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Sunday, January 9, 2011

Book Review: The Boleyn Inheritance by Philippa Gregory

This is a must for lovers of reading anything and everything Tudor. A fascinating look at two of Henry's little known queens, Anne of Cleves and Katherine Howard. This book might be difficult to get into at first if you have no prior knowledge of Henry VIII and his wives, but it's worth sticking with it.

I loved the way the author told the story from the viewpoint of Anne, Katherine and Jane Boleyn (who was married to George Boleyn, the first Anne's brother). The characters were brilliantly portrayed and came alive before my eyes. Anne, just trying to stay alive in a court riddled with intrigue, Jane scheming with her uncle to put another Howard on the throne, and Katherine (LOL) the not too bright but very beautiful 15 year old who just wanted to look pretty and have pretty things and be admired by handsome men. There were times I was laughing out loud at Kitty's comments, and the chapters that repeatedly started with another accounting of "what do I have now?", as she counted her jewels and clothes.

Through these three women we see Anne and Kitty caught up in something they are helpless to stop, Henry's lusting after young Kitty and his determination to put Anne aside at any cost to have Kitty. Most fascinating of all is the way Henry is portrayed through all three women, and he is terrifying indeed. An absolute ruler, with complete power over all around him and mad as a hatter. And wonderful to see that of all of them, Anne was able to come through the terror unscathed and a free, independent woman.

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