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The Other Boleyn Girl - Phillipa Gregory

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Author: Philippa Gregory / Genre: Fiction

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      19.01.2014 01:49
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      An enjoyable read which made me think

      I enjoy both history and reading, and as such I enjoy historical novels. I was giving The Other Boleyn girl as a christmas present. I had asked for it as I like the tudor period, and had enjoyed previous books by Philippa Gregory. I have not yet seen the film based on the book.

      Before reading this I had felt that I knew quite a bit about the tudor period as I am a fan of that time (although it was a bit too dangerous for me to want to live there). However on looking at the cover of this book I realised that while I had heard of Mary Boleyn and knew that she was the more famous Anne Boleyn's sister and Henry the eighth's mistress, I actually knew nothing else about her.

      **The Story**
      The book tells the story of Mary Boleyn's life, from her early days at court as a young bride (At 12!), to her catching the eye of the king at the grand old age of 14. It then continues through her life as the king's favourite and mother to his two children, into her being supplanted in the King's affections by her sister and rival Anne, and having to teach her "tricks" to keep the king. Mary's story goes on to her life after the death of her first husband and subsequent remarriage, with the events of Anne's life a constant feature of Mary's. Like all historical fiction Philippa Gregory mixes fact with fiction, the life of Mary Boleyn is mostly undocumented, but through using several historical accounts of the time she has pieced together a story that is compelling and based on fact. This is the story of a young daughter of a powerful and ambitious family, who were willing to use any Howard child (Their mother was a Howard) as a pawn to further their own interests and ambitions.

      **My thoughts**
      I really enjoyed this book, I thought as ever Philippa Gregory did an excellent job of bringing the time period to life. I was enthralled to know what happened to Mary as she was pushed and pulled by her family, the king, her sister and her ultimately her own desires. I also felt that the level of historical accuracy (from what is known) was good and added to a great story. Since finishing the book I also can't help thinking that some of the ideas about what is important in life, and how people priorities are still relevant today. At the end of the book there is an authors note which which tells us a little bit about what happened after the novel ends, as well as the works Philippa Gregory relied on for her historical facts. I found this useful to give an idea of how reliable parts of the book are.

      Five stars for a great book, and if you like historical fiction I think it's one to read.

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        20.10.2013 15:38
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        Really enjoyable escape from reality

        Right, let's get one thing out in the open. I'm a geek. About many things, as well. If its not food, its horses, if its not horses, its films, if not that its music...the list goes on. And at the moment, triggered by Game Of Thrones, I have a massive geek affection for all things involving period dress and cultured sentence construction. Throw in total exhaustion caused by work and commuting and I am frequently taking every chance I can get to lose myself in the fictional world you can only enter via the pages of a book.

        This geek trip has so far taken in GOT, The Hobbit, The White Queen, a total run through of all series of Robin Hood on LoveFilm and more. I did particularly enjoy the BBC adaptation of The White Queen so I was delighted when I took shelter from the rain in an Oxfam book shop on the way home from work, when I found two Philippa Gregory books; The White Queen and The Other Boleyn Girl. Having heard of but not seen the film, I was sufficiently intrigued to buy both, and lugged these two home in my somewhat stressed handbag, which was already toting around a copy of The Hobbit as well as all the other day to day naffness that I have to haul about.

        Soon I was off in fictionland again.

        ***THE AUTHOR***
        Gregory has penned many a historically-based fictional tome and this is one of the most popular that she has crafted. Using the histories of the throne and crown, the politics of past ages and accepted historical accounts, she crafts personal stories which are hugely enthralling and entertaining but clearly do take the odd factual liberty.

        ***THE BOOK***
        This book tells the story of Anne Boleyn's seduction of, and marriage to, Henry VIII, but it begins far earlier with the supposed mistress he took before Anne turned his head; Anne's younger sister, Mary. This gives the story a new angle, a new voice, and also allows the author to tell more deeply a tale of the ambition of a family and thus underline how women were effectively powerless but useful to the men of their houses who would exploit their beauty and charms to exert and further their power and gain wealth.

