Monday, April 06, 2009

Rating : 3.5/5
Number of Pages : 518
Series : #5 Tudor Series
Format : Historical Fiction Novel
Reason for Reading : Nymeth's Try Something New Challenge

This follows on nicely from The Other Boleyn Girl which was the first of Gregory's Tudor books. After Anne Boleyn was beheaded Jane Seymor became Henry VIIIs Queen and she died in childbirth without the King coming to visit her. This novel takes up with the story of Anne of Cleaves, Katherine Howard and the scheming Jane Boleyn (widow of Anne's brother George).

Each chapter alternates following each of the three main characters beginning with Jane Boleyn who we were introduced to in The Other Boleyn Girl. It was her crucial evidence that led to the conviction of Anne Boleyn and her brother George Boleyn and their deaths. Jane convinces herself that she did it for love of George and that she did not know that it would lead to his dreadful death. She also did it to preserve the Boleyn inheritatance which she does not see a penny of. She begins the novel shut away from court but is brought back by the powerful Duke of Norfolk, Thomas Howard (her uncle by marriage) to serve the new Queen Anne.

Next is Anne and we find out more about her cruel upbringing from her mother and brother before coming to England. She is known as the ugly wife that Henry sent back after claming that her portrait was fabricated. Here Gregory tells a different story. Not that Anne was ugly, more that her strict German fashions and what was considered beautiful were very different from what Henry was expecting. She manages to escape Henry without losing her life (a tricky thing for a Queen at that tme) and become like a sister to him but constantly in fear of new charges being brought against her.

Third is Katherine Howard. She was known to be a simple little young thing that Henry was besotted with. Her uncle is also the Duke of Norfolk and he schemes to help her win Henry's love when it is clear he does not like Anne. She is a more comlicated character in this version than historians have given her credit. Yes she is vain and silly with a questionable past, but she does such a great job of handling the King and is not quite so naive as everyone believes her to be. She makes the terrible mistake though of having an affair whilst married to Henry, here encouraged by Jane and her uncle.

One of the main points of interest in reading this is the friendships. There is the one between Anne and Katherine, Anne and Henry's daughters in particular Mary and also between Jane and the two Queen's. I was also interested in the relationship between the Duke of Norfolk and Jane in particular. He is such a villian, but he was living in such a dangerous time when the King turned on anyone who took his fancy despite previous friendships with them.

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Here are my questions from my partner Naida at The Book Worm for the Try Something New Challenge hosted by Nymeth:

1. What was the The Boleyn Inheritance about?
See the review above for a summary of the plot.

2. Did you enjoy reading this book?
Yes I really did. Not much seems to be known about Anne of Cleaves and Katherine Howard so it was interesting to read more about their stories.

3. Did you find a favorite character?
Yes Anne was lovely and I really felt for her. I also really liked Katherine and was really sad knowing how it would all play out. It must be so hard be pushed into marriage with a much older man who is ill and so very dangerous.

4. Was this book very far out of your comfort zone?
I have read a couple of Historical Fiction novels before, but not for a few years. I think to really branch out of my conform zone I need to try someone other than Philippa Gregory in this genre. I would like to try Alison Weir next.

5. Have you ever read anything similar?
Yes I have read the other Tudor novels which I have had mixed feelings about (mostly good).

6. Will you read anything by this author again?
Yes I hope to read The Other Queen at some point, another Tudor novel about Mary, Elizabeth and Bess of Hardwick.

7. Would you recommend this book?
Yes I would, but I would recommend reading The Other Boleyn Girl first to get some of the background. The others in the series are not essential for this one.

8. Did you enjoy this challenge?
Yes very much so. I was looking for an excuse to go back and read this novel and this the perfect reason. It was also fun getting to know Naida and her blog.

4 comments:

Nymeth said...

This sounds very enjoyable, if not quite as good as The Other Boleyn Girl. Thank you for joining the mini-challenge! I'm glad you and Naida had fun.

Kailana said...

this is an author that I used to like and would now probably never read again!

Ladytink_534 said...

I liked The Other Boleyn Girl but I never did read any of her other Bolyen books :( Really need to do that!

anneboleynfiles said...

I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Boleyn Inheritance and loved the way that Gregory wrote it from the different points of view - Anne of Cleves, Catherine Howard and Jane Parker (Lady Rochford). This meant that you empathised with all of them. Great book.