October 09, 2011
The Boleyn Inheritance by Philippa Gregory
Three very different women come together in this book. Anne of Cleves, Henry VIII's fourth wife. Jane Boleyn, disgraced wife of George Boleyn who was Henry's 2nd wife's brother. Lastly, Katherine Howard, a cousin of the Boleyn's who was Henry VIII's fifth wife. With a troubled homelife, Anne is eager to start anew as Queen of England but soon finds herself at the wrong side of Henry's temper. Grown to a miserable old man, he doesn't like to realize he is gross and unattractive and Anne makes him feel this way. Meanwhile, Katherine loves court and all its intrigues and will do anything to have more pretty things. If this means flirting with a King old enough to be her grandfather, so be it, it can only lead to her advantage. And Jane will guide them both stopping only to think of herself and how it will effect her.
I really like how Gregory wrote Anne. I thought it was a very sympathetic description and she was one of the nicest characters I've ever seen in one of Gregory's books. She was just very likable. Katherine on the other hand was a ninny, harmless, but somewhat boring at times. Jane was a bit strange and its hard to like her because of the other books and her actions, but you can pity her easily. By far the most outrageous character of the book was the Duke who played all the Boleyns like pawns; he is truly evil in this series.
I like the premise of this book and how it tells the tales of some of the lesser known Queens of Henry. However, I am no historian so that doesn't have any bearing on my enjoyment of the books. This could be different for someone who actually does know European history better than I. I wasn't a big fan of how the book jumped around between the three women's points of view. It just made it so choppy and to be honest, I could have done without Jane's input at all. I liked Anne's input the best and think she should have been the voice of the whole novel. A word of warning to some is that this book doesn't shy away from descriptions of sex, rotting wounds, and other things that may not agree with some. But it does make it very realistic.
A good continuance of the series. I look forward to reading more by Gregory.
The Boleyn Inheritance