The Other Boleyn Girl
I have been a devotee of historical fiction for a long time, dipping in and out of various time periods as the fancy takes me. However when I picked up this one for the first time, I had no idea who the lead character was.
The opportunity to learn more about the less famous Boleyn sister, as well as a general interest in the Tudor period made me open the book. The sheer depth of the research that Gregory must have done, hit me from the first few pages, and only now do I fully understand how many hours in reading history books, and other reference points she must have undertaken to infuse the pages with so much detail.
It almost felt like a non fiction book because of the depth of detail that Gregory includes, creating a extremely vivid picture of what life at Henry the Eighth’s court might have been like.
Her ability to reveal what might have been the innermost thoughts of a girl, forced by her father, and other male relatives first into a marriage, and then into a extramarital affair, only to be supplanted by her own sister, and then watch the same sister be executed alongside their brother for supposed adultery, is extraordinary.
The delicate yet seemingly effortless way that Gregory reveals all of the confused emotions which Mary goes through, produces a portrait of a girl who despite the fact that she lived in the 1500’s, and experienced a world that I will never know, felt very relatable to me. There was sympathy in Mary’s thoughts for her sister Anne, and a great affection for both her brother George and her neice Elizabeth, showing that whatever Mary’s true character might have been, Gregory at least is a believer in her better qualities.
If you haven’t already read this book, and have any interest in historical fiction then I advise you to pick it up. I highly doubt that you will be sorry for the experience.