        The story also takes in the human element; the inevitable rivalry between sisters, perhaps something the author played up because of the modern shape of society and its encouragement of rivalry between women, that concept that one must be more perfect and successful than all others, but it is kept at a level which is understandable and believable - it is only human nature to want to be the superior creature, after all. Further, the first-hand experience of being used as a pawn in the family ambition, and thus being forced to deal with the dangers that come with playing high stakes in the King's court, and the shame and conflict of conscience that comes with it.

        And so the story, or rather this telling of it, plays out; from the King's eye being turned by the younger Boleyn girl to the ultimate rise and fall of her sister, the woman who Mary is reduced to coaching to ensnare the ruler of England.

        ***GOOD READ?***
        That it is. It truly is enthralling, easily read, and it kept my attention so well that I finished it in little under two days off.

        Say what you will regarding historical inaccuracies - I didn't need to resort to Wikipedia to confirm my suspicions that they are rife - but Gregory crafts an intriguing tale. Her setting is one thing but her ability to write a human character is strong. We meet Mary, a naïve young girl who finds herself swept up not only in her family's plans but also in her unexpected love for the young King Henry, and it is easy to find yourself feeling sympathy for her but also respect as she grows, learns and adapts to her situation. Then there is her well-crafted rivalry with her sister who she ultimately is commanded to aid in taking her place by the King's side, as well as her conscience as she grieves for the pain that her ambitious family is putting the existing Queen through. Further along she experiences love, motherhood, politics and fear as she, her family and her beloved siblings Anne and George are forced to resort to more and more tactical resources in the face of their ultimate plan coming fatefully frayed at the results of the King's straying eye.

        The ultimate outcome of the tale is hardly a spoiler - we all know how Anne Boleyn ended up. But this is an interesting and personal tale of both her personality and ambition and the nature of her sister. But if you want to enjoy it you do have to suspend disbelief and treat it as the creature that it is - a fascinating setting used to tell a fictional account. A quick bit of googling and you can tell that not only are some of the turns of events heavily leaned on, insinuated or fictionalised but also that our heroine her self is cast in ways that historical studies would suggest may not be entirely accurate. I won't elaborate further for fear or ruining the tale for anyone inclined to read the book, but as a read regarding characters you do see a young woman who is forced to grow, adapt, challenge her family and society, you see her fall in love and try to move on and be manipulated by those who should protect her, and you see as a dramatic side-story one of the greatest tales of failed ambition known to English history.

        I like to get lost in a good book and whilst there was a clanging of bells in the back of my head about the suspect accuracy of what I was reading, the nature of the tale and the characterisation was so strong that I was happy to tell it to bell off and throw myself back in to the book. I could barely put it down and Gregory's readable prose is a credit to her. I have already ordered a copy of the DVD of the film which I suspect will probably be a bit of a let-down in comparison to the book but I am so intrigued to find out that I am desperate to see it.

        I can see why this book was so commercially popular although why there is so much division between those who wish to defend it and those who wish to stick to history is beyond me; fiction will always craft a stronger tale than accuracy, but to take a known situation and give it a human element is a strong plot device and it is executed well here by the Gregory. If you're so bored in life that you want to get into a big row about such things then you probably won't want to read this but if you just want a good story in a historical setting then go for your life. Don't give it to your offspring if they're studying for their History GCSE, just give them a textbook, poor yourself a glass of wine and read this while they stress about exam results.

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          07.01.2013 14:44

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          Before Henry met Anne Boleyn, He fell in love with her sister. The polar opposite to Anne.

