Thursday, December 3, 2009
"The Boleyn Inheritance", by Philippa Gregory
In this marvellous novel, Ms Gregory brings out from the depth of history Jane Boleyn, Anne of Cleves and Katherine Howard she also adds all sorts of wild cards making this a poignant historical thriller. The story is told in the first person with the three alternating voices of this trio. Each is replaying their brief, vulnerable and sad life while trying to make their way through the years of the most volatile court under Henry V111's tyranny.
The novel picks up with Henry's third wife, an arranged marriage to Anne of Cleves; this created an alliance between England and Cleves thus avoiding a war. He soon realises the futility of it and turns his attention to the Queen's maid-in-waiting Katherine Howard. Life with the King thirty years her senior is not what Little Kitty (14) had expected, after a year together, her childish behaviour and flirting aggravates Henry's bad temper. She soon finds herself in the shadow of the axe that had claimed so many before her.
Jane Boleyn who was a trusted friend of many Queens turns out to be the perfect spy for her uncle, the Duke of Norfolk. She stops at nothing to promote the ambitions of her family ...no one is safe .... With the constant betrayals not even her....
This is an enjoyable read one that captures the imagination by creating a strong atmosphere, its details emphasising the sheer horror suffered during the years under the rule of Henry V111. An entertaining work of historical fiction, I am looking forward to reading Ms Gregory's other work.