Title: The Other Boleyn Girl
Author: Phillipa Gregory
Copyright date: 2001
The Other Boleyn Girl focuses on the less famous of the Boleyn sisters, Mary who as a young teen is married to one of Henry VIII’s courtiers when he notices her and takes her as his mistress, despite the fact that she is married. Mary gives Henry both a son and a daughter, but as Henry’s affection wans, her sister Anne is right there to pick up the pieces.
Mary feels that it is Anne’s doing that Henry no longer looks at her and as Anne’s place at court grows she becomes more and more cruel to Mary. Anne and Henry make plans for him to divorce his Queen, Katherine of Aragon in order for him to marry Anne. Mary retreats from court and lives a simple life with her second husband, but as things begin to go wrong for Anne, she is summoned back to court to be by her sister’s side.
As Anne is accused of horrendous acts, including incest with her brother George, the Boleyn family does nothing for her and she dies with no one truly on her side as Mary lives her simple country life.
The Other Boleyn Girl is easy to read and entertaining, but I hope no one mistakes this for an accurate account of Mary and Anne’s lives. With a background in English history I can tell you that there are many inaccuracies throughout the book, but was most bothersome was the black and white nature of Mary and Anne’s personalities. I found it Anne’s cruelty to be a real concern while Mary, the first to bed the king was the innocent bystander in the who story.
Two sisters competing for the heart of a king. One will live out a happy existence, and one will lose their head.
Who Should Read It
Those who are interested in the dramatic, gossipy bits of history and love a little romance will adore The Other Boleyn Girl.
Why I Read It
A lot of my friends were reading this book in our senior year of high school and I came across it recently.
Philippa Gregory is a British author known best for her historical novels set in England. Gregory has written a number of books about the Tudor era including The Queen’s Fool, The Virgin’s Lover, The Constant Princess, and The Boleyn Inheritance.
*Many historians contest the fact that Anne committed adultery, why do you think Gregory ignored this?
Reading Level/Interest Age