The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory


Mark Haddon

"Two sisters competing for the greatest prize...the love of a king"

Cover caption



I am a big fan of Philippa Gregory books and I have always had a real interest in the Tudors (specifically the Henry VIII period).  So, I was rather excited to read this book. It was gripped me from the beginning and the writing style Gregory used really added to the 1500s feeling – perhaps because it is written in the first person from the perspective of the little-known Mary Boleyn.

Whilst Gregory spends significant amounts of time researching her novels, one can never assume that the book is much more than fiction. However, the central characters in the story are all known to have been members of the Court during the reign of Henry.  Further, the book describes the behaviour of the Royal Court in real detail and one can really picture the luxury they will have lived in, given the time.

The character of Mary is very endearing and she quickly gained my sympathy as she suffered at the hands of her power-hungry family.  On the flip-side, Anne is the most calculating and selfish character, even compared to Henry who is just selfish and powerful.  However, there was also something about Anne which endeared her to me and some of my favourite parts of the novel were when it touched on the relationships between Anne, Mary and their brother George.

As with all her novels it seems, Gregory yet again deals with the delicate area of incest.  Although it is reported that the incestuous affair she writes about (between George and Anne) is rumoured to have happened.  In fact, it is the reason George is beheaded at the end of the book.

I became very involved in this book to the extent I would almost forget I was in 2008 as my train arrived at the station and I had to pull my nose out of the book!  I became so engrossed that at the end when Mary says of Anne,

“And then the sword came down like a flash of lightening, and then her head was off her body and the long rivalry between me and the other Boleyn girl was over”

I did gasp out-loud and shed a tear, as if I didn’t know it was coming!



Reviewed on 10/04/2008 by Angela


Reviewed item details

ISBN: 0007262809

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