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Thursday, November 5, 2009

Book Review: The Boleyn Inheritance by Philippa Gregory


The Boleyn Inheritance by Philippa Gregory
Paperback, 518 pages
Touchstone Books
August 7, 2007
★★★★ ½☆

Genre: Historical Fiction

Source: Personal Collection

"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."
The Boleyn Inheritance is narrated through the voices of three narrators: Anne of Cleves (the 4th wife of Henry VIII), Katherine Howard (Henry’s 5th wife), and Jane Rochford (the late Anne Boleyn’s sister-in-law). Each of these women has a lot on the line because of the cloud that hovered above with the name of Boleyn. Each has earned their current place, in a sense, because of the death of Anne.

I enjoyed the parts of the book that were narrated by Anne of Cleves the best. She was only really part of the Tudor Court for a very short time and was new to the country of England as well. Her chapters brought an outside eye to the story while Jane and Katherine’s brought the inside eye. One thing that I really saw in this book was how easily used Katherine Howard was. She was manipulated by all sides and didn’t even have a chance to realize quite what was happening. I wasn’t a huge fan of Katherine’s sections for that reason – she was completely oblivious to everything that was happening – come on girl! Jane’s sections were interesting to see her wrestling with the guilt over what she did to her husband and sister-in-law. It was also enlightening to see the way she rationalized everything she did.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book just as much as The Other Boleyn Girl and The Constant Princess. A unique way at looking at this short period of time and the events that quickly unfolded.

To borrow a little more from the back cover to wrap this up nicely “Anne of Cleves – Her Boleyn Inheritance: accusations and false witness. Katherine Howard – Her Boleyn Inheritance: the threat of the axe. Jane Rochford – Her Boleyn Inheritance: a fortune and a title, in exchange for her soul.”

Philippa Gregory also has written several other Tudor set books including:The Constant Princess, The Other Bolyen Girl, The Queen's Fool, The Virgin's Lover, and The Other Queen. You can read the first chapter of the book here for a sample of Gregory’s style. You can also listen to a sample of the audio on the website too.

My other reviews of the author's works:

Reviews of this book by others:

Here are some choices for purchasing the book: Amazon, B&N, RJ Julia (my fav indie bookstore).

 




Copyright © 2009 by The Maiden’s Court

6 comments:

  1. I've been wanting to read this for awhile. Thanks for posting this review!

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  2. I've had this novel sitting on bookshelf waiting to be read for about a year. Travesty, really. But I plan to start reading it this weekend, and I most looking forward to it. I really enjoyed The Other Boleyn Girl and The Constant Pricess. In fact, I have a stack of Philippa Gregory novels waiting to be read! I like her style. :)
    ~S.

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  3. Great review!! I also have this book...and I love your blog so much I have an award for you...

    http://www.celticladysramblings.blogspot.com

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  4. Not sure how I missed this one. I don't think I was following you at this point in November. This is one Gregory book that I do not own. It sounds just like the Tudor intrigue I love! Great review!

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  5. Philippa Gregory writes wonderful historical novels. Need to read this one to finish the trilogy.

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  6. I love reading about Tudor royalty, and this book sounds fantastic! Jane Rochford sounds like a very interesting character, even though she is less known than the other females in the court of Henry VIII.

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