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Engagement Tea Party – Saturday 19th September 2015 Last Saturday we held our engagement party at our house, we spent the day with around ...

23/03/2011

The Books by Your Bed 2: The Other Boleyn Girl


I have just finished the second book on the pile beside my bed, The Other Boleyn Girl and I loved it. I originally picked the book up almost a year ago now because I enjoyed the film, but I only started reading it about a month ago. I couldn't put it down. I was engrossed in it, I'd be reading it all the time and it's the reason that I have started  reading again, thanks Philippa Gregory.

The book is obviously about the Boleyn's and therefore Tudor England and Henry VIII's reign and so instantly appealed to me, I love a bit of the Tudors - I think it's because the place where I live has a lot of Tudor related history, and it's been ingrained in me since I was little. But the book is not about Anne Boleyn the wife of Henry, it's about her sister Mary, 'the other Boleyn girl' and her life as a member of the English court, being the king's favourite for some time, and then standing out of the way to let her sister take the man she loves and become his queen.

The book's main theme in my opinion is patriarchy. Mary Boleyn is used by her family and in particular her uncle to better the family name and move them up the ranks of the court system, when she is no longer in the King's favour she is replaced by her sister Anne. Even though Mary is released from her duties of seducing the king she must still do the family's bidding and help Anne. It is Anne who tries to escape the patriarchal system by doing as she pleases and opposing her family's rules, she will do anything to become queen, she wraps Henry around her finger and makes him divorce Catherine of Aragon leading to many political complications with the church. But her life with the king does not go as planned as she cannot produce a male heir to the thrown, which is all that Henry wants, another bit of patriarchy there. When Anne falls out of favour with Henry even though she is queen her family just ditch her, apart from Mary of course, which again shows the patriarchy involved in the situation. Her family are already finding another Boleyn girl to fill her shoes, and one that is able to produce a male heir...

Anne is portrayed as a ruthless, power-hungry woman in the book, she is quite unlikeable though, not admired for this like she would be nowadays. The people of England hate her and so do most of the court except for a few of the king's men, and Gregory really makes the reader dislike her too.

Another theme of the book is that of romance and love, Mary is a lover. She can't help it. She falls for the king when she is his lover which is not the right move to make as being the king's favourite is about sex not love. She loves her two children which were born from her relations with the king and she is not allowed to see them for most of the year as they are sent away from the court, at one point when Anne is at her most stressed/mean Mary is forced to give her son to Anne and let her adopt him as then he could be regarded as an heir somehow. She then falls in love with William Stafford who her family would not approve of but she can't help it and they end up getting married and living in his little farm away from the court and live happily ever after.

I would really recommend this book as it's a fascinating read, if you're interested in the Tudors and don't mind a bit of embellishment to the truth I'd definitely pick it up. The book is obviously not a text book so don't be expecting all the facts to be true but it gives a real insight into what life at court in the 16th Century might have been like.

I also watched the film again after I had read the book and hated it! So if you've seen the film and liked it you'll definitely love the book!

You can purchase the book from here for only £4.79, bargain.

4 comments:

  1. Got the tudors box set for valentines yay! I've read this one and the boleyn inheritance which was ok, I bought all her tudor court novels! I'm reading the queens fool at the moment. Seen the other boleyn girl bbc series in hmv so I think I'll have to get that! X

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  2. I haven't seen the film but I did see a BBC adaptation some time ago. I love all Philippa Gregory's books about the Tudors (and War of the Roses), I can't put them down either! Hope you enjoy all the others she's written! :) x

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  3. Ooh I watched the movie version of this - the one with Scarlett johannson and Natalie portman! was a nice watch - i think it's pretty sad how they fell apart!

    I read a book about Queen Mary I lately, can't even remember the title, maybe you've heard of it? was a good read as well-

    happy blogging dear
    - Che -

    http://www.oddcandy.blogspot.com

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  4. @Emily - I'm wanting to get the rest of the Tudor novels by her too, you'll have to let me know what you think! Glad to meet another Tudors enthusiast :)

    @Rachelous - I'm gonna have to hunt down this BBC adaptation! I love their adaptations so I'm sure it's great!

    @Chezka - That book sounds great! Youll have to let me know if you think of the title, I love books that are historically based

    xx

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