Author: Philippa Gregory
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Book Blurb: When Mary Boleyn comes to court as an innocent girl of fourteen, she catches the eye of the handsome and charming 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 family’s ambitious plots as the king’s interest begins to wane, and soon she is forced to step aside for her best friend and rival: her sister, Anne. With her own destiny suddenly unknown, Mary realizes that she must defy her family and take fate into her own hands.
I got this book for 25 cents at a library sale a while ago. I bought it because I wanted to see what all the hype was about back in the day. Even if I didn’t read it, I figured someone I knew would enjoy reading it and I could gift it to them.
Fast forward to me actually picking it up and reading it. I came in to this book knowing the ‘real’ story and having watched the movie. When I let go of fact checking, I have to admit how compulsively readable and riveting this book was. I was surprised at how I could not wait to get back to reading this book. I was even tense reading the last part of the book, and let’s face it, we all knew what was coming!
I get why people do not like this book. Anne is awful in this. History is far more complicated, as it often is, than the black and white this book paints. The movie with Natalie Portman, which was based on this book and shares the same name, didn’t stick to the book’s interpretation because it would have made the movie unwatchable. But I will say this author did a good job at making you see WHY this version of Anne was the way she was, and how unfair society was towards women at the time. No excuse – but at least you get a why. I want to read Alison Weir’s historical fiction book on Anne Boleyn as I have been told that book is more accurate on the complicated person Anne Boleyn was.
When I closed the book, I had to admit I read a good, entertaining book – so I gave it 4.5 stars. I had not been engaged with a book like that in a long time.
Recommend if you can look past the historical inaccuracies.