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The Other Boleyn Girl Paperback – 28 May 2007


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Product details

  • Paperback: 542 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; New Ed edition (28 May 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0006514006
  • ISBN-13: 978-0006514008
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 3.6 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (475 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 7,591 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Gregory was an established historian and writer when she discovered her interest in the Tudor period and wrote the internationally bestselling novel The Other Boleyn Girl. Now she is looking at the family that preceded the Tudors: the magnificent Plantaganets, a family of complex rivalries, loves, and hatreds.

Her other great interest is the charity that she founded nearly twenty years ago: Gardens for The Gambia. She has raised funds and paid for 140 wells for the primary schools of this poor African country. www.PhilippaGregory.com


Product Description

Amazon Review

Everyone knows the fate of Anne Boleyn, but not many know the story of her rise to majesty and the part played by her rival and sister, Mary, who was Henry's mistress and mother to two of his bastard children before the dazzling older Boleyn girl even caught his eye. Philippa Gregory, whose own role as the Queen of historical romance grows more secure with each new novel, has surpassed her self with this epic tale of lust, jealousy and betrayal. The Other Boleyn Girl charts the lives of both Boleyns--each in their turn "the other Boleyn Girl"--and their fiercely ambitious, conniving family who used the girls as pawns to advance their own positions at the court of Henry VIII. At 13, Mary is little more than a child when she is presented to Henry, ordered by her scheming family to serve her King and country by opening her legs whenever commanded, or doing anything else the great monarch desires. And while his loins are satisfied, life at court is sweet for the unofficial Queen and her pushy coterie. Inevitably though, the King's eyes soon begin to wander and Mary is overlooked, helpless to do anything but aid her family's plot to advance their fortunes, replace her with Anne and give Henry the greatest gift of all: a son and heir.

So good a job has Ms Gregory done at portraying the Boleyns and Howards as selfish, scheming, treacherous manipulators however, that it becomes increasingly hard to feel empathy for any of them. While Mary is merely hapless, Anne is the most ruthless of them all, so that instead of feeling cheated by knowing the outcome of her story, it only serves to help digest her unpalatable rise. Such a gruesome destiny was never more deserved. Ms Gregory has worked hard at researching her historical references. Daily life at court is described in fascinating detail--from the relentless leisure pursuits, masques and banquets laid on for the easily bored King to the complex hierarchies and machinations of the courtiers. However, the fall of Queen Katherine of Aragon and her only child, the Princess Mary, and the politics of the competing European courts and the break with Rome are seen only as a backdrop to the bawdy goings-on of the Boleyns and their fateful race for the crown. --Carey Green

Review

Praise for Philppa Gregory:

‘Gregory's research is impeccable which makes her imaginative fiction all the more convincing’ Daily Mail

‘Gregory is great at conjuring a Tudor film-set of gorgeous gowns and golden-lattered dining. She invokes some swoonsome images…while the politics are personal enough to remain pertinent’ DailyTelegraph

‘Subtle and exciting’ Daily Express

‘Written from instinct, not out of calculation, and it shows’
Peter Ackroyd, The Times

‘For sheer pace and percussive drama it will take a lot of beating’ Sunday Times


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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

48 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Alexandra Coke on 30 July 2007
Format: Paperback
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and re-read it often. The characters are interesting, the story is well-paced and well-told, and Phillipa Gregory invokes the sights and sounds of the Tudor court very well. In Mary Boleyn, the book's narrator, she creates a character that the reader cares about, and surrounds her with even more entertaining historical figures - if there is one drawback to this book, it is that Mary is eclipsed by her 'supporting cast'.

However, as good as this book is, it is not one to be believed. Gregory's facts are deeply in question - it is well known that Mary was the older Boleyn sister, not the younger, and her reptutation is at odds with the naive country girl that Gregory presents us with. It is highly unlikely that her children were fathered by the king (he'd never hesitated to bestow myriad titles on his other illigitemate son, after all, and yet Henry Carey, Mary Boleyn's son, went ignored), and the depiction of Anne Boleyn is unnecessarily negative. The pity we are presumably supposed to feel for Anne at the end of the book feels a little forced after Gregory has chronicled the cruelty, selfishness and incest of the character, but nevertheless Anne is fascinating to read about, and once again Gregory's gift for writing good characters is shown spectacularly.

