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The Boleyn Inheritance Hardcover – 28 Aug 2006

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 528 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; First Printing edition (28 Aug. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007190328
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007190324
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 23.6 x 4.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (333 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 444,920 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Born in Kenya in 1954, Philippa Gregory moved to England with her family and was educated in Bristol and at the National Council for the Training of Journalists course in Cardiff. She worked as a senior reporter on the Portsmouth News, and as a journalist and producer for BBC Radio.

Philippa obtained a BA degree in History at the University of Sussex in Brighton and a PhD at Edinburgh University in 18th-century literature. Her first novel, Wideacre, was written as she completed her PhD and became an instant worldwide bestseller. On its publication, she became a full-time writer.

Wideacre was followed by a haunting sequel, The Favoured Child, and the delightful happy ending of the trilogy: Meridon. This novel was listed in Feminist Book Fortnight and for the Romantic Novel of the Year at the same time.

Her next book was The Wise Woman, a dazzling, disturbing novel of dark powers and desires set against the rich tapestry of the Reformation. Then came Fallen Skies, an evocative realistic story set after the First World War. Her novel A Respectable Trade took her back to the 18th century where her knowledge of the slave trade and her home town of Bristol explored the human cost of slavery. Gregory adapted her book for a highly acclaimed BBC television production which won the prize for drama from the Commission for Racial Equality and was shortlisted for a BAFTA for the screenplay.

Next came Earthly Joys and Virgin Earth, based on the true-life story of father and son both named John Tradescant working in the upheaval of the English Civil War. In these works Gregory pioneered the genre which has become her own: fictional biography, the true story of a real person brought to life with research and verve.

The jewel in the crown of this new style was undoubtedly The Other Boleyn Girl, a runaway bestseller which stormed the US market and then went worldwide telling the story of the little-known sister to Anne Boleyn. Now published globally, this classic historical novel won the Parker Pen Novel of the Year award 2002 and the Romantic Times fictional biography award. The Other Boleyn Girl was adapted for the BBC as a single television drama and by Sony as a major motion picture starring Scarlett Johansson as Mary Boleyn, Natalie Portman as Anne Boleyn and Eric Bana as Henry VIII.

After adding five more novels to her Tudor Court series including The Constant Princess and The Queen's Fool, two of her best-loved works, Philippa moved back in time to write about the family that preceded the Tudors, the Plantagenets. Her bestselling six-book Cousins' War series tells the story of the bloody struggle for the throne in the Wars of the Roses from the perspective of the women behind the scenes. The White Queen, The Red Queen and The Kingmaker's Daughter were adapted by the BBC and Starz in 2013 as the hugely popular TV miniseries The White Queen.

Having completed The Cousins' War series with The King's Curse, Philippa has come full circle back to the Tudor court. Her next novel will be about Kateryn Parr, the sixth wife of Henry VIII: The Taming of the Queen. Her other work in progress is the young adult series The Order of Darkness, set in medieval Italy after the fall of Constantinople, feared at the time to be a sign of the end of the world.

A regular contributor to newspapers and magazines, with short stories, features and reviews, Philippa is also a frequent broadcaster, a regular contestant on Round Britain Quiz for BBC Radio 4 and the Tudor expert for Channel 4's Time Team. As well as her extensive array of historical novels she has written modern novels, children's books, a collection of short stories, and a non-fiction book with David Baldwin and Michael Jones: The Women of the Cousins' War.

She lives in the North of England with her family and in addition to interests that include riding, walking, skiing and gardening (an interest born from research into the Tradescant family for her novel Virgin Earth) she also runs a small charity building wells in school gardens in The Gambia.

Product Description


Praise for Philppa Gregory:

‘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 TimesGregory'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

From the Inside Flap

The stories of three young women, trying to survive the most volatile and dangerous court in Europe at a time of religious upheaval and political uncertainty, is Philippa Gregory's most intense and compelling novel yet.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

114 of 120 people found the following review helpful By Flimo on 27 Aug. 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am a big fan of Philipa Gregory's novels and am also very interested in Tudor history, so I am naturally biased towards enjoying a book that brings to life those times so vividly.

This novel, like many of Gregory's, is different to the majority of historical fiction floating around. Her research is extensive and her creative license is therefore built upon a real historian's detective work. The book focuses on Anne of Cleves, Katherine Howard and Jane Boleyn and the chapters are divided between their three voices as the story unfolds. This is where the genius of the book lies. Elsewhere, the two Queens are normally dealt with in a more perfunctory way than even Henry VIII himself did. Gregory however skilfully gives them a realistic and sustained voice as women. Katherine Howard is characterised so well that the first time I reached one of 'her chapters' I smiled and fully, finally, recognised an authentic voice for her after years of reading Tudor history.