          As a history fan I love anything that even touches upon history and this doesn't fail to dissapoint. It approaches the traditional Anne Boleyn and Henry the eigth love story from a different angle, from the lesser known Mary Boleyn's point of view. We see different views of Henry and what can be described as a very harsh image of Anne. However, If it is historical accuracy you are looking for, then I wouldn't advise this book. It is loosely based upon historical facts and can quite often take rumours as facts in the storyline. However, If you are willing to take this with a pinch of salt, then what a fantastic and captivating read. Philipa Gregory is a very skilled writer, who manages to capture the emotions of the characters and the feel of the time perfectly, I would recomend this whole heartedly as well as her other books based around the tudor court. Namely, The constant princess, the Virgin Queen and the Boleyn inheritance. Especially the Boleyn inheritance because alot of the characters re-appear!

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          10.12.2012 08:09
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          It's not a history book.

          The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory is one of the most talked about novels inspired by The Tudor Dynasty. I can see why The Tudors are so interesting and I've seen so much stuff based on them. I think that Anne Boleyn is considered to be the most popular of Henry's wives because all the trouble Henry went to to marry her, and to get rid of her. The Other Boleyn Girl is written in the point of view of Anne's sister, Mary.

          In the back of my copy of the book, it clearly says that Mary is fourteen suggesting she is the younger sister, but there's evidence to say that Mary was actually the older sister. So when reading this, I'd advice you by saying don't accept everything you read as historical facts as this is fiction and things are twisted to make the story more interesting.

          Some of these twists involve making historical inaccuracies, which I personally don't mind but I know it does hinder the experience of some readers if they do it too much. I really liked the book because I thought it was really well written. I also think Gregory does a good job writing in the first person. She does a good job at describing the atmosphere and the detail of the surroundings although I do think that she does show off a bit sometimes.

          Mary and Anne are very close sisters that are tragically forced to be rivals by trying to earn the love of the king and being forced into the vicious plots of the elders in their family. I was quite touched with the book because I think the characters came to life, even though I#m sure they are quite different to their historical figure counterpart.

          Despite knowing their fate beforehand thanks to History, I enjoyed the book very much and enjoyed the passion that sparked in the novel. It did take me a little time to get to like Gregory's version of Anne, but other than that, it's all good in my opinion. If the book could be improved in some way or another, there could be some improvements with Mary because I felt she tried to act innocent right through to Anne's death. Mary may have been brave and cunning, but I wouldn't describe her as innocent.

          I would recommend this book because I found it hard to put down. Since reading the book, I've bought a lot more novels written by this author and I would say that I think The Boleyn Inheritance is better than this book. I think The Other Boleyn Girl is a good book to start with if you're new to historical fiction. There's also a movie based on this book staring Scarlet Johansson and Natalie Portman, but I've never really seen the film so I'm in no position to slander or praise it.


          I think the many adaptions of The Tudors including this book show how influential and majestic The Tudor Dynasty really is. And I think that this book can inspire people to read historical books so they get to know what they were really like.

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          17.09.2011 11:13
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          I love this book, and i would definately recommend it to a friend

          The Other Boleyn Girl By Phillipa Gregory is the story of Henry Tudor and his wives from Catherine of Aragon through to the beginnings of Jane Seymour. The novel is told through Mary Boleyn's eyes, the infamous Anne's sister and one time mistress of the king.
          The book gets off to a slightly slow start, the language is hard to get used to first of all and not a lot happens. However, the further into the book you get, the better it gets, until you read the end with slight caught breath, waiting for the famous ending we know.
          Gregory really makes us care about the characters, and even though we know Anne's ending, she still makes us hope for the forgiveness Anne is expecting. Mary starts off young and silly but soon grows into a loving caring woman, who cares formost about her family, when family meant very little in the Tudor times.
          There are some points that you feel could have been cut, Anne's several miscarriages (although factually correct, it drags on a bit) And the endless court scenes gyrate a little after a while. However, this is a book that will move you to tears and make you wish you were born five hundred years ago.
          An intellectual book, with enough romance for teenagers, enough history for Professors and enough imagination to light up every page, The Other Boleyn Girl is definately placed in my top five favourite books of all time.

