Two sisters competing for the greatest prize: the love of a king
When Mary Boleyn comes to court as an innocent girl of fourteen, she catches the eye of Henry VIII. Dazzled by the king, Mary falls in love with both her golden prince and her growing role as unofficial queen. However, she soon realizes just how much she is a pawn in her familys ambitious plots as the kings interest begins to wane and she is forced to step aside for her best friend and rival: her sister, Anne. Then Mary knows that she must defy her family and her king, and take her fate into her own hands.
A rich and compelling tale of love, sex, ambition, and intrigue, The Other Boleyn Girl introduces a woman of extraordinary determination and desire who lived at the heart of the most exciting and glamorous court in Europe and survived by following her own heart.
Sisterly rivalry is the basis of this fresh, wonderfully vivid retelling of the story of Anne Boleyn. Anne, her sister Mary and their brother George are all brought to the king's court at a young age, as players in their uncle's plans to advance the family's fortunes. Mary, the sweet, blond sister, wins King Henry VIII's favor when she is barely 14 and already married to one of his courtiers. Their affair lasts several years, and she gives Henry a daughter and a son. But her dark, clever, scheming sister, Anne, insinuates herself into Henry's graces, styling herself as his adviser and confidant. Soon she displaces Mary as his lover and begins her machinations to rid him of his wife, Katherine of Aragon. This is only the beginning of the intrigue that Gregory so handily chronicles, capturing beautifully the mingled hate and nearly incestuous love Anne, Mary and George ("kin and enemies all at once") feel for each other and the toll their family's ambition takes on them. Mary, the story's narrator, is the most sympathetic of the siblings, but even she is twisted by the demands of power and status; charming George, an able plotter, finally brings disaster on his own head by falling in love with a male courtier. Anne, most tormented of all, is ruthless in her drive to become queen, and then to give Henry a male heir. Rather than settling for a picturesque rendering of court life, Gregory conveys its claustrophobic, all-consuming nature with consummate skill. In the end, Anne's famous, tragic end is offset by Mary's happier fate, but the self-defeating folly of the quest for power lingers longest in the reader's mind. (June 4) Forecast: Lovers of historical romances heavy on the history will relish this new entry from Gregory and perhaps propel it onto bestseller lists this summer. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
Showing 1-10 of the 10 most recent reviews
1 . Have read this 3 times
Posted April 05, 2011 by mackenzie , unionI loved this book, it read like riding a race horse. It was turn after turn and peaked my interested in the Tudors. I loved to know there was another story than just Ann's. At the end you just feel sorry for her. Any book that makes me feel such dept for a character is awesome
2 . great read
Posted December 07, 2010 by ldev , FargoI began this book because it was recommended by a friend - even though I had little to no interest in the royal history. It took me only a short time to become completely engrossed in the story and somewhat obsessed with the era. It is definitely written somewhat as a soap opera, with just enough history to make it "real." I really enjoyed the conversation with the author at the end of the book as she discussed the line between truth and fiction and how she wrote this story. Overall, I definitely recommend the book to those who enjoy historical fiction about this era or just to avid readers. I was pleasantly surprised.
3 . Awesome Book
Posted October 01, 2010 by Anette , Dallas,TXThis book was awesome!!!
4 . Great Book
Posted December 26, 2009 by Christy , LakelandI really enjoyed this book.
5 . One of my favorite reads
Posted May 11, 2009 by Mary Ann , Boulder, COI loved this book, superb character development by Gregory. The characters draw you into the story bringing the pages to life. With excellent plot twists full of love and scorn I was sucked into this book right away. At times it can seem to be a LONG book but overall it is highly entertaining and I love it!
6 . Couldn't put it down
Posted April 13, 2009 by coryann8 , Pontiac, MIThis book was great. It brought together all of the most controversial claims from the time of the Boleyn's part in King Henry VIII's reign, while connecting you with the historical figures, especially Mary Boleyn, as though you could've been there with them. I couldn't put it down. If you like historical fiction (although much of this comes from what was most likely the reality of the time), this is something you shouldn't hesitate for a moment to read.
7 . Great book....
Posted April 10, 2008 by randyanna , Saucier,MSWas a awesome book.. I am watching the show on Showtime and came across the ad for the movie.. I know the books are better so I read it... Good book from Mary's point of view... Hope you enjoy it as well.
8 . The Other Boleyn Girl
Posted March 06, 2008 by Scarlett , Historic FictionI enjoyed this lusty romp through Henry VIII's court. The book is not overly burdened with details of the political and theological conflicts of the time (no lineage chart needed to know who is who), but focuses on the Boleyn/ Howard family's insatialble desire for wealth and influence. The unique relationships among siblings Mary, Anne and George offered by Gregory are both fascinating and believable. A definate read before you see the movie. As usual the book was so much better.
