Review: Mary Boleyn, The Mistress of Kings by Alison Weir
Title: Mary Boleyn, The Mistress of Kings
Author: Alison Weir
Publisher: Ballantine Books (Hardcover was published 2011)
Labels: Mary Boleyn, Anne Boleyn, Boleyn Family, Tudor History, Kings and Queens of England, Royalty, Henry VIII, Katherine of Aragon, 15th Century, 16th Century, England, France, History, Biography
Pages: 416 total, but this includes several family lineage charts, a preface, two appendix, a bibliography, notes and reference, index, reader's guide. Main part of the book ends on page 252.
Rating: 4 1/2 Stars
Mary Boleyn was the eldest of three children that survived to adulthood. Her younger siblings were Anne and George. Their father owned several estates, was closely tied to both Henry VII and Henry VIII. They were a Norfolk family, and a knightly class. Mary was overshadowed by her sister Anne. Mary was considered a beautiful girl; but her sister Anne was intelligent, charming, talented, calculating, and more importantly married King Henry VIII. Mary has had a infamous and tarnished image for centuries. She was known as a whore, the mule that King Francois of France rode, and other ugly names. In the royal court, gossip and intrigue and slander was more prolific than mice. Mary had been the mistress of King Francois of France, she was a very young girl. She was also the mistress of King Henry VIII of England, probably after her first marriage. There's been more fiction written about Mary than known fact. Books and movies have adapted themselves from inaccurate information. One story beget another story of unsubstantiated truth.
Alison Weir's main focus for this book is to dismiss those stories that have no ground of truth, and replace them with what truth is known.
We know one important fact from Mary's life, she managed to stay alive to middle age and died of natural causes in her own bed. Whereas her sister Anne and brother George lost their heads at tower hill.
- I have high regards for Alison Weir. She is an accomplished reader and studier of Tudor history, and British history during this period. When I read her books I know her research is significant and I'll be given sound information.
- Weir is direct, plain spoken, when addressing all those books and movies that have depicted Mary Boleyn from incorrectly passed down information. I admire her tenacity in wanting to write a book that has correct information and or honest in letting the reader know there is nothing known about a particular topic.
- In my opinion the accurate stories of Henry VIII, Mary Boleyn, Anne Boleyn, Katherine of Aragon, etc. are huge enough, fabricating more stories that are gossip was unnecessary. I was glad to read what facts actually exist and shown what they are.
- Other historical information was given: syphilis, sweating sickness, plague, double standards of Kings as opposed to the common man in sexual activity outside of marriage, sea travel during this era.
- I've read several books on Anne, was a delight for a books focus to be on her sister Mary.
My only negative point (minuscule) is at times I felt more like the author had a bone to pick with those previous authors of books and scriptwriters who've written inaccurate information about Mary Boleyn. I can understand Weir's passion for the truth, but maybe she could have toned it down a bit.
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