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            08.10.2010 22:48

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            you can easily read this book more than once

            The other boleyn girl is the story of Mary Boleyn, Annes sister. As the story starts, Mary is 13 and recently married to a man called william Carey. However, King Henry takes a liking to young Mary and encouraged by her brother George and sister Anne, Mary becomes the kings mistress. Her husband is taken from her and she becomes pregnant by the king himself, eventually giving birth to a girl called catherine Carey. As time passes, poor mary notices that the king is becoming less interested in her although he still sleeps with her at night. Around the time of the birth of her second child, a boy, Henry, Anne becomes the kings lover and spends the next few chapters on her way to the throne. Poor Mary is quite literally left holding the baby. After anne becomes queen, Mary runs away and marries without permission to a man named William Stafford and they have a daughter Anne, while Anne Boleyn suffers miscarriage after miscarriage. The book ends with Annes execution and mary and her husband flee the court with their children. Mary is typically portrayed as innocent and naive, while anne is a scheming manipulator and seducer. The sisters brother, George is portrayed as a man who is essentially good, but corrupted by the court and fighting his own sexuality. A very good book

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            07.08.2010 15:40
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            Well worth five out of five stars

            The other Boleyn girl by Philippa Gregory

            I have recently just finished reading this book for the second time. I was staring at my book shelves after finishing something else and I couldn't decide what I wanted to start next or even what genre I was in the mood for, so I decided to read something I knew was going to be good. Previosuly, I had never been a fan of historical romance it is probably something that in the past I would have chosen to avoid and walked past in the book store. I had (like many I suspect) a whole set of preconceived ideas that I wouldn't like anything that fell into the historical romance category, or that is at least how I used to think. I am now a fully fledged and card carrying Philippa Gregory and historical fiction fan, or at least I would be if such a thing existed.

            --A brief synopsis--

            The tag line of the book reads "Two sisters competing for the greatest prize...the love of a king". But as history demonstrates there is more at stake than just a king's love, lives are made, impoverished and taken at the whim of King Henry VIII. This is a very well known historical tale but told from a different perspective, we see one of the most historical tragedies through the eyes of the famous Anne Boleyn's sister, Mary. Mary is initially the favoured girl at the Tudor court and is celebrated as the king's young and doe eyed mistress, while her family and Anne are to help her retain that position and help reap all the rewards that are languished on the family. However, Anne not willing to be in her sisters shadow for the rest of her days places herself in Henry's gaze, doing her upmost to be the most desired and irresistible women in a court that is all about entertainment and ambition. The story unfolds and Mary takes the back seat to Anne who is trying to claim the king and the throne of England as her own. However, this allows Mary a bit more of a chance to live her life as she wants, the story is told in parallel to Anne's triumph and fall from grace.

            --What I thought?--

            I don't often make a point of mentioning the author apart from the obvious, however, I believe it is important to note that Philippa Gregory holds a PhD in eighteenth century literature and this shines through on every page, in the depth of knowledge and detail that make the historical aspects of the story feel authentic. The historical detail is enough to make you feel immersed in the Tudor court and learn a lot about life back then, but it only adds to the story I never felt like there was too much or that it was hindering the flow. There are a lot of rich details that require the effort of hours worth of research, there are some beautiful descriptions that added to my enjoyment of the novel.

            Since it is historical fact, I don't think it is a spoiler in mentioning that the ending of this book is inevitable, Mary's sister Anne after winning the King and the throne will lose everything, including and not least her very own head. Knowing this doesn't make the ending seem concrete, right up until the end I was hoping that Anne would get a reprieve and history would re-write itself into a happy ending.