9 . The Other Boleyn Girl
Posted February 23, 2008 by sfcgijill , Ft. Knox, KYA wonderful read. I love that the period and characters were well-researched, and every line seemed true to both. The dialogue and action accounts were complete and fully fleshed without being padded as if paid by the word. Every happening leads us to the conclusion, without unneeded trips down blind alleys, but still keeping the suspense thick throughout. Although history tells us the ultimate conclusion, The Other Boleyn Girl gives us plenty of suspense, plenty of speculation at every turn.
Well worth the few hours reading, and it certainly whet my appetite for more of Ms. Gregory's writing.
10 . Mary, the other Boleyn
Posted February 20, 2008 by Jade , Wyoming, USAAfter reading this book and 'The Constant Princess' I went out and purchased all of Gregory's books that deal with the wives of Henry VIII. One thing that I did notice is that it is not wise to think that the books should be read as a series. If you do that then you'll notice that they don't really match up. Some details mentioned in one are contradicted in another. However taken as individual stories as they really should be taken, this book along with her others is a wonderful book to read. It adds just enough history to make you look things up for yourself and yet at the same time gives you an opportunity to see the story through the eyes of Mary. Of course having married a man actually descended from William Stafford and seeing Mary in the family tree (listed as another wife not ancestor) has added a more personal touch to this book. It allowed me to take a more personal interest in the story line that I normally don't have in the book. Even without that personal interest I would have read this book. It is a very easy read and flows nicely. You don't have to enjoy history to enjoy the story that unfolds. There were a few scenes involving Anne and her brother that made me wonder. I almost wanted to look and see if Anne had given birth to that which she gave birth to in an attempt to provide a son for Henry. This story made me really feel for Mary.
November 08, 2004
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Excerpt from The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory
I COULD HEAR A ROLL OF MUFFLED DRUMS. BUT I COULD SEE nothing but the lacing on the bodice of the lady standing in front of me, blocking my view of the scaffold. I had been at this court for more than a year and attended hundreds of festivities; but never before one like this.
By stepping to one side a little and craning my neck, I could see the condemned man, accompanied by his priest, walk slowly from the Tower toward the green where the wooden platform was waiting, the block of wood placed center stage, the executioner dressed all ready for work in his shirtsleeves with a black hood over his head. It looked more like a masque than a real event, and I watched it as if it were a court entertainment. The king, seated on his throne, looked distracted, as if he was running through his speech of forgiveness in his head. Behind him stood my husband of one year, William Carey, my brother, George, and my father, Sir Thomas Boleyn, all looking grave. I wriggled my toes inside my silk slippers and wished the king would hurry up and grant clemency so that we could all go to breakfast. I was only thirteen years old, I was always hungry.
The Duke of Buckinghamshire, far away on the scaffold, put off his thick coat. He was close enough kin for me to call him uncle. He had come to my wedding and given me a gilt bracelet. My father told me that he had offended the king a dozen ways: he had royal blood in his veins and he kept too large a retinue of armed men for the comfort of a king not yet wholly secure on his throne; worst of all he was supposed to have said that the king had no son and heir now, could get no son and heir, and that he would likely die without a son to succeed him to the throne.
Such a thought must not be said out loud. The king, the court, the whole country knew that a boy must be born to the queen, and born soon. To suggest otherwise was to take the first step on the path that led to the wooden steps of the scaffold which the duke, my uncle, now climbed, firmly and without fear. A good courtier never refers to any unpalatable truths. The life of a court should always be merry.
Uncle Stafford came to the front of the stage to say his final words. I was too far from him to hear, and in any case I was watching the king, waiting for his cue to step forward and offer the royal pardon. This man standing on the scaffold, in the sunlight of the early morning, had been the king's partner at tennis, his rival on the jousting field, his friend at a hundred bouts of drinking and gambling, they had been comrades since the king was a boy. The king was teaching him a lesson, a powerful public lesson, and then he would forgive him and we could all go to breakfast.
The little faraway figure turned to his confessor. He bowed his head for a blessing and kissed the rosary. He knelt before the block and clasped it in both hands. I wondered what it must be like, to put one's cheek to the smooth waxed wood, to smell the warm wind coming off the river, to hear, overhead, the cry of seagulls. Even knowing as he did that this was a masque and not the real thing, it must be odd for Uncle to put his head down and know that the executioner was standing behind.