Wednesday, November 16, 2011

REVIEW: The Boleyn Inheritance by Philippa Gregory.

book cover of The Boleyn Inheritance by Philippa Gregory
Title: The Boleyn Inheritance
Author: Philippa Gregory
Date Published:  December 5, 2006
Genre: Historical fiction
Page Count:  518 pages
Challenge:  None
Rating:  3.25 out of 5 stars

Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres and I had already read The Other Boleyn Girl (see my review here) and I loved it, so I thought that this would be another work of genius.  I was disappointed.  Not that it was bad, I thought it just left some things to be desired.

This book follows three woman, Anne of Cleaves, Henry's wife after the death of Jane Seymour, Jane Boleyn, wife to George Boleyn and sister in law to Anna and Mary Boleyn, and Katherine Howard, yet another one of Henry's wives.  Each of these women are distinctly different, but each of them have one thing in common, the Boleyn inheritance.  Each of them have inherited different things and this book chronicles this.

The stories of these three women are told in their own words, in chronological order, switching from perspective to perspective.  We learn how Anne of Cleaves was saved from the scaffold, but how Katherine and Jane were subsequently sent to their deaths.  You could really feel for these women as we watched their king descend into madness and growing anxiety and suspicion.
You really learned who these women were and what drove them.  Anne of Cleaves came from a broken household and abusive family to fall in love with her new country and make a good queen.  Jane is still serving as a pawn in The Duke of Norfolk's game of advancement, but is tormented by the love that she felt for George and Anne and her guilt.  Little Kitty Howard is also a pawn in the game, but more for herself.  She continually recounts the things that she has, or doesn't have, showing her simple mind.

I liked the characters.  I thought that it was really interesting that Gregory was continuing the story with a few characters from the previous book and some new editions.  As much as I liked it though, I didn't really connect with the characters as much as I would have liked and I think that had something to do with the writing style.  It felt much more mechanical to me that it did in the previous book, and I just had a hard time getting into the writing, not so much the story.

I liked this book, though it pales in comparison to The Other Boleyn Girl.  A lot of people complain about the historical accuracy of her books, and if that's something that will bother you, I don't know if I would pick her books up.  If you're like me, and you like a good story with the history, you'd like this.  I give it a 3.25 out of 5 stars.

Think you might want to give this book a try? Read other reviews or order from   The Boleyn Inheritance


Jillian said...

I might just have to skip this one. I own a copy and had looked forward to it, but I also own Alison Weir's The Six Wives of Henry VIII. It sounds like it might be a better use of my time to read that. :-)

S.Leighanne @ Leighanne's Lit said...

I have one of Weir's, but I've never read any of hers. This book was decent, but I think you're right, Weir's might be a better use of your time!

Indianist Online said...

An in-depth analysis of family feuds over inheritance of wealth brings to light the mental makeup on this issue across the globe.

B. Tindle said...

It is a great book, Jillian, I read it a while back and enjoyed it very much.

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