Sunday, 9 April 2017

Chuckles Retro Reads: The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory

Two sisters competing for the greatest prize: The love of a king

When Mary Boleyn comes to court as an innocent girl of fourteen, she catches the eye of Henry VIII. Dazzled, Mary falls in love with both her golden prince and her growing role as unofficial queen. However, she soon realises just how much she is a pawn in her family's ambitious plots as the king's interest begins to wane and she is forced to step aside for her best friend and rival: her sister, Anne. Then Mary knows that she must defy her family and her king and take fate into her own hands.

A rich and compelling novel of love, sex, ambition, and intrigue, The Other Boleyn Girl introduces a woman of extraordinary determination and desire who lived at the heart of the most exciting and glamourous court in Europe and survived by following her heart.

My Review:
Young recently married Mary Boleyn captures the eye of King Henry VIII and is pushed by her scheming family into being his new mistress.Mary loves the Queen and does not want to do it but as the affair begins, she gradually falls in love with Henry. When Mary gets pregnant, the family are thrilled but concerned over which scheming family will try to get their own girl into Mary's place. Anne is sent to remind him of Mary as much as possible but soon Mary realises she has lost her lover to her sister.

This book was really good, putting a whole new slant on the story of Anne's relationship with Henry. This was the book that really got me interested in the Tudors and I've read a lot of them since then. Mary was a very sympathetic character. Watching her ambitious family plot first her wedding to a man at court that she doesn't want to marry, and then forcing her to become the King's whore just to get themselves land and riches, was quite sad. I'm glad I wasn't a Tudor woman, getting sold like cattle to the highest bidder! Watching her lose HEnry to her sister made you really hate Anne at times! We see a lot of the close bond between Anne and George, which infuriates his scheming wife Jane Parker, and leads to the infamous charge of incest against Anne. Anne's rivalry with Mary for the King is intriguing and when she loses, Mary just wants to go and live with her children but Anne forces her to be her lady-in-waiting as she waits to become Queen. Anne wants Mary's help in knowing how to keep Henry without having sex with him and have someone she can trust to confide in.

We see all the scandals of Court and how desperate Anne was in trying to get a baby and the book hints about the possibility of George being the father of Anne's mutated baby. I know that historians had a pink fit over the way this story was written, but this is the joy of historical fiction-taking a well known story and putting a different slant on it. What-Ifs are fun! I loved the way the book explored some of the jucier rumours about the Boleyns and wrote them as being what happened. The plotting of Henry against Anne, Jane against George and Anne, Anne against Mary and Katherine, the Boleyns against certainly made for an entertaining, intriguing and scandal filled story, and it remains one of my favourite books.
star rating photo: 5 Star Rating 5stars.jpg


  1. I've only seen the movie but I've heard GREAT things about Philippa Gregory's books. I'd love to read more historical fiction like this. Plus I saw on another blog they're making a show called The White Queen, based on her books, but it's on Starz which I don't get. :(

    1. I didn't much like either version of the film but I loved the book. I enjoy Philippa Gregory's tudor and plantagenet books as she always puts a twist into each one. Her Wideacre book is also great-a real bitch of an MC!

  2. I read this book years ago and loved it. I was just sucked into the time period and didn't want to leave. I should probably pull it out for a re-read at some point. Great review!

    1. I read it based on a friend's recommendation the week before The Tudors premiered on TV and both of them hooked me! Funny how I don't mind sex scenes in these Tudor books but I don't like them in UF! I'm weird, I know! I also loved The Boleyn Inheritance but my review on GR is poor so I need to do it again before I post it. They would be part of my stranded on a desert island book collection!