Shop now Learn more Shop now Shop Clothing clo_fly_aw15_NA_shoes Shop All Shop All Amazon Fashion Cloud Drive Photos Shop now Shop Fire TV Shop now Shop Fire HD 6 Shop Kindle Paperwhite Shop now Shop Now Shop now

Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

49 of 53 people found the following review helpful
on 30 July 2007
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.
11 commentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 16 June 2015
It probably seems a bit daft to review a Phillipa Gregory book, because what the hell does someone like her need a review by little old me for, eh? Oh yes - reviews are for readers!

I've taken an enforced break from Kindle reading as I have a poorly Nexus tablet, so I thought I'd treat myself to an old favourite until it's mended ~ I've just finished reading this for the third time and was, once more, humbled by its splendour. It's the story of Mary Boleyn, the mistress of Henry VIII before he fell for the charms of her sister, Anne. Much of it is drawn from Ms Gregory's imagination following her research into the social rituals of the time and her extensive knowledge of the Tudors; episodes such as the courtship details between Mary and her second husband, William Stafford are largely fantasy, obviously, but it's written in with sufficient reference to historical fact for the reader to imagine it might have been true - which is, I think, the key to writing this sort of book. It's unputdownable, it really is.

In The Other Boleyn Girl, Gregory has named Mary as being the younger of the Boleyn sisters, though since the book was written it has been proven that she was the elder. What interests me so much about this version of events is that Gregory portrays Anne as being only motivated by her ambition; we read that she was not in love with Henry at all, but wanted only the crown. I don't know how true this is; nobody does. I like to think that there was genuine passion between them, though. However, this version did not hamper my enjoyment at all. It's historical fiction ~ the author can do what she likes with it. Aside from anything else, situations can be perceived so differently, and are not black and white; perhaps Anne Boleyn was ruled by her ambition, but we don't know that she didn't love the man, too.

With a book this popular there are bound to be 1* reviews - there are 28 of them, in which readers bring forth the historical inaccuracies, often countering them with inaccuracies of their own; one compared it unfavourably to Hollywoodised The Tudors television series, another to the horrendous film version starring Natalie Portman....!! The truth is that none of us know what really went on, what Mary Boleyn or Katherine of Aragon or any of the rest of them were like; all we have are letters and quotes and accounts written at the time, which themselves vary in detail.

This is a novel about people; the characters are clear and consistent, the emotions so believable, particularly Mary's grief at being parted from her children, Anne's growing despair as her favour waxed and waned, George's weary acceptance of the life he was forced to live, the ruthlessness of the Duke of Norfolk ~ oh, I could go on and on!

One thing I love about this book is the passages describing, for instance, Mary's rides out to Hever Castle, or the summer progress, in which we are given such a feeling of what England was like at that time. How peaceful it must have been, how much of it was rural, unspoilt. This, as much as the cloying and cut-throat atmosphere of the court, I found so absorbing I was almost reading the words off the page. I'd love to go back 500 years and see it all for myself, wouldn't you?
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
40 of 46 people found the following review helpful
on 14 May 2010
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.
1111 commentsWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 16 July 2015
The perfect companion for all historical fiction enthusiasts is THE ROMA VICTRIX WINE BEAKERCalix Imperium, Roma Victrix Pewter wine beaker

When Mary Boleyn, whose entire family are courtiers in the court of Henry VIII, catches the king's eye while in her mid-teens, her uncle sees an opportunity to advance the family fortunes. Thus far, the king has not produced a male heir for England via his wife Catherine. Having no choice in the matter, Mary acquiesces and becomes the king's lover, ultimately bearing him two children. However, while she is recovering from the birth of her second child, her family suddenly turns its focus to her sister Anne, upon whom the king's eye has newly fallen. Mary's fate is largely forgotten as all eyes are on Anne Boleyn. If she could convince the king to abandon his wife and marry her, how the family fortunes would rise!

I've enjoyed most of Philippa Gregory's works as her storytelling makes it difficult to put the books down. This is especially true of this book. Despite unproven and possibly fanciful conjectures by the author, the story is fascinating and great for an escapist experience.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 14 February 2009
Little wonder that this book was adapted into film - it has everything to keep the reader hooked - intrigue in every form: plots and counter plots, secret liaisons and powerful influences. Many stories featuring the court of Henry VIII have been told, but this one is different as it tells the story through Mary Boleyn's eyes. Philippa Gregory has dramatised history by adding her ideas of how it might, or could, have been; she did a convicing job and I was swept along with the tale. Henry was undoubtedly a sex addict and the sisters were, after all, not much more than children when they featured highly at Henry's court - no wonder Anne's character developed in the way it did. The elder Howards and Boleyns were quite awful and Anne was reputedly extremely intelligent so quickly followed the families' tradition of plotting and scheming. Mary, on the other hand, although not as clever, was the one who came out on top, finding real love and having the courage to follow it. A captivating story.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 21 March 2008
Having read this book once I picked it up within two weeks and read it again, it was very good. I am the kind of reader that reads for fun so whether the story is factual or not is irrelevant. I find it interesting particularly for the juxtaposition of the two contrasting characters Mary and Anne.

