Image

Bibliographic Info:

Title: The Other Boleyn Girl

Author: Phillipa Gregory

ISBN:  0739427113

Publisher:  Scribner

Copyright date: 2001

Plot Summary

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.

Critical Evaluation

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.

Reader’s Annotation

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.

Author Biography

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.

Genre

*Historical Fiction

*Romance

Curriculum Ties

*History

Booktalking Ideas

*Many historians contest the fact that Anne committed adultery, why do you think Gregory ignored this?

Reading Level/Interest Age

16+

Challenge Issues

*Sex

 

The Other Boleyn Girl

Image

Bibliographic Info:

Title:  The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle

Author:  Avi

ISBN: 053105893X

Publisher: Avon Books

Copyright date: 1990

 

Plot Summary

Set in 1832, The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle is about a thirteen-year-old girl who is sailing from England on her own to her parents’ new home in Rhode Island.  Charlotte quickly learns that she is the only female as well as the only passenger on board, though she is under the protection of the captain.  Charlotte befriends an older African sailor named Zachariah, the ships cook  During a misunderstanding where Zachariah is being whipped in place of Charlotte, she grabs the whip from the captain’s hand and it accidentally catches his face.  The captain then whips Zachariah until he is seemingly dead.

 

As the ship sails into a hurricane, the crew and Charlotte are tossed around and as things begin to calm down the first mate of the ship is found stabbed, by a knife given to Charlotte by Zachariah.  The captain accuses Charlotte of murdering the first mate and holds a trial on the ship, finding her guilty.  When she is sent to below deck by the captain, Charlotte discovers that Zachariah is still alive and being fed by members of the crew.  Charlotte and Zachariah plot to overthrow the captain and when he discovers their plan, he confesses that it was he who killed his own first mate, but maintained that it was in self-defense.  The captain gives Charlotte three ways to end their stalemate but she flees from him and as he attacks her he falls to his death.

 

Zachariah then proposes that they elect Charlotte as the ship captain, and though they do just that, it is Zachariah that gives the orders.  When the ship lands in Providence Charlotte has every intention of ignoring her ordeal and carrying on as a “proper lady,” but when her father finds her journal depicting her story at sea he threatens her with punishment. 

 

The book ends with Charlotte running away back to the ship and to Zachariah to join the crew.

 

Critical Evaluation

The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle has a very strong narrative element and never waivers from it.  The story is told by Charlotte herself, and she is a strong female protagonist who is very away of her duty in life, mainly to be a “proper” young lady.  Avi does a wonderful job highlighting the struggle that Charlotte has to maintain her dignity while also standing up for the injustices that the captain shows his crew, especially Zachariah.  This being a historical novel, I felt that the time period was well researched and there were no slips of modern interpretations of customs.

 

Reader’s Annotation

Charlotte Doyle is a young woman of the best education, but when she finds herself the only passenger on a ship and accused of murder, it looks as if she might never get to live the life she was meant to have.

 

Who Should Read It

The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle is a great book for those that love a strong heroine especially in a time period that woman are seemingly in the background of society.

 

Why I Read It

This was a book assigned to me in high school and I always remembered it fondly.  Also, it is important to have a collection that shows a strong female spirit, unafraid of backing down to injustices.

 

Author Biography

Avi was born in 1937 and raised in New York, beginning his career as a playwright and librarian.  Avi won the Newberry Medal for his book Crispin: The Cross of Lead in 2003.  He has written over 70 books for young adults and children.

 

Genre

*Historical Fiction

*Adventure

 

Curriculum Ties

*History

 

Booktalking Ideas

*Why did Avi make Zachariah African?  Would his being white have made a difference to Charlotte in her protection of him?

*Do you think the captain murdered his first mate in self-defense? Why or why not?

*Was Charlotte’s father being cruel when he wanted her “reformed” or was that acceptable for that time period?

 

 

Reading Level/Interest Age

12+

 

Challenge Issues

N/A

The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle