Book Club: The Other Bolyen Girl by Philippa Gregory

July 29, 2014 Blog, Book Reviews 1


What is this book club? Just your average book club! Put together by some great gals (I have to say that because they’re family!) with diverse tastes. I think I’m the odd one out so I’m asking you guys to join in so I get different opinions!

We normally read one or two books every month. One is THE book of the month and the second is sometimes extra credit. Because we all have OCD. 😉

Next month:

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt & The Giver by Lois Lowry

book club

This month:

The Other Boleyn Girl
by Philippa Gregory
Series: The Tudor Court #2
Published by Touchstone on May 21st 2003
Genres: Historical, Romance
Pages: 664
Source: Purchase

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.

What is this book club? Just your average book club! Put together by some great gals (I have to say that because they’re family!) with diverse tastes. I think I’m the odd one out so I’m asking you guys to join in so I get different opinions!

My Thoughts

I’m going to do this review as I would for anyone that knows about The Tudor history. There will only be spoilers if you do not know about the history of the Tudors at all.

SO!! This one is one that had me by my heart strings… I was pulled in so many different directions! I even sat and contemplated how to do a review because there was just so much in this.

Firstly, the only negative that I have. This is quite a long book. For someone that has learned a great deal about The Tudors some of the passages seemed a bit tedious. For someone new to the story and to their grand way of life however, I think every word is probably needed! For me though, it was just a tad on the long side.

Now to the positives! First, Philippa Gregory’s writing. Once again she dazzles with words in a way that few other authors can do. She has brought this court life alive and I can easily see and feel what she is talking about.

I also really enjoyed that this wasn’t about all of the Tudors but mainly about Mary. As the narrator of the story we only know what Mary knows and what she feels. This leaves a lot open for interpretation when it comes to Anne and the rest of her family but we know exactly how Mary feels and I just loved that.

I was surprised at just how conniving Anne really was. I mean at every point in her life she is working to better herself and her family but it was herself first and foremost. She is greedy and dishonest and it really showed. But still I feel for her even as I judge her. She went to high and could not see what she was doing to herself before it was way too late.

 In short: I think Philippa Gregory yet again wrote a masterpiece filled with charms and poison. It’s a fabulous yet such a sad read.


The Author

Philippa Gregory was an established historian and writer when she discovered her interest in the Tudor period and wrote the novel The Other Boleyn Girl, which was made into a TV drama and a major film. Published in 2009, the bestselling The White Queen, the story of Elizabeth Woodville, ushered in a new series involving The Cousins’ War (now known as The War of the Roses) and a new era for the acclaimed author.

Gregory lives with her family on a small farm in Yorkshire, where she keeps horses, hens and ducks. Visitors to her site, become addicted to the updates of historical research, as well as the progress of her ducklings.

Her other great interest is the charity she founded nearly twenty years ago; Gardens for The Gambia. She has raised funds and paid for 140 wells in the primary schools of the dry, poverty stricken African country. Thousands of school children have learned market gardening, and drunk the fresh water in the school gardens around the wells.

A former student of Sussex University, and a PhD and Alumna of the Year 2009 of Edinburgh University, her love for history and her commitment to historical accuracy are the hallmarks of her writing. She also reviews for US and UK newspapers, and is a regular broadcaster on television, radio, and webcasts from her website.

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