So, I spent my weekend at Henry VIII's court, amidst the intrigue and treachery and decadent lifestyle of sixteenth century England. I haven't read much historical fiction lately, all caught up with classics and challenges, and I had forgotten how much I love a good epic tale. I love how with historical fiction, you can know the outcome - Anne Boleyn isn't going to survive- and yet you want to keep reading to find out what will happen to the characters and how the author will get to the outcome. The characters of Anne Boleyn, her sister Mary, the narrator, and their brother George, were the center of this tale and their closeness and friendship and stick togetherness was my favorite part of the story. Through all the double crossing and treachery, these three stuck together and helped and supported each other to the very end.
Philippa Greogory's interview at the back of the book states she wants readers to :
- take away a terrific reading experience which has absorbed them and moved them and excited them. check
- have a new vision of the Tudor period and some interesting information about the role of women and the inequalities of English society check
- understand that while the Tudor court was glamorous there was deep poverty and that was a normal way of life check
- get a sense of the Tudor landscape, the courts and the city of London and the countryside check
- get an insight into the psychology of the characters check
And the best part about this book: two more books! The Constant Princess, about Katherine of Aragon the first wife of Henry VIII, and The Boleyn Inheritance, which looks at the next three or four wives after Anne Boleyn as Henry continues his quest to have a male to inherit the throne. And we all know how that turns out. Yet, I'll read the book to see how Gregory imagines it all played out.