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Monday, September 14, 2009

Book Review: The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory

The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory
Book 2 in the Tudor Court series
Paperback, 664 pages
June 4, 2003

goodreads button

Genre: Historical Fiction

Source: Personal Collection

"Two sisters competing for the greatest prize: the love of a king When Mary Boleyn comes to court as an innocent girl of fourteen, she catches the eye of Henry VIII. Dazzled by the king, Mary falls in love with both her golden prince and her growing role as unofficial queen. However, she soon realizes just how much she is a pawn in her familys ambitious plots as the kings interest begins to wane and she is forced to step aside for her best friend and rival: her sister, Anne. Then Mary knows that she must defy her family and her king, and take her fate into her own hands."
In the vein of the Historical Fiction Bloggers Round Table I decided to post my review of the book that got me interested in historical fiction as a genre. It wasn’t the first historical fiction book that I read but it was the one I loved the most.

The Other Boleyn Girl is told from the viewpoint of Mary Boleyn – the “other” Boleyn sister, sister to Anne the future Queen of England. There is a focus on the life of the relatively little known Mary as well as the tale of Anne’s ascendency and fall. Mary is initially chosen as mistress to Henry VIII – a role that she is pushed into by her family. When the star seems to be shining on Anne – the family throws Mary aside in favor of Anne. Even though Mary is not the star of the family anymore, they still seek to control her every move – when she marries someone that is not approved of they lash out at her. Even though Anne constantly mistreats her sister, she still comes back to her.

The story of Anne Boleyn is a much told story – but seeing it from the eyes of her sister puts her story into a very different perspective – sort of how I felt about reading about Anne from the eyes of her daughter Elizabeth in The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn by Robin Maxwell. I loved the compassion and general down-to-earthness of Mary, even when the world was spinning out of control. She was a constant character that you could connect with and anchor to in a turbulent world.

Gregory DOES change many events in the book from what is known to have really happened as well as embellished the real story in favor of the best told story. The good thing about this though, is that this is Historical Fiction and that is what I expect. If you are looking for true facts, check out a non-fiction book, but for a good story, try this on for size.

I couldn’t put this book down and as soon as I finished it I picked up The Boleyn Inheritance, the next in the series.
Reviews of this book by other bloggers:

Where to Buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | RJ Julia

Also by Philippa Gregory:
Author Philippa Gregory also has written many other books – those among the Tudor Court series include:
constant princess
The Constant Princess (Book 1)
[My Review]
The Boleyn Inheritance (Book 3)
Taming of the Queen
The Taming of the Queen (Book 4)
The Queen's Fool (Book 5)
the virgins lover
The Virgin's Lover (Book 6)
The Other Queen (Book7)
Other Philippa Gregory books I have reviewed:


Find Philippa Gregory: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Youtube

Copyright © 2009 by The Maiden’s Court


  1. I couldn't agree with you more; historical fiction meshes the facts with creativity- snd that's what I expect too for an entertaining read. Love your review Heather!

  2. I did a review of this one as well. I can say I enjoyed it for the entertainment and good story and good characters and I'm glad its popularity has renewed interest in the genre.

    My review is here if you'd like to check it out.


  3. I feel the same way about gregory's novels, they are what they are and I enjoy them. This was a really good book, like you I went straight to the next.

  4. Why, hello there!
    I'm so pleased I stumbled across your blog (through the Historical Fiction Bloggers Round Table). I love historical fiction, with the Tudor period being a favourite of mine as well. In fact, I think most of the hist-fic I read tends to be send in and around Tudor England. I am especially fond of Philippa Gregory, and immensely enjoyed this book (The Other Boleyn Girl). I have her novel The Boleyn Inheritance as part of my Spring Reading List; cannot wait to get into it!

  5. Philippa Gregory did do a lot in terms of making HF a really popular genre again. When I read this one I liked it a lot, but I am not sure that I can keep reading her, or at aleast keep on justifying buying her books. I do keep on borrowing her books from the library.


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