I may or may not have an unhealthy fascination with the Tudor period of English history. I find reading about the life and wifes of Henry VIII quite compelling, and watching Johnathan Rhys Meyers get angry… y-uuummmy! So because I adore it so much, I have been trying to pace myself while reading the Tudor Series by Philippa Gregory, and watching The Tudors by Showtime (thank you Marina!)
I have been trying to read Philippa Gregory’s Tudor Series in chronological order, which is proving to be difficult because she didn’t write them chronologically. I read The Other Boleyn Girl first, so when I finished The Constant Princess in January, I almost wanted to read The Other Boleyn Girl again. Alas, I had lent the book out (still can’t figure out who has it — probably my sister though)… so I started the third book (chronologically), The Boleyn Inheritance.
The Boleyn Inheritance was written fifth (in 2006) but deals with the time period after Anne Boleyn’s beheading and Jane Seymour’s death. The book centers around three females within the King’s court: Jane Boleyn, Lady Rochford, husband to George Boleyn and sister-in-law to Anne Boleyn; Anne of Cleves, the young German woman destined to become Henry’s fourth wife; and Katherine Howard, a maid in Queen Anne of Cleves’ court who caught the eye of the King and became his fifth wife.I really enjoyed reading the story from all three perspectives; Jane gave us a glimpse into the conniving, cut-throat world of court, Anne of Cleves displayed more than just a woman whom the King couldn’t consummate a marriage with, and Katherine Howard showed us she was more than just a ninny as history dictates.
I find that Philippa Gregory’s writing is always intriguing, the story always moves forward and very rarely do I get bored. It is a quick read and the characters are always very well researched and well-rounded where history lacks. Philippa Gregory obviously must take some story-telling indulgences where history just doesn’t tell the full character of a person. She always seems to breath life and depth into these women who were branded a certain way while still maintaining that character. She makes the flat descriptions of their actions in history come to life on the page: Jane Boleyn who was branded a backstabbing bitch for giving evidence against her husband and sister-in-law, Anne of Cleves being assumed an idiot when there was a huge language barrier, and Katherine Howard was apparently very superficial was really only 15 and being married off to an old, rotting man.
I don’t really know where this review is going, because I just enjoyed the book and could go on and on about these characters and this age in history for a loooong time. Anyway, I enjoyed it, it got me out of my reading slump (in case you noticed I haven’t finished a book in quite a while). And if you like Tudor history and/or Philippa Gregory, read The Boleyn Inheritance.