Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory

At the age of fourteen, Mary Boleyn is forced by her unscrupulous family to seduce the king of England. As the queen was unable to give the king his only desire, a son, he takes Mary as his mistress. Infatuated by Henry VIII and the power of his kingdom Mary is shocked to learn that her family has decided to throw her sister, Anne, into the ring as well. Mary must step aside and help her aspiring sister steal the heart of the king and eventually become the Queen of England. The Other Boleyn girl is the story of the rise and fall of Anne Boleyn and all the deceit and desire that came along with it, told from the eyes of the little known Boleyn sister.

Philippa Gregory takes historical fiction and makes it sizzle. The Other Boleyn Girl is captivating. I was surprised to find that even though I already knew the outcome of the story, I couldn’t wait to see what would happen next. I simply could not put this book down.

Researched in painstaking detail, The Other Boleyn Girl is a portrait of life in the Tudor period of England. It shows a drastic contrast between the life of a courtier and that of a commoner. It also takes an interesting look at the life of women of that time and what was expected of them. As a woman in the twenty-first century I was appalled at the low value that was placed on women in the 1500’s, especially women of high ranking families.

This book is about intrigue, sex, selfishness, ambition, and finally the power of love. I’m adding this to my must-read list immediately, and maybe even to my must-read again list.

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