February 18, 2008

Phillipa Gregory: The Other Boleyn Girl

The year is 1522. (The prelude is 1521.) Young Mary, sister of soon-to-be-well-known Anne Boleyn is the main character of this book. As Boleyns in the royal court, these sisters and their brother, George are expected to go above and beyond to do all they can to help their family rise in name and honor. They are preassured by their father but mainly their uncle, and when King Henry VIII catches Mary's eye, the family is to put aside a part of Mary's life while she is to become all that matters to the king, her siblings alongside her to ensure she is thrust in the king's favor.

As the years pass, Anne is forced to give up something that mattered more to her than anything ever would but one thing. She eventually becomes the sparkle in the king's eye while Mary is behind the scenes, and the king's favor takes a turn. The sisters, not unlike all sisters, become rebels to one another, as Anne and Mary each fight for something that would give them what they truely want.

Things take a turn and Anne dreams of a world of power while Mary dreams of a much simpler world in the country. Meanwhile, George, too, enters a life in which he must be careful to not lose what matters to him most aside from family name and honor. The siblings are soon left to fend for themselves as the court sees that the Boleyns, all powerful yet not as eye-catching as they once were, fade out of the glow and are forced into darkness and despair.

Before I read this book, I wasn't really sure if I'd like it. I thought that either the book would drag by and I'd want to set it down, or that what everone said would be true and that it would be a good book for me as well.

I loved this book and am thrilled the author has so many other books out there that I can read. In my head I'm silently saying 'uh-oh' because I know from this book that I will be hunting down Gregory's other books, finishing them shortly after getting my hands on them. I've been trying very hard to not buy any books for a few months. I like that her books have a way of telling us about history while keeping my interest better than history classes I had when I was younger.

Another reason I enjoyed this book is because my family traces back to King Henry VIII, and it's nice to learn more about all of it. Had I grown up on the other side of my family, I'd have had books of plenty to see how it all traces back and learn more, but I didn't. I think this is the second historical fiction book that I've read. The first was Suzannah Dunn's The Queen of Subtleties, about Anne Boleyn.

I rate this book 4.5 stars. I hope to read another of Gregory's books soon. Next by Phillipa Gregory I'm going to read The Constant Princess, about Katherine of Aragon, then The Boleyn Inheritance, and The Queen's Fool. Wish me luck in finding any of these on BookMooch!