Monday, January 02, 2006
The Other Boelyn Girl - Philippa Gregory (December/05)
I liked The Constant Princess so much that I decided it was time to read another novel by Gregory. The Other Boelyn Girl is technically the first novel in the Tudor series, but the events in The Constant Princess happen first, so I read it first. I find that new readers would likely enjoy it in that order as well. If you have all ready started the series, you would not have that luxury.
The Other Boelyn Girl is my favourite Philippa Gregory novel so far. There is more happening in it than in The Constant Princess. The essence of the novel is "Two sisters competing for the greatest prize: the love of a king." Henry VIII is a womanizer who is getting bored with his current wife and starts pursuing other women in the court. Two of these women are the sisters Mary and Anne Boelyn. The king gains an interest in Mary first, and they have two children together, and then along comes Anne who is more conniving than her younger sister and changes the game to include herself as chief player.
The two sisters are just pawns in their families need to rise to power. There is no love, it is all about duty. There is so much going on in this novel. It is told from the view of Mary Boelyn, so it is only the activities that she witnesses happening. She, in the end, turns out to be the braver of the two sisters when she defies her families plans and makes a new life for herself.
When I read the book I was very engrossed in it, this is one of those books where I found myself staring at the page and having a hard time putting it down to do things like go to sleep. I found myself hating Anne, and there were a couple moments where I hoped for her demise. She was very selfish, and you really feel bad for her younger sister Mary and older brother George. They are living their life to satisfy their sisters needs. It is a terrible way to live. I especially felt bad for George, his dream lifestyle was something that would be the end of him.
A must read for all historical fiction fans.