The Other Boleyn Girl
By Philippa Gregory
Rating: 5 glasses
This novel has a special meaning for me as it got me back into reading. I wasn't a big reader for much of my life but once this book got into my hands I have never looked back. The Other Boleyn Girl focuses on the life of Mary Boleyn the older sister of Anne Boleyn. She was Henry VIII mistress prior to his involvement with her sister Anne. Mary is a very sympathetic character in that she is a pawn of her powerful father and is used to advance the family. However Mary turns the tables after providing Henry VIII with two children ( at least one is most likely his, the second is in question but the book emphasizes that they were both his.) Once Henry switches his affections to her sister, Mary takes the opportunity to find love. She defies the orders of her sister Anne, now queen, and marries for love. Mary lives out the rest of her life poor, but happy.
I think this book initially drew me in because it was about a lesser known historical figure who was in fact involved in some very important historical events. Her life really signifies the use of women by their families at that time for political gain with little concern for their own personal well being. Mary was mistress to the king, she got all the privileges that came with but longed for love not power. She is an easy character to cling to and this novel prompted me to do more research on her.
The novel is well paced and detail orientated. I never questioned what I was reading or what was happening. It truly is a must read. The movie adaptation on the other hand should be skipped.