emmejo, August 7, 2010 (view all comments by emmejo)
Mary Boleyn arrives in court as a recently married 14 year old girl, and quickly catches the eye of the king. He family sees a chance for fame and fortune, and try to set her up as his mistress. They succeed and Mary falls for her new lover more and more. But this dream-like state doesn't last. As Henry VIII looses interest in her, Mary's family decides they can't let this golden opportunity escape. They need the other Boleyn girl, Anne, to take Mary's place, and Mary must help her sister keep it.
I admit to being disappointed in this book. I didn't buy that Mary would stay such a simple, naive **coughfoolishcough** girl when she was so enmeshed in these tangled plots and the whole character felt really faked and unbelievable. This dislike of the narrator's seeming stupidity made for a difficult read. I did like Anne, although her behavior was generally outrageous at least she had a personality. Most of the other characters I struggled with, they felt very flat most of the time but had sparks where I cared enough about what was happening to convince me to grit my teeth and keep plugging away at it. There were a few supporting characters, such as William Stafford, who I really liked.
The writing was very bland, although most was not outright bad. The author frequently wrote in a very modern voice and used words that felt wrong for the time period. (The repeated use of "sexy" was driving me up a tree!) The dialogue often felt stilted, and again seemed too modern.
For die-hard fans of historical fiction about the Boleyns or Henry VIII this might be a fine read, but I think many historical fiction readers will find themselves frustrated. It might also be a good book for people who don't read historical fiction, as it has such a modern feel.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No (1 of 1 readers found this comment helpful)
Elaine, March 16, 2008 (view all comments by Elaine)
This might be my all-time favorite book. Although it is an historical novel, which is not my favorite genre, it is so compellingly written, it is difficult to put down.
It is the story of Henry VIII's court through the eyes of Anne Boleyn's sister and provides a picture of the ambition and manipulativeness of families close to the court. It is a fascinating take on history.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No (8 of 14 readers found this comment helpful)
"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"Rather than settling for a picturesque rendering of court life, Gregory conveys its claustrophobic, all-consuming nature with consummate skill." Publishers Weekly
by Kirkus Reviews,
"Absorbing tale of a Renaissance family determined to climb as high as they can, whatever the cost."
by Library Journal,
"Gregory captures not only the dalliances of court but the panorama of political and religious clashes throughout Europe. She controls a complicated narrative and dozens of characters without faltering, in a novel sure to please...fans of historical fiction."
"You want a real page-turner, but you don't want to tarnish your reputation for literary taste. The Other Boleyn Girl is your kind of...book."
Anne Boleyn is the odd girl out. Newly arrived to the court of King Henry VIII, everything about her seems wrong, from her clothes to her manners to her witty but sharp tongue. So when the dashing poet Thomas Wyatt offers to coach her on how to shine at court—and to convince the whole court they’re lovers—she accepts. Before long, Anne’s popularity has soared, and even the charismatic and irresistible king takes notice. More than popularity, Anne wants a voice—but she also wants love. What began as a game becomes high stakes as Anne finds herself forced to make an impossible choice between her heart's desire and the chance to make history.
Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.