What it’s about:
Most people now know this story through the film, though (obviously) I think the book is much better. This is the story of the rise and fall of Anne Boleyn, told from the perspective of her sister Mary. Much like all Gregory’s work, whilst fiction, the historical accuracy seems exceptional, and you find yourself gripped throughout (I’ve lost most of the afternoon rereading the book, as writing this post reminded me how much I like it).
What I love:
- I love the complexity of the characters. Again this is true of all her novels (I particularly like those set in the Tudor court- read them all), but the relationship between George, Mary and Anne is brilliantly portrayed.
- I love how Gregory provides ‘The Other Boleyn Girl’ with a new narrative. Obviously inextricably bound with the lives of her siblings, nonetheless Mary treads her own path.
- Through Mary’s eyes, we gain new insights into the myth of the notorious Anne Boleyn. Without doubt driven, strong, and occasionally cruel, Mary also describes the story of a woman striving for perfection, and what this quest ultimately costs her.
My Favourite Quotes:
- “You’re a man’ I said. ‘It’s different for a woman’. ‘Yes’ he acknowledged. ‘Unless she was to marry me. Then we could make our own way together.’ William Stafford
- “No. The only way I know is always to be the best there is.” Anne Boleyn
- “I enjoyed the twelve days of Christmas more than I ever had done before. Anne was with child and glowing with health and confidence, William was at my side, my recognised husband. I had a baby in the cradle, and a young beautiful daughter at court.” Mary Boleyn.