The strength of characterisation and the choice to give a voice to women usually passed over in this story as brief 'middle' wives before Henry finally expired whilst married to Katherine Parr is what makes this novel so potent. I read it in two days.
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41 of 43 people found the following review helpful By NorthernStarRetail on 3 July 2007
Format: Paperback
I find Philippa Gregory's novels a little variable, but I really enjoyed this one. It gave a new perspective on three characters about whom I knew little, despite being very well read on the Tudor period. The historical accuracy of some of it is of course questionable, and the author makes no secret of that in her Appendix, but nevertheless it was an interesting and believable account of events seen through the eyes of three very different women.

One reviewer has expresed disappointment that Katherine Howard is portrayed as a silly and vacuous 15-year-old, but I think it very likely that this was a pretty accurate portrayal. It is certainly known that she was practically illiterate, promiscuous and vain, and that her only assets were her looks. It is difficult in this account to feel much sympathy for her most of the time, but we must remember that her ignorance meant that she was manipulated by her unscrupulous uncle for political ends and paid a huge price.

Anne of Cleves comes across as an intelligent, thoughtful and discreet woman, who had a very lucky escape. One feels a certain sympathy for her, in that she was forced into exile, still only in her 20s, and never able to marry, but at least she was spared having to live with an increasingly deranged King, and she kept her head! The one aspect of this book which I didn't think rang true was the much-repeated assertion that Anne's life was at risk while the King was still alive. This seems unlikely, because once she had been divorced from the King she was no threat to him and it seems unlikely that he would have risked the consequences of getting rid of her. In fact it is generally believed that she and the King got on well after the divorce and she was very friendly with his children.
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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Claire Lewis on 29 July 2011
Format: Paperback
I found Philippa Gregory's sequel to 'The Other Boleyn Girl' to be much better than the original. Unlike 'The Other Boleyn Girl,' 'The Boleyn Inheritance' is much more historically accurate and it also tells the story from the point of view of three different women, rather than from only one - the pretty uninteresting Mary Boleyn, who was the narrator in 'The Other Boleyn Girl.' 'The Boleyn Inheritance' picks up three years after the end of 'The Other Boleyn Girl' and it tells the story of the years between 1539 and 1542 through the eyes of two queens and a lady-in-waiting - Anne of Cleves, Katherine Howard (nicknamed Kitty in this novel) and Jane Boleyn, who readers might remember as being the wife of George Boleyn in 'The Other Boleyn Girl.' Each woman is a very different personality, with a very different agenda and I really enjoyed the contrast between their three voices - nice Anne, ditzy Kitty and manipulative Jane. 'The Boleyn Inheritance's' best bits are that it really captures how terrifying it must have been to be living in Henry VIII's court and to be a woman in the 16th century. I felt at times the author maybe overdid Kitty's stupidity and pushed the point a bit too far, which became a little bit annoying at some points. The bit where Anne of Cleves dreamed of a world without kings seemed a bit strange to me too, since it's pretty much impossible that a sixteenth century princess would be able to imagine a world like that and it pulled me right out of the novel and its setting and made me think of Philippa Gregory and the 21st century, rather than Anne of Cleves and the sixteenth. Still, overall 'The Boleyn Inheritance' was an enjoyable read and I would definitely recommend it!
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58 of 62 people found the following review helpful By Stella TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 10 Jun. 2008
Format: Paperback
The Boleyn Inheritance was my second Philippa Gregory book and I enjoyed it even more than the first (The Other Boleyn Girl). I loved seeing how things panned out, depending on which side of the fence the narrator was on, and I really felt like I knew the characters and their motivation by the end. The end just came too soon for me. I'd have liked it to carry on and on, especially Anne's part.

Anne's and Katherine's chapters were more entertaining than Jane's but that's probably because Jane's chapters/thoughts/narration were primarily about her own self inflicted torment and delusions over her husband's and Anne Boleyn's betrayal. Her narrative had a definite air of madness about it as the story progressed. By the end she was a broken woman and I don't doubt she was as mad as box of frogs. I don't pity her though.....well, not much anyway.

I love that I feel I know these women a little better now (albeit in a fictional way) and will look out for other fictional works which cover the Tudors.

King Henry was vividly repulsive in the pages, to the point where I swear I could smell the supporating wound on his leg every time I opened the pages. At best he was delusional, at worst he was a maniac and I wonder how anyone could bear to be around him.

All in all it's a great read, I just hope I can find a worthy bedtime read to replace it, now it's finished. That's the worst part of a good's over too soon.
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