This book is over 500 pages, and I managed to read it in one day (well, I stayed up until 6:30am to finish it!), so I think that itself is demonstrati...moreThis book is over 500 pages, and I managed to read it in one day (well, I stayed up until 6:30am to finish it!), so I think that itself is demonstrative of how much I enjoyed this book. Even though I knew the story very, very well, being quite a Tudor stan, the book did not disappoint. I was hooked from start to finish, and the swift switching of perspectives of Jane, Anne, and Katherine throughout the book was very effective and suspense-building (even for those who know how it all turns out in the end!).
Philippa Gregory's grammar could be doing with a once-over, though. (Isn't that what an editor is supposed to be useful for?) The first sentence involved a comma splice, one of my worst enemies - it works fine in some languages, but not English! Pronouns were inconsistent - there were a few cases of 'between [the king] and I', and she used 'we Howards' and 'us Howards', as nominative (subjective) pronouns, rather interchangeably. Despite all these, which do, I readily admit, make me squirm and scowl, Gregory remains one of my favorite authors, although I daresay this might have a lot to do with her subject matter, as the Tudors are one of my favorite eras of history, if not my overall favorite.
As ever, Gregory does take certain liberties with the plot; she will often present what is historical rumor or still debated among historians as explicit fact. And that's okay - we can't know certain things for sure, and she can't very well write in her book that it's only a rumor or discredit it as untrue. I'm not sure why she gave Jane Boleyn a son, though, as that is most definitely not true - there was a boy, George Boleyn, who was thought for a time to be Jane's and George's son, but that has been proven otherwise. But I put it down to Gregory's slight twisting of the plot for novelistic purposes, and I don't criticise it much at all.
I love that Gregory took the two least known queens, Anne of Cleves and Katherine Howard, and brought them to life. Katherine was an insufferable teenage brat, yet I could understand her position; I wouldn't expect her to behave any differently, really, except that she could have reined in her wild streak a fair bit once she became Queen. Still, she was a sixteen-year-old girl in love, having to do awful things by the force of her family and at the risk of her own life. It was refreshing to see Anne of Cleves portrayed not as ugly or repulsive, but as an afraid young woman, who was brave and independent and strong even in the face of death.
The Boleyn Inheritance is another amazing book from her Tudor Court series, and I am excited to read the others, as I'm sure I will love them too. This is a tie for the best of the series along with The Constant Princess for me.(less)
I had expected a more humdrum romance as per Austen, but I was pleasantly surprised at this. I hadn't imagined the supernatural el...moreSPOILERS, as always.
I had expected a more humdrum romance as per Austen, but I was pleasantly surprised at this. I hadn't imagined the supernatural elements, nor the twist of Rochester's insane wife, nor even his injuries. I am a great fan of basic romance, but I really enjoyed that this has more of an excitement to it. It was excellent, would read again, et cetera.(less)