If you read this book as a novel, a story, and ignore the historical innacuracies, then you will almost certainly enjoy it. The relationship between the three Boleyn siblings is interesting, and Gregory is very skilled at showing us the court - so much so, in fact, that the book dims a little when Mary is away from London. Katherine of Aragon is excellently portrayed, and the machinations of the Duke of Norfolk, the head of the Howard family, are intriguing. Mary's love affair with William is touching - all the more so because it is the one thing we can be sure is true.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By alexandra on 20 May 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I just hate this book. Gregory is so biased in favour of Mary Boleyn and Catherine of Aragon and it's so inaccurate that I struggled to finish the book:

- Let's start with Mary Boleyn: in this book Mary never went to France, when all historians agree that she spent part of her life at the court of Francis I. Gregory doesn't mention that she was Francis I's mistress ("The English Mare", as she was called) before becoming Henry's. In the OBG, she is the youngest child of Thomas and Elizabeth Boleyn, when she was in fact the oldest. Moreover, Gregory states that the King became infatuated with her when she was just 14, in reality she was 20. In this book Mary seems to be the black sheep of the family, neglected by her parents. The family must have been outraged and humiliated by her behaviour in France and at Henry's court, but I don't think they mistreated her. In the OBG, Mary tries to come back to court to testify in favour of Anne and George, which is once again a figment of Gregory's imagination.

- Catherine of Aragon: Gregory is clearly biased in favour of Catherine, who is always described as being courageous, dignified etc.

- Anne Boleyn: Gregory portrays Anne as a cold, violent, and ruthless woman. She uses all the rumours that Catholics spread about Anne (adulteress, potential murder...) and turns Anne into a monster. She even says that Anne "stole" her sister's son, when she adopted him out of charity!! And don't get me started on Anne's miscarriage of a deformed foetus, which is pure fantasy!!

- George Boleyn: Once again Gregory uses all the rumours that were spread on George by his wife, Jane Parker and his enemies. Gregory says that he was a bisexual and committed incest with his sister (nonsense!!).
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. Alison Walker on 1 Aug. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If you don't mind your history distorted you may like this, but I'd rather have less modern interpretation of people's feelings and actions.
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38 of 44 people found the following review helpful By LJM on 14 May 2010
Format: Paperback
I was really looking forward to this novel. I've always found the Anne Boleyn story fascinating - a prime example of the political and religious shenanigans of one of England's less loveable and more devious monarchs. What I found myself ploughing through was a turgid, unbelievable bodice ripper. What angered me - a lot! - was the turning of poor George Boleyn into a pantomime bisexual stereotype, based on no historical sources that I am aware of. This man will shag anything, including his sister. Anne herself is a sorceress, a born manipulater, seducing the surprisingly naive Henry away from the one who truly loves him, the incredibly saintly Mary. She, for some reason, becomes the younger sister, thus conveniently airbrushing out her own dubious past history. None of this makes sense, except that it seems that Gregory likes Henry and Mary but really has it in for Anne and George.

I can handle manipulating history, if it results in a good read, but this novel is not that. It stereotypes every character involved in a complex historical event. I know the argument is that 'this is a work of fiction that just happens to use historical figures'. Fair enough. But it's been done so much better. Robert Graves's 'I Claudius' is a gripping read; you don't have to agree with his vision of Livia or of Tiberius, but they are glorious, and Tactitus and Suetonius allow those readings to exist. Allan Massie also did something similar with 'Augustus', in which he posits a surprising but credible reason why Octavian wanted to crush Antony. Both manipulate historical sources but conjure up great reads.

I know I am in the vast minority in my opinion, but I am reluctant to give this story even 1 star. There is so much better period fiction out there.
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