Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Other Boleyn Girl: Book & Movie Review

Although this book is technically the second in a series, I believe that you do not have to read Philippa Gregory’s series in order.  The series does follow the chronological order of the monarchy; however, the books are more companion novels from what I have heard.  As soon as I started this book, I read it in sections of about 100 pages at a time because I am obsessed with the Tudor dynasty and always have been.  I’m not sure why I am so obsessed, but I am constantly researching British monarchies from the 1400s and 1500s.  Despite knowing the entire story and timeline from previous history classes and my own research, I thoroughly enjoyed this book, which is rare for me.  I usually prefer to read a book before seeing the movie (I have seen this movie more times than I can count) as to have no spoilers; however, since this is historical fiction, that’s almost impossible, especially for someone who loves history and British monarchies.  But, even though I know the story like the back of my hand and what was going to happen every step of the way, I loved the author’s style and did learn more about the time period in general from this book. 

Title: The Other Boleyn Girl
Author: Philippa Gregory
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Touchstone
Publication Date: April 21, 2001
Pages: 672
Out in Paperback?: Yes; May 21, 2003
My Rating: 5/5

Goodreads Summary:

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 by the king, Mary falls in love with both her golden prince and her growing role as unofficial queen. However, she soon realizes just how much she is a pawn in her family’s ambitious plots as the kings 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 her fate into her own hands.

A rich and compelling tale 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 glamorous court in Europe and survived by following her own heart.

This section is a little different because these “characters” are historical figures, but the author definitely makes you feel for all involved.  Regardless of their actions, good or bad, Gregory humanizes King Henry VIII, Anne, and Mary Boleyn so that you better understand their actions.  Both Anne and Mary have different personalities; however, they are similar in the fact that they are both strong-willed women, who have found a way to get what they want despite the fact that decisions are always made for them.  They may not agree with all of the advice and input in their lives that they receive from their father and uncle, but they find a way to sneak their own wants and ideas into their everyday life.  I found that whether or not I agreed or disagreed with either of the sister’s actions or the King’s decisions, there was a part of me that felt bad for all those involved in the decision because of the pressure involved in this high-class, court lifestyle. 

This book, beginning in 1521 and spanning to 1536, details the introduction and lives of both Anne and, younger sister, Mary Boleyn in Henry VIII’s court in England.  Despite no action or thriller sequences, the events of this book kept my attention, and the “action” related more to the differences between Anne’s and Mary’s personalities and how they react to the decisions made for them, as they are women in the early 1500s.  Action also stemmed from the overwhelming power of King Henry VIII as he breaks away from the traditions of the past and determines his own future.  If you love history and the court lifestyle, this is definitely a great read!

Writing Style:
First of all, I loved how this book separated the chapters by the various seasons of the years that this book spans.  Now, this is historical fiction, so Gregory weaves bits of creative fiction into proven historical facts.  This, however, is done seamlessly.  I felt that the writing is absolutely beautiful, depicting the time period accurately and the description allowed the reader to fully be captured by the setting of the story in the Tudor Court. 

Movie Review:
This is probably one of my favorite movies!  I think the actors and actresses did an amazing job playing these historical characters, and even though I saw the movie first several years ago and then read the book, the movie still followed fairly closely to the book so that I was pleased.  I absolutely love this time period overall and the movie brought me a visual of the style, outfits, and livelihoods of those in court, especially the Tudor court.  It was entertaining, suspenseful, and with both action and romance, and I can’t even count the number of times I have seen this movie. Love it!

Have you read this book?  Have you seen the movie too? Let me know what you thought!  Have you read any other Phillippa Gregory books?  I absolutely love her and have a stack of her other books piled next to my bed ready to be read! :)

FTC Disclaimer:
All items mentioned were purchased by me.  This is not a sponsored post.  All opinions are my own.  No affiliate links were used.

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