Tuesday, September 8, 2015

(Review) The Boleyn Inheritance by Philippa Gregory

Publication Date: December 5, 2006. The paperback edition, 2007.
Publisher: Touchstone.
Genre: Historical fiction.
Pages: 518.
Source: Gift.
Rating: 2 stars for okay.

Summary:
The Boleyn Inheritance is the story of three women, each sharing a first person narrative.
Anne of Cleves
Katherine Howard
Jane Boleyn, Viscountess Rochford

Jane is haunted by the death of her husband George, and his sister Anne Boleyn. Her grief, repressed anger, and questionable mental state is portrayed.
Katherine Howard is an immature, and girlish. She is portrayed as a delicious prize for Henry VIII; however, she has no idea of the sharp bite of Henry. She is naive, arrogant, superficial, seeks to be desired, loves attention, flirtatious, and manipulative. For Katherine, life is a game.
Anne of Cleves is a mature woman who has lived under her mother and brother's dominance. A marriage to Henry VIII, is political, and further, a quest to "settle" Reformation in England.

My Thoughts:
I did not care for the portrayal of Katherine Howard. Early in the story, she is young and unaware of the dangerous game she's playing with Henry. A flirtation with the king leads to marriage. A marriage she's not ready for, nor does she romantically love Henry, instead she is repulsed by him. I was not as sympathetic as I wanted to be in regards to her life and death.
Anne of Cleves became a blessed woman. Her life began as a pawn for her mother and brother, and later Henry, but it ended in such a way she became the luckiest and most independent of Henry's wives. I enjoyed reading her story.
Jane Boleyn, the widow of George Boleyn. is an odd person. I wondered if she was mentally ill? The risk she took with Katherine was very unwise. She knew better (or should have.) I believe her character just might have needed her own book as she is a puzzling person.
Over-all, The Boleyn Inheritance is strong on entertainment and not strong on history.  

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