THE OTHER BOLEYN GIRL by Philippa Gregory

4 LH blue.jpghalf LH blue.jpg  Wow, I don’t get it. I’m reading this book for my neighborhood book group. I don’t like reading historicals, and some of the writing in this makes me shudder.  “(I was) . . . in the cream gown that Anne had chosen for me, with my cream headdress pulling my rich hair off my young face.” and “‘Very pretty,’ the queen said dampeningly.”
But I can’t put it down. 600+ pages and I don’t want it to end, I’m enjoying it so much. I guess it is simply a good story, well-structured, and made even more fascinating by the fact that it is based on fact.   Also, and this is a biggie, the central character, Mary Boleyn, is painted as enormously sympathetic–not quite as beautiful, as smart, as witty or as quick as her older sister, Anne, yet she grows from a self-centered young girl to a woman full of love for her children and empathy for those around her. That’s all it takes to put the reader on the side of the protaganist and to keep flipping the pages. It’s painful, though, to experience the subordinate role of women in that era through Mary’s eyes.
Have any of you read this book? I’m interested in your thoughts.   


  1. Anonymous on December 3, 2006 at 4:57 pm

    Yes–read it.
    I love historical bios and autobios and hist. fiction…Of course, Mary was one of Henry’s “friends” before Anne…
    On the plane on the way home from London-I read a bio of Henry-another one-recent…that story has always intrigued me…long book though, and I am still not well enough to read…am working-but just getting by…

  2. Brenda on December 3, 2006 at 6:35 pm

    I lost my comment-
    Read this book-agree with you-but finished it because I am intrigued with history-and like the stories about H. VIII and family…
    It is said he liked Mary before Anne…

  3. Margo on December 4, 2006 at 8:40 am

    Haven’t read historicals or Gothic since high school but I have to say you’ve caught my interest with your comments…think I’ll look for it at the bookstore Wed to see what it’s like…

  4. Diane Chamberlain on December 4, 2006 at 2:28 pm

    Hi brenda, actually your comment didn’t get lost. it just got knocked into my spam filter because of the “anonymous” signature (and i’ve put it up now). i need to check the spam filter more often. found one of margo’s comments there as well. but if i didn’t have it, i’d have so much spam. you wouldn’t believe how the spammers target blogs. what a nuisance!
    i was wondering how you’re feeling?

  5. Brenda on December 5, 2006 at 5:38 pm

    Still on meds-my husband takes me to work–and even went to grad school with me last night.
    I finished the semester from ____.
    Now-will study for Humanities COMPS in January, take l class next semester (writing of course-very intense) and then a class in which I will work on my own on my project.
    May can’t come soon enough-I will take the summer to Play NANA and MOM and WIFE—do some work at the house…write…rest…
    I am so excited to hear the name of your mom…I agree with the name-Joanna…
    Also-just reread one of your oldies…Diane-you are so gifted…

  6. Diane Chamberlain on December 5, 2006 at 10:21 pm

    Thank you brenda. how on earth you have time to reread any books when you have so much else to read and do is beyond me. sounds like you have a terrific husband. you deserve it. and i’m delighted to hear you’ll have the summer off!

  7. brenda on December 17, 2006 at 7:16 pm

    My husband helps a lot…

  8. Skip on December 18, 2006 at 10:53 pm

    I like historical novels very much. I recently dived into The Other Boleyn Girl with great enthusiasm. Sadly, by page 350, they were still mired in who got to sleep with the king and that’s when they lost me.
    I normally give a book five chapters to hook me and if it doesn’t happem by then I move on. I should have held fast to my rule and left sooner.

  9. Diane Chamberlain on December 18, 2006 at 11:03 pm

    Welcome, Skip. Funny how different things appeal to different people. I think I was fascinated by the facts behind the fiction, being such a novice to history. I can understand your weariness, though. In January our book group will discuss it and it will be interesting to see who liked it and who didn’t.
    I think you’re a saint to give a book five chapters! For me it’s one. Maybe less.

  10. brenda on December 21, 2006 at 3:27 pm

    When I was at the Tower of London and Warwick Castle (Henry VIII), this summer, (remember it was paid for the teachers to do and study Shakespeare), I was again intrigued by the story of Henry VIII—always have been…I hope some of you finished the book-but it is long and boring sometimes, but afterall, so was history at times.

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