            I have read other reviews of Philippa Gregory's books where people are often annoyed at her repetitious manner of describing the ladies gowns and hoods. It is obvious through the book that she does maybe describe these a bit too often and in very similar language, but I have never found it to break up or be detrimental to the story telling. Her heroines maybe do smooth their dresses or push back their hoods a bit too often, but I don't mind it. I think if you were being very picky then this might be a point to target in on, but I don't even notice it all that much.

            As you would expect in a historical romance there are a few bodice ripping moments. However, these are far from my favourite sections of the book, they often read a bit cringe worthy and are really not where the author's strength lies. I tend to just skim over these and roll my eyes a little at the often repetitive language and more annoyingly how easily the woman swoons around the man.

            I like how strong the female characters are portrayed, even in the face of so many adversities and their own childhood upbringing. They still try and shape their lives as much as they can when they live in a world where they are ruled by the men in their life. Girls and women are of little consequence to men and are used regularly to their advantage. It is Anne and Mary's uncle and father that push the girls to compete for the love of King Henry and force them into his bed, to do their bidding and acquire his affections for the favours he may offer the family. It is hard to properly imagine as a woman the adversities that these women who own nothing, not even their children and are ordered around at the whim of men, have to overcome at every turning point in their life. They are denied the simple things in life by their fathers or husbands and commanded to be where they are needed not where they may want to be.

            --To sum--

            As the title suggests this novels main character is Mary, Anne Boleyn's younger sister and it is her life that we watch as the well known tale unfolds. I really enjoyed following her life over many years and gaining more insight into a period of time that is steeped in historical intrigue and drama. I couldn't give this book less than a five out of five stars, it really is worth the read. Even if historical romance isn't necessarily your thing I think that this book is still worth a look, it is so much more than that label suggests.

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              03.07.2010 16:48
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              A fascinating look at a less well known side of Tudor history

              The Other Boleyn Girl is a novel by Philippa Gregory, who is known for her historical novels. Historical novels are not a catergory of books that I know much about and not usually something I would choose, but I actually won this book, so thought I would give it a read.

              Everyone has heard of Anne Boleyn, second wife of Henry VIII, but not as much is known about her sister Mary Boleyn, who is the narrator of this novel.

              The book begins when the girls are in their mid teens, and in the court of Henry VIII and his wife Katherine of Aragon. Their life as courtiers revolves around entertaining the King, and their own personal battles for power and gain.

              When King Henry takes a particular interest in Mary, it is decided by her parents that she must aim to become his mistress, as this would bring a huge amount of power and kudos to the family, especially if she can bear him a child.

              As Mary loses all control of her life and its direction, her sister Anne becomes incredibly jealous of her relationship with the King, not wanting to be seen as the second best sister. And so Anne's quest for the affection of the king begins.

              I found this a fascinating book, and although it is perhaps not 100% historically accurate, it certainly makes for a good read. Some of the basic facts in the story have historical grounding, for example the families mentioned in the book, and the very likely possibility that Mary Boleyn had a relationship with King Henry before her sister was married to him.

              Even though most people will know how the story ends, we all know from history lessons that Anne Boleyn was beheaded, the book is still really interesting and enjoyable to read. You can't imagine while you are reading the book how things go so wrong for Anne, so that makes you want to keep reading to find out how she met her sorry end.

              I found this book very hard to put down, and really enjoyed reading about the Tudor court, and the scandals and dramas that happened there. It was also really interesting to learn something of the back story behind these famous, and not so famous historical figures.

              I thought this was a great book, and as soon as I finished reading it, I was keen to get another Philippa Gregory book, and read more of the historical novels she has written. I would definitely recommend this book.

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              30.05.2010 00:32
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              a really good book! as simple as that

              I found out about Phillipa Gregory from a friend at work. I had not read for a long time and wanted a book which I could really lose myself in and relax after a hard days work. My friend was a fan of Phillipa Gregory. She lent me the Constant Princess which is about Henry VIII's first wife. I was hooked and wanted to read more. The next in the series is The Other Boleyn Girl, which begins as Henry is still married to his first wife, following several lovers including Anne Boleyn's sister! He ends up turning the country upside down in order to marry Anne Boleyn. Needless to say, it does not end well.

