Sunday, February 17, 2008
The Other Boleyn Girl
Author: Philippa Gregory
Publication Date: 2001
Category: Historical fiction
Who'll want to read it? Anyone interested in history delivered with a fictitious twist.
Point of no return: Anne advising Mary on how to catch the king: "But don't run too fast, remember he has to catch you."
Classic line: "Anne can do it," my father agreed. "She could turn a polecat off the scent of a mouse."
What's it all about? The strength of the Boleyn family in their pursuit of the crown (and whatever else they could lay their hands on!) Anne, her sister Mary and their brother George are all brought to the king's court at a young age, becoming players in their uncle's plans to advance the family's fortunes. It is Mary who first wins King Henry VIII's favor when she is barely 14 and already married to one of his courtiers. But later her sister, Anne, insinuates herself into Henry's graces, displacing Mary as his lover and begins her machinations to rid him of his wife, Katherine of Aragon.
The recurring theme of this novel is the strategy and strength of the Boleyns to do whatever they could to raise the family status and fortune. Anne is described as a snake on several occasions and her behaviour in this novel certainly warrants that description.
Historical accuracy of the tale is discussed in a Wikipedia entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Other_Boleyn_Girl
but I prefer the facts not to get in the way of a good story!
This book is currently being launched as a movie, raising the profile of the Boleyns again. http://www.sonypictures.com/movies/theotherboleyngirl/