The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory

September 7, 2011 Whitney Review 6 Comments

The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa GregoryThe Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory
Series: The Tudor Court #2
Published by Touchstone on May 21, 2003
Genres: Historical Fiction
Source: Bought

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.

First Impressions

Like Elizabeth Taylor’s husbands, a percentage of people can rattle off most of Henry VIII  wives and like Richard Burton, Anne Boleyn is always among them.  But what of her sister Mary, the King’s first choice, the other Boleyn girl?

The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory writes like an autobiography. Through the eyes of an innocent girl who is played like a pawn and does what she is told.  Mary comes to court when she is just 14 and very naive of the ways of the world.  Soon after her appearance at court she catches the eye of the King and the Boleyn family pounces on the chance to raise their fortunes.  We shadow Mary into the royal bedroom both as his lover and then as the sister-in-law and learn of the conniving, backstabbing that takes place behind the curtain.  It is the soap opera of the 1500s.

Impressions While Reading

Phillipa Gregory’s work of historical fiction is soaked in detail as rich as the dresses Mary wore herself, from the descriptions of dress and scenery to the period itself.  The magic about this book is that the reader knows going in that Anne will die (he still has 5 more to go) but the question is how?  Yet somehow, despite this fact the author still has the reader hanging on every word.

Final Impressions

Knowing nothing about the Tudors (or almost nothing) this book was very interesting to me and made me want to dig a little deeper into that period of time; that is one thing about historical fiction, if the story is good enough I want to learn more on the subject, separate fact  from fiction so to speak.  The Other Boleyn Girl kept me up late at night (10:01) and would highly recommend it.


6 responses to “The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory

  1. I'm so happy you liked this! People say that Philippa Gregory's historical fiction isn't very accurate (well duh, it's fiction), but I really like her and this is one of my favorite books.

    If you're looking for more by her, I highly recommend The Constant Princess, which is the story about his first wife Katherine.

  2. I really liked The Other Boleyn girl. I didn't love all of the rest of Gregory's Tudor series, though. The Boleyn Inheritance and The Constant Princess were probably my favorites of the rest. Her Cousin's War series is also pretty good.

    Thanks for the great review!

  3. I have a lot of trouble maintaining interest in historical fiction, but my younger sister loves it and she really enjoyed this book. I think she read the other related books and wasn't as impressed with them

  4. I agree, I know the history in Phillipa Gregory's books so the ending is no surprise to me, and yet I'm still always on the edge of my seat reading! I really loved her Tudor's series and I'm enjoying the war of the roses series now.

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