              I started to read this book around the time that the film was due to be released on DVD. I have now read nearly everyone of Phillipa Gregory's books and this has to be one of my favourites.

              The book (as with the author's others) is based on historical fact interwoven with fiction. It is like reading a soap opera set in the fascinating times of the Tudors. I have to admit that I am not a big fan of history but this book breathes life into history, it comes alive and you can image yourself there and really feel for the characters. After you read this book you will find the film slightly disappointing.

              I would recommend this book, and then start reading the rest of the Tudors series!

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                15.05.2010 13:39
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                A real emotionally-involving story

                The Other Boleyn Girl is fiction but is based on non-fictional events and was written by Phillipa Gregory.
                The book is part of the Tudor Novels collection, some of my favourite books and written by one of my favourite authors.

                The story is about Mary Boleyn, the 'other Boleyn girl', as we really only know of Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII's second wife.
                Mary Boleyn is summoned to the court of Henry VIII and his first wife Queen Katherine of Aragon, to serve as one of her faithful Lady's in Waiting.
                Already married to William Carey, Mary soon becomes the love interest of the King himself and soon finds herself in his bed and then bearing two of his children, all in the hope that they will eventually marry and she will become Queen.
                King Henry begins to lose interest in Mary, so the Boleyn family throw Anne, the stronger sister into the arms of him. Being the more determined and also conniving sister, Anne wants to be more than just Henry's bit on the side!

                This is the main plotline and I shall not spoil it for you any further!
                I think that this book does give a real insight into the lives of the Tudor's, especially those surrounding the Royals and part of me really hopes that Phillipa Gregory has actually captured an accurate picture of how it used to be.

                The writer really manages to capture how the Boleyn family will go to any selfish lengths to make a name for themselves, even if it means putting their own children at risk.
                There is also a real sense of betrayal, as Anne puts her own needs for the Kings affections and the step closer to being Queen before not only Queen Katherine, who she loyally serves but even her own sister.

                I think the story is extremely emotional, as we see Mary torn away from her Husband, thrown into the arms of the King and then thrust aside by him so he can be with his sister.
                This is made all the worse, as she does fall head over heels for the King and even has children by him!

                The book is told brilliantly and I really feel that the language is quite accurate for the time (though I can't say for certain!) and you definitely feel yourself being pulled into the world of the Tudor's, facing family rivalry, love, heartbreak and ultimately....tragedy. : (

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                  17.03.2010 08:54
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                  Pick up a copy and lose yourself in it!

                  This is a review of the book 'The Other Bolyn Girl' by Philippa Gregory. I was completely blown away by this book. Not my usual reading genre, I was drawn to it as I'd enjoyed the BBC TV series 'the Tudors'.

                  ***Build up**
                  I'd had the book a while and had been putting off reading it as the 519 pages are a really small font and it looks cramped, I thought it might be a bit hard going but even from page one I couldn't put it down! I took it on a weekend away so that I didn't have to take more than one book (I am a voracious reader once I get going).

                  **Makes you feel like you're there***

                  You can really tell that Philippa Gregory knows her historical background, she really has done her research, and whilst of course a lot of the storytelling is fictionalised, that's what makes it great, and it is all based on the theories, books and literature that exists on this fascinating era. The description of the costumes and jewels are really visual and you can picture the heaving bodices at times.

                  **Brief plot outline**

                  This is the story of Anne Boleyn's younger sister, Mary which tells how she seduced the king before he married Anne. She bore children to him but they were never really recognised as the king's due to the fact that he was married to Queen Katherine of Spain at the time!

                  The book follows the rise and fall of the Boleyn girls, how they compete at times for the love of King Henry VIII and what it takes to survive the challenges of the times from illness to childbirth.

