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The Boleyn Inheritance - Phillipa Gregory

Posted by Gina Schwartz on March 27, 2012 at 2:20 PM

The Boleyn Inheritance

The Boleyn Inheritance is a novel drawn tight as a lute string about a court ruled by the gallows and three women whose positions brought them wealth, admiration, and power as well as deceit, betrayal, and terror. Once again, Philippa Gregory has brought a vanished world to life -- the whisper of a silk skirt on a stone stair, the yellow glow of candlelight illuminating a hastily written note, the murmurs of the crowd gathering on Tower Green below the newly built scaffold. In The Boleyn Inheritance Gregory is at her intelligent and page-turning best.

summary from Goodreads

My Take

This novel is set in one of my favourite periods in history.  I love the Tudor Era because to mean it is politically the era that is most similar to how we live now - all the pomp and ceremony, the backbiting, the changing alliances and the politics.

What this novel successfully does is bring togther the stories of the three last wives of Henry VII, three very differnt women from three distinctly different backgrounds who must deal with the same King - a man who is to be feared

For Anne of Cleaves coming to England is her chance to be free and she takes it even when it means divorce and disgrace.  The author takes great pains in the painting of this character who even though she is young and not very worldly must make very mature decisions if she is to save her own life.  She is thoughtful, with a quick mind and seems ot keep her own counsel well.  Katherine Howard is only seventeen when she is married to the king.  She displays all of the actions a seventeen year old queen would display - she is vain and condesending and there is little about the real job of being queen that she understands.  It is her ignorance and her trusting ways that eventually lead to her execution - even the words she says on the scaffold paint a true picture of her character.  Catherine Parr is Henry's wife when he dies.  She is perhaps the best wife of all for him - while she is a commoner she is a mature woman with her own ideas and values - it is clear that she is aware of everything that is at stake and is prepared to fight for her life.

The novel is very well researched down to the descriptions oaf the various palaces and the fashions worn by the queen's ladies and it is a very enjoyable read.

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