Thursday, May 21, 2009
The Boelyn Inheritance
I read this book because I really enjoyed "The Other Boleyn Girl," and wanted to try another historical fiction by Philippa Gregory.
The book deals with Henry the VIII's next two wives, after he divorced his first wife Catherine of Aragorn, after his second wife, Anne Boleyn's beheading and his next wife, Jane Seymour's death at child birth. Dude was a whackadoo, by the way. After reading "The Other Boleyn Girl," I became extremely interested in the Tudors, renting movies and reading autobiographies. So again, I say, Dude was a whackadoo. The whole lot of them are fascinating.
The story is told through the eyes of three women. Wife # 4, Anne of Cleves, is a German-born woman longing to escape her tyrannical brother. She is betrothed to the king, based on his choice of her from an artist's rendering. She is taken to England to be his bride. In real life, it is said the King thought her a cow, an oaf, that the artist greatly improved her in pictures. In Ms. Gregory's book, we see how one huge mistake on Anne's part dooms her marriage. Her voice, Anne's, was the one I enjoyed the most. She was smart, level-headed, she knew what a miracle it was that she was not killed by the man she knew to be mad.
The second voice is that of Catherine Howard, a superficial teenager who becomes wife # 5 by seducing the aging, insane king with her youth and sensuality. The book portrays her as an airhead only interested in pretty things; jewels, dresses, furs. Not much is known about her in real life, other than she was apparently unfaithful to the king and was put to death less than two years after marrying him. Her voice in the book was my least favorite.
The third voice was that of Jane Boleyn, wife of Anne Boleyn's brother (the same brother who was killed for rumours of sexual liaisons with his sister Anne - quite possible made up so that the king could get out of his marriage to Anne; we'll never know). Jane was an interesting character. Self-Preservation was her number one goal. Throughout the book she is portrayed as a woman who loved her husband, madly & deeply, yet it was her testimony that sent him to the scaffold. She's in denial about who and what she is. Her voice is a little off. She wants to believe her own voice, but we all know she's a bit insane.
It's a pretty good book, not as good for me as "The Other Boleyn Girl," but a quick ready, as the chapters are divided by speaker, making it flow faster.