Customer Review

28 of 34 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars OK as a piece of historical research but not very original, 8 Oct. 2011
This review is from: Mary Boleyn: 'The Great and Infamous Whore' (Hardcover)
There's a problem with any work involving Mary Boleyn; there isn't enough material around to write a history like this without it becoming repetitious when compared to everything else Tudor already on the market. Mary Boleyn was infamous for two reasons; she was mistress to Henry VIII and sister to the most famous of his wives Anne Boleyn. We know little of the relationship between the sisters, little of the intimacy between Mary and her King, what we do know has already been the subject of books, movies and a huge variety of TV programmes. There's nothing particularly fresh or new in this book apart from the title "The Great and Infamous Whore" which is sufficiently bold enough to raise the odd eyebrow or two. Alison Weir presents Mary in the traditional way; a pawn in the hands of powerful men who offered her as a gift to Henry VIII in order to advance their status. Mary escaped marriage and therefore the possibility of execution or divorce merely because Henry became bored, needed fresh meat, the Boleyn family stepped in once more and offered their other daughter, Anne, as a replacement. That's a potted history of Mary Boleyn and once you've established those few facts there's little left to learn unless you're interested in a much wider, non specific, history of the times. Alison Weir presents her book in a way that's flat, slow, lacking in entertainment and biased in favour of her own personal opinions. She offers up little more than what's already known along with a good deal of padding.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 14 Nov 2011 12:45:04 GMT
Krysia says:
This review isn't helpful to anyone who hasn't "read what little there is, over and over again". There is no suggestion regarding the merit of the book for those who have less information than this reviewer. Would he/she recommend it for the novice?

Posted on 28 Nov 2011 19:25:23 GMT
Kirstiemac says:
Don't know what the problem is, except that it was written at all considering there is very little 'original' (perhaps you mean new?) information available about Mary Boleyn. Females through history have been flogged to death [metaphorically;)] in recent years so I expect it's hard to find new victims to write about.
i think the problem is so many are writing fictionalised accounts of people's lives which allow the writer more scope with the character so that expectations of a 'story' are too high even in popular historical research.
'ok as a piece of historical research but not very original' - well it is a piece of historical research, just not very imaginatively presented. Could it have been presented more imaginatively? Don't know. As a subject it must have been like trying to build a house with ten bricks. Perhaps Ms Weir used too much mortar between the bricks.
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