Of course, I finished The Other Boleyn Girl the day after my blog post last week. Most of my thoughts did not change. William Stafford protected his wife while still allowing her to make her own decisions. Anne was her own undoing through her ambition. While it was pitiable and wasn’t her fault that she couldn’t produce a son, she’s the one who taught the king that lack of an heir was reason enough to “set aside” a wife.
To the end, I loved Mary. Even while her rivalry went on with her sister, she supported her and loved her. In the end, her love for her siblings was only eclipsed by her passionate love for her children. If not for them, she would have died alongside her brother and sister.
As far as writing goes, it’s difficult to tell a story where most people already know what happened, but using Mary as her narrator allowed Gregory to do it fantastically. She bookends the story with two executions, both of which Mary expects to be stopped at the last minute, showing her faith in the king as well as the absurdity of the events we accept as history to the people of the time period. And her final word is a foreshadowing. Though Mary claims Elizabeth will never be on the throne because of her mother’s disgrace, she does say that Elizabeth is a Boleyn and a Tudor and, with that combination, anything is possible.
My most favorite thing about this book: I love Mary more than any of the other characters because of her loyalty, love, and growth.
My least favorite thing about this book: How young the girls are when they’re first expected to consummate relationships, and not even for pleasure but for family gain. Yes, again, I know: it’s how it was. But it sucked.
Who I would most like to recommend this book to: People who are interested in Henry VIII specifically or, in general, life at royal court during that age.
Where this book sits on my bookshelf: Between Across the Wide and Lonesome Prairie and Just Ella, which MAY be my favorite Cinderella retelling.
There’s still time to vote for the Reader-Voted Project in June!
And stay tuned Tuesday for the family gathering and a brief rant on why I hated Age of Ultron.