                  **Don't lose your head over it***
                  What both girls are aiming for is to provide the king with a legitimate son to be his heir. Anne will go to many lengths to achieve this and pays the ultimate price for it in the end (don't need to put a spoiler on this one do I?!)

                  Overall, the book weaves a beautiful story of true love and how hard it is to find and keep whilst remaining part of a family unit (the Howards / Boleyn) who are determined to succeed.

                  ***A genre to suit many readers**
                  I think many people would enjoy this book. It is brutal at times, descriptive with a strong story line that is loosely linked to the history of our country. Some parts of it are a little graphic so it may not be suitable for younger readers but I think it needs this to show how desperate the Boleyn girls are at times.

                  **Verdict**
                  The book made me realise what a difficult time it was to live during 1521 - 1536 and how everyone is playing games, flirting and cheating in the court. The author strikes a balance between the language of the day and makes it more than readable in today's market.

                  I have just bought the film to watch now I've finished the book (I didn't want to spoil it by watching the film first) but looking at the reviews on here, as usual the book is by far better than the film!

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                    03.03.2010 19:29
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                    Behind the gowns and jewles of a Tudor courtier

                    The Other Boleyn Girl tells the story of Ann Boleyn's sister Mary and how she grew up in the court of King Henry and was used by the men in her family to further the advancement of their wealth.
                    When I first picked up this book I found it a little odd to read as it is laid out in a time line rather than in to chapters, but once I got used to the layout I found myself getting into the story and really enjoying it.
                    The Mary character while a little shallow at the start of the story, grown thought the book (as she grows in age) into a lovable and tragic figure. I think the most important thing for a really good book is that it makes you care about the characters and their story and this book really achieves this. I found myself really feeling the unfairness of the way Mary was treated by her family, her confusion as she tries to serve Queen Katherine who she loved while helping to plot her removal from the throne and her desperation to be with and protect her children. While painting the perfect tragic heroin in Mary, Philippa also manages to paint a remarkable picture of Ann Boleyn. I don't pretend to have a great knowledge of Ann Boleyn as a historical figure but if even a small fraction of her character had a basis in fact then she was truly a formidable and horrifying person.
                    All in all The Other Boleyn Girl is a beautiful story, well told which keeps you desperate for a happy ending for Mary all the way through, while also giving a little glimpse of what life for a woman in Tudor times may have been like.

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                      02.01.2010 21:00
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                      A must read (just not for my mum)

                      I read this on my last holiday, and I must admit I could not put it down. I've heard that some of the events are perhaps "questionable", and I must admit I was surprised to read some of the lengths that Anne would go to, to conceive a boy (I won't ruin that for people). That said, even though I knew how it ended, I found myself willing for a happy ending, for all the family.

                      For me, the only disadvantage was that some of the descriptions were a little bit too graphic. I'm aware that life at court would have involved lots of "goings on". However I felt the author went a little too far at times. While I'm not prudish, I would not feel comfortable passing the book on to my mother. That said, I thoroughly enjoyed it, and could not put it down. I felt an attachment to the characters, that I was not expecting. While it was the last book I read on my holiday, it was the one I enjoyed the most. I've not yet seen the film, but am hoping that this is just as good.

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                        12.12.2009 15:38
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                        I've been wanting to read this book long before the release of the film. I'd almost given up hope of my library stocking it so I was happy to see it in the 'new' section completely brand new. Where I managed to snap it up straight away.

                        The Other Boleyn Girl is based on Mary Boleyn, sister of Anne. From the years 1521-1536 we read about the events which surround her life at that particular time, starting off from when she was at the young age of 12 and already married. Whilst Anne is being brought up in a french court Mary is doing just as is expected of her. Staying in line and obeying everything which her family are telling her to do. No matter how much she dislikes it.

