think even thought she goes through a number of misfortunes in the book but I like that she grows and finally learns how to stand up for herself.

Honestly, despite me liking Mary, I have to be honest with you, I did not enjoy the way Henry VIII or Anne were portrayed in this book. Anne Boleyn, to my knowledge was well educated and accomplished in languages, art, fashion. She had so much charisma, that people wanted to be around her all the time and in this book I found her to be less charismatic. To me, as I read, it seemed like she used all of her knowledge and charisma for one purpose only - to get Henry VIII. Truly, until she marries Henry VIII and we see her as an unmarried young court lady she is really manipulative and plain annoying, which to be honest I don't think was the case in real life. In my opinion it's a total misinterpretation of Anne Boleyn's character.

Henry VIII is also portrayed as a man who only thinks about two things - women and getting sons. I really did not like him at all. I found it to be horrible that he just chose to Mary to be his mistresses even thought she was married and then when she was pregnant with his baby, just casually started seeing Anne.

What I can say about other characters is that in this book I noticed a tendency, the lower your position in society - the happier you are. Apart from high born nobility we also are introduced to people of lower social class for example William Strafford, - who ends up marrying Mary. I loved him, he was so genuine, so kind and  loving. There was just such a beautiful scene with him when he held his daughter in his arms and he was just so happy, unlike Henry VIII who only wanted sons. William was a great character to have in this book.
But if we go back to the character's I didn't like was Thomas Boleyn, no didn't like doesn't go - I hated him. He was such a horrible person, who basically sold his two daughters and ruined the future of his entire family.

LOVE: A little confusion but let's try and solve this puzzle. So, Henry VIII wants Mary as a mistress until she get pregnant and he basically leaves her. Then he falls in love with Anne and they get married, but to be honest I didn't feel any love between Henry or Anne at all while reading. However we do have a lovely couple in the book Mary and William. They were adorable. You could feel the love they had for each other and William took Mary's kids as his own in a heartbeat. Just an amazing couple.

PLUS: Just in general the period itself. I like this period but it made me happy that I live in 21 century, and I don't  need to go be the King's mistress. Honestly, I liked the way Anne and Mary were connected, actually the entire Boleyn siblings (they also had a brother George). They were a strong unit and they all tried to survive their horrible father. Despite of hurting each other they still all did everything to protect one another.

The description of dresses and balls, and just culture.

MINUS: I think that besides the way how Anne Boleyn was portrayed I would say I don't have anything. I mean I understand this is fiction and it doesn't have to follow true facts, but still I don't know it just annoyed me a little, that Anne was written like this.

OVERALL: Overall I would recommend this book to anyone who loves history, Henry VIII period or renaissance in general. It's an lovely book with love and tragedy and passion and I really think anyone who would pick it up would enjoy it.

p.s. If you don't want to read the book go watch the movie, but be warned the movie - is horrible. The book is so much more times beautiful and better!


What did you think of A THE OTHER BOLEYN GIRL?