Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Other Boleyn Girl

As I mentioned previously, I was really interested to see what I thought of this book after hearing such mixed things from my book club friends and after reading such mixed reviews from my online friends. I kind of feel like Simon Cowell after Randy and Paula have had their say: "I actually agree with...Paula."

'Tis true. I liked it. I told myself I had to read 100 pages a day if I was going to get done before book club this Wednesday and I liked it so much that was no trouble at all. There are two things that may have influenced me:

1. I love historical fiction, period.
2. Historical fiction, set in England where I've spent 6 years of my life, is just icing on the cake.

Having said that, it has been awhile since I've thought of the Tudors, so a lot of the story was "new" to me. I made myself stay away from Wikipedia for the first 500 pages so I didn't ruin too much for myself. I did have "Divorced, Beheaded, Died, Divorced, Beheaded, Survived" running around in my head though, so I knew how things were ultimately going to end up.

The story is told from Mary Boleyn's perspective, and her character definitely grew on me. I thought the story of Henry VIII's court was well-crafted and researched. It is a story of ambition and sex, and how the women in the family were used to further the family's power and influence. So, based on the main thematic elements, I understand where it may not interest some people at all. It was a touch overdone for me, and I kind of think that Gregory put all of the most scandalous theories out there and rolled them into one book. My only other gripe is that it all ended quite abruptly, but I think that may have been the author's intention. I just wanted a little more closure.

I'm really quite excited to see what book club is like this week. This may be the first book we have strong opposing opinions about, so it should make for a good discussion. Anyway, I will definitely be checking out more of Gregory's works in the future.


Booklogged said...

I liked it, too. I can't believe how lucky we are to be women alive today and in this country.

Anonymous said...

It's funny, but I haven't really seen many negative reviews on this one. Even the women in my book club (including myself) felt it was a really good page turner!

Melissa said...

I wanted to like it; I just can't stand Henry VII and the Boleyns/Howards. If I could have gotten past that...

My favorite Gregory is The Queen's Fool. I liked The Virgin's Lover, too. I'd say that I'd give this one another shot, but I've tried twice already (though I got farther the second time...). Probably time to say enough already.

Rae said...

Glad to hear you liked it. As you know, I did too and am looking forward to reading more. I wasn't able to keep myself off of wikipedia while reading the book! I would get sidetracked for hours before coming back to the book!!! I can't believe what some families are willing to do to forward themselves and their fortunes!

Corinne said...

I've never tried it. Let us know how book club goes :)