                        The return of Anne doesn't bring too much joy, there is an obvious rivalry between the sisters. Neither wanting the other to outshine them. The Boleyn family have got their eyes on Mary being in Henry VIII favour and becoming his mistress brings out a visible jealous streak in Anne. Until the King seems to be losing interest and his eyes begins to wander again. Seeing the opportunity she is next in line to grab his attention, of which she manages thanks to the help given to her.

                        As we are only seeing this through the eyes of Mary some of the occurances can only be based on rumours or on what she is supposedly seeing. So we are only told of possible suspicous situations which are happening without really knowing if it's true or not. You can feel the need to sympathise with Mary and her seemingly innocent nature. As the story delves deeper and deeper into court life you hear her say again and again that she wishes to marry for love and never wanted any of the titles or riches which have been bestown on herself and other family members. As if to justify sleeping with Henry this is what she tells people why she did it, she loved him and there was no other reason to it. At points however it looks as though she trying to convince herself as mush as everyone else. Especially as a lady who supposedly held a great deal of regard and love to Catherine Aragon.

                        It appears as though she is alone at court and has to rely on her brother George although it depends on who is around as he is quick to switch allegiances between sisters. Once again the suggestions of his sexuality creep in. Although I believe that there is no clear evidence of George being gay it seems to be a popular choice in quite a few historical novels which I've read.

                        I did start to feel a twang of pity towards the end of Annes existance, just waiting for her head to be struck. But then you have to put into perspective the events told in the book as to what she was capable of to get what she wanted. A woman who would do anything to become Queen, supposedly anything to give the King a son and the desire to be loved and admired from far and wide. Her pride I think comes across as being a contributor to her downfall but by the time she realises it, it's all to late to gain control again.

                        From their marriage she has turned Henry into a tyrant. Nobody is same from him when he is capable of ordering the death of some of his closest friends.

                        As with a lot of these historical stories it has to be bulked up a bit with facts which might not be that truthful. I don't think it mentions who is the eldest of the Boleyn children but from what is written you get the impression that Mary is the youngest of the three, although nobody is 100% certain it's thought that she could of been the oldest. As for the suggestion that George and Anne had a more intimate relationship, again another fact which historians aren't completely sure of.

                        Overall I really enjoyed reading this. Despite the fact that it has 529 pages in didn't take me too long to get through it all. It provided a good deal of enjoyment. Each character had different aspects of their personalities to dislike whilst at another point to relish in. Whilst there are some questionable moments, that doesn't stop it from keeping you engrossed in what is happening. I wouldn't say it contained any amusing moments and it can be a bit grueling at times.

                        Costing £7.99 from all good book shops you can also get it on Amazon for £2.19. A must for anybody who enjoys a bit of history which you can get your teeth stuck into. Something which follows the life of somebody who played a part in the arrival of Anne who gets rare mentions.

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                          19.11.2009 14:43
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                          Would recommend this to anyone!

                          This is the best book by far that I have ever read! I am only 20 and quite a girly girl, and the books that I normally go for are chick-lit books, Paige Toon, Sophie Kinsella etc, but this book was given to me by a friend and out of politeness I read it. Thank goodness I did! I was gripped to the book from the very start, and it has even made me trawl the internet for more information on the tudor's, I am now fascinated by it! I have read other reviews which slate the book because it is not totally fact. This book is a fiction book and it isn't intended to be a biography of their lives.

                          The book is written in the form of Mary Boleyn narrating, and is following the story of Mary Boleyn and her sister Anne who both fell in love with King Henry VIII. Mary fell for him as a girl of 14. Her sister Anne went onto marry him and become queen. The story is extremely well written and vividly decribed, and I thought she depicted life in court and the country brilliantly. Even though Anne was portrayed as a selfish nasty woman I still have admiration for her and she was one of my favourite characters. The story is mostly following Anne Boleyn's struggle to conceive a son and all the angst that was caused as a result of this. Gregory described the two sister's jealousy of each other, but at the same time portrayed their affection toward one another perfectly.

                          I throughly enjoyed this and have recommended it to all my colleagues and friends!

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