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The Price of an Inheritance
The Boleyn Inheritance - Philippa Gregory
Member Name: blonde_girl774
The Boleyn Inheritance - Philippa Gregory
Advantages: Addictive, Brilliant Characters & Great Story.
Philippa Gregory was born in Kenya and moved to England at an early age. She has quite a selection of novels under her belt, including both adult's and children's books as well as several travel publications. Her novels fall into one of four series which include The Wideacre Trilogy, Historical Novels, Modern Novels and The Tudor Court Novels. The Boleyn Inheritance was published back in May 2007 in the UK and is part of The Tudor Court series.
The story begins in the summer of 1539, a time when Henry VIII was the King of England with three failed marriages under his belt. It follows the lives of three very different women during a three year period up until 1542 where Henry VIII remained in power. The story follows on directly from The Other Boleyn Girl which ends with the death of Queen Anne Boleyn in 1536 and avoids the death of Jane Seymour in 1537.
The story focuses on the life of Anne of Cleves who became Henry VIII's fourth wife in 1540, the life of Jane Boleyn who was Anne Boleyn's sister in law and ultimately gave evidence for her death in the former novel and Katherine Howard who went onto become Henry VIII's fifth wife. Each chapter is told by one of the three women and through them all the major events are captured; from the crowning of Anne of Cleves to her fall from grace and the crowning of Katherine Howard to her ultimate death at the end of the novel.
The story is told from the perspective of three different ladies of the court. Firstly we have Jane Boleyn who appeared frequently in the earlier novel as George Boleyn's wife and Anne Boleyn's sister in law. In the previous novel she appeared hateful and spiteful yet in this novel her previous actions are explained and we see that she is not altogether bad but merely a pawn in her Uncle's game to command the King's favour.
Secondly we have Anne of Cleves who is chosen as Henry VIII's fourth wife. She seems a genuinely good natured woman who is not given credit for her intelligence or loyalty. During her reign we see her grow in both character and strength to become one of only two wives who survived Henry VIII's reign. She is a largely likeable character and one that the reader can sympathise with quite easily throughout the novel.
Lastly we have Katherine Howard, part of the great Howard family, who became Henry VIII's fifth wife. She is a mere fourteen years of age at the start of this story and her naivety clearly shows, although she is no innocent in the way of boys and men. She is not altogether a likeable character as she appears immensely stupid and seems to survive solely on her beauty with very little else in the way of talents.
Like The Other Boleyn Girl I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and found it almost impossible to put down. Despite working full time in a new job I managed to stay awake most evenings reading it and whenever I had a spare five minutes over the weekend I'd run and grab this book. Again it's over 500 pages in length but I found it thoroughly addictive and engrossing at every chapter or point.
The novel is written from the viewpoint of three very different characters; we have Anne of Cleves who is clearly aware of the irrationalness of Henry VIII and seems to live in a constant fear of him, we have Jane Boleyn who becomes more likeable throughout this novel although is simply a very weak pawn in her Uncle's twisted game and finally Katherine Howard who is an immature and somewhat naive young girl. Both characters have a way of almost taking you into their confidence in a sense, so you feel you are really within their thoughts at all points throughout making the novel seem so real at times.
A special mention must be given to Gregory's portrayal of Katherine Howard for she has managed to capture a spoilt little rich girl from the 21st century and transport her back to the 1500s with an immaculate amount of accuracy. Practically all of Katheine Howard's chapters start with the line "Now let me see, what do I have?" and she begins by recounting all her possessions of value which grow increasingly when she takes the favour of the King himself. She is bitchy towards the fellow girls of her house and despite being a selfish character it is hard not to empathise with her as she clearly has no idea of the politics of court or anything that goes on there, quite simply she is portrayed as a fish out of water.
The three characters are very contrasting in beliefs, personalities and strengths which makes this novel really quite refreshing. Rather than being written through a sole person's eyes the contrasting views seem to make the events more real and make the reader feel as if they are actually there at the time. The descriptions used within Gregory's writing style are so vivid that I really found myself picturing events and faces in my mind. Despite them all holding very different views of people the same view of the calculating and horrible Duke of Norfolk seems to be upheld throughout.
There are constant references back to what took place in The Other Boleyn Girl, especially from Jane Boleyn herself, although it is not necessary to have read the first novel to understand this one by any means. In the former novel I did really dislike Jane Boleyn who gave evidence which sent both her husband and his sister to their deaths for what appeared to be purely vindictive reasons. However a new light is shed upon those events in this novel and during Jane's chapters I began to see that she regrets what she did and how her love for her husband and her jealousy of her sister in law were the reasons behind her actions.
This is the third novel I've read by Philippa Gregory as I've since also read The Constant Princess and would have to say that this is arguably in joint first position for my favourite novel of the year so far along with The Other Boleyn Girl. If you've read any of Gregory's novels in the past and enjoyed them I'd urge you to read this as soon as possible, it's impossible to put down and equally impossible to not enjoy.
Thanks for reading.
Summary: The 2007 release from Philippa Gregory, the sequel to The Other Boleyn Girl.