From an early age I have always been interested in the Tudors. This arises from the fact that the majority of us have probably studied in school and everyone knows the story of Henry the VIII and his 6 wives. I think you would particularly be interested in this book if you love a little romance and lots and lots of gossip. This book makes an interesting bedtime read and if you're anything like me you probably wont get to sleep as you cant put it down. I have read a number of historical novels and this one does stand out as one of the best. If you love a good scandal- buy this book!!!
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
33 of 39 people found the following review helpful
on 14 February 2003
I read this book last year having always been intrigued by the Boleyn family. Philippa Gregory draws you in with her easy to read style so much so that at times I felt like I was spying on certain conversations and found myself with tears in my eyes during the last few chapters. If you are remotely interested in the Tudors or even if you want to enjoy a good romance then this is the book for you.

I would however, like to point out why this book didn't get 5 stars. The books only failing is that it is factually incorrect and many people seem to take what Philippa Gregory has written about as fact and not the fiction that it is.

There are many different stories about Anne Boleyn some painting her as a saint and some as an all out witch. I felt that Anne was portrayed well in the sense of her ambition and desire to be queen (it was rare in that day and age for a woman to be so sure of her own path which I think makes her an excellent role model). The second half of the book however, follows a story that is a 'rumour' and just one account of what may have really happened. Philippa Gregory states that Anne Boleyn was the eldest daughter when in fact it is still unknown which daughter was born first. According to many historians it is likely that Mary was the eldest. Also do not believe Mary to be the perfect angelic girl painted in this book. It has been recorded that she, unlike her sister Anne, was quite loose with her favours at a very early age, whilst studying in France. Before she was Henry's mistress the King of France at the time boasted that he had had the pleasure of her company on an intimate level referring to her as "my hackney carriage".

If you enjoy this book and would like to learn more I would recommend Alison Weir's book "The Six Wives of Henry VIII" as an excellent follow-on or alternatively "Six Wives" by David Starkey.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 24 March 2008
I admit that I bought this book solely because of the current film and it is not the type of story I would normally read. However from the first page I was hooked and I highly recommend it.

It is so well written and so descriptive but without being overly so. Do not be put off because it is a historical novel, it does not get bogged down in the detail and has a fast-paced story that gallops along to its inevitable conclusion. You will find yourself sympathising at some stage first with Mary, then with Anne, then with both girls and then with neither!

I shall certainly read more of Philippa Gregory's other novels though whether they can match up to this one remains to be discovered!
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 15 September 2008
I picked this up without knowing anything about the author and I hadn't heard about the film. Being Irish I was never very interested in the English kings and queens but this book looked different and interesting and it was. It also made me interested in this period and looked up a little history because of it.

For those that say it is inaccurate, first I don't know a lot about this time. Philippa Gregory is a historian and has some good arguments on the parts people object to, like which sister was oldest. But this is a novel I doubt she would want people to take it so seriously, it's interesting to read and it can spark interest in people to learn history, what's so wrong with that.
11 commentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 19 September 2014
Absolutely brilliant !! I can thoroughly recommend this book even if you found history boring while you were at school, as I did ! In fact I've learnt more about history in this one story than I ever learnt in my entire school life ! I chose this book (kindle version) because it was on offer and I'd seen the DVD which I also enjoyed. I found the story of the Boleyn girls so fascinating that I could not put the book down. Unlike the film version it tells you the whole story through the eyes of Mary Boleyn, her thoughts, her worries, her perspective on court life in the days of Henry V111. I found it quite an eye opener and was amazed how these people lived their lives.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
     
 
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
The Boleyn Inheritance
The Boleyn Inheritance by Philippa Gregory (Paperback - 3 Mar. 2011)
£6.29

The Constant Princess: 4 (Tudor series)
The Constant Princess: 4 (Tudor series) by Philippa Gregory (Paperback - 2 May 2006)
£6.29

The White Queen
The White Queen by Philippa Gregory (Paperback - 15 April 2010)
£2.00
 
     

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.